WASHINGTON: The US visa waiver programme for Malaysia is expected to be raised when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak meets US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Malaysian ambassador to the US Tan Sri Dr Zulhasnan Rafique said Malaysia has met six of the seven conditions laid out by the US but stuck at the approval rate for visa which should be above 97%.
"The rejection rate is about 3.4%. We have asked that this is to be one of the things to be raised at the meeting.
"We have discussed this with the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur and the State Department many times. The embassy in Kuala Lumpur can't control the rejection rate because application is done by individuals," he told the media here when briefing on the Prime Minister's working visit to Washington.
Malaysia expressed its desire to participate in the US visa waiver programme during talks between Najib and the then US President Barack Obama when he visited Malaysia in April 2014.
The programme would enable Malaysians to enter and stay in the US without a visa for a maximum of 90 days for tourism and business.
Najib is scheduled to arrive here on Sept 11 with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and accompanied by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Zulhasnan said the Prime Minister who is here at the invitation of Trump said the timing of the visit was significant as it marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the US.
"This visit seeks to advance and strengthen ties and set the tone and future direction for bilateral and international collaboration.
"It gives an opportunity to impress upon the US the importance of Malaysia as an able partner in the fight against terrorism, as a voice of moderation and pragmatism as well as a dynamic and progressive Muslim-majority country," he added.
Zulhasnan said Trump and Najib would be holding a four-eyed meeting at the Oval Office.
This will be followed by a delegation meeting with Trump's Cabinet members and senior advisors including Vice President Mike Pence, State Secretary Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff Gen John Kelly, National Security Advisor Lt Gen H.R. Mcmaster and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner.
Issues relating to regional security and global threats are also expected to feature prominently at the meeting apart from cooperation in the fields of economy, counter terrorism, science and technology.
During the three-day working visit, the Prime Minister will meet the chairman and members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at the Capitol building and witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Malaysia Airlines and Boeing Aircraft Corporation.