MALE, Maldives, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak arrived here Tuesday for a two-day official visit to the island nation of the Maldives.

Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor were greeted on arrival at the Velana International Airport, Hulhule, by Maldivian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Mohamed Asim and Home Affairs Minister Azleen Ahmed, who is also the Minister-in-Attendance.

The special aircraft carrying Najib and his delegation from Colombo touched down at the airport at 4.50 pm (7.50 pm in Malaysia). The Prime Minister’s entourage includes International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed; Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

Also present were Maldives Foreign Secretary, Ahmed Sareel and the Ambassador of Maldives to Malaysia Mohamed Fahmi Hassan.

The prime minister was accorded a guard-of-honour mounted by personnel from the Maldivian National Defence Force.

Najib and his wife were later taken by boat to Kurumba where they will stay during the visit.

Among other high-level members of the Malaysian delegation are Minister of Urban Wellbeing and Local Government Noh Omar; Minister of Higher Education Idris Jusoh and several senior government officers.

Tomorrow, Najib’s tight schedule will begin with a state welcoming ceremony, where he will be received by Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The two leaders are scheduled to have a one-to-one meeting, followed by a delegation meeting.

They will also witness the signing of four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the two countries on the establishment of a Maldives Culture Centre and in the fields of health; firefighting and rescue; and higher education.

Malaysia and the Republic of Maldives, being Islamic countries, enjoy warm and wide-ranging substantive relations in various fields, including education, tourism and technical assistance, which have brought mutual benefit to both nations. The two countries established bilateral relations 49 years ago.

Maldives is the smallest country in Asia in terms of both population and land size. The 90,000 sq km island nation has close to 450,000 people.

Najib’s maiden visit to the Maldives is at the invitation of the Maldivian President and comes 33 years after the visit by a Malaysian prime minister.