So what if I didn't stay at Blair House? I golfed with Trump, says Najib

US President Donald Trump with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak at the West Wing of the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept 12, 2017. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Monday (Oct 30) brushed off allegations that he was not invited to stay at the Blair House - the US presidential guest house - during his visit last month because he was not welcomed in Washington.

"Even though I did not stay at the Blair House, I had an invite to play golf with Trump. Trump also walked me to my car. We still get the highest honour from the US administration," Malay Mail Online quoted Najib as saying in Parliament.

He said this in a reply to a question from opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who asked why he had stayed in Trump International Hotel, while Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stayed at Blair House during his Oct 22-26 visit to the US.

The Malaysian prime minister also said he did not pay for his US trip, unlike his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad.

"My invitation to meet Trump was on official government business. I did not pay anything for the invite. My predecessor had to do several things to get an invite from (President George) Bush, I do not practise that," he was quoted as saying.

The Malaysian Insight reported that Dr Mahathir had paid a lobbyist to arrange a meeting with then President Bush in 2002.

The Blair House is just across the street from the White House. With more than 120 rooms spanning a total area of 60,600 sq ft, Blair House is bigger than the US President's official residence, which has a floor space of about 55,000 sq ft.

PM Lee also stayed at Blair House during an official visit last year, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the US.

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