PUTRAJAYA: Visiting US Senator Christopher Bond has this message for all Americans: “Keep on coming to Malaysia.”
Complimenting Malaysia for its excellent job in combating terrorism in the region, he said the travel advisory issued by the US State Department should not deter his countrymen from visiting the country.
“We routinely notify our travellers about areas that may be of concern and for them to be cautious as Americans are often subject to terrorist attacks.
“But my message to the people in the United States and Missouri, where I am from, is that this is a wonderful place to visit and we wish we could spend more time here. My new bride and I are here, and so are US scientists and our colleagues.
“There is so much to learn and see in Malaysia,” he told reporters at the Marriott Hotel here yesterday.
Bond explained that the travel advisory was not “against Malaysia” and that the extra security procedures put in place for Malaysians travelling to US were “equally burdensome to me”.
“I have flown out of the Kansas City airport 17 times since the Sept 11 attacks and I have been subjected to 15 times of thorough searches. It is somewhat burdensome but it is a process we must all go through and part of the caution we must exercise,” he said.
Bond, a senator representing Missouri since 1985, arrived in Malaysia on New Year's Day for a three-day working visit with a delegation of American scientists and businessmen. Also present at the press conference was US Ambassador Marie T. Huhtala.
During his visit, Bond met Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Defence Minister Datuk Seri
Najib Tun Razak and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
Bond said the United States could certainly not offer any new recommendations to Malaysia on ways to effectively combat terrorist activities.
“In fact, we are learning from you. We are looking forward to the establishment of the counter-terrorism centre.”
Huhtala said the US government hoped to help by providing instructors and preparing curriculum for the centre and “whatever else Malaysia is willing for us to do.”
On his meeting with Dr Mahathir, Bond said he wanted to convey the thanks of the American people on the “excellent relationship” between the Prime Minister and US President George W. Bush, and on the co-operation in a wide range of issues.
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