JEDDAH: The Middle East is an important and strategic region for Malaysia as it has huge potential in investments and tourism, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Deputy Prime Minister said while it was just a coincidence that both he and the Prime Minister were in the Middle East at the same time, both of them consider the region to be of vital importance.
“We think that the region deserves focus and that’s why the Prime Minister is also here (in the Middle East). We will continue our efforts here ,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is in Syria and Yemen for an official visit, while Najib is in Saudi Arabia, also on a working visit.
Najib said trade with Saudi Arabiahas grown by 27% from RM5.574bil in 2004 to RM7.651bil in 2006.
The trend, he said, was very encouraging.
A number of Malaysian companies were already in Saudi and if they performed well and delivered what they promised, Saudi Arabia would have confidence in Malaysian companies and then there will be “more opportunities for our companies.”
He added, “I hope Malaysian companies will look at the opportunities.”
Najib also pointed out that Saudi tourists are big spenders and stayed in Malaysia for an average of 10.1 nights.
He said the Tourism Ministry was targeting 100,000 Saudi tourists for this year.
“This is a positive trend. We hope it will continue,” he said, adding that MAS was also planning to have its fourth flight from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur using Boeing 747 aircraft for bigger passenger load.
Source : STAR
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