Malaysia is confident that its ties with Saudi Arabia would strengthen with the visit of King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
Describing the Malaysia – Saudi Arabia relationship as at “all time high”, Prime Minister Najib Razak said King Salman had used the terms ‘the highest ever’ or ‘best ever relations’ between Malaysia and Saudi.
“His visit is not only historic. It will cement and put our relations on a very strong trajectory now as well as in the future,” Najib told a press conference at Seri Perdana on Monday after hosting an official luncheon for King Salman and Saudi delegates.
He described the bilateral discussions with King Salman as “productive” and that they had covered various aspects, touching on ways to boost relations.
Later, King Salman was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by University of Malaya (UM) in a special convocation ceremony.
The event, held at the university’s Dewan Tunku Canselor, saw the award presented to King Salman by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who is also UM Chancellor.
The honorary degree was presented to King Salman as a recognition of King Salman’s contribution as a revolutionary, innovative leader via the numerous improvements brought about during his two-year reign as the ruler of Saudi Arabia.
In his speech after receiving the honorary degree, the Saudi Ruler called upon universities and research centres in Islamic countries to produce works that could contribute to the development of Islamic civilisation.
He said this could also benefit other countries in the world. “The Islamic world is facing various hurdles in the fields of technical and intellectual development. These challenges are no different from the ones we face in economical and political aspects,” he said, adding that universities served as the centre for nation-building efforts, which have a mission to realise holistic growth in various dimensions.
Earlier, King Salman and Najib had witnessed the signing of four important memorandum of understanding (MoUs) between the Malaysian and Saudi governments.
The MoUs involve scientific, educational and economic cooperation, labour and human resources, and the exchange of news between Bernama and the Saudi Press Agency.
King Salman’s is on a historic four-day state visit to Malaysia.
Malaysia is King Salman’s first country of visit in Southeast Asia since his ascension to the throne in 2015.
The Saudi ruler’s visit is at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
The last state visit by a King of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia was in 2006 by the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The late King Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Saud made a state visit to Malaysia in 1970.
Saudi Arabia is Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East.
Nearly 60% of Malaysia’s total exports to Saudi Arabia are related to palm oil and palm-based agricultural products, machinery, equipment and parts, processed food and electrical and electronic products.