PUTRAJAYA (March 26): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be on a one-day maiden official visit to Cambodia on Monday (March 26) to further enhance ties that were established since 1957, and to strengthen cooperation between both countries.
This would be Anwar’s seventh official overseas visit since becoming prime minister on Nov 24 last year.
Anwar is expected to arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9.15am and will be received by Cambodia's Senior Minister of Special Duties for Islamic Affairs, Datuk Dr Othsman Hassan, who is the accompanying minister representing the Cambodian government.
In a press conference here on Sunday (March 26), Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir said the official visit is upon the invitation of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Zambry said the visit will also include Anwar being granted an audience with Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace of Cambodia, with an official welcome ceremony at the Peace Palace and shortly afterwards, a meeting with Hun Sen.
"The meeting will provide Anwar the opportunity to exchange (ideas), as well as discuss important issues and bilateral cooperation of mutual interest to both countries with the Cambodian prime minister.
"In addition, we can also explore new opportunities to further strengthen the existing relationship between both countries," he said.
Zambry said a joint press conference will be held by the two leaders after Anwar and Hun Sen’s meeting, to announce the outcome of their discussions .
He also said that during the visit, Anwar will witness the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the Malaysian and Cambodian governments regarding the recruitment, employment and repatriation of Cambodian workers in the domestic sector, as well as the in the formal sector.
The signing of the two MOUs will further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the labour sector, Zambry said.
He said that as part of the official programme organised by the Cambodian government, Anwar is also scheduled to hold a meeting with the President of the Cambodian Senate, Say Chhum; and the President of the Cambodian National Assembly, Heng Samrin.
In conjunction with Ramadan, Anwar will also attend a breaking of fast ceremony hosted by Hun Sen, together with academicians and the Muslim community in Cambodia.
"During the buka puasa event, there will also be a ceremony to donate 1,500 copies of the Quran that has been translated to the Khmer language and English, from Malaysia to the Muslim community in Cambodia," Zambry said, adding that the Anwar will leave for home immediately after performing the tarawih prayers at Al-Masjid Al-Serkal in Phnom Penh.
Zambry said the official visit reflects the close bilateral relations between Malaysia and Cambodia that has existed for more than six decades.
"This relationship clearly brings benefits to the people of both countries. It is hoped that it will continue to blossom and contribute to a sustainable economic recovery for both countries in the post-pandemic era," he said.
Apart from the MOUs, Anwar is also expected to discuss several other issues such as job scams.
"Malaysia and Cambodia can cooperate to overcome this issue. Until now, we have successfully helped 287 individuals involving Malaysians who have been victims of job scams in Cambodia," he said.
During the official visit, Anwar will be accompanied by Zambry, Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (religious affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar.
In 2022, Cambodia was Malaysia's 58th biggest trading partner and the eighth biggest in the Asean, with a total trade of US$683.6 million, an increase of 20.8% in comparison with the value recorded in the previous year.
Total exports to Cambodia had increased by 15.3% to US$526.5 million, whereas total imports from Cambodia had recorded an increase of 43.5% to US$157.1 million, compared to the same period the previous year.