BEIJING, Nov 11 – Malaysia is bracing for stronger cooperation with Russia and Hong Kong in economic sectors such as defence, pharmaceutical and tourism. This is fuelled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meetings with their leaders on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here on Monday.
Najib is hopeful that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hong Kong chief executive C.Y Leung would help encourage more of their citizens to make Malaysia among their favourite destinations. “There are many Russian tourists visiting Dubai and Phuket. We hope Malaysia can woo more tourists from Russia,” Najib told the Malaysian media after meeting Putin and Leung, along with several other heads of government.
He said Malaysia’s bilateral trade with Russia had grown by 67 per cent in 2013. In the first seven months of 2014, the two-way trade figure expanded by 25 per cent over the same period last year. Najib said Putin had expressed hope that Malaysia will buy more defence equipment from Russia and that the national oil company Petronas invest more in its oil and gas sector. Putin was also keen to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Meanwhile, Najib said the close relationship between mainland China and Hong Kong, its special administrative region, has opened vast business opportunities for Malaysian investors. He noted that Malaysia can woo more tourists from Hong Kong and nearby China’s province of Guandong (Canton), which boasts a population of more than 40 million.
Najib also had a bilateral meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, and congratulated him for winning the country’s recent general election with a bigger majority. They also had a bit of discussion on the case of Malaysia’s military attache Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, who is on trial in New Zealand for sexual assault and burglary charges.