Malaysia and Qatar hope to elevate their bilateral relationship through cooperation in economic fields like Islamic financing and the digital economy. The announcement was made by Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah in August 2022 during the official visit by Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to Putrajaya.
Qatar is Malaysia’s sixth largest trading partner, export destination, and source of imports among West Asian countries. The bilateral trade volume in 2021 was valued at MYR 2.63 billion (USD 574 million). Sheikh Mohammed highlighted that the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatari private companies have a favorable opinion about the Malaysian economy. Qatari companies are keen to establish their presence in Malaysia and have invited Malaysian companies to operate and use Qatar facilities and infrastructure as a hub in the region. Qatar has revealed an ambitious strategy with Malaysia and Turkey in 2018 to serve the USD 2 trillion global Islamic finance market from hubs in the three countries using shared platforms and technology. Qatar’s vision includes the entire globe’s Islamic financial transactions between three financial centers: Doha, Istanbul and Malaysia, leveraging Qatar Financial Center’s capabilities.
Additionally, Saifuddin reiterated that Malaysia would continuously welcome Qatari companies to expand their footprint in the country, primarily investing in real estate development, the food industry, and the rubber-based industry. One of the recent examples is the partnership between Malaysia’s FGV Integrated Farming Sdn Bhd and Baladna, a Qatar-based dairy product manufacturer. Both partners will be developing the largest dairy farming operation in the region, with two locations in Perlis and Pahang states. Baladna, the largest dairy company in Qatar with over 250 varieties, has achieved 100% self-sufficiency for fresh milk.
(Sources: Malay Mail; The Malaysian Reserve; Nikkei Asia)