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PM's visit strengthened Putrajaya-Riyadh ties, says aide

Publish date: Sun, 26 Mar 2023, 03:21 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's recent visit to Saudi Arabia has been hailed as a success, as it strengthened Putrajaya-Riyadh relations.

This was despite Anwar being in the early stages of his administration as the country's 10th prime minister.

His political secretary, Ahmad Farhan Fauzi, however, said there were attempts to undermine Anwar's visit to the kingdom recently by describing it as a failure.

"The prime minister had a packed and structured schedule, including meetings with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim League in Makkah.

"In addition, he also witnessed the signing of several important memorandum of understanding involving businesses and industries, and addressed some urgent issues that plagued the Arab and Muslim world. He also met the Malaysian community and students in Saudi Arabia," Farhan said in a statement today.

Farhan, who was part of Anwar's delegation to the kingdom, was responding to criticism from the opposition over the outcome of the prime minister's visit.

He said the Saudi government had requested for Anwar's visit to be extended so that a meeting with the kingdom's leadership could be arranged.

"The prime minister, however, had to politely decline as he was scheduled to attend an iftar ceremony with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah yesterday.

"He is also scheduled to visit Phnom Penh tomorrow, and Hainan and Beijing on Wednesday to meet President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang.

"As such, I urge those who have run out of ideas to stop this polemic and work together in supporting the unity government's efforts to strengthen Malaysia's image and its foreign relations."

Yesterday, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal questioned the outcome of Anwar's visit to Saudi Arabia as the premier did not meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Anwar began his visit to the kingdom on Wednesday. He was accompanied by his wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

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