Bilateral relations continue to flourish under the new government

16 Apr 2019 / 17:09 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral relations between Malaysia and the United States (US) continue to flourish in many areas of cooperation under the new Malaysian government of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The US Ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, said the ties have been firmly established for many years and both sides will carry on with elevating the government-to-government and people-to-people ties.

“Our goal after the (Malaysian May 9, 2018 general election), and to these days is to work with the new government and to strengthen the relations that we have.

“We have many areas where we are already working together and we will still continue with many other things that we have done for years. We have also been talking to the new government if there are areas of cooperation that they have prioritised, and the US would focus on them as well.”

Kamala told Bernama this when asked to comment about the US-Malaysia ties under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in conjunction with the upcoming one-year reign of the new Malaysian government, which came to power in the historic 14th General Election on May 9 last year after the defeat of Barisan Nasional party’s 61-year rule.

The win for PH - a coalition of four parties comprising Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Parti Demokratik Malaysia (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) - and the appointment of Dr Mahathir as the seventh Prime Minister at the age of 92 have added to the significance of the said election.

Kamala, who was posted here in January 2017, pointed out that she too witnessed the peaceful political transition, adding that the US respects the choice made by the Malaysian people in the democratic exercise.

“I was here throughout the election, and I saw a year before the election, the election and the transition. We respect the decision of the Malaysian people as they have picked a new government,” she said.

She also noted that throughout the year with the new government, high-level visits from both sides have taken place.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was here on Aug 2, his first stop while on a Southeast Asian tour.

During his two-day visit, the US top diplomat had called on Dr Mahathir and congratulated him for his stunning May general election victory.

“Besides that, we (also) had the high-level engagements in the US. Actually, a number of ministers are going to the States this month and engaging with their counterparts, and there was one in between (the then) Defence Secretary James N. Mattis with Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu in September 2018.

“I expect the engagements will continue on,“ said Kamala.

The United States established diplomatic ties with Malaysia in 1957 following the then Malaya’s independence from British rule. Washington and Kuala Lumpur elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership in April 2014. — Bernama

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