Clinton bids farewell with Malaysia-America Boleh!??
By Lee Wei Lian
November 03, 2010
SUBANG, Nov 3 — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up her whirlwind three-day visit to Malaysia this morning on a positive note, saying the two nations should work together for mutual prosperity and punctuated the call with a local battle cry for effect.

The former first lady and 2008 presidential hopeful charmed the crowd at the Subang Skypark today, where she was scheduled to depart for Papua New Guinea, with her glibness when she spoke for about seven minutes on the “deep ties” between the two countries.

“This is my first trip to Malaysia and I can guarantee you, it is not my last,” she began.

Clinton went on to talk about the business partnerships between the two countries and praised Malaysia for its economic progress, adding that it had the “right kind of growth” that was balanced, long-term and inclusive.

“What you’ve done is exactly what we hope for in the broader region,” she said. “You are creating good jobs and raising incomes and uplifting people out of poverty, people who are now finally having the chance to fulfil their own dreams.”

She expressed satisfaction that Malaysia agreed to join negotiations in the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, which she described as a regional trade agreement that would promote shared success, expand markets and build a level playing field for workers in participating countries.

“The days of going it alone in the global economy are over,” Clinton warned. “Building shared prosperity is a goal that we can only achieve together.”

“I know we have the determination, the talent and we have the deep ties between the two countries at the government to government, business to business and people to people level.”

Clinton then concluded her speech with a crowd-pleasing nod to local expression.

“I want to end with what I hear is a Malaysian expression of national resolve. So, Malaysia-America Boleh!”

The visit by the US secretary of state marked a further warming in diplomatic relations with the world’s last remaining superpower under the Najib administration, after frosty ties under former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is widely known for his stridently critical views of the US that are often seen as bordering on anti-Western.

In April, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak held a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama, just one year after taking office.

Clinton’s visit had been surrounded by intense speculation she would visit Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, currently on trial for sodomy, a charge many in Washington circles view as politically-motivated.

A face-to-face meeting could potentially have put the Najib administration in an awkward position at a time of rapidly improving diplomatic ties, but the secretary of state appeared to be trying to avoid offending the government by only making a telephone call to Anwar instead.

Malaysian Ambassador to the US, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis who was also present later, told reporters that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was scheduled to visit Malaysia later this month.

Clinton’s departure also coincided with a showcase by Malaysia Airlines of its partnership with US companies, Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, and GE at the Subang airport.

The national carrier took delivery of its new Boeing 737-800 earlier this week, the first of up to 55 new planes of the model, and 50 Pratt and Whitney engines which would power its new Airbus A330 planes.

“Malaysia Airlines is proud to partner with Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, and GE as these partnerships are the backbone of our operations,” said Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid in a statement to the media.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who was also at the airport to officiate the showcase, said Malaysia would work with the US to broaden and deepen the relationship and that Clinton’s visit was timely as it would strengthen bilateral ties.

Clinton said in her speech that the aviation trade would create high-paying skilled jobs in both countries as while the Pratt and Whitney engines are built in the US, the maintenance of the engines are done in Malaysia.

“This puts us back on the path to prosperity,” she said.