Malaysia, Laos to strengthen ties in ha­lal in­dus­try, STI

New Straits Times - - News -

PU­TRA­JAYA: Malaysia and Laos yes­ter­day agreed to forge stronger co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous ar­eas, in­clud­ing the ha­lal in­dus­try and sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion (STI).

The For­eign Min­istry said yes­ter­day Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak had sug­gested the two coun­tries ex­plore po­ten­tials in de­vel­op­ing the ha­lal in­dus­try to fur­ther di­ver­sify trade ac­tiv­i­ties.

It said Na­jib pro­posed this to Lao­tian Prime Min­is­ter Dr Thon­gloun Sisoulith dur­ing their meet­ing here fol­low­ing the pos­i­tive progress of eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween both coun­tries.

“Thon­gloun is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing ease of busi­ness for Malaysian in­vestors in Laos, and he has in­vited in­ter­ested Malaysian com­pa­nies to in­vest in pri­vate healthcare ser­vices in Laos,” it said.

On STI co­op­er­a­tion, the two coun­tries had inked a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) look­ing at po­ten­tial ar­eas of in­ter­est, es­pe­cially biotech­nol­ogy, stan­dards de­vel­op­ment and cy­ber se­cu­rity.

The MoU sig­na­to­ries were Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Wil­fred Ma­dius Tan­gau and his Lao­tian coun­ter­part, Dr Boviengkham Vong­dara.

The Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Min­istry said with the sign­ing of the MoU, a joint com­mit­tee on STI co­op­er­a­tion would be es­tab­lished to de­cide pri­or­ity ar­eas.

It said the MoU pro­vided for knowl­edge shar­ing and ex­per­tise, and fa­cil­i­tated the growth of sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the pur­pose of ad­vanc­ing the economies of both coun­tries.

Malaysia and Laos would also sup­port the par­tic­i­pa­tion of each coun­try’s public and pri­vate sec­tors, in­clud­ing uni­ver­si­ties, in­sti­tu­tions and or­gan­i­sa­tions in joint col­lab­o­ra­tion projects.

On ed­u­ca­tion and hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment, the For­eign Min­istry said Na­jib wel­comed and en­cour­aged more Lao­tian stu­dents and of­fi­cials to ap­ply for the Malaysian In­ter­na­tional Schol­ar­ship and the Malaysian Tech­ni­cal Co­op­er­a­tion Pro­gramme schol­ar­ship, and pur­sue their ed­u­ca­tion ei­ther in public or pri­vate higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions in Malaysia.

It said Na­jib an­nounced that more places for schol­ar­ships for Lao­tian stu­dents would be made avail­able.

Both lead­ers agreed to work to­gether to com­bat global ter­ror­ism for the con­tin­ued peace, sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of the South­east Asian re­gion.

Thon­gloun, ac­com­pa­nied by sev­eral cabi­net min­is­ters, deputy min­is­ters and se­nior of­fi­cials, was here on Na­jib’s in­vi­ta­tion. It was his first of­fi­cial visit since be­com­ing prime min­is­ter on April 20, last year.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Na­jib hosted an of­fi­cial lun­cheon in hon­our of the Lao­tian prime min­is­ter and his del­e­ga­tion.

Later, Thon­gloun de­liv­ered the open­ing re­marks at the Malaysia–Laos busi­ness fo­rum, and in the af­ter­noon he had an au­di­ence with Yang di-Per­tuan Agong Sul­tan Muham­mad V.

Thon­gloun’s in­au­gu­ral visit to Malaysia serves as a demon­stra­tion of the un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment of both coun­tries to pro­pel their ex­ist­ing re­la­tions to a higher plane in the next decade.

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