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Malaysia, Saudi Arabia form a high-level strategic committee to increase ties




PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to form a high-level committee to strengthen co-operation between the two countries in areas of common interest, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (Pictured).

“The Malaysia-Saudi Arabia High-Level Strategic Committee will be chaired by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, namely Prince Faisal Farhan Abdullah Faisal Farhan Al Saud and myself,” he said in a statement Sunday (October 18th).

In addition to stepping up joint efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the committee will also focus on post-pandemic-era co-operation between the two nations.

“This is essential as Covid-19 has not only negatively impacted the health and safety of our people, but has also disrupted our economy, food security and supply chains in addition to social services,” he added.

He said, among the issues to be addressed by the committee were ways to ensure the two countries’ economic recovery, stabilize food security and revive disrupted supply chains.

Hishammuddin said the committee will also allow early discussions to be held on issues around Malaysia aimed at performing Hajj or Umrah next year.

This includes, he said, discussions on the hajj and umrah quota and standard operating procedures (PSOs) for those who make these pilgrimages if allowed before a Covid-19 vaccine is discovered.

“While Saudi Arabia is expected to ease its international border restrictions starting on January 1 next year, this decision means that Hajj and Umrah can be allowed for international pilgrims, with a predetermined PSO group,” he added. .

While no final decision has been taken by Saudi Arabia regarding Hajj and Umrah, he said it is essential that both countries prepare better once a decision is made in the future.

Hishammuddin, meanwhile, hailed the establishment of the high-level committee as another historic moment between the two countries which have shared strong bilateral relations.

He said Saudi Arabia is the single largest contributor of Covid-19 aid to Malaysia and has contributed over seven million units of medical equipment through the Humanitarian Aid Center and the King Salman Aid.

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