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Mahathir Mohamad offered cooperation in combating corruption

23 March, 2019

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Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Friday offered Pakistan cooperation in combating corruption to avert losses to the national economy and also called for extending its scope to other Muslim countries.

Addressing a joint press stake-out along with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House, the Malaysian prime minister said his country is much concerned about the negative impact of corruption and believes that it hampers the socio-economic development of masses. He said money stolen by public office bearers must be extracted and diverted towards the development budget with an objective of their uplift. He seconded the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan that corruption affects a country by making its people poor. “We can exchange information with each other to combat corruption and share a mechanism with other Muslim states so as to help them ensure development,” Mahathir said, who earlier presented a book to Prime Minister Imran Khan on the subject of fighting corruption.

Imran Khan said Dr Mahathir as a statesman is a role model for the Muslim world who brought about improvement in the living standard of his countrymen, adding that his comeback in politics is a remarkable step towards ending corruption. He said Pakistanis admires Dr Mahathir for taking bold stance on issues confronting Muslims across the world and stresses his vibrant role in current scenario particularly addressing the challenges of Islamophobia.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir, who earlier held a one-on-one meeting at the PM House, expressed the commitment to translate their bilateral relationship to the advantage of their peoples.

Terming the talks ‘very substantive and useful’, Dr Mahathir said he is glad to renew the friendship between Malaysia and Pakistan and called for identifying the areas where the two could explore opportunities including in trade and power generation. He said it is necessary for a country to ‘retain some wealth of its own to function well as a nation and also to have a sound place at international forums’. He stressed upon Muslim countries to strive for attaining development, adding that Malaysia has converged its energies to achieve the 2025 goals of development.

About growing trends of Islamophobia, the Malaysian prime minister said by winning hearts and minds, Muslims can change negative perception about them and reduce the atmosphere of enmity. Mahathir said he discussed the issue of terrorism with Imran Khan and emphasized mutual cooperation to counter the negative mindset.

He expressed confidence that his visit will enable the two governments to improve bilateral trade and investment, resulting in stronger economies. On foreign direct investment (FDI), he stressed the need for having familiarity with the rules and practices of both countries and where possible, devising common regulations to encourage investment.

On importance of economy-driven politics in 21st century, he said Malaysia achieved a degree of success by looking towards Japan and other developed eastern countries, adding his country is ready to share its expertise with Pakistan in relevant areas.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said taking Malaysia as a model of development, his government soon after assuming power, focused on improving FDI and technological advancement. On collaboration in tourism, he said Pakistan can learn immensely from Malaysia which generates around $22 billion from this sector.

Later a joint statement was also issued, which stated that both the leaders held fruitful and in-depth discussions in a warm and cordial atmosphere. “Both leaders agreed that the existing relations between Pakistan and Malaysia be elevated to a ‘strategic partnership’. It marked a new level of the bilateral cooperation between both countries in various fields, namely trade in palm oil, agricultural products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and telecommunication investment. Both sides reaffirmed their shared desire to maintain close high-level contacts, deepen friendly exchanges of visits and cooperation in all fields, as well as, to actively promote Pakistan-Malaysia relations,” the joint statement read.

In a landmark cooperation in the automotive industry between Pakistan and Malaysia, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Imran Khan jointly officiated the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony of PROTON plant in Islamabad which will boost the manufacturing and services industry of both the countries.

Both leaders witnessed the signing of agreement and memorandum of understanding in the field of investment and cooperation, particularly in the telecommunication sector. Malaysia expressed hope that Pakistan will continue to import more Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-based products as well as remove any non-tariff barriers on Malaysian goods and products.

Both sides reaffirmed the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) signed on November 8, 2007, and welcomed the growing momentum in the bilateral economic relations. They stressed on the need to convene the next MPCEPA joint committee meeting as soon as possible.

Both leaders exchanged views on the situation in Palestine and in the Rakhine State, Myanmar involving Rohingya Muslims. On the Palestinian issue, both countries agreed to contribute positively in other forums, especially in the OIC Committee of Six on Palestine, of which Malaysia and Pakistan are members. Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir on the grave human rights situation in Kashmir.

The two leaders agreed on the need to enhance educational ties particularly in the institutions of higher learning, technical and vocational training between Malaysia and Pakistan. Tourism and youth exchanges have also been identified as key drivers in promoting greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth.

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