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Malaysia holds special importance for the leadership of Kazakhstan

KUALA LUMPUR: President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has followed a friendly and diplomatic policy of "keeping and strengthening bilateral relations with all neighbouring countries worldwide", and Malaysia was among these countries that hold special importance for the leadership of Kazakhstan.

Tokayev, who officially took the position of Head of State on June 12, 2019, built a clear line of state policy, and confirmed the continuity of the foreign policy, announcing during his inauguration that he would continue to implement the strategic programmes of First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and that all new initiatives will be focused on specificity and effectiveness.

Today, Kazakhstan and Malaysia cooperate in priority sectors such as Islamic banking, the halal industry, oil and gas, infrastructure, green technologies and many more. Malaysian companies and investors are implementing projects in Kazakhstan in the amount of over US$1 billion.

The bilateral trade is increasing every year. Last year, it amounted to US$643.8 million or increased to 25 per cent compared to 2018.

Since October 2009, Kazakhstan's national carrier Air Astana has operated scheduled flights from December 2011, three times a week, on the route Almaty – Kuala Lumpur – Almaty, which created a positive impact on the development of tourism between the two countries.

For example, almost 15,000 tourists from Kazakhstan visited Malaysia in 2019 and about 10,000 tourists from Malaysia visited Kazakhstan during the same period.

As both countries have bilateral relations since 1992, in May 1996 Nazarbayev made the first official visit to Malaysia while in the same year in July, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister then, reciprocated with an official visit to Kazakhstan.

The year 2019 was a historical year for Kazakhstan as the country had its first power transition. The historical event was manifested through the presidential elections which gave the public trust to President Tokayev, announcing a new stage for Kazakhstan, full of hopes and expectations, and increasing the international attention to the process in the country and its actions on the world stage.