Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Obama questioned Najib on his New Economic Model

Obama brings up topic of New Economic Model with Najib

WASHINGTON: Malaysia’s New Economic Model (NEM) was one of the issues discussed during the bilateral meeting between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and US President Barack Obama.

Obama, who raised the topic, wanted to know more about the NEM’s implementation.

The Prime Minister said he informed Obama of the Government’s goal of transforming Malaysia into a high-income economy and its liberalising policy.

“I explained that although Malaysia has been successful in its development approach in the past, it does not mean we will continue to be successful unless we look at a package that is more in tune with the new environment and can spur further development,” Najib said at a briefing for Malaysian journalists on Monday night.

Najib added that he brought up the example of Coca Cola investing RM1bil to illustrate how Malaysia had managed to convince huge American firms to invest in the country.

On his meeting with Obama that was held on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Najib was optimistic it would pave the way for “a new beginning” that could lead to a broad, multi-faceted development.

“Economic and trade investment will be a key component of our bilateral ties as we move forward because the US is a big source, not only in terms of an export market for our manufacturing industry but also a source for new technology such as ICT and biotechnology.”

He pointed out that most fund managers and venture capitalists were US-based.

“There are thus a host of economic opportunities that we can leverage on if we have good bilateral ties with the US,” Najib said.

He also stressed on collaboration in terms of security, counter-terrorism and sharing of information under bilateral ties, saying:

“Equally important to us is making the world a safer place.”

Najib said he extended an invitation to Obama to visit Malaysia, adding that the last president to step into the country did so in 1966.

Apart from meeting Obama, Najib also attended a working lunch with US vice-president Joe Biden and later had a face-to-face meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

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