HYDERABAD: Consul General of Malaysia Abu Bakar Mamat is optimistic that bilateral trade volume of Pakistan and Malaysia can be increased by finding new avenues of opportunities and cooperation. He particularly talks about Halal industry, higher education and agricultural products.
“Sindh needs to reenergise their branding effort on agriculture products to make them more marketable and palatable for international market….it will propel your [Pakistani] agriculture products because these are of high grades and top quality”, he told Dawn.Com at the residence of Dr Irfan Gul Magsi, a former Sindh minister the other day.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Masood Khalid recently claimed that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia has reached $2.8 billion It has registered an impressive 14 per cent increase over last year. But Pakistan’s share in bilateral trade is only $257 million indicating the balance of trade heavily in favour of Malaysia. The gap could be covered by increasing export of rice, mangoes and beef to Malaysia.
It may be pointed out here that Pakistan is considered world’s third largest importer of palm oil, importing nearly 2.2 million metric. Pakistan produces best quality rice and is 12th largest producer of rice and fourth largest exporter of rice.
He said that 25 years back Malaysian products were not sought after worldwide but now he country is leading in export of electrical and electrical items. “Malaysia is highest exporter of these goods among OIC countries. Among OIC countries Malaysia have 80 per cent of its electrical and electronic goods”, he remarked.
His country is working for more exports of these goods with Pakistan and his country is also looking for importing agricultural products from Pakistan. Currently vegetables fruits and rice are being exported. Pakistan could increase its basmati rice export to Malyasia as Malaysian people consume eight to nine per cent of rice. “Pakistan can export even higher than that…there can be an aggressive export”, he added.
Malaysia also looks for importing Pakistani beef as is Halal industry is an another important area of interest for his country. He believes that Malaysia tops if it is not the best in Halal standardisation. “This is one area we can look into and this is where we can work closely”, he said.
Malaysia has become hub of higher education, he added and pointed out that currently 2000 Pakistani students are taking higher education in Malaysia. “We plan to increase their number. We invite interested parties to invest in higher education as it is vast opportunity for them…..more and more international students are coming in Malaysia”, he claimed.
He talked about tourism too. “It [tourism] is a booming industry after manufacturing in Malaysia. This sector is second highest contributor to our revenue after manufacturing sector”, he said. In 2010 tourism sector contribution to revenue was $1 billion (equivalent to 56.5 billion Malaysian ringgit). Malaysia wants to take it to $3 billion by 2020. There are investment opportunities in tourism sector to build infrastructure like hotels or resorts.
Regarding humanitarian assistance he said that Malaysian government is very active in offering humanitarian assistance.
“We were here [in Pakistan] in 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and then back to back disasters in 2010 when floods hit one fourth of Pakistan and then in 2011 when lower Sindh region was badly hit by unprecedented rainfall.
“We are reconstructing a hospital in Mirpurkhas and have donated a dialysis machine. We are working through a reputable NGO that had worked in Japan, Bangaldesh, Sri Lanka, Jordan etc”, he said.
He spoke high of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “Dr Mahathir was best leader Malaysia had”, he said.
Sitting prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is pursuing his principles and policies of as Malaysia aims to become a developed nation by 2020. “Our premier has identified 12 national key areas of economy to propel Malaysian economy and to increase income of people by 2020”, he said.
He also visited Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and had an interaction with members of business community. He told the local business community that 80 per cent of Malaysia’s trade goes to palm oil export and Pakistan is second largest importer of palm oil from Malaysia. He invited investors to invest in tourism sector of Malaysia.
HCCI President Goharullah however pointed out that although Pakistan and Malaysia are brotherly countries but they have a bilateral trade volume of $2.8 billion that needs to be increased.