Indonesia’s a true friend even when I was cast out: Malaysia PM Anwar

Malaysia PM Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrive at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta on Sunday. PHOTO: ANWAR IBRAHIM/FACEBOOK

JAKARTA - Indonesia and Malaysia’s close friendship was the main reason why Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made Indonesia the destination of his first official visit.

Further, Indonesia had also been a true friend to him when he was facing hardship.

“First of all, Indonesia is our close neighbour. We share the same roots and we are close friends even when I was cast out and sidelined, Indonesia had accepted me to be a true friend.

“I will not forget this,” he told reporters at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Jakarta, referring to the period when he was sacked as deputy prime minister and expelled from Umno in 1998.

He added that is why he had given priority to Malaysia’s bilateral ties with Indonesia.

Datuk Seri Anwar’s two-day working visit is expected to boost economic collaboration between the two countries.

After arriving in Jakarta with his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Sunday, he witnessed the exchange of nine memorandums of understanding (MOU) and the handover of 11 letters of interest (LOI) between top Malaysian industry players and Indonesian companies, with a potential value of RM1.66 billion (S$504 million).

The Malaysian firms are registering their interest to work closely with Indonesia to develop the Nusantara city in East Kalimantan, which will replace Jakarta as the national capital.

Mr Anwar will meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday to discuss areas of mutual interest and benefits including investment potentials, manpower, border and security issues affecting both sides of the border.

He will receive an official welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Bogor.

He is also scheduled to deliver a public lecture on “Malaysia-Indonesia Strategic Relationship” on the same day. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.