15/05/2024 09:35 PM

From Salawaty Supardi

ASTANA, May 15 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s two-day inaugural official visit to Kazakhstan starting tomorrow is expected to forge closer synergy in various sectors between the two countries, after 32 years.

Malaysian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Mohd Adli Abdullah said the last time a Malaysian Prime Minister visited the Central Asian country was in 2014.

“This official visit symbolises Malaysia’s commitment to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation that has existed in various sectors since March 16, 1992.

“These sectors include trade, investment, higher education, tourism, halal industry, and many others,” he said in an interview here today, ahead of the Prime Minister’s arrival.

Mohd Adli said the visit by the Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, is also expected to open the possibility of cooperation in new areas and sectors such as Islamic banking, information technology, halal industry and ecosystem, mining, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure development.

He said it is also hoped that the visit will encourage Kazakhstan to use Malaysia as a gateway to ASEAN countries, especially with the availability of direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty offered by two Malaysian airlines.

“There are currently four direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty every week. In 2019, the number of tourists from Kazakhstan to Malaysia was 18,138, and this figure increased by 250 per cent, or about 8,298, last year,” he said.

Other than that, the ambassador said Malaysia's halal industry players could also benefit from Kazakhstan's halal market, as approximately 70 per cent of its 20 million population are Muslims.

“In this country, there are 2,900 mosques, with many halal certifications, two of which use Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) halal certification, namely the Association of Halal Industry of Kazakhstan (AHIK) and Halal Damu,” he said.

Elaborating on Anwar’s visit, Mohd Adli said the Prime Minister is expected to arrive at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport here around 2.15 pm local time (4.15 pm. Malaysian time) tomorrow.

The Malaysian delegation will include Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na'im Mokhtar.

He said Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Olzhas Bektenov, Deputy Foreign Minister Alibek Bakayev, and Mayor of Astana Zhenis Kassymbek are among those scheduled to welcome Anwar and the Malaysian delegation upon arrival.

Anwar’s itinerary in Kazakhstan will start almost immediately with a visit to Astana Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in Central Asia and one of the largest mosques in the world, which serves as a significant religious centre in the city.

In the afternoon, the Prime Minister will be accorded an official welcome by Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at Ak Orda Presidential Palace before the two leaders proceed to have a four-eyed meeting, and another meeting involving both sides later.

“A Joint Statement will be signed after those meetings. In the evening, the Prime Minister and the Malaysian delegation will be feted to a dinner banquet to be hosted by Tokayev.

Before concluding the two-day official visit, the Prime Minister will attend a Roundtable Session on trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, aiming to provide a platform for potential companies from Malaysia and Kazakhstan to expand cooperation in the economic, trade, and investment sectors.

The Prime Minister is also scheduled to witness the exchange of several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) involving relevant government agencies and businesses from both sides.

“The keyword for this official visit is to strengthen and further enhance our commitment to not be content with the current level of relations but to strive earnestly to solidify it for the well-being of both countries and their people,” he said.

After Kazakhstan, the Prime Minister will then proceed with an official visit to Uzbekistan.






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