Grand welcome: Najib, accompanied by Gurbanguly, inspecting the guard-ofhonour during the welcoming ceremony in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. — Bernama
ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan): Malaysia wants to forge new areas of partnership with Turkmenistan as both countries are mutually interested in increasing trade and investment, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said both countries would benefit if they worked together by leveraging their respective strengths in the fields of construction, banking, mining, chemical and communications.
Presently, the two countries have partnership in the oil and gas sector as well as trade, among others.
“Tourism is another area we can have a partnership in. It is to our mutual benefit as we have a shared heritage,” Najib said at a press conference with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the Presidential Palace during his official visit here.
Najib said Malaysia’s trade and investment with Turkmenistan, which stood at US$33.3mil (RM106.8mil), only meant there is a lot of untapped potential.
Welcoming suggestions for greater trade between the two nations, Najib said Malaysia was a gateway to Asia which could open doors to the region’s 600-million-strong consumer market.
“The halal industry and Islamic banking are our areas of expertise,” he added.
As Malaysia had also proven to be a good trainer in the oil and gas sector, Najib said: “I have a full desire to see a bigger role for us there.”
In this regard, he said Petronas had played a huge role in Turkmenistan.
On his part, Gurbanguly said he was thankful for the depth of the mutual understanding between both countries and for the current emphasis placed on increasing the volume of bilateral investments.
He also paid tribute to Petronas, saying it was one of the first companies which started work in Turkmenistan, and that its partnership with the Turkmenistan state oil and gas company is working out very well.