KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — The Dewan Rakyat and the United States (US) House of Representatives will maintain an open line of communication in order to improve relations between the two Houses and learn from each other, said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun.
In a press conference in Parliament today, Azhar said that aside from agreeing to keep the lines of communication open, he and US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi also discussed other matters involving Malaysia and the US, as well as global issues.
He said that among the issues discussed were the contentious palm oil issue, as well as Malaysia’s Tier 3 ranking in the US State Department’s human trafficking report 2022, adding that both Speakers agreed for more engagement between the two administrations.
“Among the items we discussed was the palm oil issue, which has been a long and controversial issue between us, and we would like to find a way to have more engagements between the two governments to take this issue to task.
“We also discussed Malaysia’s position on Tier 3 of the US State Department report on human trafficking, and I would like to say now, that at 12pm earlier, the home minister has given his report to Parliament,” he told reporters here.
Azhar then stressed that Malaysia has nothing to hide with regards to the allegations lobbed at Malaysia’s palm oil industry and hopes that multilateral engagements between the US and Malaysia can be formed to find a win-win situation for all parties.
He also stressed that Malaysia is taking strong steps to improve the human trafficking situation, adding that the topic would be discussed between Pelosi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during their meeting.
“We also discussed sustainability — which is the number one topic that is being discussed around the globe — as well as flooding, global warming and food security.
“Both Nancy and I hope that with this visit, specifically between the Malaysian Parliament and the US House of Representatives, our relations can be taken to the next level, and we have reached an agreement to keep an open line between our two Houses,” he said.
When asked about Pelosi’s response to their meeting, Azhar said that she was positive and excited about Malaysia.
“It was somewhat beyond her expectations, our situation, but she came with an open heart to learn from our experiences, and we also have an open heart to learn from them.
“In particular, on the parliamentary side, we talked about the establishment of special select committees that we are now just trying to cultivate, and I really hope to learn from the experience of the US in this matter because they have been using select committees for a long time,” he said.
Pelosi and her congressional delegation arrived in Malaysia earlier today, as part of an official visit to four Asian countries.
It is Pelosi’s maiden visit to Malaysia with Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also in the delegation list.
Pelosi is number three in the line of US presidential succession and the only woman who has served as the Speaker of US House of Representatives.
Azhar also pointed out that this was the first time a Speaker from the US House of Representatives has visited Malaysia officially.
Pelosi met with Azhar as a courtesy call in Dewan Rakyat at noon today before adjourning for a lunch meeting with Ismail Sabri at a leading hotel here.