Obama says spoke to Najib of transparency, accountability

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (right) talk during the gala dinner at the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 21, 2015. — Reuters pic© Provided by The Malay Mail Online US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (right) talk during the gala dinner at the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — US President Barack Obama confirmed today he has spoken directly with Datuk Seri Najib Razak on transparency and accountability as the hallmarks of a prosperous country.

However, the world leader declined to comment on Malaysian controversies when questioned at a news conference during the Asean Summit here.

“I don’t comment on investigations happening back in the US. I’m certainly not going to comment on any investigations or legal proceedings that is taking place in a foreign country when I’m a visitor,” he told reporters.

Instead, he said he spoke with Najib on how a country’s wealth is affected by the government’s commitment to transparency, accountability and ending corruption.

“But I did raise with Prime Minister Najib, as I have with many leaders here in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and everywhere I go, the importance of transparency and accountability, the importance of rooting out corruption, all of which are impediments to developments, all of which hold countries back, contribute to poverty and stunted growth,” he told reporters, when asked his message to Najib on state investments and the jailing of political opponents.

Obama also said that if a country does not resolve their corruption issues, it would “fail” despite being rich with natural resources.

Najib was reported by financial news wire Bloomberg yesterday as saying that Malaysia will be “taking into account some” of the US president’s views, and is committed to reforms. – Malay Mail

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