US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to visit the White House next month
The White House press secretary released a statement on Wednesday, 23 August, saying that the visit is scheduled to take place on 12 September.
"President Trump looks forward to celebrating the 60th anniversary of United States-Malaysia bilateral relations and discussing ways to strengthen and broaden our bilateral relationship and expand regional cooperation with one of America’s closest partners in Southeast Asia," the statement read.
The Malaysian Insight said in a report that Najib will be heading to the US for a three-day visit from 10 September until 12 September
It was reported that he would be meeting senior politicians from both political parties in the US and pay respects to the 911 memorial in New York during the visit.
"It is understood that Putrajaya wanted to announce the visit only after two major events, the Sea Games and the Merdeka Day celebrations, to get maximum exposure in the media," read the report by the news portal.
The upcoming visit by the Malaysian premier to the US gained widespread attention when The Wall Street Journal broke the news
The Journal wrote about how Najib is "eager" to strengthen his ties with Trump at a time when his brainchild, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), is being investigated for alleged money-laundering by at least six countries including the US, Singapore and Switzerland.
The US' Department of Justice (DoJ) is conducting a criminal probe on 1MDB and it has it has filed dozens of civil lawsuits in the last two years to seize assets worth USD540 million (RM2.3 billion) that are allegedly looted from the fund.
The Journal cited sources close to Najib as saying that he would likely use the White House visit to "try to play down the possibility of further investigations".
Najib and Trump have been dubbed as "golfing buddies"
According to media reports, the duo have played the sport together at Trump's Bedminster resort in New Jersey years ago.
It was also learned that they posed for a photo together with the late Malaysian ambassador to the US, Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis, at the end of the game.
The photo was reported to have been autographed by Trump and inscribed with the words, "To my favourite Prime Minister. Great win!"