‘Old’ Dr M meets ‘young’ Trudeau in bilateral meet

Boo Su-Lyn
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Apec Summit in Port Moresby November 17, 2018. ― Picture courtesy of Information Department of Malaysia

PORT MORESBY, Nov 17 ― Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad held a bilateral meeting here today with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2018 Summit.

Dr Mahathir is the oldest prime minister in the world at 93, while Trudeau is half his age at 46, among the world's youngest national leaders.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told the press yesterday that Dr Mahathir would likely talk about trade relations with Canada, while Canada was interested in meeting Malaysia because the Western country was seeking a position on the United Nations Security Council.

“One common issue that might be brought up by both leaders is the situation in Myanmar because Canada has of late been very interested in Myanmar, in the Rohingya issue,” Saifuddin said yesterday.

Canadian press recently reported that Canada was concerned over reported proposals for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar amid ongoing violence.

Thomson Reuters Foundation reported earlier this month that Bangladesh declined Canada's offer to take in Rohingya refugees, as the South Asian nation plans to move ahead with repatriating them to Myanmar.

Dr Mahathir told the Asean Summit in Singapore last week that Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was trying to “defend the indefensible” by downplaying the massacre of the Rohingya people.

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