Islamabad: Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, has called for enhancing trade ties and promoting parliamentary exchanges between Pakistan and Malaysia.
“Such parliamentary exchanges are always fruitful as they allow us opportunities to learn from each other and create a better understanding of issues related to legislation and bilateral trade,” she said in separate meetings with the Speaker of Malaysia’s House of Representatives, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia, and President of the Senate, Tan Sri Abu Zahar bin Dato’ Nika Ujang here in the Malaysia capital.
Dr. Fehmida briefed her counterparts about the Pakistan-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendship Group set up in Pakistan’s Parliament and being operated under her guidance and suggested a similar forum could be set up in the Malaysian Parliament to enable the two Houses to draw on each other’s experiences. “We are ready to send a convener of our Friendship Group to Malaysia to explore possibilities for sharing experiences in legislation and promoting parliamentary exchanges,” she said.
The visiting Speaker described as excellent the existing ties between Pakistan and Malaysia and lauded the progress and prosperity achieved by Malaysia in recent decades. “Our people genuinely admire Malaysia and its technological progress which is also a major factor behind a steady stream of Pakistani students getting into Malaysian colleges and universities every year,” she said.
She also touched upon the bilateral trade which had soared to US$2.5 billion mark, registering 34 per cent increase only during the last year. “We are the second largest buyer of Malaysian palm oil after China while overall Malaysia is Pakistan’s fifth largest source of imports … however, in terms of its exports from Pakistan, our number is 25th,” she said, calling for bridging this gap to create a win-win situation for both the countries.
Dr. Fehmida also briefed her hosts on the floods situation in Pakistan and thanked them for the generous support extended to Pakistan by the government and the people of Malaysia during the 2005 earthquake and the last year’s floods. “I hope a similar level of support will also be extended to Pakistan again this time to deal with the humanitarian crisis that has emerged in Sindh following unprecedented rains this summer,” she added.
Meanwhile, Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza held a meeting with a group of Malaysian businessmen, NGOs and representatives of civil society to muster up support for the relief efforts under way to rehabilitate the flood victims in Pakistan. She shared with them details of the devastation caused by the unprecedented monsoon in Sindh and appealed for donations and assistance in overcoming the massive calamity that had visited the Sindh province in the second consecutive year.
During her speech, she also dilated upon bilateral relations and the mutual trust growing steadily between the two countries through continuous exchanges at forums such as OIC, IPU, CPA, Asian Cooperation Dialogue, ASEAN Regional Forum and D-8. “Pakistan values its friendship with Malaysia whom we also admire as a living example of a true democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society which has become a model of racial harmony,” she said.
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