KUALA LUMPUR: The partnership and friendship between Malaysia and the United States (US) remains strong, and the deep relationship continues.
US ambassador Brian McFeeters said this was despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessary restrictions in place, which resulted in meeting some people for the first time.
"The last two years have been a time of great stress and anxiety for all of us.
"We worked from home, or at least tried to. We postponed travel, cancelled reunions and missed family events. We know people who have lost jobs or struggled financially, and some of us very unfortunately have lost loved ones and friends.
"Distances grew between us as we eagerly awaited vaccines," said McFeeters, adding that, nevertheless, the US and Malaysia remained resilient.
"In fact, we owe this night in many ways, to the exceptional efforts of the Malaysian government to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the country, and to vaccinate vaast majority of its citizens.
"I am proud that the US was able to contribute to this noble and lifesaving cause by donating one million vaccines almost exactly one year ago," he said at the 247th US Independence Day reception at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Present were Malaysia's Senior International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, the ambassador's wife Melanie McFeeters, US embassy senior defence attache Capt Muhammad Muzzafar 'Zeff" Feroze Khan and his wife Shenaz Hessaun Ally-Khan.
Also there were Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative programme alumni - who go by the motto 'Never too young to lead' - and are involved in initiatives that impact communities across Malaysia and Asean.
The reception, themed 'Culinary Road Trip of the United States', saw the presentation of the colours by the Marine Corps detachment guard and a performance by the US Pacific Fleet band from Hawaii – which also played the Malaysian national anthem 'Negaraku' and the US' 'Star-Spangled Banner'.
McFeeters said the US was promoting an 'open road' for visitors to tour his country - to explore, experience and make connections.
"We welcome Malaysians to make a 'road trip' across America, stopping for some of our wonderful regional cuisines.
"We have on display two exciting ways to explore the open road: The classic Harley Davidson motorcycle, which exemplifies the independent spirit of our country; and Tesla automobiles, demonstrating the needed transition toward electric vehicles. We are proud of these examples of the American spirit, and its exciting future."
McFeeters last May had joined Azmin for part of his road trip across America.
"Azmin travelled to both the east and west coasts, meeting a range of US companies and letting them know that Malaysia really welcomes US businesses.
"I learned that he is interested in high-technology investments, digital trade, clean energy and many of the things America does so well.
"We work in partnership with Malaysia on all our embassy's top priorities - promoting business and investment, security cooperation, people-to-people ties and educational exchanges.
"Many of the US strengths are also Malaysia's strengths, and we are both stronger when we think, act and strive together.
"The open road lies ahead of us. And I hope we can all, together, make that journey," he said