Many countries are now easing COVID-19 restrictions for several reasons. Malaysia is taking advantage of the situation and has begun strengthening its ties with other countries for economic and security purposes.
Bolstering Bilateral Ties with Qatar
Qatar Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will make an official visit to Malaysia from March 27-29 of this year. His two-day visit is expected to further bolster the bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Multiple mechanisms are all set to accomplish two objectives. The first was the Malaysian Embassy in Doha in 2004. It was then followed by the Malaysia-Qatar Joint Trade Committee establishment in 2018. Likewise, it includes the Malaysia-Qatar High-Level Joint Committee in 2019, according to Malaysian Ambassador to Qatar, Zamshari Shaharan.
“The latest mechanism will be the meeting and discussion at the highest level between the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri and the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani on March 29. This visit is also important because there is a lot to explore in Malaysia-Qatar relations, especially in the post-pandemic recovery efforts,” said Zamshari.
He added that both countries have their own strategies to curb the spread of Covid-19. Even if the number of incidents remains high, vaccination and booster programs continue. At this point, Qatar was able to control the pandemic earlier because of its insistent immunization programme. The governance of the Doha Forum’s 20th edition on March 26 and 27 is proof of Qatar’s circumspection and victory in controlling the mushrooming of COVID-19.
According to Zamshari, Malaysia should leverage its relationship with Qatar. It’s because Qatar has a good track of economic growth of between 4% and 5%, with the highest per capita income worldwide. Moreover, it has fast development in the construction to host the World Cup football championship in November.
Restoring Trilateral Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines and Indonesia
Malaysia will restore its trilateral cooperation agreement with the Philippines and Indonesia. Senior Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein would meet his counterparts during the Defence Services Asia (DSA) and National Security Asia (Natsec) 2022. The event will happen from March 28-31.
“We created a trilateral (pact) before but for some reason or another, this requires rejuvenation. So the defence ministers of Indonesia, the Philippines and I have agreed this is a good opportunity to revive our trilateral cooperation. Malaysia will play host to over 350 foreign VIP delegates from 45 countries and regions comprising defence ministers, home ministers as well as police, army, navy and air force chiefs along with director-generals and heads of cyber-security agencies,” Hishammuddin said.
The Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) between the three countries will enhance security in the Sabah’s east coast, Sulu Sea, and Sulawesi.