PUTRAJAYA, Dec 4 — Malaysia and Timor-Leste are looking forward to establishing direct flights connecting major destinations of both countries to boost tourism and promote cultural exchange.

Currently, there is no direct air connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and Dili.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) in a statement said the air route issue and some tourism-related programmes such as Muslim-friendly tourism were among topics discussed by its minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Timor-Leste’s Vice Prime Minister Francisco Kalbuadi Lay during their meeting, here today.

“We can find a common ground of culture and language among Malaysia and Timor-Leste, hence Motac is taking serious measures to develop and attract more tourists from the country.

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“The Muslim-friendly concept also will have wider coverage in tourism infrastructures, facilities, products and services,” Motac said.

The statement said Malaysia also looks forward to supporting Timor-Leste in capacity-building and technical assistance programmes including in cultural heritage management.

“Malaysia as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage offers assistance in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and looks forward to deepening collaboration with Timor-Leste in both tourism and cultural spheres, contributing to the prosperity and unity of the Asean region,” the statement said.

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Kalbuadi Lay is currently on a four-day working visit to Malaysia which began yesterday.

Kalbuadi Lay’s visit to Malaysia is expected to strengthen further and enhance bilateral ties between both countries and demonstrate Malaysia’s support for Timor-Leste’s full membership in Asean.

In 2022, the total trade between Malaysia and Timor-Leste was RM384.48 million, which increased by 93.3 per cent compared to RM194.09 million in 2021. — Bernama