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Friday, April 16, 2010

A photo op is all we got? Kit Siang raises questions over Najib-Obama meet

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15: Ipoh Timur Member of Parliament Lim Kit Siang today questioned whether prime minister Najib Razak, who spent RM77 million to engage Apco Worldwide as his image consultant, had benefited from his 40-minute meeting with US president Barack Obama apart from "a photo op and new image projection at home".


"What did Malaysia get from the US side in the trip of the Malaysian Prime Minister to the United States? Thus far there does not appear to have been much apart from the 40 minute conversation with Obama and some other meetings with US officials.
"Perhaps the most direct benefit was in terms of a photo op and image projection at home in Malaysia," said Lim in his speech during a debate on the foreign ministry's supplementary budget in the Dewan Rakyat.
'Has Malaysia succumbed to US pressure?'
Lim urged the government to explain reports that Malaysia had succumbed to pressure from the United States, particularly its agreement to join the TransPacific Partnership in lieu of the Free Trade Agreement.
"I understand that the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis is pushing for a mutual investment agreement, but this is not going to actually benefit much," he said.
On Najib's support for US-led sanctions on Iran, Lim said it could affect national oil company Petronas's huge investments.
He also urged the government to come clean on reports that the controversy over the caning sentence meted out by the Pahang Shariah court on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno had been settled after pressure from Washington.
Quoting a Washington Post report today, which said that the Obama administration demanded Malaysia adopt stricter import and export controls to prevent it from being a smuggling point for nuclear technology, Lim demanded an explanation on what had transpired.
"Is it correct that Malaysia has succumbed to pressure from the United States?" he asked.


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