Hulu Langat MP Sany Hamzan today defended the prime minister's official trip to Saudi Arabia, saying Anwar Ibrahim succeeded in many aspects despite failing to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman Abdulaziz.
In a statement, he said Anwar had fulfilled his duty for the country and the people, including the opposition which had described the visit as an embarrassment.
"What would the people and country have gained if the prime minister was able to enter the kaabah as was wanted by Wan Faysal?" he added, referring to Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal who earlier questioned what he described as a rushed visit to Saudi Arabia.
"What is all the fuss really about?"
Wan Fayshal, the Bersatu Youth chief, had asked for a thorough explanation from Anwar of the trip, comparing it to the visit by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin in 2021.
During his visit, Muhyiddin was personally greeted by Mohammed at the airport and given the honour of entering the kaabah, a rare privilege accorded to Muslim dignitaries.
Anwar had expressed regret that he was 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.
The government also said that Anwar had turned down a request by Saudi officials to extend his stay so that a meeting with the crown prince could take place, saying the prime minister was scheduled to visit Cambodia and China in the coming days.
In his statement, Sany listed Anwar's achievements during his visit, saying the prime minister had met with leaders from the International Islamic Bank as well as entrepreneurs in the kingdom.
He said Anwar also witnessed the signing of three memorandums of understanding between Dagang Nexchange Bhd and Ajlan & Bros Holding Group Co, Kuala Lumpur International Chamber of Commerce and Wadi Makkah Knowledge Co, and Qhub International Sdn Bhd and Eromman Technologies Sdn Bhd.
"Anwar also received a courtesy visit from the OIC secretary-general, Hussein Brahim Taha, and his entourage in Mecca.
"We are aware of the great role of the OIC in the Muslim community around the world," he said, referring to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
"Of course, Anwar was disappointed because he could not meet King Salman Abdulaziz and the crown prince due to the changes in their schedule, and he could not extend his stay in Saudi Arabia as he had other commitments in his schedule.
"So it is not the country, the people or the opposition that should be sad about this but the prime minister himself.
"His duty to the country and the people, including the opposition, was successfully completed in the best possible way."