By Dalila Abu Bakar
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) — There are huge opportunities for Malaysian businesses in the Arab countries, particularly Libya and Qatar, said the Arab League’s Council of Arab Economic Unity secretary-general Mohammed Al-Rabea.
He said there are large projects in Libya, which has a new government, and in Qatar, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
He sees two sectors, namely construction and infrastructure, that could offer immediate opportunities for Malaysian businessmen.
“Libya, for example, needs to be reconstructed. The new government needs help in finding companies to undertake this task.
“Qatar will have huge projects because it is preparing for the World Cup and needs Malaysian companies to help,” he told Bernama in an interview.
He said the private sectors of Malaysia and the Arab countries should create partnerships and joint ventures to take advantage of the huge opportunities.
The Council of Arab Economic Unity is in Malaysia for the first time to enhance economic ties as well as for the Malaysia Global Business Forum-Strategic Partners-Malaysia and The Arab World held at the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) on Tuesday.
The delegation had a meeting with Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir during the forum.
Mohammed Al-Rabea also said that Muslim and Arab countries should work very hard towards enhancing the halal standard and promoting halal products.
“I am proud that Malaysia has achieved a high standard in the concept of halal products.
“We should develop the halal products in the Muslim and Arab countries. At the same time, we should strengthen the halal-based products in the hospitality industry in all the Arab countries,” he added.
He said Arab countries are also looking at Malaysia’s healthcare industry, which has been developing very rapidly.
“We are looking at partnerships in this area. The Arab countries have invested billions of dollars in healthcare and services in the Western countries and Europe,” he added.
Yesterday the team also visited KPJ Healthcare, one of Malaysia’s leading healthcare providers.
Mohammed Al-Rabea also invited Malaysian businessmen to participate in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) programme for the economic development of the Arab countries.
He said a US$2 billion fund for the SME programme was established by Kuwait last year.
“This fund, for the economic development of the Arab countries, has been activated. We are looking into the implementation of the programme and hope Malaysia will participate.
“Malaysia has developed its SME programme very well and has the capability of ensuring its sucesss.
“We want Malaysian companies to look into this area and try to help in the manufacturing of products, such as food,” he added.
He said the programme involves 99 products with Malaysia being one of three countries, other than China and Turkey, that have been producing all of the products for the Arab countries.
“I am confident that the Arab countries will support Malaysian products,” he said.