State welcome for King Salman of Saudi Arabia

Feb 26, 2017
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman inspects an honour guard at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 26, 2017. Photo by Reuters

King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia was accorded a state welcome at Parliament Square upon His Majesty’s arrival today for a four-day state visit to Malaysia.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V greeted King Salman Abdulaziz upon his arrival at the square at 11.50 am.

Also present were Prime Minister Najib Razak, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The welcome ceremony began with the rendition of the national anthems of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia by the Royal Malay Regiment central band from the Sungai Besi Camp, followed by a 21-gun salute.

King Salman Abdulaziz inspected a guard-of-honour comprising four officers and 103 men of the 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment led by Major Azlan Shah Baharum.

The King and his entourage were introduced to the Cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps present at the event.

This is the maiden visit of King Salman Abdulaziz to Malaysia since ascending the throne on Jan 23, 2015. The visit is at the invitation of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

King Salman Abdulaziz is scheduled to have a meeting with Najib and also attend a delegation meeting. He is also scheduled to attend an official reception hosted by the Prime Minister and his wife.

The King and Najib are expected to discuss the progress of bilateral cooperation and improvement in cooperation in the various sectors as well as exchange views on regional issues.

Matters related to the haj and the annual quota of Malaysian pilgrims are on the main agenda, besides strengthening cooperation in several related areas.

The last 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, and trade between the two countries saw an increase of 19.8% last year from the previous year and now totals RM13.12 billion.

Universiti Malaya is scheduled to confer an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on King Salman Abdulaziz on Monday and the International Islamic University of Malaysia, an honorary doctorate of Philosophy in Political Science on Tuesday.

Earlier, Malaysia rolled out the red carpet for King Salman Abdulaziz as he arrived for a four-day state visit to the country.

On hand to receive him at Bunga Raya Complex, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) were Najib and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also inister-in-attendance.

Malaysia is King Salman’s first country of visit in Southeast Asia since his ascension to the throne in 2015.

His Majesty would be accompanied by a 600-strong delegation, comprising members of the royal household and Cabinet ministers, for the visit until March 1.

More than 100 vehicles have been prepared to ferry the entourage.

Najib, in his tweet, said he looked forward to welcoming King Salman.

The prime minister tweeted that he last met King Salman in March in Riyadh and was grateful for the warm hospitality.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in a recent media briefing on the visit has described relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as strong.

“There is a close personal relationship between the House of Saud and the Malaysian Government,” he said.

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. –Bernama