US elections: Malaysia's Najib says Trump appeals to those left behind

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Donald Trump won the White House because of his "appeal to Americans who have been left behind".
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Donald Trump won the White House because of his "appeal to Americans who have been left behind".PHOTO: EPA

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has lauded Mr Donald Trump's victory today, saying what happened showed that "politicians should never take voters for granted".

"His appeal to Americans who have been left behind - those who want to see their government more focused on their interests and welfare, and less embroiled in foreign interventions that proved to be against US interests - have won Mr Trump the White House", Datuk Seri Najib said in a statement.

His comments on focusing on the interest and welfare of those "left behind" echoed what he said at the unveiling of Malaysia's 2017 Budget when he handed out a slew of cash, grants and aid to what he called the country's B40 group - the bottom 40 per cent of Malaysians.

Mr Najib in his statement noted that the United States and Malaysia in 2014 elevated their relationship to a comprehensive partnership, "and we are firm allies in the worldwide fight against terrorism and extremism".

"We look forward to continuing this partnership under President-elect Trump. I congratulate him on this extraordinary victory, and look forward to meeting him again soon."

The Trump victory though has left pundits pondering over the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a 12-nation trade pact brokered by outgoing President Barack Obama.

Mr Trump has railed against the TPP.

 

But Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said Mr Trump's anti-TPPA could be just his campaign rhetoric.

"There are views that he would change his stance once he starts duty as president," Datuk Seri Mustapa told reporters.

At the US embassy live viewing party of the elections today, Deputy Chief of Mission Edgard Kagan said that relationship between the US and Malaysia "is not going to change".

"The important thing is to recognise that the United States benefits tremendously from trade," said Mr Kagan.

Mr Trump had also held onto an anti-Muslim view throughout his campaign, but remarked in his victory speech that his campaign involved a "movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs".

The BBC reported that the President-elect is Mr Najib's "golfing buddy", with the former captioning a photograph of the two as "To my favorite PM".

Malaysia's stock market closed 0.97 per cent lower on Wednesday, with the ringgit weakening against most currencies as crude oil prices dropped.

ltrinna@sph.com.sg