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Anwar in Saudi Arabia to enhance cooperation, explore new bilateral cooperation between Kuala Lumpur and Riyadh

Publish date: Wed, 22 Mar 2023, 10:50 PM

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA: PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has arrived in Saudi Arabia to strengthen Kuala Lumpur's bilateral relations and cooperation with Riyadh.

Anwar is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who is also Saudi Arabia's prime minister, at the As-Salam Palace, where an official welcoming ceremony is also scheduled.

Anwar arrived at King Khalid International Airport here just after 6.40am, local time and proceeded to Mekah to perform the Umrah.

Malaysian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Datuk Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, said the meeting would allow Kuala Lumpur and Riyadh to explore new areas of opportunity, while strengthening existing ones.

The prime minister is also scheduled to meet with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary-general Hissein Brahim Taha and the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Sheikh Dr Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa.

A visit to the Islamic Development Bank here, where Anwar is scheduled to deliver a keynote address, is also on the cards.

"These meetings will be a platform for the prime minister and the relevant leaders to discuss various issues of interest involving Malaysia.

"They will also serve as a vehicle for the prime minister to explore economic opportunities that the Malaysian business community can venture into, in Saudi Arabia, as well as to promote Malaysia as a major investment destination in the Southeast Asian region," he said.

He added that several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed, involving cooperation between government agencies of the two countries and the private sector.

The prime minister will also take the opportunity to meet Malaysians in Jeddah, he said.

Wan Zaidi said the prime minister's visit reflects the close bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, one that is built on mutual trust and partnership.

"This symbiotic relationship has benefited the people of both countries, through the cooperation implemented in the various sectors," Wan Zaidi said.

Saudi Arabia is Malaysia's largest trading partner, the third largest export destination, and the largest source of imports in the West Asian region last year (2022), with bilateral trade amounting to RM45.52 billion (US$10.26 billion), an increase of 159.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

Wan Zaidi said total exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 43.8 per cent for the same period, amounting to RM7.28 billion (US$1.66 billion), while total imports from Saudi Arabia recorded an increase of 205.8 per cent, amounting to RM38.24 billion (US$8.60 billion).

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