By MOHAMAD AZLAN JAAFAR / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will visit Jakarta today, his first official visit to South-East Asian countries since he was elected to lead Putrajaya last month.
The PM will be accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The visit to South-East Asia’s largest economy came after Dr Mahathir lead the Pakatan Harapan alliance to victory in last month’s historic 14th General Election.
The two-day official visit is seen as an important start for Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta as both nations share close economic, social and historical ties. Trades between both nations reached almost US$17 billion (RM68.51 billion) last year, making Indonesia Malaysia’s 7th-largest trading partner globally and the third-largest among Asean member countries.
Dr Mahathir will meet Indonesia president Joko Widodo. An official delegation meeting will also be held tomorrow to discuss issues which affect the two countries.
Wisma Putra said the visit will provide the platform for the two leaders to further strengthen the bilateral relations and cooperation of both countries. It would also allow Malaysia to highlight the government’s latest policies and its stand particularly on issues of mutual benefits.
“Furthermore, both leaders would have the opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues that are of common interest to both countries,” said Wisma Putra.
Dr Mahathir is also scheduled to meet the Malaysian community in Jakarta.
The Indonesian president had called Dr Mahathir on the phone to congratulate the latter after the 92-year-old led the Opposition alliance to defeat the Barisan Nasional coalition. “I am delighted to hear that the democratic process (in Malaysia) went smoothly and safely,” the president, who is also known as Jokowi, told Dr Mahathir.
“I believe that under Dr Mahathir’s leadership, (Indonesia-Malaysia) relations will be improved further, and I pray that Dr Mahathir will always be in good health to serve the mandate of the Malaysian people,” the president said according to a press statement.
Indonesia is the world’s 16th-largest economy and access to the country’s over 261 million market would boost Malaysia’s exports.