LONDON: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived here last night for a three-day working visit to the United Kingdom, accompanied by his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and several senior officials had arrived earlier to accompany Mahathir for the working visit.
Mahathir’s first itinerary is a meeting with representatives of the United Kingdom and Eire (Ireland) Council for Malaysian Students this morning at the Malaysian High Commission here.
In the afternoon, the prime minister is to tour the new Al Bukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World at the British Museum in Bloomsbury here.
The gallery, established with the support of Malaysia’s Al Bukhary Foundation, is helping British Museum redisplay its important collections of Islamic heritage, which reflect the connections between the cultures of Islam and the Ancient World on the one hand, and the cultures of the Mediterranean World and Europe on the other.
Tomorrow, the visitors will attend a Hari Raya open house hosted by the high commission at Templewood Gardens in Camden, before Mahathir heads to Cambridge University, about 100km away, to give a talk on “Democracy in Malaysia and Southeast Asia” at the Cambridge Union.
In January, Dr Mahathir had delivered a talk at the Oxford Union, the debating society whose members are primarily from Oxford University, the oldest university in the English speaking world established in 1096.
The talk at Cambridge is expected to attract UK personalities and academicians as well as students from higher learning institutions, high commission officials said.
As part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment, Mahathir will attend a session with investors and industry players in the UK organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and Maybank to explore areas of cooperation to strengthen bilateral trade.
Trade between Malaysia and the UK had recorded a growth of 2% per annum with an annual bilateral trade ranging between RM12 billion and RM17 billion over the last 10 years.
The officials said that if time permits, Dr Mahathir may visit infant Ainul Mardhiah, who successfully underwent surgery at a private hospital here to remove an extragonadal germ cell tumour covering her mouth, a rare type of cancer, before wrapping up his visit.