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Busy, busy days for Najib

By Saturday November 12th, 2011 No Comments

HONOLULU: It has been an extremely busy three weeks for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at least in his calendar of foreign travels.

Barely two days after returning from Saudi Arabia, it is time to pack his bags again for a much longer journey to Hawaii to attend the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here over the weekend.

In the past few weeks, the Prime Minister has travelled to Indonesia, China, Australia and twice to Saudi Arabia, once to attend the funeral of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Abdulaziz, and then again a few days later to perform his haj.

Immediately after Apec, Najib will fly to Indonesia again, this time to Bali for the East Asia Summit.

Just three weeks ago, he was in Lombok for his annual consultation with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“He is back in Malaysia for one or two days and it is back on the road again for the Prime Minister.

“It is back-to-back trips, he must be feeling tired,” said an official from the Prime Minister’s Office.

If he is feeling fatigue, Najib is not showing any of it as he attended official functions back home including chairing the Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting and the national Deepavali celebrations.

It is not going to be a walk in the park in Honululu either.

A flurry of activities have been arranged for him during the 60 hours he will be spending in Hawaii, including attending meetings and delivering a speech at the East West Centre an education and research organisation to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific and the United States.

When he arrives in Honolulu today, Najib will join leaders from 20 other economies, including China, Japan, Russia and Asean to attend the summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.

Obama is taking advantage of the Apec summit to hold meetings on the sidelines with eight leaders Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Chile and Peru where they are expected to announce they have reached the broad outlines of a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

Japan is expected to announce its intention to join the pact, further boosting the TPP.

At the East West Centre, Najib will speak on the global movement of moderates, an initiative which the Prime Minister has been tirelessly promoting at every international meeting he has participated in the past year.

Malaysian officials said Najib was expected to talk about the reforms in the Malaysian context and how the Government had been responsive to the changing times while bringing about stability to the country.

“He wants to illustrate the point that this is the heart of Malaysia’s story,” said an official.

As for the Apec summit, Europe’s escalating debt troubles are expected to overshadow the gathering.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who met with Apec finance ministers ahead of the leaders summit here said Europe remained the central challenge to global growth and must move quickly to restore financial stability.

The Chinese president’s presence here will be closely scrutinised by the international media.

Just days before Hu Jintao arrived yesterday, China had already caused ripples when a government official criticised US goals of establishing the free trade pact and reducing tariffs on green goods within Apec bloc at the summit, describing the goals as too ambitious for some developing nations.

“It seems that the current goals put out by the US side are too ambitious and beyond the reach of developing countries,” assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong said.

So in the next two days, any remark by Hu or Obama will be closely monitored and interpreted by the media.

Source : The Star

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