PM’s Visit to Kazakhstan Opens Mind to Developments in Central Asia

June 08. Bernama. ASTANA

PM's Visit to Kazakhstan Opens Mind to Developments in Central AsiaDatuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said his first visit to Kazakhstan since Monday had opened his mind to the developments and rapid progress in Central Asia, particularly in that country.

The prime minister said his official visit to Kazakhstan on the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev enabled him to see for himself the openness of the country of 16 million people, that included encouraging foreign companies to invest in various sectors in the country.

“During my second meeting with Nazarbayev yesterday and this morning with Prime Minister Karim Massimov, they again voiced their hope for us to implement a number of signature projects,” Najib told Malaysian journalists at the end of his visit here, Wednesday.

Besides two days of official visit, Najib who was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and five cabinet ministers, also gave a special address at the seventh World Islamic Economic Forum here attended by about 2,000 participants from 50 countries.

Kazakhstan, Najib said, had offered an Islamic banking licence to a Malaysian financial institution, indicating their seriousness in learning from Malaysia’s experience and expertise in Islamic banking.

Najib said in spurring development in this capital city based on the Putrajaya model, Kazakhstan was eager to see a Malaysian company construct a building here with Malaysian architectural features.

“In the field of oil and gas, I will ask Petronas to come and discuss about investing here,” he said, adding that two more proposed signature projects were livestock breeding and electricity generation.

Najib said the CIMB Group through one of its companies had yesterday signed an agreement with a local company to invest US$50 million in an electricity generation project, while another Malaysian company signed an agreement on an agro-livestock breeding project with its Kazakhstan partner.

Today, Amanah Raya Berhad signed a cooperation agreement with a local company to manage Haj funds and Haj trips for pilgrims from Kazakhstan.

“All this is a meaningful start to Malaysia-Kazakhstan cooperation,” said Najib, adding that he had also told the Kazakhstan leaders about Malaysia’s expertise in the construction field.

Also in the prime minister’s delegation was International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed who has been tasked with coordinating and following up on the investments and proposed bilateral projects on behalf of Malaysia.

The other four cabinet ministers in the delegation were Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (Women, Family and Community Development), Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (Transport), Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor (Works) and Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (Foreign).

Amanah Raya Berhad chairman Datuk Dusuki Ahmad said the project involving managing Kazakhstan’s Haj funds would not only have a big economic impact on the Central Asian republic but was also a religious obligation.

“The prime minister’s visit to Kazakhstan is not only successful in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in the economic sector, but will also raise interest among the Muslim majority in Kazakhstan to enhance Islamic practices,” he said.