KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — Russia’s initiatives to develop its eastern provinces will open up new market opportunities for Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
The prime minister said Malaysia, as a trading nation, is always looking for new markets, especially developed areas.
“We always had the impression that Russia not paying enough attention to eastern territories. Now we see the interest is very real that Russia wants to develop the eastern provinces,” he told a full house 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, which was telecast ‘live’ on RTM, today.
Dr Mahathir, who is on his first working visit to Russia since assuming office as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, received a thunderous applause from the participants during the plenary session which was also joined by other leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Khaltmaagin Battulga.
Dr Mahathir said, however, not much is known about Vladivostok and that part of Russia.
Vladivostok, about 6,416km from Moscow, is a port city overlooking Golden Horn Bay. It is located near the borders with China and North Korea.
“There should be more promotion and publicity about this part of Russia so that more Malaysians want to come here and (the) regions nearby.
“Malaysian investors might also be coming here if the situation is attractive enough. Malaysians also travel the world a lot and (are) always looking for new places to go to,” said Dr Mahathir.
He added that attracting foreign investment was the vital part that has transformed Malaysia into an industrialised country.
“I just came from Cambodia, in its capital Phnom Pehn alone there are 3,000 Malaysian businessmen working and living there and contributed to Cambodian development,” he said, adding that Malaysian hoteliers are also very active all over the world.
“For example, recently a Malaysian hotelier bought 20 hotels in Iceland and Malaysian businessmen (are) also building new hotels in Kyoto,” he said.
Citing tourism as one of the ways that could increase Vladivostok visibility, he said, it has done well for Malaysia, contributing a lot to its development.
“Malaysia also hosted various sporting events such as Le Tour de Langkawi and (the) F1 race which attract lots of tourists from all over the world. These events were covered by tv stations all over the world,” he said.
The prime minister said the events also increased Malaysians interest in cycling and auto engineering.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is a good hub for Russia to market its products in the Asean region.
“Malaysia is a good place to market their products, focusing on the aerospace sector, as well as engineering.
“When Russia exhibited their warplanes in (the) Langkawi International Maritime and Airshow, immediately there’s interest in Russian planes and sales were made.
“Malaysia is also looking forward to greater cooperation in education with Russia and welcomes Russia’s interest in opening a school on aerospace engineering in Malaysia, as we are already an education hub in the region.
“I had a long discussion with President Putin this morning, we covered a lot of the areas where we can work together, I can only see benefits from our closer relationship and friendship, “ he said. — Bernama