Kuala Lumpur - President Barack Obama has postponed a visit
to Malaysia due to the US government shutdown, Prime Minister Najib Razak said
Obama was set to visit Malaysia for an address scheduled for
11 October as part of a four-country swing through Southeast Asia including
international summits in Indonesia and Brunei.
It is not immediately clear whether the budget crisis in
Washington will affect the rest of the US president's long-planned trip to
State news agency Bernama and other media outlets quoted
Najib as saying Obama's trip was now off.
He would send Secretary of State John Kerry to Malaysia in
his place, reports said.
"Obama expressed his disappointment that he was unable
to visit Malaysia as scheduled," Najib was quoted as saying by the
Malaysian Insider news website.
"However, the Secretary of State John Kerry will
come... as Obama's representative."
A spokeswoman in Najib's office confirmed the reports,
saying Kerry would step in for Obama during his planned speech at an
entrepreneurs summit in Kuala Lumpur on 11 October, but declined further comment.
The US president was also due to attend back-to-back summits
of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) bloc on the Indonesian island
of Bali and an East Asia summit in Brunei next week.
The Philippine government refused to comment on whether a
planned stop by Obama in Manila would be affected.
"As of yesterday, the trip was still proceeding and
pushing through. But given the situation [in the United States] we would
certainly understand if they had to cancel," Philippine government spokesperson
Ricky Carandang told AFP.
The White House has not yet announced any changes to Obama's
White House spokesperson Jay Carney on Tuesday said:
"We have no changes to announce to the president's schedule."