PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had partnered American billionaire-turned-politician Donald Trump in a golf game several years ago and they won the game.
Datuk Seri Najib told The Star about the encounter and spoke about his relationship with the United States President-elect in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with the paper published on Sunday (Nov 27).
The BBC had previously reported that Mr Trump is Mr Najib's "golfing buddy", with the former captioning a photograph of the two taken after the game as "To my favorite Prime Minister".
Recounting the game, Mr Najib said he was attending the United Nations General Assembly and it was a Sunday when a group of them, including the late Ambassador to the US Jamaluddin Jarjis, decided to play golf at the upscale Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, about an hour out of New York.
When Mr Trump heard about the Malaysian guests, he decided to join in.
"So, he and I partnered and we won the game. We took a photo together with (Tan Sri Jamaluddin) and for some reason, I put the photo next to my desk in my office. I did it before he became as famous as he is today," Mr Najib recalled.
Mr Trump later autographed the memento of their golf encounter with the phrase: "To my favourite Prime Minister. Great win!"
"We called each other a few times and after that, he became so involved in the process (of the US presidential election) so I didn't quite follow up with him. Maybe later, once he's settled in," said Mr Najib.
Meanwhile, Mr Najib also said on Sunday he had reconnected with Mr Trump in what he said was a "very warm and productive telephone conversation".
In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Najib said the two leaders discussed the economic growth in the US and Malaysia, among other issues. "I congratulated him on his election victory, and we agreed to further strengthen US-Malaysia ties," he wrote.
Since the US election, the Trump golf club where the two leaders played has since become an epicentre of political activity.
Mr Trump held meetings with his transition team at the club and he and his advisers had also spent time there to prepare for the debates against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.