Mauritius is looking to Malaysia for lessons on private-public sector collaboration through the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), an independent, industry-driven non-profit organisation.

Operating under the Prime Minister’s Department and working towards nurturing the growth of high technology in Malaysia, MIGHT’s members represent the industry, government and academia, said Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The trade minister, on his official visit to Mauritius from 11 to 13 March for the 46th Independence Day celebrations of Mauritius, said that Malaysia would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the island nation.

“Once the MOU is in place, we will discuss the specifics and maybe Mauritian officers will come to Malaysia then,” he added.

Among those in the delegation were representatives from Matrade and companies with business interests in construction, shipyard industry, banking, palm oil products, oil and gas, and education.

Speaking to Malaysian reporters, Mustapa said Mauritius had also shown growing interest to introduce Islamic banking and financing in the country.

“About 17% (of its 1.3 million population) are Muslims,” he said. As a world leader in the Islamic banking sector, he said this was another area of great potential for both countries.

Recently, the governor of the Bank of Mauritius, Rundheersing Bheenick, commented on the slow uptake of Islamic banking in the country, despite his focus on introducing Islamic financing in the island economy since 2007. In his letter to shareholders, the governor also observed that for Mauritius to become a regional financial hub, it was essential for the island to widen and deepen its banking services, in which Islamic banking could play a key role.

Moreover, the Malaysian Minister said that the present visit will lead to more concrete measures to boost Malaysian-Mauritius already close ties in the future.

The working session also touched upon Mauritius’ support to the candidature of Malaysia for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, possibilities of closer collaboration in the fields of education and human resource development; facilitation of visa renewal process for Mauritian nationals who increasingly choose Malaysia as an education destination of choice for their higher studies.

It may be noted that around a 1,000 Mauritians are currently studying in Malaysia, spending about RM 50 million a year for their course fee and living expenses.

Finally, the possibility of establishing a Malaysian High Commission in Mauritius was evoked.  Moreover, the Malaysian took note of the willingness of Mauritius to become an observer in the ASEAN grouping.

On the Mauritian side, Arvin Boolell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, qualified the working session as productive and “a meeting of minds” during which, he said, both sides re-emphasised the strong bonds of friendship, cultural affinities, converging interests, as well as shared values and people-to-people connections underpinning the excellent relations between Mauritius and Malaysia.

Both parties have committed themselves to building on the mutual goodwill which is key to any bilateral undertaking, and to collaborating closely on issues of regional and global interest, he added.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mr Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak was expected in Mauritius as the Chief Guest for the island’s Independence Day celebrations but had to postpone his visit due to the disappearance of a civil aircraft of Malaysian Airlines on 8 March 2014.

Image (MIDA): Malaysia’s Trade Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed also said that Mauritius had also shown growing interest to introduce Islamic banking and financing in the country.

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