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Tuesday April 29, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday April 29, 2014 MYT 8:14:38 AM
by christine cheah
SUBANG: In contrast to a rainy Saturday that had greeted him on his arrival, Barack Obama left the country for Manila on a bright and sunny morning.
The US President’s convoy reached the Royal Malaysian Air Force base here at 10.15am yesterday. Riding with the commander-in-chief in Cadillac One was his national security adviser Susan Rice.
On hand at the tarmac to bid the US delegation goodbye were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and the minister-in-attendance, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who appeared in high spirits on a glorious morning that marked the end of Obama’s successful three-day visit to Malaysia.
The atmosphere felt relaxed, with even the security seeming less rigid than on the day Obama arrived.
The beautiful weather probably helped.
Anifah shook Obama’s hand, followed by Khairy, who had an almost-minute-long chat and banter with the US leader before he walked past the guard-of-honour.
The first US President to be in Malaysia in almost 50 years looked refreshed and as relaxed as he was when he met youth leaders from
the South-East Asian region at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
There were no signs of strain or fatigue after a packed itinerary on his tour that began on April 23 in Japan before moving on to South Korea. Malaysia was next and the Philippines is the final stop of his four-nation Asian date.
Looking smart in a dark blue suit and his signature checked blue tie, Obama was seen off by the same Malaysian delegates who greeted him on Saturday.
They included Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim, Special Envoy to the United States Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, Americas Division under-secretary Datuk Syed Sultan Mohd Idris and ambassador-designate to the United States Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin. Also present was US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun.
Obama then hurried up the airstairs and turned to give the entourage, who included the media, a final wave and smile before stepping into the Boeing 747-200B jet at 10.20am.
About 10 minutes later, Air Force One took off. And that ended the historic visit of a President of the United States, who charmed and inspired Malaysians with his leadership, humility and affable nature.
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