WASHINGTON ― Malaysia has a value proposition for the United States that is mutually beneficial for both countries, said Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday (Sept 12).
“We have not come here to ask for money. We have come to show that we are a rising star that has achieved so much,” said the Malaysian leader to about 300 of his countrymen who are either living in the US or are studying here.
Talking about his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump, Mr Najib said the country had shown consistent growth with the last quarter figures at 5.4 per cent.
“When I spoke to President Trump earlier this year by phone to congratulate him on his inauguration, he asked me how was the Malaysian economy.
“I told him that we were growing by about 5 per cent and President Trump remarked that he wished the US had the same numbers and that it would make him very happy if the US grew like Malaysia,” Mr Najib said.
The Malaysian prime minister is on a four-day working trip to the US on the invitation of Mr Trump. He is the second South-east Asian leader to be invited by the US president to come to the White House since Mr Trump took office in June.
He pointed out that despite the US being 30 times larger than Malaysia in terms of land size, Malaysia was the US’ 18th largest trading partner while the US was Malaysia’s number three.
Stressing that Malaysia also invests in the US, Mr Najib said: “Our EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and Khazanah Nasional have made significant investments in the US while several of our GLCs are also eyeing opportunities to do so that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.”
He also said that Malaysia was close to many other countries like China and Japan, but “our partnership with the US should be valued".
Mr Najib said he would also impress on the Trump administration that Malaysia can be a partner in fighting extremism and terrorism.
“We are here to propagate the authentic Islam and we believe that our interpretation of Islam is the true way.
“We in Malaysia, despite our diversity, have been able to live together peacefully because of this and I am sure our policy will hold us in good stead.”
Addressing the issue raised by the Opposition back home, he told his audience of how well the Malaysian economy had grown with trade figures in the first eight months at over RM1 trillion ― a growth of 22 per cent.
“Does this sound like a failed state as claimed by the Opposition back home? Does this sound as if we on a slippery slope?
Mr Najib also reminded the Malaysian diaspora to be proud of the country and to be its emissaries in the US.
He said the government was doing a lot for the country and introduced the development of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the Pan-Borneo Highway and the high-speed rail links to Singapore and the east coast.
“We are doing this because we have a vision for Malaysia to be among the leading nations in the world. We do not want Malaysia to be just another developing country. We want to be right at the top.
“We are also doing this for the young and so that they would inherit a strong and promising country.”