Malaysia exploring scope for Islamic banking in Turkmenistan

Ashgabat : Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia wants to explore new fields of collaboration in Turkmenistan, including in halal products and Islamic banking.

Razak, who is on a two-day official visit beginning Monday to Turkmenistan, said Malaysia is also interested in sharing its expertise in the mining, construction, chemicals, tourism and communication sectors. Najib said he conveyed this to Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during their meeting at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday after the ceremonial welcome was accorded on him. He also expressed his appreciation to Berdimuhamedov for granting Petronas a greater role in the country’s oil and gas (O&G) sector.
Petronas has been participating in Turkmenistan’s O&G exploration industry since 1996, operating in the Caspian Sea. “I must thank the President for wishing to see a greater and enhanced role for Petronas in Turkmenistan. “We are committed to continuing to provide technical training for your students through the collaboration,” he said at a joint press conference with Berdimuhamedov after they witnessed the signing of four documents between representatives from Malaysia and Turkmenistan.

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The documents were a Cultural Cooperation Agreement between Malaysia and Turkmenistan; Agreed Minutes on the Terms of Reference for the Joint Committee on Trade between Malaysia and Turkmenistan; a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Education Cooperation; and a MoU on Long-term Cooperation between Petronas and the State Agency in Charge of Hydrocarbons. Earlier, Najib, who is Finance Minister, and Berdimuhamedov signed a joint statement marking his official visit to the Central Asian republic.

The Prime Minister said he had a fruitful and warm meeting with Berdimuhamedov where they shared the same sentiments on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. “We both emphasized the importance of boosting the overall cooperation between Malaysia and Turkmenistan, which will contribute substantially to the strengthening of friendship and mutual understanding for the benefit of the people of our two countries.”

Meanwhile, Berdimuhamedov expressed his appreciation for Malaysia’s contributions to the country, saying collaborations would benefit both nations. “I hope we can continue to cooperate to provide a firm foundation in expanding our bilateral relations for the benefit of our countries and the people.”

Malaysia and Turkmenistan have enjoyed close and warm relations since diplomatic relations were established in 1992. Turkmenistan is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner in the Central Asian region. Total trade between the two countries in 2013 was recorded at $33.13 million, compared with $11.68 million in 2012 and $24.27 million in 2011.