ASTANA (Kazakhstan), June 6 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is on a four-day official visit to Kazakhstan, Monday said Malaysia would be implementing five signature projects to assist the Central Asian republic, as requested by its top leaders.
The prime minister said the signature projects would be Islamic banking, oil and gas, cattle breeding, electricity generation and a landmark hotel reflecting Malaysian architecture and culture in Kazakhstan’s capital.
He said that at a meeting with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Massimov, the two leaders had asked Malaysia to identify landmark projects to pave the way for the involvement and cooperation of various sectors in both countries.
“Among the projects is Islamic banking whereby in principle, they have agreed that we invest in an Islamic bank in Kazakhstan, besides providing training for its people in this field,” he told Malaysian journalists covering his visit here, Monday.
Najib said he welcomed the Kazakhstan leaders’ proposal and this would soon be followed up with possibly determining the financial institutions in Malaysia which would invest in Islamic banking in Kazakhstan.
Najib said the Kazakhstan government was clearly keen on finding ways to expand bilateral relations between the two countries covering areas that had not been explored and ventured in by both countries.
“This is considering the existing potential which has not been fully realised,” he said and quoted statistics which showed that although the bilateral trade worth US$30 million (RM90 million) in 2009 rose to over US$100 million (RM300 million) in 2010, it was still low and needed to be increased.
In the gas and oil sector, Najib said, Kazakhstan had in principle, wanted Petronas to invest here while Kazakhstan’s oil companies should be able to invest along with Petronas in other countries.
“As for the agriculture sector, today we have seen the signing of a memorandum of understanding between a Malaysian company and a Kazakhstan company MoU) to carry out cattle breeding here, and the products to be brought to Malaysia in making it a halal hub where the meat will be exported to other countries as well as for domestic consumption.”
On electricity generation, Najib said a company in the Genting Group had begun discussions to be an independent power producer (IPP), generating 200 megawatts of electricity, here.
On the fifth signature project, which is building a hotel here, Najib said President Nazarbayev had proposed that the hotel reflect Malaysian architecture as had been done in several other countries to reflect their respective architecture.
The prime minister said President Nazarbayev also wanted the hotel to be a landmark for Malaysia’s involvement in the development of Astana city and the good bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Malaysia.
He said another field of cooperation discussed was construction where an MoU had been signed with a Malaysian company to carry out construction projects, and both countries had agreed to set up a business council.
To a question, Najib said if the investors and entrepreneurs from other countries could succeed here, there was no reason for Malaysian investors not to succeed here too although they had faced some problems before.
Najib also offered to Kazakhstan which aimed to issue sovereign sukuk, to launch it in Malaysia, considering that 80 per cent of the international sukuk were issued in Malaysia this year.
The prime minister also mentioned that a cement company with part of its equity held by a Malaysian company and listed in London had been operating here since 1998 and was now controlling 30 per cent of the market share.
On the possibility of a Malaysian airline company to operate direct flights from Almaty in southern Kazakhstan in order to foster closer relations between the two countries, Najib said Kazakhstan’s Air Astana was already flying to Kuala Lumpur twice weekly and the possibility of MAS and AirAsia operating flights to Kazakhstan could be discussed.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Malaysian ambassador to Kazakhstan Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi were also present at the news conference.
Source : Bernama