WASHINGTON — United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday night (Sept 12) praised Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's efforts in fighting terrorism, as the two leaders met and held talks at the White House.
"Mr Najib has a major role in not allowing Isis and other terror groups to exist," Mr Trump said in using the other acronym for global terror group Islamic State (IS).
Mr Najib said Malaysia remained committed to fighting IS, Al Qaeda and other extremist groups.
He also said that supporting moderate and progressive Islamist countries is key to winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.
Malaysia has been on high alert since gunmen linked to the IS launched multiple attacks in Jakarta in January last year and has arrested hundreds of people over the past few years for suspected links to militant groups.
The alert was further elevated since IS-linked militants overran Marawi in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao in May.
Mr Najib is currently in the US for a three-day visit which started Monday at the invitation of Mr Trump as both Kuala Lumpur and Washington celebrates 60 years of bilateral ties.
The US leader greeted the Malaysian premier when the latter arrived at the West Wing of the White House at about 11.46am local time.
"@NajibRazak is being warmly welcomed by President Donald J Trump at the White House, Washington this morning," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted late last night.
Mr Najib had a one-on-one meeting with Mr Trump at the Oval Office before joining senior administration leaders from both countries for a delegation meeting.
This visit is important for Mr Najib, who faces a general election next year and wants to signal he is still welcome at the White House despite a criminal probe by the US Justice Department into state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Mr Najib founded the fund, which is facing money laundering probes in at least six countries including the US, Switzerland and Singapore. He has denied any wrongdoing.
On trade, Mr Trump said the two countries are discussing large trade pacts and a deal involving Boeing jets where Malaysia will purchase between US$10 billion (S$13.47 billion) and US$20 billion of Boeing jets and GE engines.
Mr Najib said Malaysia plans to invest between US$3 billion and US$4 billion to support US' infrastructure programme.
Earlier before meeting Mr Trump, Mr Najib said the US can count on Malaysia as a "staunch and steadfast friend", and the South-east Asian country's achievements proved that claims that it was a failed state were mere allegations.
"We bring to the table a great deal of value propositions. We are not here to ask for money from the US," said Mr Najib at a reception for Malaysians in the US.
"We come here as a rising star - a country that is successful and growing and determined to succeed and to be in top 20 in the world by 2050."
Highlighting Malaysia's achievements, Mr Najib said the country had shown consistent growth with the last quarter figures at 5.4 per cent.
Trade figures in the first eight months of this year exceeded RM1 trillion (S$) ― a growth of 22 per cent, he said.
"Does this sound like a failed state as claimed by the Opposition back home? Does this sound as if we on a slippery slope? Of course, this is untrue. The figures speak for itself."