Anwar flew to Saudi Arabia after getting last-minute approval to meet Saudi ruler?
A veteran journalist calls the trip an ’embarrassment’ but thinks the storm will subside after Anwar’s trip to China.
(MalaysiaNow) – More questions have surfaced as debate continues in the aftermath of Anwar Ibrahim’s official visit to Saudi Arabia, after a senior journalist claimed that officials in the kingdom approved the prime minister’s meeting with de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Writing in his column, The Star’s Wong Chun Wai quoted “high-level sources” as saying that a note from the Saudi embassy had confirmed to Wisma Putra the meeting with Mohammed, which is normally the highlight of any foreign head of government’s visit to the kingdom.
“We received a third-person note. Surely, we would not go ahead without that,” Wong wrote, citing a “senior source”.
The source was also quoted as saying that Anwar had no choice but to take up a last-minute confirmation from Saudi Arabia so as not to offend them, leading to Wisma Putra’s surprise press statement announcing the official visit.
“A quick call had to be made and the PM decided to proceed with it,” the source was quoted as saying by Wong, who also agreed that the trip turned out to be an “embarrassment for Anwar” although “not a complete waste”.
The revelation came as Malaysians took to social media with comments and jibes on Anwar’s trip, with a video clip making the rounds showing Mohammed meeting with dignitaries in a trip to the holy city of Mecca just hours after Anwar’s departure.
Many also drew comparisons with the full honours accorded to former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin in 2021, where Mohammed, better known as MBS, welcomed him at the airport himself.
Anwar expressed regret that he had been unable to meet Mohammed, with a Bernama report saying the meeting could not take place because the crown prince had a change of plans ahead of the Ramadan month.
This led to opposition coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN) demanding an explanation of the events leading to the cancellation of the meeting.