KUALA LUMPUR: The Saudi Arabian government had asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to extend the period of his recent official visit to the kingdom in order to arrange meetings between him and Saudi leaders, Anwar’s political secretary Ahmad Farhan Fauzi said today.

He said Anwar, however, had to politely decline the request because of the scheduled “iftar” (breaking of fast) with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

Besides, Ahmad Farhan said the prime minister was also scheduled to make a one-day official visit to Cambodia on Monday and then, beginning Wednesday, make a visit to China where he is scheduled to meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang.

“I am aware of the views expressed by quarters with vested interests that are deliberately politicising the recent visit of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia.

“I urge those people who are bankrupt of issues to cease this polemic and together support the efforts of the unity government to strengthen Malaysia’s image, as well as consolidate foreign relations and cooperation,” he said in a statement today.

Ahmad Farhan said Anwar had a fruitful visit to Saudi Arabia from March 22 to 24 which, among others, boosted Putrajaya-Riyadh ties, contrary to the claims by certain quarters that it was a failure and a waste of public funds.

He said the visit to the Middle Eastern country, coming shortly after Anwar’s appointment as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia, saw the country’s leader hold meetings with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim World League.

Anwar also witnessed the signing of several important memoranda of understanding (MoU) between companies in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, and met with the Malaysian community, including students, during the visit, he said. - Bernama