MALE: Malaysia has expressed the desire to cooperate with the Maldives in the halal industry, particularly in terms of halal food, services and Islamic tourism and finance.
Visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he broached the subject of cooperation in the industry during a meeting with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom here Wednesday.
At a joint press conference with Abdulla Yameen after one-to-one and bilateral delegation meetings at the President’s Office, Najib said Malaysia’s halal certification had become the global benchmark.
“We (Malaysia and the Maldives) can cooperate, even exporting (halal products) to third countries. We can also look into Islamic finance as Malaysia is a leader in the sector,” he said.
Touching on the field of tourism, where the Maldives is known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations, the prime minister said Malaysia was impressed with how the Maldives developed its islands despite the challenges of developing so many islands, not to mention the logistics.
Najib said the Maldives had succeeded beyond expectations and had been able to bring in some big names to operate hotels in the island nation and set its popularity as a major global tourist destination.
The Maldives, an archipelago situated in the Indian Ocean, consists of 1,190 islands, Only 195 islands are inhabited and about 90 have been developed as tourist resorts.
“We would like to study how you have achieved that. I hope there will be opportunities for Malaysian companies to partake in the investment of your tourism development,” he said.
On another note, Najib said the Maldives’ validation of Malaysia as the model of economic development was a very strong vindication that the Malaysian government had been doing the right thing.
“(It is a) third-party validator of such importance to us and I’d like to thank you (Maldives President) for giving us the confidence that we are on the right track,” he said.
Originally published on www.malaysiandigest.com