PUTRAJAYA: The Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation is keen to explore potential collaboration in various sectors with Malaysia, especially the halal industry and Islamic banking, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said yesterday.
He said Tatarstan, a semi-autonomous region within the Russian Federation and one of Russia’s biggest Muslim regions with about 18 million population, had great potential for the halal industry.
“We have discussed a variety of issues, and I think there’s great potential for Tatarstan and Malaysia to work together in trade and investment, especially in the halal industry, Islamic banking, tourism and higher education.
“Besides that, the republic is keen to work closely with Malaysia in oil and gas, infrastructure, energy and manufacturing of helicopters. They have urged us to look further into this,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Tatarstan President, Rustam Minnikhanov, at Wisma Putra, here, yesterday.
Minnikhanov leads a delegation of 40 businessmen, and education and government officials for a three-day official visit to Malaysia, starting yesterday.
The visit will play an important role towards strengthening the trajectory of bilateral collaboration set during Minnikhanov’s last visit to Malaysia in 2010.
On higher education, Anifah said Tatarstan invited Malaysian students to study medicine in Kazan, the capital and largest city of the republic.
“They are very advanced in medical studies and the president suggested that we send some of our medical students to Kazan,” he said.
Anifah said Tatarstan also hoped to have direct flights to Kuala Lumpur to boost the tourism sector for both countries.
Foreign investment from Malaysia into Tatarstan increased from US$741,100 to US$950,000 in 2011. The three quarters of 2012 saw US$568,000 investment into Tatarstan from Malaysia.
Last year, Tatarstan attracted US$420 million of foreign investment, of which US$334 million was foreign direct investment.
The republic, with a population of 3.8 million, boasts nearly 1,300 companies with the participation of foreign capital, of which more than 600 are completely owned by foreign investors. — Bernama