Najib keeps media guessing on election date; describes US visit as 'huge success'

US President Donald Trump greets Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) outside the West Wing of the White House on Sept 12, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - It is the question on everyone's mind, but Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak is not telling.

When was asked by a reporter when would be the right time to announce the country's 14th general election, Mr Najib replied: "You want me to announce something in Washington DC? You got to be kidding...come on."

His candid reply drew laughter, and elicited a remark from a journalist that he had less than a year to call for an election, reported Malaysian media.

"One year is a long time; they say two weeks is a long time in politics."

When asked if he thought things were in his favour now to hold an election, he said: "Ya ke (Really?) Do you think so?

"Tunggu dulu lah (Hold on). I might get a brainwave, Insyaallah. Doa dulu lah (Pray first)."

The elections must be called by August next year.

Mr Najib was meeting the press on the last day of his three-day visit to the US, reported New Straits Times.

Looking visibly upbeat at the press conference, Mr Najib said the trip was a huge success that coincided with the 60th anniversary of not only Merdeka, but also Malaysia-US bilateral ties.

"I am very happy to be received in this manner by US President Donald Trump as not only a prime minister but as a friend."

He told the reporters the warm reception by Trump and his Cabinet members proved that the criticisms about his trip was wrong and untrue.

"Despite the negative stories back home, which are nonsense, they didn't materialise.

"This has been a stress-free and happy visit and I am delighted that I made the decision to accept his invitation. The visit could not have been better," he told reporters.

Mr Najib said the recognition of Malaysia as a significant global player came in the form of the US leader presenting a senior line-up in the meetings with him and the Malaysian entourage. They included Vice-President Michael Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Deputy Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan, National Security Advisor Lieutenant-General H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn

"This demonstrates that we have succeeded as a nation. If we are a failed state, it would have been impossible to get the recognition from Trump," said Mr Najib.

The Malaysian leader, who had 3.6 million Twitter followers, also kept his Twitter acount active with updates on his trip to the US.

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