'Malaysia very happy with Obama's plans for Muslim world'
Malaysian Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he was "happy" new US President Barack Obama plans to engage the Muslim world, but wants action and a less confrontational approach.world Updated: Jan 22, 2009 12:05 IST
Malaysian Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday said he was "happy" new US President Barack Obama plans to engage the Muslim world, but wants action and a less confrontational approach.
Abdullah was responding to Obama's inaugural speech, in which the president promised to "seek a new way forward" with the Muslim world, "based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
"(Obama) said the right thing (which) we are very happy with," Abdullah told state news agency Bernama.
"We welcome his statement but we will like to see action to be taken," he added.
"I welcome his inaugural speech and I am sure there will be a big change in the foreign policy of the United States, especially on certain aspects that are regarded as very confrontational."
Although the premier did not elaborate on what the confrontational aspects were, he hoped Obama's pledge would pave the way towards a "new US attitude" when addressing problems faced by the Muslim world.
Malaysia and the US are in the middle of long-running free trade negotiations that have become bogged down over sensitive areas including Malaysia's system of affirmative action for Muslim Malays who dominate the multiracial population.
Abdullah has said Malaysia is hopeful it will be able to strike a better deal under an Obama administration.