WASHINGTON DC: United States President Donald Trump has commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his significant role in the fight against terrorism.
The Malaysian leader, he said, had taken measures to ensure that terror groups had no place in society.
“The prime minister has a major role in not allowing ISIS, or as you say Daesh, and others to exist. He has been very, very strong against terrorism in Malaysia and a great supporter from that stand point.
“So that’s a very important thing to the United States,” Trump said during Najib’s visit to the White House, here Tuesday.
Trump had earlier warmly welcomed Najib on his arrival at the White House for talks with the American president, the highlight of his Sept 11-13 working visit to Washington DC.
Besides a one-on-one meeting at the Oval Office, both leaders also presided over an expanded meeting between US and Malaysian delegations comprising cabinet members and senior government officials from both sides.
During the delegation meeting, Trump also expressed gratitude to Najib, who was in Washington DC at the president’s invitation, over Malaysian investments in the US.
In his remarks at the meeting, the prime minister delivered a strong message to the president that Malaysia stood shoulder to shoulder with the US in the fight against terror.
He acknowledged the Trump administration’s goal of making the US and the world safe, something that Najib said he was also striving to achieve for Malaysia and beyond.
“We’re committed to fighting Daesh, IS, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf – you name it. They’re the enemy of the US, they are also the enemy of Malaysia.
“And we’ll do our part to make sure that our part of the world is safe,” said Najib, alluding to terror groups that have wreaked havoc all over the world.
Najib also took the opportunity of his encounter with the leader of the world’s leading superpower to touch on the need to back moderate Muslim governments and win the hearts and minds of the Muslim community in a bid to combat the terrorism scourge.
“The key to it is to support moderate and progressive Muslim regimes and governments around the world because that is the true face of Islam, that’s the authentic face of Islam.
“The more you align with progressive and moderate regimes, the better it would be in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world,” the prime minister said.
The White House talks took place as Malaysia and the US celebrated 60 years of bilateral relations this year.
Najib underlined that the US had always been a long-standing partner of Malaysia.
“And this year is the 60th anniversary of our relationship. I hope that today’s meeting will make it even stronger in the years to come,” he said.
Trump and Najib greeted each other with a big smile and a warm handshake after the prime minister alighted from the car that brought him to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Both of them then posed for the assembled members of the media before the president ushered Najib to the Roosevelt Room to sign the guest book ahead of their talks.
Listed as participants of the delegation meeting on the US side were Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff General John Kelly, National Security Adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.
Observers have noted that the line-up reflected the significance accorded by Washington under the Trump administration to the meeting in terms of opening a new chapter in its ties with Malaysia, a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation of some 30 million people in vibrant Southeast Asia.
The Malaysian delegation comprised Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Ambassador to the US Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and National Security Council director-general Gen (R) Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin. – Bernama