Wednesday, 8 April 2009

RI very important country to Malaysia: PM Najib

Kuala Lumpur, April 8 (ANTARA) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Indonesia was a very important country to Malaysia and therefore the two neighboring nations of Malay stock should continue to maintain and increase their relations.

Malaysia's new prime minister made the remarks in a special interview with representatives of nine Indonesian media, namely ANTARA News Agency, Kompas, Media Indonesia, Republika, the Jakarta Post, Sinar Harapan, Gatra magazine, RCTI, and Malaysian news agency Bernama at his Putrjaya office on Tuesday.

"In a conversation with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, we agreed to have a direct contact through the phone if a problem is emerging. Besides building formal ties, we also need to develop personal relations among the countries' leaders," said the Malaysian prime minister who is of Buginese descent.

President Yudhoyono had called Najib to congratulate the latter on his rise to the Malaysian premiership. Najib succeeded Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"It is important to build good relations with Indonesia because it is diffult to separate them in strategic, cultural, religious and emotional terms," said Najib in his first media interview since taking over from Badawi last Friday.

He said that in order to step up bilateral relations between the two countries he would encourage a number of cooperative efforts in the economic field. He would boost mutual investment among businessmen between the two nations.

Najib said that investment in oil palm plantations in Indonesia by Malaysian businesses, for example, should be done in partnerships with Indonesian counterparts so that enterprises would not be controlled 100 percent by Malaysians.

He also saw the possibility of strategic investment in the energy sector. "We are studying the possibility of channeling power supplies from Bakun in Central Sarawak to the Malaysian peninsula or to be exported to Kalimantan." On the other hand, he said, there was also the possibility of Indonesia exporting electricity from Sumatra to the Malaysian peninsula.

"These are several potentials for cooperation between the two countries," he said. (Antara)