THE daylight hours are really long in London in the summer. It takes visitors a bit of time to get adjusted to seeing such a bright “night” at 9pm.
Imagine As ar prayers a bo ut 6.30pm and Maghr ib at 9.16pm! If this was the month of Ramadan, fasting would start about 3.30am.
Temperatures are in the lower 20ºC, which makes walkabouts bearable.
This, then, was the setting for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s official visit to the United Kingdom, which ended on Friday.
The man was focused on strengthening bilateral relations with the British government, with several min – isters in tow. Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were part of the entourage.
Mida director-general Datuk Jalilah Baba and Securities Commission chief Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar made up the female contingent, enabling Najib to remark that the Malaysian government is made up of its fair share of women power.
Na jib ’s engagement with the British government included a lunch meeting with his counterpart, David Cameron. Apparently, the change in the date of the event triggered rumours in the social media that Cameron had snubbed Najib. Cameron had to answer questions in Parliament on the mobile phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, forcing his appointment with Najib to be moved from Wednesday to Thursday.
For good measure, on the same day, Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, also had an audience with Queen Elizabeth.
Najib had two main objectives for this visit: to strengthen relationship with British leaders, and to share with them and British businessmen the way forward for Malaysia in business and economic collaboration.
It is important to note that such high-level interactions would help forge warmer and closer ties in both the political and diplomatic areas.
Najib made a pertinent point to reflect on the changing landscape in global geo-economic trends. This was amply highlighted at the Global Investment Forum organised by Mida in London on Friday and attended by British and Malaysian businessmen.
“We ’re not sitting at opposite ends of the see-saw. Instead, as national economies become global and our interests become more intertwined, we find ourselves increasingly coming together in the middle.
“It may seem crowded at times, and it may feel a little uncomfortable, but in today’s new global world, we cannot afford to stare straight past each other in stony isolation, watching each other’s ups and downs from af ar,” Najib said.
This led him to share his concept of moderation, which he first mentioned in his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly last year. His concept for a global movement of moderation rejects all forms of extremism, a point which was also applauded by Muslim leaders whom he met just before Friday prayers. Najib, in his speech, said: “If you are still thinking in terms of East versus West, I’m afraid you are stuck in the past! “The old assumptions and expectations no longer apply. We live in an age where Portugal looks to Brazil, its former colony, for help in dealing with its economic problems… a world where the Olympics is coming to London but the World Cup is going to Qatar.” Najib drew from his personal experience in giving another dimension to his hope for a better and more meaningful future.
“Forty-five years ago, I travelled to the UK to study industrial economics.
Industry was the major growth area of the day and Britain — the home of Richard Arkwright, of George Stephenson, of Frank Whittle — wa s the place to learn about it.
“Today, the ‘new normal’ puts Asia the US, and I have high hopes that in a few years from now, we will see students flocking from the West to study at Eastern universities.” Najib also carried another consistent message to his audience vis-avis the New Economic Model (NEM), which is intended to deliver real action to raise the role of the private sector and make Malaysia an even more attractive proposition for global investors.
His message: “The NEM will cut red tape and enhance investment incentives… the role of government must be to support industry, not stifle it. We must stand behind you, not stand in your way.”
Source : New Straits Times