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PM Najib, First Foreign Leader To Receive Bahrain’s Highest Award

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MANAMA – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be the first foreign leader to be conferred the newly-created Bahrain’s highest award, tomorrow.

Malaysian ambassador to Bahrain, Agus Salim Yusof said the award was created two years ago and the past recipients comprised Bahrainis only.

“This is the first time the country’s new highest award will be conferred on a foreign leader,” he told Malaysian journalists, here.

The Malaysian prime minister will be conferred the King Hamad Order for Development by the ruler of Bahrain, King Hamad Isa Al Khalifa at Shaik Hamad Palace here during Najib’s audience with the king.

Najib is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow for a three-day official visit to this country in the Persian Gulf and he will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Defence Minister and Minister of Special Functions Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Najib will have an audience with the king at the palace before the award conferment ceremony which will also see Hishammuddin receiving the country’s Medal of First Degree from the ruler.

The prime minister’s official visit is at the invitation of the Bahrain King who made a state visit to Malaysia from April 30 to May 3, this year.

Later, the king will host a dinner for the visiting prime minister.

On Saturday, Najib is scheduled to visit the Bahrain Economic Development Board, here, before having an audience with Bahrain Crown Prince, Prince Salman Hamad Al Khalifa at Ghudaibiya Palace, here.

The Crown Prince who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister will then host lunch for Najib.

Agus said Najib would be the only foreign leader invited to attend the country’s National Day celebration at Sakhir Palace here Saturday in the presence of King Hamad.

He said about 1,000 guests were expected to attend the celebration.

The ambassador described the Kuala Lumpur-Manama relationship as at an all-time high now since both countries established diplomatic ties in 1974.

The fact that the Malaysian prime minister would be the first foreign leader to receive the award and the one and only foreign leader invited to the National Day celebration had signified the importance of Malaysia-Bahrain relations, said Agus.

Furthermore, he said, Kuala Lumpur-Manama relations was very important for the solidarity of Muslim countries in the wake of challenges faced by the Muslim world.

Agus said King Hamad’s visit to Malaysia had shown some tangible results including Bahrain opening its embassy in Malaysia last October.

He said Gulf Air was expected to resume flights from Manama to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa from the middle of next year after its flight operations for the route ceased since 2012.

The ambassador believes the prime minister’s visit will further pave the way for Malaysian investors and businessmen to venture into this country which offers a very conducive business and economic environment.

The Malaysian business community could use this country as a springboard for the Gulf countries with a population of about 36 million although Bahrain is a country with 1.4 million people.

Total trade between Malaysia and Bahrain from January to September stood at RM805.73 million with Malaysia’s export being mainly automotive products, machinery, furniture and food while the big bulk of import consists of petroleum products.

Agus said Malaysian investors and businessmen could further explore the potential of oil-based products, food processing and pharmaceutical products in this country.

Najib is scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on Sunday for a visit to this island nation in the Indian Ocean.- BERNAMA

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