I am deeply honored to appear before you today. It is a privilege to be President Obama’s nominee as United States Ambassador to Malaysia. I am grateful for the trust and confidence of President Obama and Secretary Clinton.
I would like to thank my wife Catherine, whose extraordinary love and support has made this day possible. And that of my children, Allie and Hale, since for us representing America abroad is a family business.
I am a senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister Counselor. I have served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires in the Philippines, Macedonia and at the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Most recently, I have served as Deputy Special Representative and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Afghanistan and Pakistan. If confirmed, I will rely on the skills and experience garnered from my past positions to strengthen U.S. relations with Malaysia, including the protection of American citizens and promotion of U.S. business.
Historically a crossroads between East and West for culture, commerce and religion, Malaysia is a significant regional and global partner for the United States. With a dynamic, growing economy, Malaysia is our 18th largest trading partner; many U.S. companies have significant investments. Malaysia is a diverse democracy encompassing several religions and ethnicities, with a Muslim majority, and is an important partner in the Obama administration’s engagement with Southeast Asia. Malaysia plays a leading role in several multilateral institutions, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Asia Pacific Economic Forum, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
U.S.-Malaysian relations are showing signs of growth. The number of Malaysians studying in the United States is increasing after a decade of decline, and we see opportunities for expanded cooperation in science and technology, especially with respect to environmental and health issues. Malaysia’s passage of a comprehensive export control law promises to strengthen non-proliferation and counter-terrorism cooperation. Malaysia’s recent decision to deploy medical/reconstruction support troops to Afghanistan will contribute to international stabilization efforts. Malaysia is considering joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would further expand bilateral trade. U.S.-Malaysian military engagement is strong. The continued strengthening of democracy and rule of law in Malaysia remains a priority interest for the United States. U.S.-Malaysian senior-level interactions have expanded, most notably with the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Najib on April 12 in Washington.
If confirmed, I hope to deepen the partnership between our countries. I look forward to working with you and all members of your committee. I would be pleased to address your comments and questions.