KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's warm reception during his visit to the United States proves that Malaysia is recognised as one of its main strategic partners in Asia.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said Najib's visit, on the invitation of US president Donald Trump, also demonstrates that the US views Malaysia as a global player in world politics.
"Thirdly, (the visit) is important to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations of both countries. What's being celebrated is the bilateral support (the two countries enjoy) for mutual benefit," he said in a blog posting today.
He said Najib showed "great determination" when putting forth three proposals to the US, with the aim of strengthening ties with the country as a trading partner. The US, he added, is Malaysia's second-largest trading partner after Japan.
Salleh said during his meeting with Trump, Najib had committed to increase the number of Boeing planes for Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS); raised Malaysia’s intention to make an additional investment of US$3 billion to US$4 billion (RM12.6 billion to RM16.76 billion) to support infrastructure redevelopment in the US; and to increase Malaysia's investment in Silicon Valley.
"From Jan until May 2016, and May 2017, our country's trade volume with America increased by 23.3 per cent, from RM55.3 billion (US$13.5 billion) in 2016, to RM68.2 billion (US$15.4 billion) in 2017," he said.
Salleh also said many were surprised when Najib announced plans to purchase 25 Boeing 737 planes, with some questioning their necessity and whether the country can afford them.
But Salleh said economists had pointed out that the move is a good one, adding that MAS has been recording financial growth this year.
MAS chief executive officer Peter Bellew, he added, also announced that the airline’s passenger revenue in the second quarter of this year increased by 8 per cent.
"According to this data, how can we say that Malaysia is a failed state? If we are a failed state, we would not be able to help America.
"So, stop the propaganda by saying that we are ‘kleptocratic’ or a ‘failed state’. It is time for us to be optimistic and look at the Prime Minister's efforts to develop investment in the US as something positive for our nation.
"America has already recognised us as an important global political player in contributing to global peace. Congratulations!" he added.