JASA, Special Affairs Department, Ministry of Communication & Multi Media
Even though people are overwhelmed by the diplomacy evident in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent visit to the United States of America (USA), there are some quarters criticizing his visit due to their ulterior political motives. Prime Minister Najib visited the US not on his own accord but at the invitation of President Donald Trump. Prime Minister Najib’s visit to the US, at this time, is seen as important and strategic as it can help to not only enhance economic development in the country, but also guarantee the security of Malaysia in the future, especially in the pursuit of Malaysia’s ambition of becoming a developed and high-income nation based on the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) plan.
Prime Minister Najib’s invitation to the United States of America by President Trump symbolizes the close relationship between Malaysia and the USA, contrary to some allegations that the relationship between the two countries has strained lately. Prime Minister Najib’s recently concluded visit to the US is significant and important because it is aimed at not only strengthening the existing relationship and cooperation between the two countries, which was established in 1957; but also to translate into reality the ‘comprehensive partnership’ formed by the US with Malaysia in 2014. This ‘comprehensive partnership’ emphasizes close collaboration and cooperation in the fields of economics, education, and security between the USA and Malaysia.
In the meantime, this visit also symbolized the highest honor given to Prime Minister Najib by President Trump because not only was the Prime Minister invited to visit the White House within the first year of Mr. Trump’s presidency, but also because the Prime Minister is the first leader from South East Asia to be invited to visit the White House. Prime Minister Najib was also given the opportunity to meet with top US cabinet members and advisers, which is reportedly an honor rarely bestowed upon foreign leaders visiting the White House.
In the present geo-political situation, with the growing influence of China in Southeast Asia; the emergence of evidence of North Korea possessing powerful guided ballistic missiles; power struggles between countries to gain control over the South China Sea; and the spreading of terrorist ideology among South East Asian youth; Prime Minister Najib’s visit to the USA is considered appropriate and timely in enhancing the relationship with a super power. Prime Minister Najib has also used this visit to persuade the USA, as an influential nation in the United Nations, to bring attention to the violence and aggression inflicted on the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.
During this visit, Prime Minister Najib was reported to have announced that Malaysia intends to purchase USA-made Boeing aircrafts (25 737 Boeing MAX aircrafts, and eight 787 Dreamliner aircrafts) at the sum of US $10 billion (RM42 billion), and investing EPF funds in the USA. Malaysia’s intentions are not aimed at assisting the USA to prosper as alleged by some quarters. On the contrary, it is to enhance MAS’ capacity to handle the rising number of domestic and foreign passengers in Malaysia.
Investment of the EPF’s funds is aimed at diversifying its portfolio to generate more profits and to avoid risks evident in domestic investment. The EPF’s investment in the USA in the past has proved to bring large profits to the retirement fund. The EPF, which has more than RM760 billion as funds, has thus far invested not only in the USA but also in 39 other countries.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Najib’s visit has further strengthened and translated the ‘comprehensive partnership’ between Malaysia and the United States of America into reality. Prime Minister Najib’s visit is also expected to encourage more USA companies to invest in Malaysia thus helping to provide job opportunities for Malaysians, and also strengthening the nation’s economy. Prime Minister Najib and his entourage were reported to have spent more than one hour in discussing matters with the Cabinet members of President Trump’s government and not five minutes as alleged by some irresponsible quarters on social media.
President Trump’s invitation to Prime Minister Najib to visit the White House and his subsequent accordance of an extraordinary reception clearly demonstrates that the USA has not been influenced by the allegations disseminated by some quarters on social media about the Prime Minister and his leadership. On the contrary, the government of the United States of America has not only accorded Najib with the highest honor, but has also declared Malaysia an important and significant global economic and political player.
In this regard, Malaysians should take pride and join the world’s community in appreciating Prime Minister Najib for his high degree of diplomacy, skills and wisdom in conducting foreign relations to benefit the nation.