It dispels false ac­cu­sa­tions about econ­omy, EPF, civil ser­vants’ salary, says PM

New Straits Times - - Front Page - MELISSA DARLYNE CHOW KUALA LUMPUR

SAUDI Ara­bia’s King Salman Ab­du­laziz AlSaud’s state visit to Malaysia last month puts an end to false ac­cu­sa­tions by ir­re­spon­si­ble par­ties.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said King Salman’s visit was sig­nif­i­cant in all as­pects.

He said Malaysia was the first coun­try in South­east Asia that His Majesty chose to visit since as­cend­ing the throne in 2015.

“There are those who have tried to nul­lify us, by call­ing us a failed state, say­ing the econ­omy is un­sta­ble, re­sult­ing in wrong in­for­ma­tion be­ing given to Saudi Ara­bia and Saudi Aramco.

“There was also talk that the Em­ploy­ees Prov­i­dent Fund is bank­rupt and that there is no money to pay civil ser­vants.

“King Salman’s visit dispels all these false ac­cu­sa­tions by ir­re­spon­si­ble par­ties,” he said at the De­wan Rakyat yesterday.

Na­jib (BN-Pekan) was re­spond­ing to a sup­ple­men­tary ques­tion by Datuk Dr Sham­sul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Leng­gong), who asked about the sig­nif­i­cance of King Salman’s visit.

Ear­lier, Na­jib had said King Salman’s visit had hugely im­pacted the coun­try, es­pe­cially in build­ing closer strate­gic re­la­tions, bet­ter eco­nomic ties and a more mean­ing­ful ummah bond.

Na­jib said in terms of the econ­omy, seven mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing were inked be­tween the Malaysian and Saudi Ara­bian pri- vate sec­tors in­volv­ing com­mer­cial po­ten­tial and cross-bor­der in­vest­ments val­ued at RM9.75 bil­lion.

“The agree­ments in­volved the en­ergy, health, con­struc­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and ha­lal sec­tors, as well as the small- and medium-sized in­dus­tries.

“The high­light of the visit was the equity in­vest­ment in­volv­ing Petronas and Saudi Aramco for the lat­ter ’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Petronas’s RAPID (Re­fin­ery and Petro­chem­i­cal In­te­grated Devel­op­ment) project in Pengerang.

“The in­vest­ment, to­talling RM31 bil­lion, is the largest yet by a Saudi com­pany in Malaysia.”

He said King Salman had ex­pressed his full sup­port for the set­ting up of the King Salman Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Peace.

“For this pur­pose, co­op­er­a­tion in de­fence will con­tinue to be strength­ened, specif­i­cally in tack­ling vi­o­lent and ex­trem­ist ide­ol­ogy to en­sure it does not spread and is cur­tailed by both coun­tries.”

He said the haj quota for Malaysians was also dis­cussed dur­ing King Salman’s visit.

He said the gov­ern­ment had ap­plied to the Saudi gov­ern­ment to in­crease the quota.

“Al­ham­dulil­lah , as a re­sult of the dis­cus­sion, His Majesty con­sented to in­crease the quota from 27,900 to 30,200 pil­grims.

“King Salman will also con­sider Malaysia’s ap­pli­ca­tion to rent land to build a res­i­den­tial com­plex for Malaysian pil­grims.”

Na­jib said King Salman’s visit was his­toric and showed His Majesty’s con­fi­dence in Malaysia’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity.

He said the visit had boosted bi­lat­eral ties to the high­est level.

To a sup­ple­men­tary ques­tion by Datuk Takiyud­din Has­san (Pas-Kota Baru) on whether Malaysia was pre­pared to co­op­er­ate with Saudi Ara­bia in other ar­eas, such re­duc­ing crime, Na­jib said any co­op­er­a­tion was pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing crime re­duc­tion.

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