MANAMA– Najib Tun Razak says his official visit to Bahrain since Friday has produced positive and meaningful results for the Kuala Lumpur-Manama relations.

The prime minister yesterday told Malaysian media covering his visit here that the hospitality extended by the Gulf Arab state to him and his delegation was extraordinary.

This, he said, indicated the Ruler of Bahrain, King Hamad Isa Al Khalifa’s wish to forge closer ties, not only at the government-to-government level but also on a personal basis.

The amicable ties between King Hamad and Najib were evident when the monarch personally welcomed the prime minister when he alighted from the car for an audience with the king at Shaikh Hamad Palace here Friday.

The Bahrain ruler was also seen holding Najib’s arm when ushering him for a state dinner at the palace later after conferring the King Hamad (Al Nahda) First Medal, the country’s highest award, on the prime minister.

Najib also had the distinction of being the only foreign leader invited to attend Bahrain’s National Day celebrations at the Sakhir Palace, Saturday.

The conversation between Najib and King Hamad over tea at the end of the ceremony went far beyond the allocated time for the event.

This is the prime minister’s first official visit to this country while King Hamad made his inaugural state visit to Malaysia late April this year.

“…although Bahrain is a small country…after visiting the country…(I) realise that these ties have huge potential with Bahrain as one of the entry points to GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) market,” said Najib.

He added Malaysia and Bahrain could cooperate in Islamic finance by complementing each other against the backdrop of Kuala Lumpur being one of the world’s leading Islamic financial centres.

In this regard, he said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) would be asked to explore opportunities in this field.(BNM is Malaysia’s central bank)

Najib said Kuala Lumpur was also willing to cooperate with Manama in providing healthcare services and would ask the Malaysian Government’s strategic investment fund, Khazanah to discuss the matter with the Bahrain officials.

The prime minister said Malaysian officials could also get in touch with Bahrain officials as a reference for geopolitical development in the Middle East.

Malaysia, he added, was also willing to cooperate with Bahrain in the development of digital economy for their benefit.

Najib, who is accompanied by wife, Rosmah Mansor is scheduled to leave Manama for Colombo for a working visit midnight Saturday (Sunday in Malaysia).