Clinton set to pave the way for warmer US-Malaysia ties
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday continued a two-day visit to Malaysia aimed at improving ties with the mainly Muslim country, dpa reported.
Clinton, who arrived in the capital Kuala Lumpur late Monday, will be meeting top officials including Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is standing in for Premier Najib Razak who was diagnosed with chicken pox over the weekend.
Clinton is also scheduled later to meet opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is fighting sex charges that threaten to see him jailed for up to 20 years.
Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges in 1998, claims the charges are trumped up to crush his three-party opposition alliance.
In a bid to downplay the meeting with Anwar, US embassy officials in Kuala Lumpur have declined to confirm or give details of Tuesday's meeting.
Washington's long-standing support for Anwar has been a thorn in the side of relations between the two governments.
Ties were especially rocky during the 22-year reign of former premier Mahathir Mohamad, a strong critic of the West.
Clinton is also due to address a crowd of students at the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilisation where she will answer questions on US foreign policy.
Clinton is the first US secretary of state to make a bilateral visit to Malaysia since Warren Christopher in 1995. Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice visited Malaysia in a multilateral context in 2006 to attend a regional forum.
Malaysia is the fifth stop on an Asia tour that has taken Clinton to Guam, Vietnam, China and Cambodia. She is still to visit Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa.