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Opposition MP files emergency motion to discuss PM Anwar’s recent Saudi Arabia visit, claims could affect Malaysia’s haj quota and palm oil exports

Publish date: Mon, 27 Mar 2023, 02:56 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Machang MP Wan Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal today filed an emergency motion to discuss Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's recent visit to Saudi Arabia in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Opposition lawmaker from Perikatan Nasional described the recent official visit as an “embarrassment” to Malaysia in a press conference in Parliament, claiming that Anwar had failed to attend a scheduled meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salaman Al Saud who is also the kingdom’s prime minister.

According to Wan Fayhsal, the way Anwar dealt with matters on that visit could have an impact on bilateral ties that could jeopardise the haj quota for Malaysian Muslims to Mecca, as well as the sale of palm oil products, which is a major contributor to the Treasury.

He also hopes Anwar will attend tomorrow’s scheduled Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow so that the Opposition’s questions can be answered directly.

“We will be there. We will not run away. We will not make a police report,” Wan Fayhsal said.

He referred to a bilateral deal that was agreed upon by both governments in March 2021 when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was prime minister for Malaysia to be allocated an extra 10,000 slots for the haj, and for Malaysia to export an extra 500,000 tonnes of palm oil to Saudi Arabia worth RM1 billion.

Anwar began his official three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on March 22 and 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.

National news agency Bernama reported Anwar had an audience scheduled with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed at the Al Salam Palace.

The Saudi government was reported last Saturday to have invited Anwar to extend his visit there for two more days.

However, Anwar reportedly refused the extension, citing a programme he had to attend at home.

Anwar is currently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a one-day visit.

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