Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says Malaysia plays a significant and highly regarded role as a trading and political partner of the United States in the Southeast Asian region.
He said this was despite the fact Malaysia was much smaller than the United States – a superpower which is the second largest investor in Malaysia.
In a recent blog post on NajibRazak.com, Najib said of his working visit to the United States from Sept 11 to 13 on the invitation of President Donald Trump: “Through this visit, I will emphasise on bilateral discussions and aim for a more dynamic economic growth.”
The prime minister said he would also discuss with President Donald Trump on anti-terrorism issues in the region and the humanitarian crisis faced by the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
“God willing, this visit will be fruitful and further strengthen Malaysia-US relations,” he said.
Najib also spoke about the close ties between Kuala Lumpur and Washington, citing the visits of two previous US presidents to Malaysia.
President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Malaysia in 1966, while President Barack Obama did so in 2014 and 2015.
In addition, Najib said Malaysians also received 10-year multiple-entry visit visas to the US, and that the country was in the final stages of qualifying for the Visa Waiver Programme.
He described his visit to the United States to be timely, as the two countries recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations in July.
“Over the last six decades, the ties between the two countries had grown and they had become closer,” the prime minister said.
In 2014, Malaysia-US relations were upgraded to that of a ‘Comprehensive Partnership’, involving major areas of cooperation such as economy and trade, education, defence and security, as well as science and technology.
Najib drew attention to the fact that although officially, diplomatic relations began in 1957, it had been established long before that.
For example, he said, rubber from Malaysia played an important role in the growth of the US automotive industry, while the high demand spurred rubber production in Malaysia.