KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — King Salman Abdul Aziz Al-Sa’ud’s maiden visit to Malaysia will not only further cement bilateral ties but also draw the oil-rich gulf nation to high-impact investments and the halal sector.
The President of the Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Mohamed Fauzy Abdul Hamid said the Saudi Arabian government was expected to announce several exemptions to Malaysians starting business especially in Mecca.
He said exemption from the need to have work permit is expected to be announced during the ruler’s four-day official visit besides shareholding requirements for locals.
“The visit by the head of state to Malaysia is truly an honour. Saudi Arabia leaders are very selective in the countries they visit and normally choose only developed nations (to visit),” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama News Channel in conjunction with King Salman’s visit to Malaysia beginning today.
The last time a Saudi king visited Malaysia was in 2006, when King Abdullah, King Salman’s half-brother and predecessor, flew in with a 300-member delegation.
Many programmes have been drawn up and they include business matching sessions between Saudi and Malaysian companies especially in high investments and the halal sector. Cooperation on energy developments is also on the agenda.
King Salman is accompanied by a 600-strong delegation, comprising members of the royal household and Cabinet ministers, for the visit until March 1.
The inaugural visit to Malaysia of King Salman is at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
Mohamed Fauzy said high impact investments were Saudi Arabia’s main focus as the country was seeking new markets after the plunge in crude oil prices.
In the halal sector, he said it was not only confined to the food and investment sectors but also services and goods.
He said Saudi Arabia, in turn, offered tremendous market for Malaysia’s halal food and beverage products, which was highly certified and accredited by many Islamic countries.
“I hope King Salman’s visit will open a new era for Malaysians who are keen to do business especially in Mecca, Madinah and Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia is Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East and trade between the two countries increased 19.8 per cent to RM13.12 billion in 2016.
Nearly 60 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to Saudi Arabia are related to palm oil and palm-based agricultural products, amounting to RM552.84 million last year.
Other products exported include machinery, equipment and parts, processed food and electrical and electronic products. — Bernama