(MENAFN - Arab News) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was pleasantly surprised by the "exceptional welcome" that was accorded to him by the Saudi government.
"I did not expect the roads from the airport leading to this university to be closed to traffic. This is unprecedented," he said while addressing about 150 students at the Madinah University on Saturday night.
Najib said he was also fortunate to get an unexpected welcome from many students and he was informed that they were students who were granted scholarships by the Saudi government due to good ties between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
The prime minister said he would continue to foster good relations with the Saudi government as they had enabled Malaysia to be given favorable considerations in many aspects, including Haj pilgrimage.
He said when the Egyptian unrest forced foreigners to flee, the Saudi government allowed the Royal Malaysian Air Force's Charlie aircraft to fly Malaysian students from Cairo to Jeddah before returning to Kuala Lumpur without having to obtain a visa.
"This is unprecedented. Furthermore, two Boeing 747 jumbo jet flights were provided for free to us to bring home the students," Najib was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.
Najib said he would continue to advocate, develop and strengthen the Islamic jurisprudence in Malaysia based on "maqasid Syariah" (Syariah objective) which would become the government's platform in championing efforts to implement Islam.
"Although I just have a brief encounter with you, it has been very meaningful. And hopefully, when you return to Malaysia, you will be able to widen and strengthen Islam, including the Islamic institutions.
"This is the government's and my fervent wish," he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Students' Association President Ameer Ikhwan Zaini asked Malaysian students abroad to work closely with the government in developing Malaysia.
"It is counterproductive for students to hate the government," he said.
He said the setting up of the Wasatiyyah Institute by the prime minister to strengthen Islamic jurisprudence should be supported to enable professionals and religious scholars to enlighten the people on the beauty of Islamic teachings.