1. This weekend, we will welcome His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for a State Visit to Malaysia at the invitation of Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XV, Sultan Muhammad V.
2. Malaysia and Saudi Arabia share strong, brotherly ties and we are honoured that His Majesty King Salman – who will be accompanied by His Royal Highness Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and various other dignitaries – has chosen Malaysia for his first visit to an Islamic country in the region, as well as the first to Southeast Asia since ascending to the throne.
3. The spiritual ties between our two countries date back centuries. For Muslim Malaysians, Saudi Arabia as the land of the Two Holy Mosques is the holiest of places and performing the Hajj is both a sacred duty and the highlight of a lifetime.
4. Our two countries are also bound together by strong trading links and ever increasing people-to-people exchanges.
5. Bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia has been on a strong upward trajectory in recent years, increasing by 20 percent in 2016 alone, to a total of RM13.12 billion. Today, Saudi Arabia is one of Malaysia's largest trading partners.
6. Saudi Arabian investment in Malaysia is expected to create thousands of jobs and we are proud that Malaysian firms have been chosen to undertake projects at some of the most prestigious locations in Saudi Arabia. This has included operating and maintaining the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Southern Line in Makkah – a shuttle train exclusively for pilgrims – and working on the Jamarat Bridge and surrounding area in Mina. It is also a matter of pride for us that a Malaysian was part of the team that designed the magnificent Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower that faces the Masjid al-Haram.
7. During His Majesty King Salman's visit, we will be signing a number of new agreements and memorandums of understanding. One of these will involve two of our largest state-owned companies, Saudi Aramco and PETRONAS. These agreements will benefit our countries and our peoples.
8. The warmth between us is reflected by the fact that we welcomed over 100,000 visitors from Saudi Arabia last year, a record high, while students from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia benefit from studying in each others' countries.
9. We are also proud that Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have cooperated so strongly to maintain the well-being of, and provide leadership for, the Ummah.
10. Our strong mutual commitment to fighting extremism is founded on our belief in the tolerant, moderate and peaceful nature of authentic Islam. His Majesty King Salman's visit reaffirms a partnership and brotherhood built on mutual trust and respect – one that can provide an example for the Muslim world and beyond, for the benefits of our peoples, our regions and the world.
DATO' SRI NAJIB TUN RAZAK
PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA