Dr Mahathir arrives in Phnom Penh for 3-day official visit


PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) yesterday arrived in Phnom Penh for a three-day official visit to Cambodia.

The special aircraft carrying Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, touched down at Phnom Penh International Airport at 9.35am local time (10.35am Malaysian time).

Upon arrival, he was welcomed by Cambodian Senior Minister in charge of Special Missions Datuk Dr Othsman Hassan. Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim.

Dr Mahathir’s three-day official visit after 25 years was at the invitation of his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

He attended a dialogue session with about 1,000 students and invited guests on “Balancing Relations with the Superpowers in the Context of Asean” at the Cambodia’s oldest and one of the largest public universities, the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The Malaysian PM was also scheduled to meet with the Muslim community and attend a dinner with the Malaysian diaspora before ending the first day of his visit.

Today, Dr Mahathir has a packed schedule where he is expected to attend the wreath-laying ceremony at Cambodia’s Independence Monument before attending an official welcoming ceremony at the Peace Palace.

Later, he will hold bilateral talks with PM Hun Sen and both leaders are expected to discuss issues relating to trade and investment, cooperation in agriculture, defence and halal industry development.

They will also witness the signing of the long-awaited Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and the memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation. Both PMs are also expected to issue a joint statement at the end of the meeting.

On the same day, Dr Mahathir will pay a courtesy call to the acting head of state and president of the Senate of Cambodia Samdech Vibol Sena Pheakdey Say Chhum and attend a dialogue with Malaysian businessmen and investors, involving 28 Malaysian companies operating in Cambodia.

Dr Mahathir and his wife will also be attending an official dinner hosted by Hun Sen.

Meanwhile, Dr Siti Hasmah has a separate programme which includes a visit the Cambodian Red Cross and lunch with the Women’s Association of the Embassy of Malaysia in Cambodia. — Bernama