LONDON: The meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday reaffirmed the strong ties both countries have enjoyed since Malaysia achieved its independence 60 years ago. Najib, who arrived from Washington, the United States, after a meeting with President Donald Trump last Tuesday, regarded the meetings with these world leaders as most significant as it demonstrated their acknowledgement of Malaysia as a global player. “Our views are being given serious consideration by them including President Donald Trump,” he said after a 40-minute meeting, which he regarded as fruitful and productive. “Britain and Malaysia are old partners. My discussions with Prime Minister May confirmed the depth of our friendship, and we look forward to working together to forge a prosperous and secure future for our peoples. “We reaffirmed the strong ties between Malaysia and the United Kingdom. “Yes, she (May) mentioned that it is significant; 60 years of independence, 60 years of bilateral ties with the UK and it gives us a good opportunity to look ahead and to strengthen, revive and resuscitate our longstanding relationship,” he said. Najib said in addition to the shared values and history, the UK was seeking a new relationship with friends and partners around the world as it leaves the European Union.
“Malaysia is well positioned to add value, being strategically located at the heart of Southeast Asia, with strong links to the Muslim world and China,” he said. Najib had conveyed to May that Malaysia would be ready to do business with the UK post-Brexit. “They will need new partners, new trade deals. So, Malaysia stands ready; Malaysia is well poised and can add value proposition to whatever plans UK might have post Brexit,” he said outside 10 Downing Street after the meeting. He said as an outward-looking trading nation, which the World Bank recently said was facing the future “from a position of strength”, Malaysia welcomed the opportunity to have a closer economic partnership with the UK. “I assured Prime Minister May that Malaysia will be happy to discuss setting up a trade arrangement between our countries as soon as possible. We know that trade will benefit our economies and our peoples.” The issue of terrorism was also high on the agenda during their discussions. “The UK and Malaysia stand united on the need to fight terrorism and violent extremism. We mourn those who have died in the recent attacks in the UK.
“Malaysia is ready to share its expertise and experience in combating the threat from those who blaspheme the name of Islam by falsely claiming that their atrocities are Islamic,” he said, adding that cooperation would be strengthened in areas of counterterrorism, in the fight against IS. “They are our common enemy, we will work with the UK and other countries to eliminate this scourge and this threat.” On the plight of the Rohingya, he said: “Prime Minister May and I agreed that the international community must come together to find a solution to bring to an end a crisis that has shocked the region and the world.” Najib, who arrived in London with his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was accompanied to the meeting by, among others, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK and Northern Ireland Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi. According to a Downing Street spokesman, May also took the opportunity to express her condolences to Najib for the loss of lives in the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire.