Washington appreciates our contributions, says Zahid


(Bernama) – The willingness of the United States’ administration to have close cooperation with Malaysia in matters concerning terrorism, cross-border crime and visa exemption will open a new era in bilateral relations, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he saw the positive attitude of US leaders towards Putrajaya following the conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations in Atlanta recently.

However, this development did not mean Malaysia should “kow tow” to the United States, he told a gathering of Malaysians at the official residence of Malaysian Ambassador Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin here.

The group had gathered there on Saturday in conjunction with the inaugural National Sports Day celebration in Malaysia.

“Good friends should not kow tow but they appreciate our contribution especially in resolving the problems of terrorism and cross-border crime,” he added.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said that during his meetings with US leaders here, he could feel the respect accorded to him.

“Although we are a small nation while the United States is a major power, the feeling of respect exists and we see the chemistry in the discussions that they appreciate what is being done by Malaysia,” he said.

Prior to Dr Ahmad Zahid’s visit here, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York while International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed was in Atlanta to conclude the TPPA negotiations.

On the TPPA, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the United States understood and respected Malaysia’s policy which must be protected when the cooperation came into force.

As such, he said there should be no doubt from anyone in Malaysia that national policies would be ignored.

On the visa-waiver programme, Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysians should appreciate the recognition when the country becomes the 39th to join the programme.

“I received positive comments that Malaysians who are in the United States are capable and professional and always look after the image of the country,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said Malaysia will study the structure of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) for adoption by the National Disaster Management Agency which was formed on Sept 2.

He said the Fema structure had undergone vast improvement following the experience gained in handling disasters in the United States such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.