Whenever Malaysia's name crops up at regular Kuwaiti family reunions or 'diwanya', it is with fond reference to interesting stories about the country.
Malaysian Ambassador to Kuwait Datuk Ashaary Sani noted that in lieu of the many initiatives undertaken by Malaysian authorities to lure tourists from Middle Eastern countries, the country's name seems to appear more often at the 'diwaniya'.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's attendance in the 'Invest Malaysia 2011' conference in Abu Dhabi late last month, was a clear demonstration of Malaysia's will to attract investors from the Gulf countries.
The conference saw Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signing the Framework Agreement on Economic, GCC, Commercial, Investment and Technical Cooperation, which reflects the significant increase in economic relations between Malaysia and the six GCC member states, namely United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.
Ashaary told Bernama which attended the celebration to commemorate Kuwait's 50th independence anniversary, 20th Liberation Day, and fifth anniversary of the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah's ascension to power, said the visit by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in May last year also left a significant impact in the mind of the people here about Malaysia.
Noting that the size of Malaysia's trade with Arab countries, particularly Kuwait, was still relatively small, he said the potential to grow rapidly was always there. Ashaary said trade volume between the two countries from January to October last year reached RM1.7 billion, an increase of up to 41.12 per cent as compared to the previous year.
He said the various measures taken by Malaysia, such as promotional tours, development of various infrastructure to meet the needs of Arab tourists, invitation to access investment in Asean countries for the Middle Eastern investors, besides presenting itself as a Muslim country, sent a clear signal about Malaysia's invitation to Kuwait, whether for social or business purposes.
Attractive foreign exchange rates (one Kuwait Dinar is about RM13) also provides many advantages for Kuwaiti visitors.
Ashaary said Kuwaitis usually preferred a destination that provided everything, from a theme park, beautiful beaches, green forests, shopping paradise, to comfort for a variety of businesses. And, Malaysia provides these and much more.
The fact that the number of Kuwaiti tourists who visited Malaysia rose 15 per cent last year as compared to previous years, proved that the country's tourism sector has vast potential to develop.
In terms of business, Ashaary said Kuwait provided access for the entrepreneur to explore open markets in Iraq. He said investors could develop a base in Kuwait to enter neighbouring Iraq, the country which is currently under active development in the post-Gulf War era. Meanwhile, the prosperity of the Kuwaiti can also be a plus factor for anyone interested to visit an Arab country, to make a visit here.
Ashaary said the Malaysian community of about 200 people here, comprising students and professionals, enjoyed close relationship and always cared for one another.
He said the Malaysian Kuwait Association often held gatherings to bring families closer.
Source : Bernama
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