Qatar and Malaysia bilateral relations, especially in the field of trade and investment cooperation, witnessed double-digit growth in 2018, which is expected to get further strengthened in 2019 and beyond as both the countries are working very closely and aggressively to expand and deepen the level of cooperation in many promising sectors, noted a senior diplomat from Malaysia.
The current trends in bilateral trade and diplomatic engagements and other indicators provide confidence that the future of Qatar-Malaysian cooperation is very promising in light of the economic potential and multiple investment opportunities. The value of two-way trade exchange during the first six months of this year has already surpassed more than QR1bn ($291m) registering significant growth.
“Bilateral relation between Qatar and Malaysia has become stronger over the last several years and further strengthening as under the current Prime Minister of Malaysia a lot of engagements are happening at different levels including the cabinet ministers and senior officials between the two countries,” Mohamad Shahir Sabarudin, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Malaysia to Qatar, told The Peninsula.
He added: “In terms of trade and investment it surged by about 29 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, which is expected to continue in the coming years. The economic reforms undertaken by Qatar are welcomed not only by the Malaysian government but others also as they are likely to increase the flow of inbound investment. This has opened up more opportunities for investments for all businesses, including the Malaysian and Qatari companies to forge partnerships and tap the business potential not only in Qatar but also in Malaysia and beyond.” Sabarudin, the senior Malaysian diplomat, was speaking to this newspaper on the sidelines of an MoU signing ceremony between Qatar’s Atmosphere Project W.L.L and Malaysia’s International Islamic College (IIC), a wholly-owned academic institute by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), aiming to establish an academic institute in Doha.
The MoU was signed by Ammar Rayess, Managing Partner, Atmosphere, and Shamsul Kahr Haron, CEO of IIC, Malaysia, in the presence of senior officials.
Established in the year 2000, the Kuala Lumpur-based IIC has grown significantly. Now, with more than 15,000 alumni, IIC is currently home to almost 4,000 students studying for Certificates, Foundation, Diplomas, and Bachelor Degrees programs in its vibrant campus.
Under the MoU the IIC is planning to establish an integrated academic institute in Doha to provide pre-school to higher education under one roof.
Commenting further on the investment potential, the Charge d’Affaires noted that economic reforms also reflect the seriousness of the Qatari government how they are keen to attract foreign direct investment to the country to achieve economic diversification and sustainable development.
He also said that both sides are working closely to explore trade and investment opportunities in Malaysia also. They recently held their second Qatari-Malaysian Joint Trade Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur, which will further accelerate the pace of bilateral cooperation and engagement.
Last Tuesday, the King of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin Al Mustafa Billah Shah, met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Kuala Lumpur. Talks during the meeting dealt with the bilateral relations and means of promoting and developing them.
Last month (on October 10), H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry; and Datuk Darell Leiking, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, witnessed the signing of an MoU between the Qatar’s Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).