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Monday, October 12, 2009

Malaysians urged to invest in Saudi project

RIYADH (Saudi Arabia): Jabal Omar Development Co has invited greater Malaysian participation, including Tabung Haji, in the 24ha real estate project near the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who is on the final leg of his week-long trade and investment mission to three Arab countries, said the project involves 18 billion Saudi riyal (RM17 billion).

"Work has started. They are inviting Malaysian investors, including Tabung Haji, to rent part of the area that is under development," he said here last Saturday.

"God willing, we are able to hold meetings with the relevant parties in Malaysia to encourage them to invest in this project."
Jabal Omar Development Co, listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange, is the real estate investment, development and property manager of Jabal Omar.

The project, aimed mainly at providing better housing facilities for pilgrims, will have 92 multi-storey buildings, 27 five-star and four-star hotels, parking for 12,000 vehicles, commercial centres, 4,500 shops and 3,000 showrooms, a central transport station, and prayer facilities for 202,000 worshippers.

The land and infrastructure part of the project is scheduled for completion next year.

Mustapa said that he had also been briefed by Saudi Arabia-Malaysia Business Council chairman Dr Sheikh Ghassan Al-Sulaiman on the possibility of enhancing further bilateral cooperation, including the participation of Malaysian companies in several integrated tourism projects.

"This is one field that is being developed by Saudi Arabia. Previously, tourism was seen as a less convincing sector, but today, many of the Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, are diversifying their economies,

"In the past, they relied too much on oil and gas. Today, they all want to diversify their economies, and I was briefed that tourism is one of the sectors in focus."

Mustapa added that the sector was open not only for Saudis but also for people in the Gulf region.

"Therefore, the opportunity for Malaysian companies is really good."

By Bernama

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