KUALA LUMPUR (March 5): Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be undertaking a four-day official visit to Saudi Arabia from March 6 to 9, followed by an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March 9 to 11.
Details provided by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry (Wisma Putra) said that this would be Muhyiddin’s first official visit to the two countries since assuming office on March 1, 2020.
The visit to Saudi Arabia is on the invitation extended in April 2020 by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
“Muhyiddin has the honour of being the first foreign head of government to be invited by King Salman following the historic Al Ula Conference on Jan 5, 2021,” said Wisma Putra in a statement on Friday.
The Prime Minister’s official programme will take place at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on March 9, which includes an official welcoming ceremony, virtual audience with King Salman, and meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The visit will not only provide an opportunity for both sides to strengthen traditional areas of cooperation, but also forge greater partnership in new areas, such as new technology and innovation, as well as energy collaboration.
The ongoing reorientation of the Saudi economy, driven by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, has significantly expanded the scope of opportunities for Malaysia-Saudi cooperation.
During the visit, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are expected to discuss efforts to further strengthen the existing bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation with the view of elevating the partnership, including the establishment of a High Level Strategic Committee (HLSC) at the Foreign Ministers’ level.
Both countries will also discuss a proposal for the establishment of the Malaysia-Saudi Tech Innovation Centre which will provide a platform to encourage collaboration in the development of smart cities, artificial intelligence, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0).
The other proposals include the formalisation of ‘Mecca Road Service’ initiative which will ease and simplify the pre-clearance process for Malaysian hajj and umrah pilgrims, such as airport arrangements, visa and passport checking, customs procedures, and other logistical arrangements.
The official hajj quota as well as hajj and umrah procedures for Malaysian pilgrims are also expected to be discussed during the visit.
The visit will also provide Malaysia the opportunity to explore new markets for palm oil exports to Saudi Arabia as well as Middle East and African regions and also strengthen cooperation in the halal industry.
Wisma Putra noted that Muhyiddin will also perform the umrah in Makkah, followed by ziarah in Madinah from March 6 to 8 on the invitation of King Salman.
Meanwhile, on Muhyiddin’s official visit to UAE, the statement said both sides will discuss several proposals to further strengthen the existing bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation with the view of elevating the partnership to greater heights.
These include collaboration in the post-pandemic recovery phase through technology, innovation and economic partnership.
Both countries will also discuss the proposal of the establishment of an International Food Security Coalition (IFSC) with the primary objective of building greater resilience and robustness in the global food supply chains.
The proposal to establish the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Chair at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia (ISIS) to promote greater understanding and contact between the two countries while promoting the ideals of good governance, environmental responsibility and interfaith tolerance will also be discussed.
Muhyiddin’s official programme in UAE will take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on March 10, which includes meetings with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Throughout the visit, Wisma Putra pointed out the Malaysian delegation will be subjected to strict Covid-19 preventative standard operating procedures (SOPs) as agreed upon by health authorities of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and UAE. — Bernama