By Datuk Syed Nadzri
(Group Editor of New Straits Times)
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives in Canberra tonight for a series of high-profile meetings and gatherings, reciprocating his Australian counterpart's Kuala Lumpur stay last year.
The three-day visit will see Najib both in Canberra and in Melbourne and includes the ratification of a memorandum of understanding on sports development, which takes place tomorrow after a bilateral meeting.
Among the areas of collaboration being sought from Australia, which has an excellent sport culture, are:
- training and friendly matches for Malaysian athletes in Australia for hockey (men and women), football, swimming, cycling and athletics;
- coaching expertise to train our athletes in hockey, swimming, cycling and athletics;
- technical expertise in medical and sports science;
- continuing with the training of Malaysian national cyclists in Melbourne under the supervision of coach John Beasly; and,
- continuing with the training of aquatics elite athletes under Paul Thomas Birmingham in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, will be accorded a formal welcome at Sydney's Parliament House tomorrow.
He and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will then begin bilateral talks and hold a joint press conference.