Setting the record straight: Only one Malaysian PM has met with Saudi’s King Salman

Editor’s note: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will spill the beans by answering all the queries and accusations of “failure and wastage” levelled at his recent three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia at the Dewan Rakyat at 10am today during the PM’s Question’s Time session.

NEVER had Malaysia’s diplomatic relationship been so ‘extravagantly’ politicised except when it comes to Middle Eastern nations – and especially Saudi Arabia which is deemed to be the epicenter of the Muslim civilisation.

There are perhaps some ‘minor frictions here and there’ from non-governmental organisations pertaining to the country’s bilateral ties with China and Myanmar with regard to the treatment (genocide) of the Muslim Uyghurs minorities in the Xinjiang province and Rohingya in the Rakhine region.

But even these two human rights concerns pale in comparison with the quest to meet one man who is neither Joe Biden nor Xi Jinping who are both touted as two most powerful political figures in today’s world.

In the eyes of politically-inclined Malaysian Muslims, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is perceived as ‘few rungs more powerful’ than both the US and Chinese presidents put together.

To cut a long story short, the brouhaha by the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) camp which alleges Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia as a “failure and wastage” just because the Tambun MP could not find the access door to King Salman is very likely one of seeking political mileage and nothing else.

Interestingly, netizen Tun Izhami revealed that Anwar’s recent predecessors Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, too, were not that successful either in knocking at the door of King Salman’s palace.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left) meets Jeddah Governor Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud

Against the backdrop of PN supporters and cybertroopers mocking Anwar for only having only met Jeddah Governor Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud as King Salman and Crown Prince-cum-PM Mohammed bin Salman was unable to meet him when he performed umrah (mini hajj), Tun Izhami clarified on his Facebook page:

“(The) same goes with Muhyiddin when he publicly announced to meet the Saudi Arabia King but, in the end, only to meet the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“#KeluargaMalaysia Ismail Sabri only had the opportunity to meet the Saudi Arabia Agriculture Minister Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley. No news whatsoever on meeting the King and the Crown Prince.”

As painful to the ears for truth to be told, the only modern era Malaysian PM who met both Kings of Saudi Arabia – (the late) King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – was none other than the now incarcerated former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In this regard, Tun Izhami who has been following bilateral ties between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia closely feels that the reckless closure of the King Salman Centre for International Peace (KSCIP) by two-time premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018 has jeopardised greatly the Malaysian-Saudi ties.

(Editor’s note: Anwar has reportedly said he wants to revisit the idea of re-opening the centre which was closed down in 2018, just over a year after it was launched by King Salman during his visit to Malaysia in March 2017.)

“KSCIP was inspired after the visit of the King Salman to Malaysia in March 2017 and the participation of Najib in a summit in Riyadh attended by then US president Donald Trump,” he recalled.

“Good luck to the current PM (Anwar) in his quest to amend the mistakes done by Dr Mahathir and the PH (Pakatan Harapan) supporters … it was told that Raja Salman and his Crown Prince refused to meet Anwar on the proposal to re-open KSCIP as they feel humiliated by the action taken previously.”

Whether this is true or otherwise, it is hoped that PN MPs turn up in droves at the Dewan Rakyat later this morning (10am) to hear the answer straight from the horse’s mouth and bring to close – once and for all – all the brouhaha surrounding Anwar’s Saudi trip. – March 28, 2023


Main pic credit: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Twitter

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