The State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Malaysia enjoy 43 years of outstanding bilateral relations, marked by co-operation in the fields of energy, economy and investment.
In 1974, the two countries established diplomatic relations on the basis of non-resident representation, where the Qatari embassy in Indonesia represented the State.
Since then, the relations between the two countries witnessed development and growth at all levels and in all fields, which prompted the two sides to upgrade the diplomatic relations to a resident embassy in 2004.
The Qatari-Malaysian relations witnessed many distinguished developments at the political, economic or cultural levels, which represented important milestones for a remarkable progress, in the diplomatic, economic, investment, trade, cultural and other vital fields.
The bilateral relations have been strengthening since the visit of His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to Malaysia in 2009, followed by the visit of the King of Malaysia Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin to Qatar in 2010.
The relations witnessed another remarkable development after the historic visit of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in 2015, which has greatly affected the course of bilateral co-operation between the two countries.
Qatar also participated in the inauguration ceremony of Sultan Muhammad V, the 15th King of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur on April 25. The State was represented at the inauguration ceremony by Qatar’s ambassador to Malaysia Issa bin Mohamed al-Mannai.
In February, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi paid a visit to Qatar.
The deputy premier described his official visit as very positive, and praised the facilities offered by the Qatari government to the Malaysians, including exemption from visa fees for up to three months for Malaysian visitors.
In July, Hamidi expressed the hope that Malaysian companies would have the opportunity to participate in the development projects in Qatar, especially as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
The trade volume between Qatar and Malaysia amounts to nearly $1.1bn, and there are great efforts to promote intra-trade and raise it to a higher rate.
Malaysian exports to Qatar include machinery, electronic devices, wood products, electrical equipment, metal products, and means of transport and related thereto, while the Malaysian imports mainly include petroleum, chemical, aluminium products, light machinery and equipment.
The trade between the two countries has grown by 188% and is expected to increase during the coming period.
Malaysia also contributes to infrastructure development in Qatar with 15 Malaysian companies operating in various sectors such as contracting, infrastructure, services, maintenance, hospitality and restaurants.
A total of 56 companies participated in Project Qatar last year in Doha and sealed contracts with Qatari companies to enter the Qatari market.
On the economic side, Qatar Chamber discussed with a Malaysian delegation in Doha last year ways to enhance trade co-operation in various fields, including the production and manufacture of wood products, in addition to exploring investment opportunities available in Qatar and Malaysia.
In this context, Vice Chairman of Qatar Chamber Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Tawar said that the Qatari business community welcomes the Malaysian investments, especially as there is a big boom in the construction sector in Qatar which results in an increasing demand for wood products.
He underlined that the business climate in the country accommodates partnerships between Qatari and Malaysian companies in furniture and timber trade.
For its part, the visiting delegation expressed interest in identifying the requirements of the Qatari market.
Malaysia’s exports of the timber sector reached $70mn in 218 countries around the world, mainly Japan, the United States, the European Union and Australia.
Malaysia’s timber industry is one of the key sectors which the Malaysian government is focusing on in its 2020 development plan.
It is also a component of Malaysia’s economy thanks to the large number of trees and forests.
On the cultural side, the University of Qatar, represented by the Faculty of Sharia and Islamic Studies, signed a co-operation agreement with the University of Malaya in Malaysia, in order to enhance co-operation in education and scientific research.
Under the agreement, the Faculty of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University will co-operate with the University of Malaya’s Islamic Studies Academy to organise joint academic and research activities, and the exchange of students, faculty and administrative staff.
The agreement also includes the exchange of publications, reports and other academic materials and information.
On the political side, Qatar and Malaysia have joint positions and views towards the intense situation in the region.
The two sides stressed on the need to reach a peaceful solution to all these issues, especially the Palestinian issue.
The political leadership in Malaysia appreciated Qatar’s positions in support of these issues, especially positions that spare the peoples more killings and displacement and support the Palestinian rights.
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