Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Najib in London to enhance ties

DATUK Seri Najib Razak arrived here yesterday for a four-day working visit and will meet his British counterpart, David Cameron, to enhance bilateral ties.

LONDON: The prime minister, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, arrived at Farnborough Airport here from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania where he attended the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue.

The Najib-Cameron talks will be held on Thursday prior to both leaders unveiling a plaque to mark the commencement of the iconic Battersea Power Station redevelopment project.

The mixed-development multi-billion-ringgit project, on the south bank of River Thames, is being undertaken by the Malaysian consortium of Sime Darby Bhd, SP Setia Bhd and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Datuk Seri Zakaria Sulong, said he expected the two leaders to touch on various issues, especially on efforts to boost bilateral trade.

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"The value of Malaysia-UK trade last year stood at RM13 billion. The two prime ministers had previously expressed their wish to see bilateral trade figures reach double the amount by 2016," Zakaria told Malaysian journalists here.

Cameron, who took office in 2010, made an official visit to Malaysia in April last year, the first by a British prime minister since 1993.

The British premier's visit came after Najib made an official visit to the UK in July 2011.

Bilateral relations at the political level had since strengthened after almost 20 years of what has been described as a state of benign neglect, despite having strong linkages in fields such as trade, investment and education.

Zakaria also expected the leaders to touch on issues such as the Global Movement of Moderates and ongoing conflict in Syria.

However, it remained unclear if they would discuss issues of immigration, specifically those involving Malaysian "overstayers".

It is estimated that more than 20,000 Malaysians have overstayed to seek employment in the UK after their visas expired.

Najib will also, among others, launch the IM4U Outreach Centre here today and meet 130 Felda-sponsored students at Limkokwing University tomorrow before attending a briefing on the World Islamic Economic Forum to be held here in October.

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