PUTRAJAYA (XINHUA) – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad met his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan here on Wednesday (Nov 21) as the two leaders pledged cooperation.

At a press conference following a brief meeting, the two leaders said they had discussed several topics of mutual interest especially on anti-corruption and tourism.

“We have had a long relationship. We have some similar problems and we will continue dialogue to discuss solutions. We discussed foreign direct investments, privatisation, tourism and food,” Tun Dr Mahathir said.

Dr Mahathir also said that Mr Khan had sought his help in making Pakistan a dialogue partner with Asean and the two countries would continue their mutual defence cooperation.

In Mr Khan’s first visit to Malaysia since becoming Prime Minister in August, he said he was eager to learn about Malaysia’s efforts at combating corruption.

“Both of us are in similar situations as we both came to power on an anti-corruption platform with high national debt,” Mr Khan said.

Mr Khan also said that Pakistan is keen to develop its potential for tourism and looked to Malaysia for help with developing tourist resorts.

“We have many tourist spots but not many resorts. We want to learn from your experience to raise our own gross domestic product and our per capita income,” he added.

In a joint statement released after the press conference, the two leaders welcomed the establishment of Bilateral Consultation between the senior officials of both Ministries of Foreign Affairs as the mechanism to intensify engagements between both sides.

Malaysia and Pakistan will convene the first Bilateral Consultation in Islamabad next year.

The statement added that both leaders had reaffirmed the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2007 in Kuala Lumpur and that both leaders recognised the importance of regular discussions to strengthen the trade relationship in key sectors.

Malaysia also invited Pakistani companies to invest in Malaysia in both manufacturing and services sectors where the companies are able to leverage Malaysia’s strategic location in expanding their investments into Asean and the Asia-Pacific regions.

In response, Pakistan invited potential Malaysian companies to explore the possibility of investing in special economic zones to take advantage of Pakistan’s strategic location at the crossroads of Central, South and West Asia.

Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation and looked forward to the 13th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation which will be convened in 2019 in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia also invited Pakistan to participate in the upcoming Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in 2019.