In his meeting with US Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson in Washington, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi discussed how the US and Malaysia could jointly work out a formula to stamp out human trafficking.
Malaysia, which hosts about 6 million foreigners, including about 4 million illegal immigrants, will send a group of immigration officers to a training program under US Customs and Border Security Agency.
Taking center stage was the war against the Islamic State militants (IS). Since Malaysia has been accused of providing trainings to militant groups - amid proof that some Malaysians had joined IS - it will augur well in controlling and applying a brake on them.
The mechanism of monitoring was also discussed at length during Zahid's 3-hour meeting with CIA director John Brennan in Washington, before they met again at a CIA-hosted dinner at the Potomac River.
It is important for Malaysia and the US to focus on eradicating radical and extremist ideology among youths. Combating this menace together will not come easy but a continuous cooperation on both sides (that has been forged since 1975) will be further strengthened.
Zahid, who met FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano, said the US government still lacked the proper mechanism to rehabilitate extremist groups.
“We face a daunting task in combating extremism, especially when such ideas are spread widely through social media,” he said, adding that the IS threat in Iraq and Syria was also discussed.His meeting also touched the effort to expedite the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) to the United States, which was brought up during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Edward R. Royce during their meeting on Tuesday.
During his visit, Dr Ahmad Zahid was also briefed on Customs and border protection facilities at the National Targeting Centre for Passengers and Cargo in Washington.
At a separate event celebrating Malaysia’s 57th National Day and Armed Forces Day at the Malaysian Embassy, Dr Ahmad Zahid praised the strong diplomatic relations between both countries that had been forged since 1957.
“This cooperation will be extended to preventing trans-border crime through a memorandum of understanding, which was signed in 2012 in Putrajaya,” he said.
"I have received a briefing on the programme and told him (Royce) of our desire for the programme to be expedited.I think national security is most paramount. The reading thus far remands us - the government and rakyat - to work together in securing a stable and peaceful environment free of domestic and external threats.
"We also touched on bilateral relations between the two countries, in terms of a two-way trade and Malaysia's border security," he said following the meeting.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said he was still confident that Malaysia would be able to join the VWP in the next 18 months.
"The programme would enable Malaysians to enter US without applying for visas and will allow them to stay in the US for a maximum of 90 days for tourism or business purposes," he said.
When Zahid comes come, I hope everything he had learned in the US will be translated into action. Knowledge is to be applied...