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Saturday April 26, 2014 MYT 2:01:00 PM
Saturday April 26, 2014 MYT 2:10:18 PM
An American flag is seen installed on the roadside with Malaysia landmark Kuala Tower on the background in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26 April 2014. - EPA
But Malaysia is a close trading partner of China and has resisted key aspects of Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on trade.
Obama also will have to tread a fine line between courting Prime Minister Najib Razak while acknowledging huge segments of society in multi-cultural Malaysia that are fed up with his corruption-plagued coalition which has been in power for 57 years.
Najib craves acceptance abroad, where he portrays himself as a reformer and religious moderate.
But the reality is one of a "corrupt and authoritarian regime," opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said in a statement Saturday that urged Obama to voice support for "freedom and democracy" in Malaysia.
"It would be an opportune moment to live up to the ideals Obama espoused in his campaign and the early days of his administration," Anwar said.
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