President Duterte, Prime Minister Najib Razak tackle security, economy in bilateral talks

KUALA LUMPUR — Visiting President Rodrigo R. Duterte met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia, on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

Prime Minister Najib received President Duterte at the Prime Minister’s Office, together with his delegation led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Following the President’s inspection of the Malaysian honor guards, the two leaders proceeded to their bilateral meeting with the view to strengthening overall bilateral relations by fostering closer security cooperation and promoting more trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

In an interview after the bilateral meeting, Secretary Yasay said that among the agenda discussed is how to further strengthen bilateral relationship, and how to foster vigorous trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

Securing their respective borders was also tackled, including fighting piracy, criminality, hostage taking and so on, Yasay added.

According to Yasay, the two leaders agreed on reviving or strengthening the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“We know that despite the fact that this was conceived in the 1990s, we have not really moved forward as vigorously as we’ve wanted to, we’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities in developing that area that we wanted to develop for the peoples in the region,” Yasay noted.

The Philippines and Malaysia have deep and longstanding relations as the two countries are neighbors in ASEAN.