President Maithripala Sirisena in his last official visit to Malaysia had an epoch meeting with Prime Minister elect Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who has been sworn as the world’s oldest elected leader.
President Sirisena in his last official visit to Malaysia insisted on meeting with Dr. Mohamad despite diplomatic obstacles then.
Mohamad under whose rule Malaysia experienced a period of rapid modernisation and economic growth, responded immediately to President Sirisena’s request and met him for a discussion which lasted several hours.
The 92-year-old former leader Mahathir Mohamad won a fiercely contested general election, ending the 60-year rule of the Malay-dominated National Front yesterday.
President Sirisena during his last visit is said to have personally called the former Malaysian leader and had expressed his desire to meet him while also describing the diplomatic obstacles which stood in between.
Following the President’s call on Dr. Mohamad who was in the opposition at that time, had immediately arrived at the hotel which President Sirisena was in and had a meeting which lasted for several hours.
When the former Malaysian leader had asked President Sirisena about the issues facing his country, the latter had replied that foreign debt is a major issue.
Mohamad had promptly replied “It is you who has to get out of this debt trap. If you take more loans you will be further burdened with this issue. When our country was faced with the same issue during my rule, financial institutions came to me and offered more loans at a concessionary interest rates. But I did not agree to their terms. I tried to develop the economy using the country’s resources and our own development plans.Ultimately these paid dividends. If you look at our history, you will see how successful this was”.
The two leaders had spent several hours getting to know each other, forging a strong personal bond.
Courtesy – Daily News