PUTRAJAYA, Nov 3 (Bernama) — Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh is set to scale greater heights with several agreements signed in four areas of cooperation.
The four areas of cooperation cover visa waiver for official and diplomatic passport holders, two memorandum of understandings (MoUs) in the field of culture and tourism, as well as, the protocol to facilitate employment of Bangladeshi workers in Sarawak.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is on three-day official visit to Malaysia, witnessed the signing of the MoUs at Perdana Putra in Putrajaya, Wednesday.
A joint statement said the MoUs would bring the two countries as well as their people closer in strengthening the existing collaboration and cooperation for each other’s mutual benefits.
Both leaders reiterated their commitment to further consolidate the strong bonds in all sectors especially in trade and commerce, investment, infrastructure development, manpower, power and energy, human resources development and tourism.
The statement said both leaders emphasised the need for concerted efforts to build a climate of confidence and mutual understanding and strengthen stability regionally and internationally.
Earlier, Najib and Sheikh Hasina had a four-eyed meeting followed by a delegation meeting.
Speaking at a press conference later, Najib said 12,000 Bangladeshi workers would arrive in Sarawak early next year to meet the shortfall for 62,000 workers in the plantation sector.
“If they can fit in well, we can consider bringing in more Bangladeshi workers in the future,” he said.
Najib said about 299,000 Bangladeshi workers were gainfully and legally employed in the country’s construction and manufacturing sector.
Najib announced that four projects would be implemented in Bangladesh namely a 1,320 megawatt coal-fired plant, the construction of 8,400 low-cost houses, the supply of passenger coaches to Bangladesh Railways and the construction and financing of a single point mooring.
“When all four projects become a reality, Malaysia and Bangladesh’s commitment and involvement will become more intense and significant,” he said.
On another note, the prime minister said Malaysia and Bangladesh would explore the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement to promote and enhance two-way trade and investment.
Najib said bilateral trade was now in Malaysia’s favour with exports exceeding US$2 billion (RM6.9 billion) while imports only amounted to US$136 million (RM468 million).
“Sheikh Hasina also suggested that a joint commission meeting be held next year in Malaysia,” said Najib.