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Embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia counsellor Dr Serik Amirov says the countru is keen to expand cooperation with Malaysia in e-commerce, healthcare, cyber security and renewable energy sectors. NST picture by ASWADI ALIAS.

KUALA LUMPUR: Kazakhstan aims to develop its halal industry ecosystem with focus on foods and beverages and Islamic finance while leveraging on Malaysia’s halal industry development experience.

Embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia counsellor Dr Serik Amirov said it was keen to expand cooperation with Malaysia in e-commerce, healthcare, cyber security and renewable energy sectors.

Muslim population makes up about 70 per cent of Kazakhstan’s total population of 18.3 million.

He added that Kazakhstan would implement various strategies to spearhead the country’s investments and tourism opportunities.

“Malaysia is a close friend and reliable partner of Kazakhstan in Southeast Asia. As of today, Malaysian companies and investors together with Kazakhstan partners are implementing projects in the field of oil and gas, construction and renewable energy for the total amount of almost US$1 billion,” he told NST Business recently.

He said trade between the two countries had increased nearly four times to US$478 million last year from US$123 million in 2017.

Of the amount, US$351 million came from Kazakhstan’s crude oil exports to Malaysia, while US$127 million was from Malaysia’s exports of mainly palm oil, rubber, textile, furniture and electronics goods.

“Nowadays, we expand our cooperation in the field of Islamic finance, agriculture, halal industry, e-commerce, healthcare, information security and many others,” he said while adding that one promising area that can be expanded is tourism.

Kazakhstan had lifted visa requirements up to 30 days for nationals of 45 countries including Malaysia since January 1, 2017.

“This policy is designed to promote more favourable investment climate in Kazakhstan and develop the country’s tourism potential,” he said.

Dr. Serik is hopeful that Air Astana would increase its flights frequencies between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty to provide good opportunities for business, tourism, educational and people-to-people exchanges.

“We hope that in the nearest future, Air Astana will increase the frequency of flights from the current three times,” he said.

Kazakhstan is situated in the very heart of Eurasia, in the second crossroad between the largest countries of Asia and Europe.

He said the geographical location favourably influenced international tourists connections development.

“Tourists potential of our country is rich and diverse. It has unique destinations and possibilities for development of almost all types of tourism.

“There are many unique natural reserves and national parks, archeological and historical monuments,” he added.

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