Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak warmly welcomed by Presiden Donald Trump on arrival for their one-on-one meeting at the White House. The discussion with Trump was the highlight of Najib's Sept 11-13 working visit to the US at the invitation of the 45th US president following 60 years of bilateral relations. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: A Barisan Nasional leader has lambasted the opposition for criticising the commitments made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during his working visit to the United States this week.

Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Pakatan Harapan should refrain from commenting on international diplomacy, saying the opposition had no understanding of its intricacies and sensitivities.

“There is little doubt that our prime minister has had a sterling record in international diplomacy and relations.

“He has our country’s best interest in mind, and unlike Pakatan Harapan, he knows what he is doing,” he said in a statement today.

He said it was unbelievable that many Pakatan Harapan leaders were shocked when Najib pointed out recently that Malaysia’s trade and investments flowed to the US.

He said it was as if they had not been “reading the news” for the past few years.

Rahman said the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), for example, had issued various statements on its diversification of overseas investments to minimise risk and maximise returns.

“As of the first quarter of 2017, EPF’s total assets invested reached RM747 billion, whereas the total value of all companies listed on our entire Bursa Malaysia stock market is at around the RM1.7 trillion mark.

“Due to the enormous size of EPF’s funds now, diversification overseas is a necessity and no longer just an option,” he said.

He added that in July last year, EPF removed the 30 per cent cap on foreign investments for their Members Investment Scheme, and allowed its members to invest in funds that fully invested overseas.

EPF data, he said, shown that its overseas investments accounted for 29 per cent of its total investment assets.

He added that EPF contributed 37 per cent of the total investment income in the first quarter of 2017.

“In fact, in the past two years’ dividend announcements, the EPF had specifically stated that good returns from their overseas investments had allowed EPF to deliver good dividends despite a slower domestic market.

“Hence, it is shocking that our local opposition politicians are seemingly unaware of these developments.”

Rahman also said Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAS) purchase of Boeing planes was not a new development.

He said it was already widely reported that MAS had signed a deal to purchase new jets in July 2016, with orders for 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets and rights to purchase 25 more in a deal valued at US$5.5 billion (RM23.11 billion) at list prices.

Rahman said it was also reported in August that MAS was already deep in negotiations to purchase 30 more new Boeing 786 or Airbus jets to allow the airline to continue growing its routes and business, following the success of its restructuring and its current growth.

“MAS’ purchases of new planes is not news at all. However, it seems to have caught opposition politicians by surprise.

“Instead of praising the success of MAS’ restructuring, these politicians are questioning MAS’ motives as if the long-planned and widely-reported purchase of new planes had been a sudden decision.

“On top of this, many of our local politicians seem blissfully unaware that back in March, Malaysia was listed as one of the 16 countries that the US government wants to investigate as a ‘trade cheat’ due to our continuing significant trade surpluses with the US.”

He said therefore, there was nothing wrong with Najib reassuring the US that Malaysia understood trade goes both ways, and that there is significant trade and investment flowing from Malaysia to the US.

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