Saudis see Malaysia as World’s Most Developed Islamic Country, says Envoy

5/14/2010 — BERNAMA

Impressed with Malaysia’s development and economic growth, the Saudis regard the country as the most developed Islamic country in the world.

In stating this, Malaysia’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, and permanent representative to Saudi Arabia, Associate Professor Datuk Syed Omar Al Saggaf said the Saudis were keen to learn Malaysia’s success story.

“So they are looking forward to learn from the Malaysian experience, particularly in terms of technology know-how, including in the agriculture sector, among others,” he told Bernama.

“They are aware that Malaysia has conducted research and development in many areas and they also try to learn from the country how it managed to develop and survive from the global economic crisis within a short span of time,” he said.

Syed Omar also cited an example of Malaysia managing to attract tourists in its effort to promote health tourism.

“In the past, tourists have gone to Germany for the purpose but now it seems that the industry is growing in Malaysia,” he said.

Syed Omar also said that the Saudis were also keen to learn from Malaysia’s experience in overcoming the global financial crisis and how it was now on the road to economic recovery.

According to the World Bank, the Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) Malaysia expanded at an annual rate of 2.20 per cent in the last quarter. Its GDP is worth US$195 billion or 0.31 per cent of the world economy.

Being a rapidly developing economy in Asia, Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy.

The Malaysian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand to wean the economy off its dependence on exports although currently its exports, particularly electronics, remain a significant driver of the economy.

Syed Omar was speaking during a Bernama interview with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Adviser of Corridor Development in Malaysia.

The former prime minister is leading the ECER Development Council (ECERDC) investment mission to West Asia, including Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates, Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from May 7 to 17.

The mission is a follow-up to Najib’s earlier visit to Saudi Arabia in January.

Also present at the interview was ECERDC chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John.

Syed Omar said the embassy would give its support and assistance for the success of the mission, which aimed to attract investors as well as to enhance bilateral business relationships with the West Asian nations.