Perikatan MP asks Anwar what happened to meetings with Saudi counterparts during state visit
KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should inform Parliament about the outcome of his official visit to Saudi Arabia after it appeared he did not meet with his counterparts there, said Bersatu’s Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.
The chairman of Perikatan Nasional’s foreign affairs committee said the explanation was needed as Anwar did not meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who was also the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, despite a scheduled meeting.
“With the absence of a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, the PM also failed to meet with his ministerial counterpart, the finance minister of Saudi Arabia,” Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said in a statement today.
“Was the objective of the official visit achieved given that there were no meetings on the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia?”
The Machang MP also said there were no reports of Anwar being invited to enter the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site in Mecca, a customary honour Saudi Arabia typically gave to visiting heads of state, including Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during their visits there as PMs.
Aside from Anwar in Parliament, he said the Prime Minister’s Office should also explain whether it had made all the necessary arrangements and preparations prior to the official visit, particularly since it previously confirmed the meeting between Anwar and the Saudi crown prince.
Otherwise, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said the PMO must explain what happened that caused Anwar not to meet with Prince Mohammed and whether there was cause for concern over Malaysia’s ties with one of the country’s largest trading partners.
A detailed breakdown of all costs and expenditure for the visit should also be required since Anwar has stressed the importance to be frugal, he said.
“Saudi Arabia is not just an important trade partner to Malaysia, but also has a very special relationship with our country.
“For these interests, the PM is requested to explain the failure of his visit to the Dewan Rakyat for federal lawmakers to further dissect and discuss, in order that the two countries’ close ties may be preserved,” he said.
Anwar began his official three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and accompanied by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.
According to the Bernama national news service, Anwar had an audience scheduled with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and crown prince at the Al Salam Palace.