Najib, Trump in talks at White House

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The president is set to host the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, at the White House Tuesday morning.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that no efforts had been made to make the premier stay at the president's hotel and that Razak made a "personal decision".

Najib's visit to the White House comes under the cloud of a massive corruption scandal involving the 1MDB state fund that he founded.

The Malaysian leader was warmly welcomed by Trump on arrival for their one-on-one meeting at the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in what is Najib's first visit to the official workplace and residence of the U.S. president.

But it has been at the center of investigations in the United States and several countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

The U.S. Justice Department sued to seize some $1.7 billion in assets it said were bought with misappropriated 1MDB funds.

Trump greeted Najib earlier upon the latter's arrival for a closed-door meeting between the two leaders.

Appearing with Mr Trump at the White House, Mr Najib said he would like to invest in Mr Trump's infrastructure programme.

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The Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times posted video of Najib entering Trump International Hotel.

He is then scheduled to hold a meeting with USA secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who made an official visit to Malaysia in early August when he held discussions with Najib in Putrajaya. Trump said the deal is worth $10 billion to $20 billion.

Observers have noted that the line-up reflected the significance accorded by Washington under the Trump administration to the meeting in terms of opening a new chapter in its ties with Malaysia, a multicultural and multireligious nation of some 30 million people in vibrant Southeast Asia. "We're very proud of our stock market, what's happened since I became president".

Senior opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said many Malaysians viewed Najib's White House visit as a "national humiliation and shame" as he is tainted by the 1MDB financial saga.

Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, Malaysian Ambassador to the United States Tan Sri Dr Zulhasnan Rafique and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

A senior USA official acknowledged it was unusual to meet with Najib while 1MDB was under regulatory scrutiny.

The South China Sea will also be part of the talks, as will trade and investment, Sanders said.

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