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Obama arrives in Malaysia on landmark visit

Malaysia on Saturday rolled out the red carpet for US President Barack Obama, who is in Kuala Lumpur as part of a four-nation whirlwind tour of Asia.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Saturday rolled out the red carpet for US President Barack Obama.

Mr Obama is in Kuala Lumpur as part of a four-nation whirlwind tour of Asia.

He was welcomed at Parliament Square amid tight security by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Also present was the Malaysian King Tuanku Muadzam Abdul Halim.

With large strides, the lanky president finished inspecting the royal guard of honour in less than two minutes, and he hopes to make similar big strides in bilateral relations during his three-day visit.

The first by a sitting president in almost 50 years, Mr Obama's trip comes as Kuala Lumpur faces mounting criticism over its handling of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared without a trace seven weeks ago.

The US president has offered continued support to Malaysia in the search for the still missing flight.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is the public face in the search operation, said he was happy with the words of encouragement that Mr Obama gave him.

Mr Hishammuddin said: "He knows that there is a tough, long road ahead, and he said that we'll work together, and the support is always there. So it's something that I'm very happy (about).”

Also present at the ceremony was Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Hui Kang. He welcomed the offer of help from Mr Obama.

Mr Huang said: "We welcome the support from the United States."

Mr Obama has a huge fan base in Malaysia, some of whom he will meet at events with young Asian leaders and entrepreneurs on Sunday.

He will also be holding talks with Mr Najib, all in a bid to show that the US is serious about its rebalancing towards Asia.

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