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KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today paid tribute to the strong bonds between Malaysia and the United States, saying the relationship was founded on the acceptance of and mutual respect for the differences between the two countries.
This was in addition to the efforts to identify the common objectives of the two countries, he said in a posting on his Facebook page.
Najib said he was confident that the mutually beneficial relationship would continue to thrive, driving progress and advancing the interests of both countries for years to come.
He was commenting on the visit of two United States senators, John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, to Malaysia more than a month ago. Najib had hosted them in Putrajaya.
McCain and Lieberman both gave Malaysia glowing reviews, praising the transformation of Malaysia's economic, political and social climate.
"This is something we should all be proud of - it has required our collective efforts, and this hard work has clearly caught the eyes of our friends abroad," Najib said.
The prime minister said the senators' visit was also an indication of the positive bilateral relations Malaysia has built with the U.S., a relationship bound by common values and shared strategic interests.
"Economically, the U.S. is one of Malaysia’s largest trading partners, with trade amounting to RM127 billion a year.
"We have more than 600 U.S. companies operating in Malaysia, with many more interested in investing this year.
"And knowledge is continually shared between our countries – a fact recently demonstrated by the introduction of educational reforms inspired by the U.S. that are helping us to solve school dropout rates," he said.
Najib said these bonds have meant that despite difficulties around the world, Malaysia-U.S. relationship has not wavered.
This, he said, was exemplified by the work of volunteers from the Peace Corps Organisation who have done so much to promote the livelihoods of many Malaysians.
"From the first 36 volunteers who were welcomed to these shores by my late father (and second prime minister), Tun Abdul Razak, over 50 years ago, more than 3,500 American volunteers have now come and worked hand-in-hand with Malaysians and improved lives across peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak," he said.
Najib also said that far from being one way traffic, Malaysia also had much to offer the U.S. and the wider world.
"Our moderate model of Islam is a force for good – and it is from having witnessed the benefits of this approach every day that I decided to call for a Global Movement of the Moderates in which all religions should come together in one voice to solve issues that plague the world today," he said.
Najib said that in Malaysia, "we are also guided by our philosophy of 1Malaysia, which has allowed Malaysians irrespective of ethnic or religious background to move together as one nation in the pursuit of our dreams and aspirations – and I believe it is a philosophy our friends in the international community can learn from".
He said it was this unique history and culture that had made Malaysia what it is today.
"And – just as Western nations fight to preserve their own traditions – we will remain steadfast in our commitment to our fundamental principles," he added. -- BERNAMA