Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi begins a two-day working visit to Sri Lanka Thursday with a tight schedule that includes a courtesy call on President Maithripala Sirisena, the Bernama news agency reported.
Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, speaking to Malaysian journalists at the Malaysian Embassy today, said Ahmad Zahid’s visit was aimed at enhancing bilateral relations in various fields between Kuala Lumpur and Colombo.
He said Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, was scheduled to arrive here at 12.30am Thursday (about 3am Malaysian time), accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, and would hold a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Minister of Home Affairs Vajira Abeywardena at the ministry in Independence Avenue Thursday morning.
Ahmad Zahid is also scheduled to hold talks with Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Atukorale at the ministry at the Assert Arcade Building, also on Thursday.
“Malaysia and Sri Lanka have had close bilateral relations since diplomatic ties were established in 1957. Although this is a working visit, the government of Sri Lanka has classified it as an official visit,” said Wan Zaidi.
Wan Zaidi said that besides paying a courtesy call on President Maithripala Thursday, the deputy prime minister was also scheduled to make a courtesy call on Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday at his office at Temple Tree here.
Ahmad Zahid is also scheduled to hold talks with Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera, also on Friday.
Wan Zaidi said that among the issues expected to be discussed by the deputy prime minister during the visit was cooperation of the two countries in combating terrorism.
“Malaysia is very committed to international peace and regional security, hence relations, including with Sri Lanka, are very vital in ensuring that these issues are addressed together, either bilaterally or multilaterally,” he said.
Replying to a question, Wan Zaidi said matters relating to recruitment of workers from Sri Lanka might also be discussed in view of requests from the Sri Lankan government to increase the number of Sri Lankan workers in the plantation and manufacturing sectors in Malaysia. (Colombo Gazette)