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Saudi Crown Prince to visit Malaysia

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PETALING: JAYA Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to visit Malaysia on Sunday and Monday and will meet Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

This will be his first tour to South-east Asia since he was implicated in the savage murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, in Turkey last October.

Reuters reported the Prince is expected to visit Malaysia, China and Indonesia, as well as India and Pakistan.

Mr Khashoggi was dismembered by Saudi agents inside the country's consulate in Istanbul.

On Oct 22, Dr Mahathir condemned the killing of Mr Khashoggi, describing it as an act of "extreme cruelty" and unacceptable. Malaysia, he said then, does not support the killing of government critics.

"This is extreme cruelty, and it is not acceptable. We too have people that we do not like, but we don't kill them," he said at a forum in Shah Alam.

"Luckily, last time I too was one of those people who were not liked. If we had a system like the Arabs, maybe we too will be unable to speak today."

Reuters said Prince Mohammed is expected to announce investments in energy and infrastructure during his visit to India and Pakistan as part of his efforts to wean the Saudi economy off oil exports.

Initially, Saudi Arabia denied that the killing of Mr Khashoggi had even taken place.

However, on Oct 19, the Saudi prosecutor released a statement saying that 18 Saudi nationals arrested by Saudi authorities had acted with premeditated intent.

The killing has seen bipartisan condemnation from both Democratic and Republican senators in the United States, although US President Donald Trump said he found the Saudi explanation "credible".

Germany, Norway and Denmark stopped the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia over the incident. Canada has also threatened to freeze its arms deal over the killing. - THE STAR