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Pak-Malaysia partnership: Dr. Mahathir begins 3-day visit to increase bilateral trade & investment

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News Desk |

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is all set to arrive in Islamabad to begin his 3-day visit of Pakistan, scheduled for 21st-23rd March. The Foreign Office confirmed that Dr. Mahathir Mohammad will be Pakistan’s guest of honor at the Pakistan Day Parade, to be held on 23rd March.

Prime Minister Mohammad was invited to visit Pakistan by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and he is expected to arrive with a high-level delegation, including senior leaders and Malaysian businessmen. A statement released by the Foreign Office states, “Prime Minister Mahathir’s visit will further cement the existing brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries. The focus of the interest is on enhancing economic, trade, investment and defence ties for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.”

While speaking to the press at the Malaysian embassy in Islamabad, the Malaysian ambassador to Pakistan, Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim, announced the arrival of the Malaysian Prime Minister, who has a busy schedule for his 3-day visit to Pakistan. Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is expected to make a joint statement with Prime Minister Khan, followed by a delegation meeting.

Pakistan is keen to gain Malaysia’s help in technological advancement and expertise, while the two partner also seek to enhance their networking and cooperation with other states throughout the region.

Ambassador Ibrahim is quoted by the Malaysian press, “Malaysia and Pakistan will also host a meeting with captains of industry, in which both prime ministers will deliver their respective messages. The issues which will be touched on include efforts to strengthen bilateral relations in politics and security; economic cooperation, trade, investment, and social development. Administrative aspects, as agreed upon in their meeting in Kuala Lumpur last November, are also expected to be on the cards, apart from anti-corruption issues.”

Amongst his bilateral engagements, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is expected to have a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, he is expected to call on President Dr. Arif Alvi and attend delegation-level talks. Moreover, the Malaysian Prime Minister is scheduled to accompany Prime Minister Khan at a roundtable meeting of the Chief Executive officers of Malaysian industries, who seek to make investments in the automobile and telecommunication industries of Pakistan.

Read more: Malaysian PM Mahathir to arrive in Pakistan on 21st: FO

Dr. Mahathir Mohammad will also be presented with the prestigious Nishan-e-Pakistan award by President Dr. Arif Alvi. Malaysian Ambassador Ibrahim noyrf that this “represents a huge honour for Malaysia” as the Nishan-e-Pakistan is the most prestigious civil award presented by the Pakistani government.

Pak-Malaysia Business Leaders Round Table Meeting

On 20th March, Haroon Sharif, the chairperson of the Board of Investment, had announced that Prime Minister Mohammad is expected to sign on five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) outlining Malaysian investment in Pakistan. He had informed that the Board of Investment is arranging a roundtable conference on 22nd March, which will be chaired by both the Prime Ministers and attended by business leaders of Pakistan and Malaysia. Prime Minister Mohammad will be accompanied by senior leaders of 15 Malaysian firms, signaling investment in the Pakistani sectors of meat, stones, telecommunication, and car assembling.

Ambassador Ibrahim’s statement notes, as quoted by Malaysian press, “Proton felt the potential for its cars in Pakistan is huge, which led to its partnership with Alhaj Automotive to establish an assembly plant near Karachi in Sindh province.

Haroon Sharif, chairperson of the Board of Investment, mentioned that the Pak-Malaysia Round Table Meeting will further strengthen the strategic partnership of the two countries. Pakistan is keen to gain Malaysia’s help in technological advancement and expertise, while the two partner also seek to enhance their networking and cooperation with other states throughout the region. Sharif emphasized that Malaysia and Pakistan are bound with ties of brotherhood and cooperation, and this strategic partnership will pave the way for a long-term alliance that is mutually beneficial.

The Deputy CEO Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, Mr Muhammad Mustafa Abdul Aziz also attended the meeting organized by the Board of Investment, and stress that the round table meeting will allow both countries to reap advantages through a platform that engages businesses and corporations. He spoke about the trade relationship between Pakistan and Malaysia and urged both nations to work together and overcome the trade deficit by strengthening their business ties.

Read more: PM Khan in Malaysia: Why opposition is afraid of anti-corruption speeches?

The leaders reinstated their commitment to work towards carving out a strategic partnership with a well-defined framework that would allow Pakistan’s Board of Investment and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority to undertake mutually beneficial projects.

Malaysian Investments in the Automotive Industry

While addressing the media at the Malaysian high commission, Ambassador Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim announced that Proton, the brainchild of Prime Minister Mahathir and the national automotive corporation of Malaysia, will be entering a strategic partnership with Pakistan’s Alhaj Automotive. He announced that Proton is all set to establish a manufacturing assembly plant in Pakistan, which will mark Proton’s very first manufacturing plant in South Asia.

Imran Khan was also presented with a Malaysian guard of honor, and he had expressed his desire to learn from the experiences that had renovated and improved the Malaysian economy.

Malaysian Ambassador Ibrahim stated that the agreement between Proton and Alhaj Automotive was signed back in 2018, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad will accompany Prime Minister Khan to the groundbreaking ceremony of Proton’s new plant on Friday. Ambassador Ibrahim’s statement notes, as quoted by Malaysian press, “Proton felt the potential for its cars in Pakistan is huge, which led to its partnership with Alhaj Automotive to establish an assembly plant near Karachi in Sindh province. This is significant because it will be Proton’s first plant in South Asia because the population of Pakistan is 210 million.”

Ambassador Ibrahim further revealed that establishing Proton’s first South Asian car manufacturing plant in Pakistan was the most dynamic aspect of the bilateral investment trade strategy adopted by Pakistan and Malaysia, and during Prime Minister Mahathir’s visit to Pakistan, the two leaders will have a detailed negotiation on strengthening their strategic trade and investment relationship.

Read more: Malaysian PM Mahathir defends PM Khan’s statement on ‘U-turn’

Last year in November, Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Malaysia on a two-day visit, and he was received by Dr. Mahathir Mohammad with a star-studded reception and a red carpet was rolled out to welcome Imran Khan. Imran Khan was also presented with a Malaysian guard of honor, and he had expressed his desire to learn from the experiences that had renovated and improved the Malaysian economy.

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.


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