Bahrain’s relations with Malaysia and Brunei have been enhanced thanks to state visits by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to the two Asian countries.
King Hamad arrived in Kuala Lumpur on April 30 at the invitation of Sultan Mohammad V for the first visit by a Bahraini ruler since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1974.
The Bahraini monarch reviewed with Sultan Mohammad V and Prime Minister Najib Razak ways to consolidate and expand bilateral relations and cooperation.
The talks welcomed the setting up of a Malaysia-Bahrain High Joint Commission, to be co-chaired by the foreign ministers of both countries, that will serve as an umbrella framework for bilateral cooperation.
A Memorandum of Understanding that symbolises the wish of the two countries to further enhance their defence relations was signed, the communique said.
Military cooperation is to include training, exercises, and exchange of military personnel between the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF).
The two countries agreed to intensify their cooperation on information and intelligence sharing on terror networks and to share experiences on dealing with the growing phenomenon of radicalisation.
In regards to the economy, the two countries agreed to encourage their investors to foster closer economic and trade linkages, and to use Bahrain’s status as a “Gateway to the Gulf”, and a hub of Islamic finance, as well as to benefit from the potential of Malaysia being in the heart of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) established in 2015.
They also agreed to revitalise the ASEAN-GCC cooperation and to explore the possibility of holding the ASEAN-GCC ministerial meeting in 2017.
During King Hamad’s visit, one agreement on air services and four Memoranda of Understanding were signed. The MoUs covered defence cooperation and exchanges, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial cooperation, upstream and LNG cooperation and cooperation between Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM).
Bahrain decided to open an embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia welcomed the decision. In Brunei, King Hamad and Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah stressed the need for benefiting from both sides’ expertise to bolster joint projects and programmes. (Source credit – Gulf News)