PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21 — Malaysia and Pakistan will convene their first bilateral consultation in Islamabad next year as the two countries seek to intensify engagements.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have welcomed the establishment of the bilateral consultation between the senior officials of the respective foreign ministries as the mechanism to intensify engagements between both sides.
At their meeting, which covered a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the partnership between the two countries.
“Reflecting longstanding and substantial economic, commercial, and investment ties, both leaders welcomed continued efforts to intensify cooperation between Malaysia and Pakistan,” said a joint statement released in conjunction with Imran Khan’s visit.
The leaders underpinned their shared desire to strengthen bilateral economic ties, expand trade and investment, create favourable conditions for commerce and business in both countries, particularly in palm oil, agro products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and telecommunication, it said.
The Malaysia-Pakistan joint statement said both sides look forward to a Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) Joint Committee Meeting in the near future with the intention to enhance further economic partnership.
Reaffirming the MPCEPA signed in 2007 in Kuala Lumpur and which entered into force on Jan 1, 2008, Malaysia and Pakistan recognised the importance of regular discussions to strengthen the trade relationship in key sectors and addressing the bilateral trade imbalance, the statement said.
It said Dr Mahathir reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to assist Pakistan in addressing its energy shortfall while Imran Khan welcomed Malaysia’s cooperation in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and other energy sectors including hydroelectric and renewable resources.
According to the statement, Malaysia invited Pakistan companies to invest in Malaysia in the manufacturing and services sectors while Pakistan invited potential Malaysian companies to explore the possibility of investing in the Special Economic Zones to take advantage of its strategic location at the crossroads of central, south and west Asia.
Dr Mahathir and Imran Khan reaffirmed the importance of the memorandum of understanding on Defence Cooperation and looked forward to the 13th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) which would be convened in Kuala Lumpur next year.
The statement said Malaysia invited Pakistan to participate in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2019 while Pakistan welcomed Malaysia’s participation in the upcoming Defence Expo, IDEAS 2018.
It said Malaysia took note of the massive counter-terrorism efforts that Pakistan had successfully undertaken in an effort to eliminate terrorism.
Malaysia and Pakistan also reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate more closely on issues affecting the Muslim world, including taking joint efforts in underscoring Muslim sensitivities in attacking Muslim holy personalities and religious belief.
“Both (Malaysia and Pakistan) stressed that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion or belief,” the statement said.
Dr Mahathir and Imran Khan also exchanged views on the situation in Palestine and Rakhine state, Myanmar, involving Rohingya Muslims.
On the Palestinian issue, the statement said Malaysia and Pakistan agreed to contribute positively in other forums, especially in the OIC Committee of Six on Palestine, of which Malaysia and Pakistan are members. — Bernama