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Visa on arrival to boost Malaysia ties: envoy

ISLAMABAD: High Commissioner of Malaysia Ikram Muhammad Ibrahim has said Malaysia and Pakistan have reached an understanding to issue visas on arrival to officials of both the countries.

The purpose of this is to further boost bilateral relations and promote and intensify exchange of official delegations.

The high commissioner further said with effect from April 15, 2019, both countries have started to issue visa-on-arrival for their respective diplomatic and official passport holders.

For such passport holders from Pakistan, the Malaysian Immigration Department will issue them social visit pass valid for a period of 30 days for each entry.

This is meant to facilitate and encourage greater engagement between the leaders and officials of both countries, in line with the new strategic partnership status.

He said for holders of ordinary passport, including businessmen, they are still required to apply for the necessary visa (single entry, three-month validity, for up to 30 days) to be granted entry into Malaysia.

In this regard, the most convenient approach is for them to submit application through the Malaysian eVisa Portal (www.windowmalaysia.my), costing $31 and approval within 48 hours – subject to certain terms and conditions.

Talking about recent business ventures, he said through a joint venture with Japan, Malaysia began producing its own cars in 1985.

Subsequently, Malaysia has acquired the necessary technology and expertise to indigenously develop 100% its own passenger vehicles in various classes.

Currently, Malaysia is the only Muslim country that falls under this unique category and, naturally, Pakistan is an apt South Asian partner in this new win-win endeavour.

With an initial investment of $30 million, the Proton-Al Haj Automotive assembly plant is being constructed at a Greenfield site near Karachi and is expected to be operational by the end of next year.

By 2021, we will see made in Pakistan Proton Saga, an entry-level sedan, on Pakistani roads.

The plant is expected to provide approximately 2,000 direct employment opportunities in the first three years of operations, with a further 20,000 indirect jobs.

This joint venture includes transfer of technology and expertise as part of Malaysia’s consistent bilateral cooperative capacity-building efforts under the South-South Cooperation framework.

The Proton-Al Haj Group joint venture was one of the primary outcomes of the official visit of PM Mahathir Mohamad, bearing in mind that the Proton Project is his brainchild more than three decades ago.

Malaysia is confident that Proton will do well in capturing a handsome percentage in the lucrative Pakistani automobile sector.

About halal food, he said, the global halal food and consumer products segment is highly lucrative, totalling approximately $1 trillion annually.

Both Malaysia and Pakistan enjoy comparative advantage in many aspects in this area.

Naturally, Malaysia stands ready to continue to share experience and best practices with Pakistan, as well as jointly collaborate in the halal industry in a mutually beneficial manner.

“Malaysia is the only country in the world whereby the government, through the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development, provides fullest support for more than two decades in promoting the Malaysian halal standards and certification on consumer products and services, both domestically and internationally.

This agency has developed a complete ecosystem in this regard, including through its international research academy on halal ingredients. In this regard, Malaysia will finalise in due course the necessary arrangements to facilitate capacity-building programmes for Pakistani officials.

The high commissioner said to date, the Malaysian halal agency has recognised 78 foreign halal certification bodies from 45 countries, including two from Pakistan, namely the Punjab Halal Development Agency and Jamea Markaz Uloom Islamia Mansoora.

The annual Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) is the world’s largest expo and conference on halal food and consumer products and Shariah-compliant services industry.

Malaysia welcomes the continued participation and interest of Pakistani companies in such event, which had also attracted importers from the developed world and non-Muslim countries.

As a way forward, Malaysia has expressed readiness to spearhead efforts among the Muslim countries and the global halal industry players to unify and harmonise the halal standards and certification requirements, with the aim to effectively capture the growing global halal food and consumer products segment, he concluded.

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