BOSTON, Jan 9 (Bernama) — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s working visit to the United States from Monday, is meaningful in continuing the effort by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of strengthening bilateral relations between Malaysia and the world’s superpower.
Malaysia’s Ambassador to the US, Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis, said Muhyiddin’s visit would raise the existing cooperation to another level in areas that would benefit both countries, especially trade.
Jamaludin was speaking to Malaysian journalists who are here to cover Muhyiddin’s six-day visit to Boston and Washington from Monday until Jan 14.
“The prime minister feels that this is the best opportunity to look back at our relations with the US as their economy is big, so that more investors will come to Malaysia and more of our products can be exported to the US.
“That is why Tan Sri Muhyiddin will also visit Washington D.C. to continue with the efforts made by the prime minister in renewing Malaysia-US ties as many benefits can be derived from it.”
Jamaludin said Najib’s effort of strengthening Malaysia-US relations was warmly welcomed by US President Barack Obama and his administration, and the superpower’s sentiments about Malaysia had changed.
He said the improved relations was evident when the prime minister was one of only two Asian leaders including from China, to be given the opportunity to have bilateral discussions with Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit in Washington in April last year, and also together with other Asean leaders, be given the opportunity to meet Obama while attending the 65th United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
He said one of the benefits of the enhanced relations was that Malaysia was included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, an achievement that Malaysians should take note of.
“Malaysia was invited to be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) where we can enhance our trade agreement with the US. Both countries agreed to finalise the agreement this year.
“I see this as a very good sign because when the US invites another country to establish a trade agreement, it needs Congress’ approval and this usually takes three months.
“However, with renewed relations between the two countries, the US decided to exclude the process,” he said.
Besides Malaysia which is part of the TPP for the first time, the US, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are members of the partnership.
Jamaludin said with the trade agreement with US, numerous agriculture and halal products from Malaysia could be exported to that country and this would greatly benefit Malaysia.
He said in promoting Malaysia’s agriculture products, especially local fruits, he planned to organise a promotional event in conjunction with the prime minister’s scheduled visit to the US this year.
Jamaluddin said Muhyiddin’s itinerary included meeting US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
He said Biden and Clinton had agreed to meet the deputy prime minister on Thursday and Friday respectively in Washington D.C. and this would be an honour for Malaysia.
Muhyiddin is also expected to meet with US government officials and corporate leaders to explain the efforts being made by the prime minister to strengthen Malaysia-US relations and to convey the message that US investors are encouraged to invest in Malaysia, and to hear their views.
Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister, will also meet Malaysian students studying in Boston and Washington in conjunction with his working visit.
He is expected to arrive here Sunday, leave for Washington on Thursday and depart for home from London on Saturday.