New Malaysia PM Anwar in Indonesia on first foreign trip

Malaysia's new prime minister met with Indonesia's president Monday on his first foreign trip after winning a confidence vote and cementing his mandate last month following an inconclusive election.

Anwar Ibrahim, a long-time opposition leader, was sworn in as the country's 10th prime minister on November 24 to head a unity government in a shaky alliance with the graft-tainted party of his former political rivals.

He met Indonesian President Joko Widodo for talks at a presidential palace in Bogor, south of capital Jakarta, where they were due to speak later.

The pair were to discuss global and regional issues including trade, the palm oil industry, border disputes and the situation in coup-hit Myanmar, Malaysia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Indonesian leader greeted Anwar before driving him around the palace's gardens in an electric buggy ahead of the talks.

It is customary that the first foreign visit of a new Malaysian premier takes place in neighbouring Indonesia, which counts Kuala Lumpur as its fifth biggest export market.

Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, this year holds the chairmanship of the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian nations -- in which junta-led Myanmar remains a member -- and will host a leaders' summit in November.

They were also to discuss migrant worker rights after Indonesia last year imposed a temporary ban on recruitment to Malaysia where the majority of Indonesian migrant workers reside, the ministry said.

Eight Malaysian companies had also signed memorandums of understanding with Indonesian firms worth up to 1.66 billion Malaysian ringgit ($379 million), it said.

A former firebrand student leader, Anwar was a rising political star in the 1990s, becoming finance minister and deputy prime minister.

The 75-year-old political veteran was later sacked and thrown in jail twice before being pardoned and mounting a political comeback.

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