Saudi Arabia and Malaysia keen to boost ties, says envoy

Saudi Arabia under King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Malaysian government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are keen to cooperate and develop their relations in all existing fields of mutual interest, while exploring new areas of cooperation. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Saudi Arabia under King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Malaysian government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are keen to cooperate and develop their relations in all existing fields of mutual interest, while exploring new areas of cooperation. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Saudi Arabia under King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Malaysian government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are keen to cooperate and develop their relations in all existing fields of mutual interest, while exploring new areas of cooperation.

The Kingdom’s ambassador to Malaysia Mahmoud Hussien Saeed Qattan said this is expected to greatly benefit both countries and their people.

He said the relationship enjoyed by Riyadh and Kuala Lumpur was based on a strong and solid foundation of historical relations and common interests, and that it had passed several stages of development through previous Malaysian governments.

“The stage in which Tun Dr Mahathir was prime minister is considered an important and effective stage, as the relations developed significantly in many areas. Relations continued to develop during the previous Malaysian governments,” he said in an interview with Bernama in conjunction with his country’s 88th National Day which fell on September 23 and celebrated by the embassy here Monday.

Asked on what was expected by Saudi in the relationship with the establishment of the new Malaysian government, the ambassador said there was already a partnership, and this would have to be developed to suit the potential of both countries and the historical relations between them.

For example, both have established trade and economic relations, but these have yet to be fully explored against the high potentials that exist, he said.

Meanwhile, efforts are also being taken by the two countries in the fight against terrorism and extremism with emphasis on the principles of tolerance and moderation in Islam, he said.

On how Malaysia could contribute to Saudi’s Vision 2030, which has been built around three primary themes: a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation, Mahmoud Hussien said that Malaysia has been invited to participate in the Vision 2030, considering its leading regional role in the fields of investment and trade.

““There are many opportunities offered by Vision 2030, and Malaysia can contribute in this area in order to enhance the existing relations between the two countries.”

Saudi’s Vision aims to diversify the income sources of the country by opening new fields of economy, attracting industries and technology investments, as well as investing in the Kingdom’s natural resources, tourist potentials, and human capital.

Mahmoud Hussien noted that the Saudi-Malaysian relations was a long-standing relationship which began centuries ago through trade, pilgrimage (Hajj) and Umrah.

“The actual political relations began through the exchange of diplomatic representation in 1961. Since then, the two countries have not stopped developing relations in all fields that achieve the common interests of the two countries,” he said.

The number of Saudi students in Malaysian universities is around 1,500, he said, adding that this indicated the confidence Saudis had in the Malaysian education system.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia offered 300 scholarships to Malaysian students to study in Saudi universities in various scientific fields.

Apart from that, Saudi Arabia has also invested in Malaysia through several ventures including the notable joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Petronas to establish a refinery and petrochemical industries complex in Johor. — Bernama