ASTANA: Malaysia’s “solid” relationship with Kazakhstan will help both countries to penetrate the Customs Union and Asean markets.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said there was enormous potential in Kazakhstan, particularly with it being a union member along with Russia and Belarus.
The union came into effect last year, in which the three states will implement economic integration and proposes to remove all customs borders by next month.
“The combined population is 180 million. Therefore, the opportunities that will arise is tremendous,” he told Malaysian journalists here on Saturday night ahead of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s three-day official visit to Kazakhstan.
Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrived yester- day, accompanied by other ministers.
Anifah said Malaysia could provide assistance to Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries to penetrate some of the Asean markets, which has a collective population of about 600 million.
“There is a vast market available and Malaysia can help Kazakhstan to grab opportunities in Asean countries,” he added.
Anifah added that the topics slated to be discussed during Najib’s meetings with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Massimov include education, medical tourism, Islamic finance and construction.
Both countries would also explore the possibility of increasing the number of commercial flights.
Currently, there are twice-weekly Air Astana flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty.
“The president and the Kazakhstan Government feel that there is a need to increase opportunities for Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia to make their presence felt here,” he said.
Total trade value between Malaysia and Kazakhstan last year was RM345mil, with Malaysia’s exports totalling RM342mil.
Anifah added that there would be a partial abolition of visa requirements for government officers who are diplomatic passport holders soon besides discussions to facilitate private sector investment in Kazakhstan.
“There is closer leader-to-leader interaction so business will be easier to do from now on.
“It is up to the private sector to explore the possibilities available,” he added.
Source : The Star