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Malaysia keen on JF-17, anti-tank missiles

Top Story

March 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Malaysia has shown keen interest in procuring JF-17 Thunder fighter planes and anti-tank missiles from Pakistan, Finance Minister Asad Umar told the media after delegation-level talks between the two countries’ leaders at the Prime Minister House on Friday.

Asad Umar said the visiting delegation sought participation of JF-17 Thunder aircraft in a defence fair to be held in Malaysia in the near future. The minister said both sides agreed on business and investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars in diverse fields.

Malaysia would import Halal meat and rice from Pakistan, while the two sides also agreed to open branches of their banks in the two countries, he added.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad is accompanied by an investors’ delegation during the Pakistan visit. The Board of Investment arranged an Investment Round Table where the investors from both sides expressed interest in joint ventures. The Malaysian investors showed interest in investing in telecommunication, ICT and software, automobiles, electric vehicle and halal food sectors.

The two countries agreed tostrengthen their economic relations by promoting trade and investments. Imran Khan announced at the Round Table that Pakistan and Malaysia have set up a permanent ministerial level committee that will meet regularly to keep enhancing trade between the two countries.

Pakistani and Malaysian firms signed six memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for joint venture in IT, telecommunication and car manufacturing. The Malaysian Prime Minister said his country can buy from Pakistan and also export its products to the country. He said his country plans to set up a Proton car manufacturing unit in Pakistan, which will start production in June next year. He also presented a gift of Proton car to Prime Minister Imran Khan on this occasion. He said Malaysia is a trading nation and it does not have enmity with any other country, except Israel as it has usurped the land of Palestinians and expelled them from their country.

Imran Khan thanked his Malaysian counterpart for his continued interest in Pakistan. He apprised the businessmen about economic reforms and the opportunities offered by the new government. He stated that the government is committed to improve ease of doing business.

Mahathir Mohammad in his address highlighted the importance of decades’ long strategic partnership with Pakistan. He mentioned the importance of bilateral trade and investment with Pakistan. He stated that trade can bring prosperity to nations and the miracle of Malaysian development was propelled by industrialisation and trade. He offered his full support to further economic ties with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said in a joint press conference with Mahathir Mohammad that corruption destroys institutions and negates efforts for human development.

“We firmly believe that nations are not poor and, rather, it is corruption that leads to a loss of resources,” he said. Imran Khan highlighted the government’s focus on rooting out corruption and said Malaysia’s progress in that sphere was a prime inspiration.

“My party, the PTI, started a campaign against corruption 22 years ago and our drive continues with even greater strength today,” said Imran. He said Mahathir Muhammad “stands apart among other leaders”, whom Imran referred to as “mere officeholders”, for his solid stance against corruption. Imran Khan lauded Mahathir for his statesmanship and stance on issues affecting the Muslim world.

Mahathir said Malaysia remains very concerned by corruption. “As Prime Minister Imran said, no nation is poor but is brought to that state because of corruption. This is why we came back to power with a promise to combat the corruption that was rampant under the previous government,” Mahathir said. He regretted that it is sad to note that not a single Muslim-majority country is truly developed. He said Malaysia’s aim was to become a developed nation by 2020, but due to corruption, our target has been pushed back till 2025. Mahathir also spoke on the need for unity among Muslim nations amid a rising wave of Islamophobia around the world. “I have noticed that there is a fear of and enmity towards us as Muslims. The recent terror attack in New Zealand claimed the lives of nine Pakistanis and affected three from Malaysia. This attack happened because of the feeling of hatred towards Muslims,” he said.

The visiting prime minister condemned concept of Islamophobia and said there is fear, hatred and enmity towards Muslims and this is why Christchurch attack took place. He urged need to find ways to combat Islamophobia. He said Pakistan and Malaysia can also cooperate on this particular issue with the aim to bring improvement in the perception of Muslims and reduce hatred and fear towards Muslims.

“This is our priority. We must work to improve the perception of Muslims in the world. We must change the prevailing atmosphere of fear; we must also realise that fighting back does not always mean killing each other,” he said.

The Malaysian prime minister said discussions were also held on efforts to tackle terrorism. “We believe there is room for cooperation in this area and look forward to working out a comprehensive plan. I am happy to join you in celebrating Pakistan Day. We have been very well received by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government of Pakistan. We have held bilateral discussions on significant issues affecting Pakistan, Malaysia and the larger Muslim world,” said the Malaysian premier.

“We deliberated on ways to enhance our economic relationship with Pakistan, and there is no doubt that both of us stand to benefit from increased trade,” he said.

Mahathir said both the governments discussed the possibility of foreign direct investment and outlined other measures that Pakistan and Malaysia need to take to boost trade. He said having common laws could prove particularly beneficial.

Imran Khan said Pakistan has always looked upon Malaysian prime minister as a Muslim statesman who changed his country. The prime minister also admired his Malaysian counterpart for taking strong stance on issues affecting the Muslim world including terrorism. Referring to the rise of Islamophobia in the world, he said it has badly affected the Muslims.

Describing his visit as very useful, Mahathir said both the countries have identified the areas of mutual cooperation. He said traders of both countries will be facilitated in doing business with each other.

Earlier, a formal welcome ceremony in honour of Mahathir Mohammad was held at the Prime Minister House. The Malaysian PM was presented a guard of honour. Flanked by Imran Khan, Mahathir arrived at the venue for the formal welcome. The ceremony started with national anthems of both countries followed by a guard of honour presented by a smartly turned out contingent of the armed forces. The visiting dignitary was conferred with Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civil award, at an impressive investiture ceremony at the President House in the evening that was followed by a banquet dinner hosted by President Arif Alvi in honour of Dr Mahathir and his delegation. Prime Minster Imran and services chiefs were also present on the occasion.