Prime Minister of Malaysia to grow medical tourism


PATTAYA, April 10 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Razak says he does not feel uncomfortable by the fact that he is attending the Asean Summit for the first time in his capacity as prime minister as he had been attending many such meetings in the past in different capacities.

Najib, who became premier on April 3, said he was fortunate that former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had given him a lot of exposure and opportunities in the past, including the last Apec Summit where many world leaders also attended.

"I don’t feel anything awkward or uncomfortable (over here). I just feel quite pleasant. In fact, when I described myself as a new kid around the block, they (the other leaders) said, ‘No, no, you are not a new kid on the block, we have known you for a long time’.

"So, it is a source of great comfort that I am a familiar figure, a familiar face to all of them. I know them for a long, long time," he told the Malaysian media here after meeting Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei on the sidelines of the 14th Asean Summit and related summits, here, tonight.

Leaders from nine other Asean countries and their dialogue partners from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India are attending the summits.

Najib, who arrived here with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor this afternoon, said even the Sultan of Brunei said that they had known each other for many years.

Furthermore, he said, the current Asean leaders had been around for a while and he had met them before in his previous capacity.

On his bilateral meeting with Sultan Hassanal, he said both countries had agreed to explore cooperation in medical tourism, education and energy.

In this regard, Najib said people in Brunei were being encouraged to choose Malaysia as a destination for medical tourism and education as the Malaysian facilities were of high quality and cost-competitive.

On outstanding issues like the boundary with Brunei, he said they would be discussed by a working group and a proper statement would be issued after the matter had been finalised.

Referring to issues that were of interest to him at the summits, he said the main agenda would be to cope with the global financial and economic crisis.

The report from the recent G20 meeting in London and its impact on this region will be among the main areas of focus as well as the Chiangmai Initiative.

Najib said he was happy that China and Japan wanted to contribute more to the swap arrangement, which had been increased from US$80 billion to US$120 billion.

He also said that his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd had contacted him a few days ago to say that he was looking forward to a bilateral meeting.

The Malaysian premier said he was also keen to know more about the green technology that Australia had developed, especially in the field of power production using coal.

Najib said the issue of Asean’s commitment to maritime security in the region would be re-affirmed as this was of great interest to the Japanese and South Koreans.