REMBAU, April 30 – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that he saw great chemistry between the United States (US) President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak throughout the former’s three-day visit to Malaysia last week. Khairy, who is the president’s minister-in-attendance for the visit, said both leaders were seen so comfortable with each other during their bilateral meetings. “The two leaders also had a four-eye meeting and when they concluded the meeting, I could clearly see that there was a great chemistry between them,” he told reporters when asked about his experience of being the minister-in-attendance for Obama during the visit, here Tuesday. Khairy said he also managed to convey his views on youth and Islam to Obama before the president left for the Philippines yesterday.
“Among the things I said was to have continuous initiatives for youth. I also thanked him for spending most of his time here with the young people, including students of Universiti Malaya,” he said. Last Sunday, Obama met with approximately 400 young Southeast Asian leaders at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, where he stressed, among others, on the importance of listening to the voices of the young people, while encouraging cooperation between young leaders in the Southeast Asia and the US. Khairy said he also told Obama that Muslim world should change the Western perception of security to education, economic and development. “I told the president that his speech at the meeting in UM, which touches on the change of Western perception of the Muslim world from revolving around security issues to issues of development, economy and education was accurate and that I hoped he would continue spreading the message.
“He (Obama) said he would definitely continue spreading the message as it was important for us to develop the young generation, especially in the Muslim world, in terms of education and human capital. So, I really saw his approach as accurate in the context of youth,” he said. Khairy said Obama, who was raised in Indonesia, also understood the challenges faced by the Southeast Asian countries. Khairy said there were some lighter moments when Obama told his officers to try to eat durian. “At a luncheon Seri Perdana, the prime minister served durian to the US President. He (Obama) said he had tasted the fruit when he was young in Indonesia and that he had enough of it. Then, he made all his officer try the fruit,” Khairy said. At the lunch, in which steak and salmon were served, Obama also chose to have nasi goreng kampung alongside an ayam kampung and an ikan patin dish, Khairy added.