Islamabad : Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim, High Commissioner of Malaysia has said after a 12-year absence of any visit to Pakistan by a PM of Malaysia, the official visit by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as guest of honour of the Pakistan Day 2019, has indeed generated a fresh impetus to Malaysia-Pakistan relations.
He said the struggle for the Malayan independence, which resumed in 1945 following the end of World War II, drew inspiration from the fundamental principles and ideas espoused by several great leaders of the Muslim world, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
He expressed these views in an exclusive interview with Diplomatic News Agency (DNA).
The high commissioner said there has been a steady exchange of high-level visits between both countries over the past six decades.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself had undertaken four official visits to Pakistan, in 1984, 1997, 2002 and, most recently, from 21-23 March 2019 to reciprocate the Official Visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia four months prior, from 20-21 November 2018.
PM Mahathir Mohamad is most certainly not a stranger to Pakistan, and he remains humbled and appreciative of the genuine longstanding admiration he enjoys from the Pakistani leadership and people, he added.
The civilian awards of Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam and Nishan-e-Pakistan conferred on Dr Mahathir Mohamad in March 1984 and 22 March 2019, respectively are a categorical reflection of the profound appreciation by the Government and people of Pakistan on his role and contributions in forging substantive bilateral ties and towards the betterment of the Muslim Ummah and the developing world at large.
The Malaysia-Pakistan Strategic Partnership is a tangible embodiment of the desire of both leaders to further deepen and expand the scope of the existing multidimensional and multilevel cooperation, in particular by capitalising on the comparative advantages and optimising the expertise that each country possess through the various existing and new mechanisms.
He said in this regard, we will see greater governmental and private sector engagements between both sides, in particular in the area of economic cooperation, mindful also that both countries are active participants under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework of cooperation.
On the specific economic cooperation, Malaysia, which was the third largest Foreign Investor (totalling USD94 million, after China and the United Kingdom) in Pakistan for the FY2017-2018, will continue to invest in the energy, manufacturing, agriculture (especially Halal food), gemstones mining and services sectors (including telecommunications and tourism) of Pakistan.
Edotco, PETRONAS, Proton and TNB are the flagship Malaysian investments in Pakistan. Malaysia is confident that its investment will again record an encouraging figure during the current FY2018-2019.
Both sides are committed to continue to take full advantage of the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA), signed on 8 November 2007, to increase bilateral trade, which stood at USD1.55 billion in 2018. Malaysia hopes that two-way trade will increase following the conclusion of the ongoing MPCEPA review process.