High Commissioner of Malaysia to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim on Wednesday said Bangladesh can utilise Malaysia as a hub of greater Asean market by signing a Free Trade Agreement with one of the South East Asia's most vibrant economies.

"FTA brings market access to you. You need to be very competitive in a very challenging market. FTA is a vehicle which allows speacial treatment," she told diplomatic correspondents in Dhaka.

Bangladesh and Malaysia have agreed to explore the possibility of concluding a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to add further substance to the steadily increasing bilateral trade and economic relations between the two regional countries.

Bangladesh describes Malaysia as an important investor country in Bangladesh.

The envoy said it is time for Bangladesh to become more competitive and target the Asean market through Malaysia.

She said the current cooperation between the two countries reflects the trust and confidence that Malaysia has in the government of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The envoy thanked PM Hasina for all cooperation extended to Malaysia.

During an interaction with the members of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB), High Commissioner Haznah highlighted two areas of further cooperation- education sector and healthcare (medical tourism).

Highlighting opportunities in education sector, she said apart from affordable but quality education, safety of foreign students are guaranteed.

"There is no issue of safety for foreign students, event female students are absolutely safe," said the envoy.

On healthcare services, the High Commissioner said they provide international standards healthcare with an affordable cost which is cheaper than other South East Asian countries.

She said there is a strong monitoring by the government on quality and cost of the healthcare services in Malaysian hospitals and encouraged Bangladeshis to take its advantage.

The High Commissioner said the relationship between Bangladesh and Malaysia are very strong and her country was the first Muslim country to recognise independent Bangladesh.

"We maintain close relations with all Muslim countries based mutual trust and respect," she said.

The High Commissioner recalled the visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1973 giving a solid foundation to the relations.

DCAB President Nurul Islam Hassib also spoke at the session and thanked the High Commission for hosting the discussion.

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