The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is expected to visit Malaysia in June during which he will jointly launch the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) project with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib, who held talks with Mubadala Development Corporation chief executive Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak here Sunday, said Mubadala had reiterated its commitment to the KLIFD, a proposed US$8 billion joint property development between 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala.
"They're also willing to pick a leading Abu Dhabi financial institution as the anchor bank in KLIFD," he told the Malaysian media after the meeting.
Najib had earlier launched the "Invest Malaysia 2011" magazine and forum, where he promoted Malaysia as an investment destination to potential Gulf investors.
The Emiratis, Najib said, were also keen on Malaysia's oil and gas, real estate and energy sectors.
"They're looking at the possibility of developing and owning a five-star hotel in Malaysia," he said.
Mubadala is also leading a consortium in investing US$720 million in Medini Iskandar Malaysia in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.
Najib observed that all this reflected Abu Dhabi's as well as the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) growing interest in Malaysia.
According to Najib, the Arabs seemed to be willing to widen their investment horizons to include Asian countries like Malaysia rather than focusing more on the West.
The prime minister also commented on the signing of a framework agreement between Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) seen as a precursor to a free trade agreement (FTA) between both parties.
Najib disclosed that the framework agreement was hammered out within six weeks, which he described as an "extraordinary commitment".
"We expect the negotiations to start in March and that the FTA may be concluded within a year or a year-and-a-half," he said.
He was hopeful that the FTA would bring more benefits to Malaysia in terms of opportunities for trade and investment activities.