Najib, Trump meet to discuss terror fight

US President Donald Trump welcoming Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the White House in Washington yesterday.
US President Donald Trump welcoming Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the White House in Washington yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

United States President Donald Trump and visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak talked about the fight against terrorism as they met yesterday.

Mr Trump said Datuk Seri Najib has a major role to play in not allowing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terror groups to exist, while the latter said Malaysia is committed to fighting these groups.

Mr Trump said he and Mr Najib are discussing large trade pacts and a deal involving Boeing jets. Appearing with Mr Trump at the White House, Mr Najib said he would like to invest in Mr Trump's infrastructure programme.

The leaders held the one-on- one meeting at the White House, followed by an expanded delegation meeting with advisers and Cabinet members.

Mr Najib, who arrived here on Monday with his wife Rosmah Mansor for the three-day visit, first met 300 Malaysian residents at the embassy in Washington over dinner. He said: "We bring to the table a great deal of value propositions. We are not here to ask for money from the US."

The Star newspaper quoted him as saying: "We come here as a rising country that is successful and growing and determined to succeed to the ranks of the top 20 nations of the world in 2050."

Earlier, in an opinion piece published by political website The Hill, Mr Najib assured the US that Malaysia was a firm partner in its foreign policy objectives, especially in the fight against ISIS.

Muslim-majority Malaysia shares the US commitment to a "rules-based global order", including North Korea abiding by United Nations Security Council resolutions, he wrote.

Citing "threats of nuclear proliferation, radicalisation and new and ever-more barbarous acts of terrorism around the globe", he said states need firm partners and friends.

"Your enemy - those who blaspheme against the religion of a majority of Malaysians by claiming their terrorism is Islamic - is our enemy, too," he added in a reference to ISIS.

Mr Najib will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Malaysia Airlines and Boeing Aircraft Corporation, speak at a dinner with the US-Asean Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce, and give the keynote speech at a forum at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. He will also meet the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

His visit has drawn criticism in both countries. The US media criticised Mr Trump for hosting a premier linked to kleptocracy investigations by the Department of Justice and accused of authoritarian rule.

Malaysian opposition lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar, daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, wrote in a commentary in The Washington Post yesterday: "What should be foremost on the agenda is the hatred and fear fuelled by Najib's own party's support of extremist groups that routinely harass and frighten the country's significant Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities.

"Any conversation with a purported partner against extremist violence who fails to address these concerns at home is pointless."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'Najib, Trump meet to discuss terror fight'. Subscribe