Islamabad, 22 March 2019 (Media reports)
“You say things which other Muslim leaders are scared to say. And it’s because a lot of them are not leaders. They are office-holders. Leaders are the ones who have an ideology, who have a clear stand on moral issues, and who take positions. Unfortunately, non-leaders do not take positions. They want to please everyone,” Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday praised his counterpart’s outspoken stance on issues affecting Muslim communities once again.
“It’s because of the stands you have taken over the course of a period of time, that’s why there is such a great response to you honouring us on an occasion which is very important for us, March 23,” Imran Khan said. Both leaders are currently attending the Pak-Malaysia Business Leaders’ Roundtable Conference, where they addressed business leaders of both countries.
Malaysia and Pakistan signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for five “big projects” on Friday, Finance Minister Asad Umar revealed during an informal discussion with journalists.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is paying a three-day visit to Pakistan, along with a high-level delegation including leading businessmen, on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation.
The finance minister said Malaysia has shown interest in purchasing JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, halal meat and rice from Pakistan. He said that Islamabad would soon fulfil its agreement to provide anti-tank missiles to Malaysia.
Umar said that both countries had also agreed to open branches of their respective banks in each other’s countries, and that Pakistan would try to make use of Malaysia’s knowledge of tourism as it looks to revive the local industry.
The prime minister said the conference was about “improving increasing trade between the two countries, learning from the Malaysian model, and investment opportunities”.
He said both countries had decided on the formation of a “strong ministerial-level committee which will meet regularly and keep interacting, so we know exactly how we can keep enhancing and increase trade between the two countries.”
Earlier today, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was given a welcome reception at PM House. The national anthems of both countries were played and the visiting dignitary was given a Guard of Honour by a contingent of the armed forces.
$900m Deals to be Signed
Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) covering $800-$900 million worth of investments with Malaysian investors will be signed today, covering deals in IT, telecom, power generation, textile, agriculture, and halal food industries. More than 25 heads of top Malaysian companies are accompanying the Malaysian prime minister.
Board of Investment Chairman Haroon Sharif said yesterday that joint venture agreements would be signed in the telecom, auto and halal food sectors, adding that after the prime minister’s visit to Malaysia, business-to-business partnership was moving ahead and now is the time to consolidate it.
The visit of Malaysian investors is a signal of a major shift in the present government’s policy to expand economic and trade relations with other countries.
PM’s Adviser on Investment Razak Dawood said yesterday that the advantage of having trade and investment ties with Malaysia would be to enter markets of East Asian countries since Malaysia’s inroad to Asean is much better. Dawood explained that Malaysian investors are long-term players and would like to see a good market share for their country in the region.
Malaysia offers an opportunity for Pakistan to open up the Asean market for trade and investment through strategic partnerships. Asean is a market of estimated 651 million people, with an estimated GDP of $3 trillion and high human development index.
Pakistan is gearing up to tap into one of the largest commercial hubs of the world – Asean, which has goods trade volume of around $2.6 trillion, services of volume of around $703 billion and $136 billion in foreign direct investment.