MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday welcomed the victory of new Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and sought for stronger ties between Manila and Kuala Lumpur.
Marcos, who earlier described Anwar as his "good friend," said during a telephone call that his win would "make Malaysia and the Philippines even closer because we will be in touch with another.”
He noted the stronger relationship between the two neighboring countries is important because of similar challenges they face such as inflation and issues on agricultural commodities.
"I just wanted to be --- to immediately – to be one of the first to congratulate you because I’m very happy to hear the news. I was very happy to hear the news and I wanted to congratulate you immediately myself,” said Marcos.
"I saw your statement that the economy will be your first priority. And I found myself in the same position. So we can – I think we can help each other with Malaysia and the Philippines,” he added.
Anwar, an opposition leader, thanked the Philippine leader for the call and said their two countries "have always enjoyed strong cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums."
He also sought the country's cooperation on trade and investments.
Anwar, 75, was named prime minister by Malaysia's king after days of a political deadlock resulting from an inconclusive election.
A firebrand youth activist during his student days, Anwar has spoken of his admiration for Philippine revolutionary hero Jose Rizal, describing him as "a true Asian renaissance man."
— with a report from Agence France-Presse