Friday, June 10, 2011
The Prime Minister's trip to Kazakhstan was to fulfil a long-standing invitation from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to visit the country, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday 9th June 2011.
The ministry's Department of Information and Public Diplomacy in a statement to Bernama yesterday refuted a news portal report titled “PM's use of public funds for wedding trip morally wrong”.
The ministry said the claims by some quarters that the visit was for the wedding of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's daughter was unfounded.
The statement clarified that Najib's visit to Kazakhstan on June 5 and 6, 2011 was the Prime Minister's first official visit to the country and reciprocated the visit by Nazarbayev to Malaysia in June 2006.
The ministry said during the visit, Najib had paid a courtesy call on Nazarbayev and also held bilateral consultations with Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov.
“The visit did not just elevate bilateral relations between the two countries but also generated many opportunities for the Malaysian business community.”
The ministry added that Kazakhstan was also Malaysia's biggest trading partner among Central Asian countries.
The statement also said the Prime Minister's visit coincided with the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) from June 7 to 9 at Astana and that Najib had attended the forum in his capacity as a head of government, representing Malaysia and as patron of WIEF.
The decision by Kazakhstan to host the 7th WIEF on these dates was reached more than a year ago, when Malaysia hosted the sixth series of the WIEF in May, 2010, the ministry statement added.
“On the whole, the visit brought about a substantial development in Malaysia-Kazakhstan bilateral relations which is mutually rewarding,” said the ministry.
During the visit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Malaysian Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman told Malaysian jouralist, that Najib’s visit, including
his presence and speech at the WIEF, provided a good opportunity for Malaysia to
reinforce the close bilateral relations and promote meaningful cooperation and
dialogue among the developing countries attending the WIEF.
Najib paid a courtesy call on President Nazarbayev and hold
talks with his Kazakhstan counterpart Karim Massimov.
The visit indeed has positive impact on the development of bilateral
cooperation and to further reaffirm both nations commitments to expand cooperation on wide-ranging areas of mutual interest between the two countries.
Quoting trade figures, Anifah said that in 2010, Kazakhstan was Malaysia’s
largest trading partner and also largest export destination and third largest
source of imports in Central Asia.
Bilateral trade reached the highest level in 2010, up to US$107 million, a
very significant increase of more than 300 per cent since 2009.
Malaysia’s exports to Kazakhstan amounted to US$106 million while imports
from Kazakhstan amounted to US$760,000.
Kazakhstan, a Muslim-majority country situated along the Silk Road
connecting the East and West, is the world’s ninth largest country, with an area
of more than 2.9 million square kilometres.