MANAMA - Johor and Bahrain are set to explore more cooperation in the fields of oil and gas (O&G), tourism, healthcare and education following the official visit of Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
This follows a private meeting between the Johor ruler and Bahrain's King Hamad Isa Al Khalifa as well as Bahrain Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa yesterday.
The ruler brought along a Johor delegation of 12 Johor state officials, captains of industry and leaders of government-linked companies who are promoting possible tie-ups that can benefit both Malaysia and Bahrain.
Among those who attended the private meeting were Iskandar Regional Development Authority chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, and Johor Corporation president and chief executive Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim.
Ismail said the private discussion between the Johor delegation and King Hamad and Prince Khalifa could signal Bahrain's involvement in the Iskandar Malaysia development region.
"The discussion was aimed at strengthening relations between Bahrain and Johor specifically, and Malaysia in general.
"There are several opportunities that can be explored in economic and social areas between both nations.
"His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim consented for me to share with King Hamad the achievements such as the Iskandar Malaysia 'Smart City' and low-carbon initiatives.
"King Hamad expressed his interest in Iskandar Malaysia's development, and was interested in finding opportunities for Bahrain to invest in Iskandar Malaysia, particularly in the field of oil and gas," said Ismail.
He said Malaysia, in turn, could benefit from this cooperation when it comes into effect. He said Malaysians should explore opportunities to bring more Bahranian businesses to venture into tourism, education and healthcare products in Johor.
"It was a fruitful discussion which will benefit both sides. Johor and Malaysia could learn from Bahrainian expertise in many fields," he said.
Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim was given a state welcome during his visit to the Bahrain Ministry of Interior.
The ruler was welcomed to the event by Shaikh Abdullah Hamad Al Khalifa, the personal representative of King Hamad, and Bahrain Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Shaikh Rashid Abdullah Al Khalifa.
Accompanied by his son Tunku Temenggong Johor Tunku Idris, Sultan Ibrahim witnessed a march and parade by 900 police personnel.
Shaikh Rashid, in his speech, said the ministry regarded Malaysia and Johor as allies in its goals in achieving regional and global security.
"Bahrain's Ministry of Interior recognises global challenges in security, and we are committed to strengthening security with our allies across the world to ensure our future.
"It is a privilege to welcome the Sultan of Johor to Bahrain and we extend our appreciation to his role in forging ties that will benefit security matters," said Shaikh Rashid.
Sultan Ibrahim is on a three-day official visit to Bahrain at the invitation of King Hamad.