Malaysia rolls out purple carpet as Saudi king kicks off Asia tour | Reuters


By Joseph Sipalan and Noah Browning

KUALA LUMPUR/DUBAI Malaysia welcomed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday for the beginning of a uncommon, month-long Asian tour, the place the monarch will construct ties and search to attract extra investments to the oil-rich gulf nation.

The go to is the primary by a Saudi king to Malaysia in additional than a decade, because the Arab nation courts Asian traders for the sale of a 5 % stake in state agency Aramco in 2018, anticipated to be the world’s greatest IPO.

Malaysian state tv on Sunday confirmed stay footage of the octogenarian king descending from his aircraft on an escalator flown in together with his delegation. He was obtained by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier than being whisked away in a closely guarded convoy for a state ceremony at Malaysia’s parliament grounds.

The chief was greeted in parliament with a 21-gun salute, native media reported.

King Salman additionally plans to go to Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, the Maldives and Jordan “to fulfill with the leaders of these international locations to debate bilateral relations and regional and worldwide problems with frequent concern,” a royal courtroom assertion carried on Saudi Arabia’s state media SPA reported.

Authorities sources with information of the go to mentioned a 600-strong delegation will accompany the king on his four-day go to to Malaysia, the place cooperation on vitality developments will likely be on the agenda.

State oil agency Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Saudi Aramco will signal an settlement on Tuesday to collaborate in Malaysia’s Refinery and Petrochemical Built-in Growth (RAPID) mission, a lift for the Southeast Asian financial system which has been reeling beneath weak world oil costs.

Relations between the 2 international locations have been within the highlight during the last two years after Saudi Arabia was dragged right into a multi-billion greenback corruption scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB, based by Najib.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing within the money-laundering case which is now being investigated by a number of international locations together with the U.S, Switzerland and Singapore.

A Malaysian authorities inquiry discovered that just about $700 million transferred to the Prime Minister’s checking account in 2013 was a donation from the Saudi royal household and most of it was returned.

The final time a Saudi king visited Malaysia was in 2006, when King Abdullah, King Salman’s half-brother and predecessor, flew in with a 300-member delegation.

“Saudi Arabian funding in Malaysia is predicted to create 1000’s of jobs and we’re proud that Malaysian companies have been chosen to undertake tasks at among the most prestigious places in Saudi Arabia,” Najib mentioned in a press release on Friday.

Moreover touring together with his personal personal escalator, King Salman has additionally flown in two private automobiles. His entourage has additionally fully booked out three luxurious motels in Kuala Lumpur in the course of the go to.

After Malaysia, the King is predicted to journey to Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia from March 1-9 with a good bigger entourage of 1,500 individuals, adopted by a visit to Japan from March 12 to 14, officers in these international locations mentioned.

King Salman is predicted to spend the final two weeks of March on vacation within the Maldives, in keeping with a Maldives diplomat. Native newspaper Mihaaru reported that three resorts have been reserved for his keep.

(Extra reporting by William Maclean in DUBAI; Modifying by Praveen Menon and Lincoln Feast)

Source link