Legislators had ‘cordial’ meeting with Malaysian PM Mahathir — Speaker Arroyo

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Thursday they had “cordial” meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, saying that the latter’s “distinct leadership”, economic policies, and Muslim relations were discussed during the joint courtesy call.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Bin Mohammad arrives at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay for an official 3-day visit in the country. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad arrives at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay for an official 2-day visit in the country. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

Arroyo led the House of Representatives’ delegation in paying a courtesy call on visiting Malaysian Prime Minister at the Shangri-La Makati Hotel in Makati City Thursday.

“Oh, very cordial and of course he’s a very wise old man so the legislators were asking him a lot of advice and queries about the successes of his economy,” she said after paying a courtesy call on Mahathir, who is in the country on an official visit.

“Among other things, about making sure there is a balance between supply and demand,” the former President said when asked about the advice of the 93-year old Mahathir to the members of Congress.

During the meeting, which lasted for half an hour, Arroyo said Mahathir was apprised of the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as provided for under the Bangsamoro Organic Law or Republic Act 11054, which was signed by President Duterte in July last year.

“As far as policy is concerned, the biggest role of Malaysia in the time of Prime Minister was his role in the peace process, and there is now the Bangsamoro which we reported to him and we are quite sure that he will be proud of the outcome of the work we did before,” Arroyo said.

She said they did not talk about whether Malaysia has intention to invest in the country.

The first woman Speaker said the meeting zeroed in on Mahathir’s distinct leadership, his economic policies, as well as the country’s relations with the Muslim world.

“We were recalling when he was Prime Minister the first time around, and how he truly advocated a distinction between the fundamentalism and the proper interpretation of the Quran,” she said.

Mahathir is in the Philippines for a three-day Official Visit. He is expected to hold a series of events, including a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Mahathir and Duterte are expected to discuss matters concerning several areas of mutual cooperation including the economy, trade and investments, and people-to-people exchange.