Najib tells of meeting of minds with Jokowi


JAKARTA: The Prime Minister, Najib Razak, says he has a good relationship with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and can work agreeably with the Indonesian leader to strengthen existing bilateral ties.

“He is affable and sincere. We have similar perspectives on many issues,” he said in an interview with Metro TV aired here last night.

He described Jokowi as a ‘man of the people’ even before he became president. When he had assumed the presidency, he had seen how important it was for both countries to work closely with each other.

Although certain issues such as maritime border and the detention of Malaysian fishermen by Indonesian authorities were still pending, these could be settled diplomatically and would not dampen relations.

When asked about the people’s regard for him as Prime Minister, he said he was thankful that he was still favourably received whenever he goes to the ground.

“I meet the people and I see the rousing welcome when I go to the ground and Alhamdulillah, it makes me feel happy. Even though the accusations are numerous, which is normal in politics, the reality is, we must get the support and confidence of the people,” he said.

Although he was forced to take unpopular actions such as fuel subsidy rationalisation, Najib said he was confident that the people would eventually understand that it had been the right decision in the interest of the country.

On Malaysia’s success in fighting terrorism, he said it was because Malaysia believed in preemptive action and giving power to the court to institute preemptive punishment.

“We need to do it through many ways. Firstly, we must realise that it is a real threat and give preemptive power to the authorities to take action, don’t give preemptive power to the executive,” he said.

He said in this way, the authorities could detain anyone suspected of terrorism and bring the evidence to the court.

If the government were to “wait for something to happen” and only then act, it might be too late and detrimental for the people and the country, the prime minister said.