Zahid, Tillerson discuss security and bilateral ties

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday as he wrapped up his two-day inaugural visit to Malaysia.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday as he wrapped up his two-day inaugural visit to Malaysia.PHOTO: FOTOBERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • Security issues, including human trafficking, and bilateral relations between Malaysia and the United States were among the issues discussed between Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Datuk Seri Dr Zahid said that during his 40-minute meeting with Mr Tillerson, they exchanged views on security developments and regional and international issues of common interest.

"Hopefully, interaction between the leaders of both countries can strengthen bilateral relations and be a catalyst to enhancing relations and understanding between Malaysia and the United States," he said in a statement.

Mr Tillerson, who is on a two-day working visit to Malaysia that began on Tuesday, is the first high-ranking official from President Donald Trump's administration to visit the country.

In combating threats of transborder crime including human trafficking, Mr Zahid said Malaysia's initiatives in tackling these issues had been recognised by the US Department of State in it s 2017 annual report on human trafficking, which had upgraded Malaysia to Level Two status, after it showed a drastic improvement in terms of criminal prosecution as well as enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws.

"This is thus far the best achievement by Malaysia since it introduced the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act in 2007," he said, adding that Malaysia was aiming to achieve Level One status by 2020.

On terrorism, Mr Zahid said Malaysia and the US shared the view that terrorism and extremism should be monitored, especially on social media, to curb the menace.

"Malaysia is prepared to share its experience and expertise in the area of deradicalisation which has achieved a success rate of 97.5 per cent," he noted.

He said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the US 60 years ago, bilateral ties between the two countries has remained good.

"The main pillars in this bilateral cooperation are political relations, trade and investment, education, people-to-people relations, defence and security, and science and technology," he said.

BERNAMA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Zahid, Tillerson discuss security and bilateral ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe