THE visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia last November really helped build up the momentum and renew relationship with the South East Asian country whose dividends could be seen with the three-day Pakistan visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad – the great Muslim statesman who reshaped the entire landscape of his country with wide ranging reforms in different sectors, from which our leadership can also learn and put the country on the right course.
The visit of Mahathir Muhammad indeed was significant and useful one as the private sector of both the countries signed a number of very important agreements which will definitely pave the way for future close cooperation between the two Muslim countries. And using the platform of Malaysia, Pakistan can also access other ASEAN countries.
The Malaysian investors have shown great interest in investing in the telecommunication, ICT and software, automobiles, Halal Food and establishment of electric car manufacturing unit in Karachi. As many countries including those in our neighbourhood are fast moving towards cleaner sources of fuel and have also given a deadline to halt the production of diesel and petrol run vehicles, Pakistan should also move towards environment-friendly fuel alternative vehicles which will also help reduce its reliance on expensive imported oil and address the issue of environmental degradation. The entry of Malaysian electric car Proton is a good news for Pakistan which will encourage other automobile companies to invest in the manufacturing of environment friendly fuel vehicles. Incentives should also be given so that the necessary infrastructure for the refuelling of such cars could also be established without any delay as China and some other companies have also shown their interest of producing electric cars in Pakistan. The development of refuelling infrastructure indeed will increase the demands of such cars and we will be able to attract more companies to locally manufacture these vehicles.
Then Malaysia has shown interest to import Halal food from Pakistan which in fact has a great scope in the world market. There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and this Halal food is now moving to a trillion-dollar market. Having huge potential in livestock, dairy and poultry sectors, Pakistan has so far failed to capture its due share in the rapidly growing Halal market. The country is among top livestock producing countries with 160 million livestock and it can export Halal meat products to meet the rising global demand but for this we need to adopt latest technology and trained staff in order to meet the international standards. The establishment of Fauji Meat Limited is a step forward and with the cooperation of Malaysian friends, we can achieve many milestones in this particular field.
Another good news that emerged from the visit of Mahathir is that Malaysia has expressed interest to purchase JF-17 fighter jets as well as anti tank missiles. This indeed is recognition of the high tech and quality defence products that are being produced by our scientists and engineers. The Malaysian Prime Minister during his interaction with Pakistani leadership himself stressed for promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries and now it is up to us how we grab the opportunity. Firstly we need to stay engaged with Malaysia at different levels in order to not only materialize the MOUs signed recently but also exploit more avenues of cooperation. We also need to renegotiate the FTA signed back in 2008 in order to ensure that our products easily make their way to the Malaysian markets which will also open doors for our products to other ASEAN countries.