DOHA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will receive two major honours during his official visit to Qatar, which begins on tomorrow.
The prime minister, who is making his first visit to Qatar since taking the helm last year, will receive the awards at the Doha Forum as well as Qatar University.
Mohamad Shahir Sabarudin, the Charge d’Affaires of the Malaysian Embassy in Qatar, said the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al-Thani would be presenting an award to Dr Mahathir at the Doha Forum Awards on Saturday.
This will be the first award bestowed on any leader or individual since the Doha Forum was first organised last year.
“The award is a gesture of appreciation to the prime minister in the aspect of leadership as well as to his success in developing Malaysia and its role on the global stage.
“Dr Mahathir’s presence will be eagerly awaited by the people of Qatar.
“The prime minister will also receive another award, this time from Qatar University, which is the country’s premier education institution.
“Dr Mahathir will be conferred with an honorary doctorate in philosophy,” Mohamad Shahir told the Malaysian media here on Tuesday.
As part of his four-day official visit, Dr Mahathir will meet Sheikh Tamin at the latter’s palace on Thursday. He also has a packed schedule with meetings scheduled with Qatar’s captains of industry.
Dr Mahathir will also meet the chairman of the Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza Nasser Al Missned, who is the consort of Sheikh Hamad Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of Qatar.
The Qatar Foundation provides scholarships for Malaysian students pursuing education in the country.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Shahir said Qatar was Malaysia’s fifth-largest trading partner in West Asia.
Malaysia — Qatar trade was valued at RM3.72 billion last year. It was RM3.19 billion in 2017.
Major Malaysian exports to Qatar include electrical and electronic goods; manufactured metals, wood products and processed foods.
Malaysia imports primarily crude oil, chemicals and chemical products as well as metals from Qatar.
Qatar has over the years been focusing on the construction and public infrastructure sectors, especially as part of its preparations to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which has seen the construction of eight new stadiums as well as the upgrading of current stadiums.
“Qatar has a population of three million. From that total, only 300,000 are Qataris with the rest foreigners,” said Mohamad Shahir.
Malaysia established diplomatic relations with Qatar in 1974. The bilateral relationship was further enhanced with the opening of the Malaysian embassy in Doha in August 2004, followed by the opening of the Qatar embassy in Kuala Lumpur in September the same year.
Mohamad Shahir said 5,000 Malaysians were residing in Qatar, the majority are employed with Qatar Airways, as well as the education and petroleum sectors.