Bahrain's King Hamad set for historic visit to Malaysia this Sunday

AZURA ABAS

PUTRAJAYA: Bahrain's King Hamad Isa Al Khalifa's upcoming four-day state visit from Sunday will be a historic moment as it will mark the first trip from a Bahraini Ruler to Malaysia in 43 years of diplomatic relations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said this is King Hamad's first state visit to Malaysia since ascending the throne on March 6, 1999.

"The visit is part of King Hamad's visit to the Southeast Asia region, including to Brunei," he told reporters at a press briefing today.

Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Bahrain have remained close since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1974, he said.

The bilateral trade value between the two countries stood at RM861.5 million, an increase of 97.6 per cent compared to the previous year.

The state visit is expected to lead to the expansion of cooperation in various fields including defence, trade, investment and tourism, Reezal said.

During the state visit, King Hamad will have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, and will be accorded a state welcoming ceremony at Parliament and a state banquet at Istana Negara.

The King is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who will host King Hamad and his delegation to an official dinner at Seri Perdana.