ASHGABAT - Turkmenistan sees Malaysia as a "country of priority" when it comes to trade as its firms have proven themselves to be reliable and observed good governance.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said much of the credit went to Petronas, which made its entry here in 1996 as the pioneer of Malaysian companies in Turkmenistan.
The Prime Minister said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov hoped to have more dealings and trade with Malaysian companies due to the nation's good track record.
Najib said that he was delighted with his two-day official visit here, his second since 2011, saying that it had been fruitful and very encouraging.
"It is clear that our relationship is very warm and friendly and this will provide a host of opportunities for us," he told reporters before flying home on Tuesday night.
"They see Petronas as a partner which understands their aspirations and their president wants to see more investments from Malaysia," said Najib, adding that the training provided by Petronas to locals in the oil and gas sector would be vital and strategic in the coming years.
Petronas had so far invested US$8 billion (S$9.9 billion) in Turkmenistan and hoped to pump in more money in line with the wishes of the two leaders for increased trade and investments between the two nations, he said.
He reiterated his call to Malaysian companies to take the challenge to invest here, noting that Turkmenistan was a golden opportunity not to be missed.
Malaysian Ambassador to Turkmenistan Norman Muhamad said that Turkmenistan provided unlimited opportunities for Malaysian firms, noting that the country was midway into its five-year Economic Plan (started in 2012) which saw US$70 billion allocated for upgrading the economy, education and construction.
"Malaysian companies here have already paved the way for other companies," he told reporters here yesterday.
Apart from the construction sector, firms could partake in supporting industries such as tooling and maintenance or even set up educational centres to teach English, he said.
Norman added that Malaysia had a definite edge here as it had good governance and many of its people were multilingual.
Even in tourism, Malaysia would be viewed favourably above others because of the similarities the two nations had in the Islamic aspect, he said.
"Besides, the Turkmen people have described KL as being fabulous and they yearn to make return visits to our country after they had gone there once," he said.
Norman said Najib's visit here brought results which went beyond expectations, adding that this was due to the "personal chemistry" between the two top leaders and their foreign ministers.