Trump meeting with Malaysian prime minister under scrutiny

Najib There's more freedom in M'sia now

Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who accompanied Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on his working visit to the US from September 11-13, will hold separate discussions with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this week that the Justice Department investigations were not expected to arise when Trump meets Razak in the Oval Office.

Najib's visit to the White House comes under the cloud of a massive corruption scandal involving the 1MDB state fund that he founded. It reads, "Today, President Trump will welcome Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia to the White House". But it has been at the center of investigations in the USA and several countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

The White House refused to say whether the issue will come up, and has tried to shift the focus onto relations with a key partner in South East Asia.

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Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence, the president crossed his arms and listened raptly as Najib described Malaysia's purchase of billions of dollars' worth of aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing.

Trump is also likely to reiterate thanks for Malaysia's efforts to assist the USS John S. McCain, which collided with a tanker as the destroyer was on its way to Singapore, tearing a huge hole in the hull and leaving 10 sailors dead.

He is then scheduled to hold a meeting with U.S. secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who made an official visit to Malaysia in early August when he held discussions with Najib in Putrajaya.

Najib had once enjoyed close ties with Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, playing golf with the Democratic president in Hawaii in 2014.

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Industry sources told the news agency that the announcement of the deal, worth more than US$1.8 billion (RM7.6 billion) at list prices, would be made following a meeting between Donald Trump and Najib, who is visiting the White House at the invitation of the U.S. president.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, second from left, speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Washington. The US media criticised Mr Trump for hosting a premier linked to kleptocracy investigations by the Department of Justice and accused of authoritarian rule.

A senior US official acknowledged it was unusual to meet with Najib while 1MDB was under regulatory scrutiny. "I'm not aware that that was ever discussed", Sanders said.

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