Malaysia PM Muhyiddin Yassin arrives in Jakarta in first official trip abroad

It will be PM Muhyiddin's first official visit to the country since assuming office last March.
It will be PM Muhyiddin's first official visit to the country since assuming office last March.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has arrived in Jakarta on Thursday (Feb 4) in his first official trip abroad since assuming office last March.

He will be meeting with Indonesia by President Joko Widodo on Friday.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma airport just outside Jakarta at 4.30pm local time, Bernama news agency reported.

There are several important matters involving the interests of both countries which require further discussions and mutual understanding such as economic cooperation, regional and bilateral security, as well as joint efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Both leaders have agreed to have a face-to-face meeting, " Malaysia's foreign ministry Wisma Putra said in a statement.

Owing to the current Covid-19 situation, Wisma Putra said Mr Muhyiddin had instructed that his visit would be less than 24 hours.

"In order to fulfill the logistical requirements, the Indonesian president had personally instructed for the official venue of the visit to be held at Istana Merdeka in Jakarta instead of Istana Bogor, West Java, " it said.

The Malaysian leader will be accompanied by a small delegation comprising Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein - who will hold a discussion with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi - and a small group of senior government officials.

Mr Muhyiddin and Mr Joko are slated to perform prayers together at Baiturrahim Mosque after the Friday meeting.

He will be treated to a luncheon before travelling back to Malaysia on the same day and placed under mandatory quarantine.

Both leaders will hold discussions to address common challenges of the pandemic, including cooperation in several key areas.

Among them are efforts to combat international discrimination against Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil and transboundary haze.

Also on the agenda will be the potential involvement of Malaysian businesses to ensure the successful implementation of Indonesia's plan to relocate its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

On the pandemic, Wisma Putra said both countries would look into ways to intensify negotiations on the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) for official and business travel.

"It is important to highlight that this negotiation will deliberate on the standard operating procedure (SOP) that can be agreed upon by both countries, " the statement said.

However, Wisma Putra said RGL would not be implemented immediately as it would be subjected to the Covid-19 status and also approval of the relevant health authorities of both countries.

Mr Muhyiddin will also look at acquiring best practices in the use of Covid-19 vaccines from Indonesia in light that the country has begun its vaccination rollout programme.

"This knowledge-sharing initiative will benefit Malaysia with its own vaccination programme to start soon, " it said.

With contribution from The Straits Times