Malaysia, Saudi Arabia will form joint working committee on exchange of experts

"It's the goodwill of the Saudi king himself to invest and to maintain good ties with Malaysia, boost bilateral ties".

The visit is the first by a Saudi king to Malaysia in more than a decade, as the Arab nation courts Asian investors for the sale of a 5 percent stake in state firm Aramco in 2018, expected to be the world's biggest IPO.

For Muslim Malaysians, Saudi Arabia as the land of the Two Holy Mosques is the holiest of places and performing the Hajj is both a sacred duty and the highlight of a lifetime.

UM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Professor Dr Mohd Amin Jalaluddin, when reading the citation of conferment, said: " UM is honoured to name King Salman as the recipient of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters in appreciation of His Majesty's contribution, especially in the development of the ummah and universal humanity". "These challenges are no different from the ones we face in economical and political aspects", he said, adding that universities served as the centre for nation-building efforts, which have a mission to realise holistic growth in various dimensions.

Earlier Monday, Malaysian and Saudi Arabian officials signed several other agreements on trade, human resources and scientific and educational cooperation.

Gunawan reported that the King's 600-strong entourage, now in Malaysia with him, will join him in Indonesia, along with an additional 800 delegates, including princes and ministers.

King Salman will first visit Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta (and meet President Widodo) as well as Bogor between 1-3 March, before departing to Bali where he - and his entourage (consisting of about 1,500 men) - will stay between 4-9 March.

"I hope King Salman's visit will open a new era for Malaysians who are keen to do business especially in Mecca, Medina and Jeddah".

The Saudi ruler's visit is at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

The late King Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Saud made a state visit to Malaysia in 1970. Today, Saudi Arabia is one of Malaysia's largest trading partners.

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