PM on first official visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be departing on an official visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and exploring new cooperation with both countries.

This will be Muhyiddin’s first official visit to either country since assuming office on March 1 last year, said Wisma Putra in a statement yesterday.

His three-day visit to Saudi Arabia will start today, followed by his visit to the UAE on March 9.

He 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 visit will be subjected to strict Covid-19 preventive SOP (standard operating procedure) as agreed upon by the Health Ministry, the National Security Council and the Health Ministry of Saudi Arabia and the Health and Prevention Ministry of the UAE, ” said Wisma Putra.The SOP includes the Malaysian delegation providing negative PCR test results 120 hours (five days), and 24 hours before the official meetings in Saudi Arabia and for them to travel by a special aircraft.

The delegation is also required to provide negative PCR test results 48 hours prior to their arrival in the UAE and to undergo another swab test and be under quarantine pending their test results.

In Saudi Arabia, Muhyiddin will perform his umrah at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The Foreign Ministry said the visit to Saudi Arabia will see efforts to elevate their partnership to a more strategic level, including strengthening collaboration and responses in addressing the pandemic.

“We will be exploring new markets for palm oil exports to Saudi Arabia, and to the Middle East and African regions, ” said Wisma Putra.

Other areas expected to be discussed include cooperation in haj and umrah with the formalisation of the “Mecca Road Service” initiative that would ease the process for Malaysian pilgrims.

In the UAE, Muhyiddin will be meeting the 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 visit will touch on enhancing bilateral cooperation in addressing current and future challenges, including collaboration in pandemic recovery through technology, innovation and economic partnership.

It would also explore the setting up of an International Food Security Coalition to build greater resilience in global food supply chains, and cooperation in the halal industry.

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