KUALA LUMPUR: The long-awaited moment of a United States presidential visit to Malaysia is edging closer with President Barack Obama set to depart Washington today.
His earlier planned historic trip here was put off last October due to the budget standoff which led to a partial US government shutdown.
With no stumbling block this time around, the red carpet will be rolled out for the 44th President of the US who will step out of Air Force One at the RMAF base in Subang on Saturday afternoon.
Obama, who will not be accompanied by First Lady Michelle, will be in Tokyo and Seoul before spending two nights here.
A formal welcome ceremony is scheduled at Parliament Square to be followed by an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and a state banquet at Istana Negara.
On Sunday, there will be no rest for Obama with a host of events lined up beginning with a stopover at the US Embassy in Jalan Tun Razak and cultural visit to Masjid Negara.
Then, there will be official talks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya, signing of MoUs to be witnessed by both leaders, and the launch of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MaGIC) in Cyberjaya which aims to transform Malaysia into a dynamic entrepreneurial nation.
The highlight will be a town hall session at Universiti Malaya with young leaders selected from the 10 Asean nations.
According to officials, the president is also scheduled to meet Malaysian civil rights leaders.
On Monday morning, Obama will witness the signing of several corporate agreements before leaving for Manila.
Special Envoy to the United States Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the US leader’s visit was set to re-energise the growing bilateral ties.
“We have long waited for the US president and Malaysia is ready to show him what we have,” he added.