KUCHING, Nov 28 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tonight called on Muslim countries to boost collaboration among themselves in the fields of business, investment and economics.
He said Muslim countries should free themselves from isolation and seize opportunities to work together, especially if they are neighbours, instead of competing.
“We are fortunate in Malaysia because we have neighbours, like Indonesia, which have taken the position to collaborate and complement one another, and not necessarily compete aggressively,” he said at a gala dinner held in conjunction with the Global Muslim Business Forum here.
He said yesterday that he met Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at the Thai-Malaysia border to seek more ways to foster a better relationship, as well as investment and trade opportunities, and to facilitate the exchanges, particularly in the poor areas of southern Thailand and northern peninsular Malaysia.
“So, if they really take the initiative, I would like to accelerate the process if we want to benefit and not to lose out in this race,” the prime minister said.
Anwar said the collaboration will be of immense help to both countries.
“Although the Thai prime minister is a Buddhist and I, a Muslim, at least our common cause and commitment is to facilitate and accelerate this process as we have seen the collaboration with Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo,” he said.
Anwar said Malaysia has taken the initiative in Islamic finance, establishing a legacy marked by the founding of Bank Islam Malaysia and Lembaga Tabung Haji.
He said it is interesting to note that when Islamic banking was set up, the support and participation of non-Muslims was commendable.
“It is how you relate and explain instead of being partisan and exclusive. We take it as a national programme and platform and let the people choose between the conventional system and what the Islamic system offers,” he said.