Talks fo­cus on boost­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: Bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, trade-re­lated mat­ters, ter­ror­ism and in­ter­na­tional is­sues of mu­tual con­cern were dis­cussed by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak and vis­it­ing United States Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son here on Tues­day.

Tiller­son kicked off his two-day work­ing visit to Malaysia with a meeting with Na­jib at the lat­ter’s of­fice in Par­lia­ment af­ter he landed at an air base on the out­skirts here.

The 50-minute meeting, a sig­nal of af­fir­ma­tion of the com­mit­ment by the US un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to strengthen bi­lat­eral ties, was at­tended by For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman and US am­bas­sador to Malaysia Ka­mala Shirin Lakhd­hir.

Tiller­son has been in this re­gion since Aug 5.

He trav­elled to Manila, the Philip­pines, to take part in sev­eral re­gional meet­ings, in­clud­ing the Asean Re­gional Fo­rum and the US-Asean Min­is­te­rial Meeting.

He was in Thailand prior to his visit to Malaysia.

Yes­ter­day, se­cu­rity is­sues, in­clud­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing and bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Malaysia and the US, were among the is­sues dis­cussed be­tween Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi and Tiller­son.

Zahid said dur­ing the 40minute meeting with Tiller­son, they talked about se­cu­rity de­vel­op­ments and re­gional and in­ter­na­tional is­sues of com­mon in­ter­est.

“Hope­fully, in­ter­ac­tion be­tween lead­ers of both coun­tries could strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and be a cat­a­lyst to en­hanc­ing ties and un­der­stand­ing be­tween Malaysia and the US,” he said at Par­lia­ment here yes­ter­day.

Tiller­son, who is on a two-day

work­ing visit to Malaysia, is the first US high-rank­ing of­fi­cial un­der Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to visit the coun­try since be­ing ap­pointed sec­re­tary of state on Feb 1.

On com­bat­ing threats of trans­bor­der crime, in­clud­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing, Zahid said Malaysia needed to forge a co­op­er­a­tion with its strate­gic part­ners, in­clud­ing the US.

He said Malaysia’s ini­tia­tives in tack­ling th­ese is­sues had been

recog­nised by the US De­part­ment of State in its 2017 An­nual Re­port, which had placed Malaysia at Level Two.

He said Malaysia achieved Level Two com­pared with Level Two (Ob­ser­va­tion) last year as it had shown im­prove­ment in terms of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion (100 cases this year), as well as en­force­ment.

“This is the best achieve­ment by Malaysia since it in­tro­duced the Anti-Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons and Smug­gling of Mi­grants Act in 2007,” he said, ad­ding that Malaysia was aim­ing to achieve Level One in the US De­part­ment of State Re­port for 2020.

On bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Zahid said Malaysia and the US had signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) in ad­dress­ing trans­bor­der crime on July 17, 2012, and an­other MoU on im­mi­gra­tion co­op­er­a­tion on Oct 1, 2014.

“Both par­ties should ap­ply the two MoUs to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in iden­ti­fy­ing cur­rent and fu­ture trans­bor­der crime, as well as mi­gra­tion and other re­lated is­sues.”

In com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism, Zahid said Malaysia and the US had signed a doc­u­ment on shar­ing in­for­ma­tion on ter­ror­ism — Home­land Se­cu­rity Pres­i­den­tial Di­rec­tive (HSPD-6) — on Oct 8, 2015, which listed in­di­vid­u­als sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in ter­ror­ism.

He said Malaysia and the US shared the view that ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism should be mon­i­tored, es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia, to curb the men­ace.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the US was Malaysia’s third big­gest trade part­ner, while trade from Malaysia was the 18th big­gest to the US last year.

The vol­ume of trade be­tween Malaysia and the US was worth US$32.78 bil­lion (RM141 bil­lion) last year. Ber­nama


Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi and United States Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son (right) at Par­lia­ment in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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