King Salman arrives in Malaysia for state visit

SEPANG: Malaysia rolled out the red carpet for King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia as he arrived here today for a four-day state visit to the country.

On hand to receive him at Bunga Raya Complex, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) were Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who is also Minister-in-attendance.

Malaysia is King Salman's first country of visit in Southeast Asia since his ascension to the throne in 2015.

His Majesty would be accompanied by a 600-strong delegation, comprising members of the royal household and Cabinet ministers, for the visit until March 1.

More than 100 vehicles have been prepared to ferry the entourage.

The inaugural visit to Malaysia of King Salman is at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

The last state visit by a King of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia was in 2006 by the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The late King Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Saud made a state visit to Malaysia in 1970.

Najib, in his tweet, said he looked forward to welcoming King Salman.

The prime minister tweeted that he last met King Salman in March in Riyadh and was grateful for the warm hospitality.

The state welcoming ceremony for King Salman will be held at Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur thereafter, followed by an audience with Sultan Muhammad V.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in a recent media briefing on the visit has described relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as strong.

"There is a close personal relationship between the House of Saud and the Malaysian Government," he said.

Saudi Arabia is Malaysia's second largest trading partner in the Middle East, and trade between the two countries saw an increase of 19.8 per cent last year from the previous year and now totalled RM13.12 billion.

Nearly 60 per cent of Malaysia's total exports to Saudi Arabia are related to palm oil and palm-based agricultural products, machinery, equipment and parts, processed food and electrical and electronic products. — Bernama