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Trump grateful for Malaysia's friendship
Published on: Thursday, September 14, 2017

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump expressed his country's gratitude for Malaysia's continued partnership that has now spanned six decades.

In his opening remarks, Wednesday, after welcoming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the White House, Trump said Malaysia was a vital trading and investment partner for the US, citing Malaysia's agreement to purchase over US$10 billion (RM42 billion) in aircraft from American planemaker Boeing.

"I just want to say it's an honour to have you here, and to have your delegation with us," Trump said to Najib.

The US president also said Malaysia has an important role to play in global efforts to curb the spread of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Najib responded by telling Trump that Malaysia was steadfast in the fight against extremism, reiterating his previous pledge to be staunch and dependable ally to the US in its campaign to eradicate the IS.

"The best way to fight [IS] is to partner moderate and progressive Muslim regimes and countries," said Najib.

Najib arrived on Monday for an official visit to the US.

The two leaders are expected to discuss security and trade issues in their closed-door meeting that is happening now, and are scheduled to hold a joint press conference later.

Najib is additionally expected to bring up the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to urge Washington to pressure Naypyidaw into curbing the ongoing sectarian violence there.

Aside from Trump, other US officials scheduled to be in the meeting are Vice President Mike Pence, State Secretary Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Trump's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.

Members of the Malaysian delegation include Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysian Ambassador to the US Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique, Chief Secretary Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, and National Security Council director-general Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

Meanwhile, Najib said there was a campaign to deliberately sabotage 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to undermine investor confidence in Malaysia's economy.

Addressing American corporate leaders at a dinner, Najib said the move was a failed attempt to topple the government.

"I know that some of you will have heard some less positive stories about the Malaysian economy, particularly about 1MDB.

"Rather than brush the issue under the rug, we ordered investigations into the company at a scale unprecedented in our nation's history.

"This process is progressing well and many of the assets formerly owned by 1MDB are thriving," he said at the US-Asean Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce dinner at St Regis Hotel.

Najib told the audience made of key captains of industry in the US and Asean that the issue was blown out of proportion by Opposition leaders.

"I should remind you that while there were issues, certain opposition politicians in our country blew them out of proportion.

"Indeed, there was a campaign to deliberately sabotage the company – and undermine investor confidence in our economy – in a failed attempt to topple the government in-between election cycles."

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