Muhyiddin to make official visits to Saudi Arabia and UAE

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be undertaking official visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates starting March 6.

This will be Muhyiddin's first official visit to both countries since assuming office on March 1 last year, said Wisma Putra.

The Prime Minister's three-day visit to Saudi Arabia will start on March 6 and from there, he will undertake a visit to the UAE starting March 9.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by a small delegation comprising Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, and senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry.

"The official visit will be subject to strict Covid-19 preventative SOP as agreed upon by the Health Ministry, the National Security Council (NSC), and by the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the UAE," said Wisma Putra in a statement on Friday (March 5).

Among the SOP is for the Malaysian delegation to provide negative PCR swab test results 120 hours (five days), and 24 hours before the official meetings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and that delegation will be travelling by a special aircraft instead of commercial flights.

The Malaysian delegation is required to provide negative PCR test results 48 hours prior to their arrival in the UAE and upon arrival, the delegation is required to undergo another swab test and will be quarantined inside the designated accommodation until the test results are released.

"The delegation is required to undergo mandatory quarantine as soon as they return to Malaysia as prescribed by the Health Ministry," read the statement.

While in Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister will perform Umrah at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Muhyiddin will have a virtual audience with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who is the Saudi Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.

The Foreign Ministry said the visit to Saudi Arabia would see efforts being explored to elevate partnership between both countries to a more strategic level.

"This includes strengthening collaboration efforts and responses in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, including its socio-economic impacts to both countries.

"We will also be exploring new markets for palm oil exports to Saudi Arabia, as well as to the Middle East and African regions and will look into strengthening cooperation in the halal industry, including collaboration between halal certification bodies of the two countries," said Wisma Putra.

Other areas of cooperation expected to be discussed include strengthening cooperation in Hajj and Umrah with the formalisation of the "Mecca Road Service" initiative, which will ease and simplify the pre-clearance process for Malaysian haj and umrah pilgrims, such as airport arrangements, visa and passport checking, customs procedures and other logistical arrangements.

Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are also exploring ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment, including in oil and gas, as well as renewable energy sectors, including future collaboration in the area of new technologies, such as hydrogen, wind energy and carbon capture, the Foreign Ministry added.

In the UAE, the Prime Minister's official programme will take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with meetings to be held with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Foreign Ministry said the Prime Minister's visit to the UAE would allow both countries to further strengthen the existing bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation with the view to elevating the partnership to greater heights.

This includes enhancing bilateral cooperation in addressing current and future challenges, including collaboration in the post-pandemic recovery phase through technology, innovation and economic partnership, the setting up of an International Food Security Coalition (IFSC) with the objective of building greater resilience and robustness in the global food supply chains and cooperation in the halal industry including collaboration between halal certification bodies of the two countries.

"The establishment of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Chair at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia (ISIS) will also be discussed," it said.

The chair is set to promote greater understanding and contact between the two countries while promoting the ideals of good governance, environmental responsibility and interfaith tolerance, espoused by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Malaysia and the UAE will also be exchanging views on regional and international issues of common

concern, particularly on the peaceful resolution of disputes within the region.

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