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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be hosting a dinner banquet on Wednesday, March 1, during Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s official visit to Manila.
In a release, the Presidential Communications Office said Marcos will be welcoming Anwar to Malacañang on Wednesday.
A bilateral meeting, where they will “discuss areas of mutual concern such as political, security, and economic cooperation, as well as people-to-people ties,” and regional and international issues, is set to happen before the dinner banquet.
Anwar is the first head of government to visit Manila under Marcos’ presidency. He will be in Manila from March 1 to 2, 2023.
In a separate release, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Anwar will be accompanied by his wife, Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and several of his ministers.
While in Manila, Anwar will speak at the University of the Philippines on “30 Years After Asian Renaissance: Strategic Takeaways for ASEAN.”
“The visit reflects the importance of good ties between Malaysia and the Philippines as close neighbours and partners in ASEAN. It will provide an excellent opportunity for both sides to advance the partnership for progress, guided by shared interest, increased political and economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges,” Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs added.
According to Malaysia, the Philippines was their 15th largest trading partner in 2022 globally and the fifth largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Trade between the two Southeast Asian neighbors amounted to over $9.42 billion in 2022, up 20.1% from the year prior.
Anwar was elected to power in late 2022, after over two decades as an opposition figure and after being denied the premiership despite getting within striking distance of it. Anwar has spent over a decade behind bars for sodomy and corruption charges, which he says were politically motivated.
The new Prime Minister did not get a simple majority in the last elections in Malaysia, but was appointed by Malaysia’s King, and then formed a coalition with other political blocs including Barisan Nasional, which he had previously stood against. – Rappler.com