RIYADH: Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Tuesday expressed his country’s desire to establish a Saudi-Malaysian coordination council to achieve a higher level of understanding and boost the relationship with the Kingdom.
Malaysia is keen to boost its ties with Saudi Arabia in all sectors particularly in the field of technology, said Hussein.
In an interview with SPA on Tuesday, he said Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s visit to the Kingdom reflects the depth and strength of the bilateral ties.
The foreign minister said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the world. The health crisis has increased the need for more coordination between countries in all sectors, he said.
“Despite the difficulty in organizing meetings amid the pandemic, we are here today, in Saudi Arabia, which reflects the depth of the relationship between Riyadh and Kuala Lumpur.”
Hussein said the two countries share several issues of common interest that require cooperation and coordination in different fields such as economy, education, security, environment, and Hajj and Umrah.
He said Kuala Lumpur seeks to strengthen economic ties especially in the field of palm oil production.
Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom is one of Malaysia’s top trading partners in the Middle East and one of the top 20 investors in Malaysia.
He said the Kingdom’s largest investments in Malaysia are represented by two joint ventures in the Malaysian southern state of Johor, in the oil refining and petrochemical industry. The joint ventures are a partnership between Saudi Aramco and Malaysia’s Petronas worth over SR64 billion ($17 billion). The partnership allows the parties equal ownership.
He said the Kingdom is carrying out 44 projects worth $276 million in Malaysia in the fields of biotechnology, chemical products, retail trade, medical supplies, and the food sector.
Malaysia has also made investments in 38 projects worth SR1.59 billion ($423 million) across the Kingdom in construction, manufacturing, finance, and insurance, technical and vocational fields, retail trade, and other fields.
Al-Falih said Saudi Vision 2030 has provided exceptional investment opportunities for leading companies and investors around the globe, including the Malaysians.
The Kingdom invites everyone to explore the promising opportunities it offers in different sectors.
Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi said the trade between the two countries has reached SR67 billion during the last five years and the Kingdom ranks 13th among the top exporting countries to Malaysia
He said: “The private sector plays an important role in bolstering the economic relations.”
He also highlighted the two sides’ keenness to promote entrepreneurship, develop small and medium enterprises, adopt technology and promote innovation.
Al-Qasabi said facilitating procedures to allow Saudi non-oil exports, especially dates and halal food products, access to the Malaysian market and other East Asian countries, is an important step for the development of economic relations.