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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Saudi Arabia's King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud will be joined by a 600-strong delegation during his four-day state visit to Malaysia on Sunday


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M'sia prepares to receive Saudi Arabia's King Salman on his maiden state visit

NST 
PUTRAJAYA: Saudi Arabia's King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud will be joined by a 600-strong delegation during his four-day state visit to Malaysia, which begins on Sunday.
The large entourage reflects the significance of the visit by the Saudi ruler, who will discuss numerous issues with the Malaysian government, among them, the haj and Malaysia’s pilgrim quota.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will also discuss matters of existing cooperation between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, as well as explore potential avenues for future collaboration.
The meeting between Najib and King Salman is expected to take place on Monday, followed by a delegation meeting between the two countries.
“Saudi Arabia is Malaysia’s second-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Trade between the two countries saw an increase of 19.8 per cent in 2016 from the previous years, and now totals RM13.12 billion.
“Nearly 60 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to Saudi Arabia are related to palm oil and palm-based agriculture products; machinery equipment and parts; processed food; and electrical and electronic products.
“We foresee greater cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the fields of trade, investment, energy, higher education, training and capacity building, among others,” Anifah said at a press conference here today.
He added that tourism is also another sector worth exploring and expanding upon, with the number of Saudi tourists to Malaysia jumping by nearly 24 per cent in 2016.
Anifah said investments between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are at a healthy level.
“In the last few years, Malaysian investments in Saudi have diversified and we are now in other sectors, other than haj-related industries,” he said.
This will be King Salman's first state visit to Malaysia since he ascended the throne on Jan 23, 2015, and became the seventh king of Saudi Arabia.
The last state visit by a Saudi king to Malaysia was by the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud in February 2006, while the late King Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Saud undertook his state visit to Malaysia in June 1970.
King Salman will be accorded a red-carpet welcome at Parliament Square by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, before attending a banquet hosted by Sultan Muhammad V at Istana Negara in the evening.

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