By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By BERNAMA
Singapore • Russia believes that more can be done to improve its bilateral trade with Malaysia, said Vladimir Putin.
The Russian president expressed his happiness over the significant rise in trade between the two countries in the last eight months, especially after Pakatan Harapan’s historic election victory in May.
“Ties between our two countries have been developing and doing well. We have seen a significant increase in bilateral trade of over 60% in the last eight months.
“A lot more can still be done and I think a lot more could have been done during the previous years,” he said after meeting Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Singapore yesterday.
Putin and Dr Mahathir are attending the ongoing 33rd Asean Summit and Related Summits in the island republic.
The meeting renewed Putin and Dr Mahathir’s relationship, which had blossomed during the latter’s first stint as PM between 1981 and 2003.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir agreed that bilateral trade between both countries could be enhanced, despite the already encouraging trade figures presently.
He said Malaysia and Russia have impending agreements on economy, science, technical and culture — which, if enforced, can boost bilateral trade and investment between both nations.
“I hope that with our meeting, we can look into the relationship between Malaysia and Russia. I hope we can increase our trade…our trade is quite good, but we can do better.”
Dr Mahathir also said Malaysia intends to acquire knowledge from Russia on defence aircraft repair and maintenance.
“As you know, we have bought a number of Russian aircraft and I think we need to learn more on how to maintain and repair the aircraft.
“We have (an existing) joint venture with a Russian company, but unfortunately, sometimes a few of the aircraft are not working,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was referring to the 18 aircraft of Sukhoi Su-30 owned by the Malaysian Armed Forces. The defence aircraft is a twin-engine, two-seat supermanoeuvrable fighter aircraft developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corp.