IT does not look like Donald Trump will be returning Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to him in the United States, as Malaysia is not on the list of countries that the US president will be stopping at on his first visit to Asia.
The White House today announced that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hawaii, from November 3-14.
“The President will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral, and cultural engagements—including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit—demonstrating his continued commitment to the alliances and partnerships of the United States in the region,” it said in a statement.
It said Trump would discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security, with emphasis on the “importance of fair and reciprocal economic ties with America’s trade partners”.
During his visit to the United States on September 12, Najib pledged billions of dollars of investment in the US economy from the Employees Provident Fund and Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
He also witnessed the signing of a MoU for Malaysia Airlines Bhd to purchase RM42 billion worth of aircraft from American aircraft maker Boeing.
Public opinion of these “investments” have generally been unfavourable, with Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Azmin Ali accusing prime minister of selling out the country for a “photo op” with the US leader.
The American media, meanwhile, had censured Trump for hosting a leader known to be corrupt and an authoritarian.
Days before Najib was due at the presidential residence, the New York Times ran an article headlined “Malaysian leader in billion-dollar scandal is invited to White House.“
It said the invitation to Najib shows that the Trump administration places concerns about corruption well behind other issues.
The US Department of Justice has linked Najib with an investigation into embezzlement and money laundering through the US financial system.
The DoJ earlier this year filed civil suits to seize assets, from high-end real estate to artworks worth about US$1.7 billion that it said were stolen from state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT