PUTRAJAYA - Washington is prepared to consider a visa waiver for Malaysians but it won't be done "overnight", said President Barack Obama.
Acknowledging that the visa issue was raised during his bilateral talks yesterday, he said the United States had a very clear set of laws and provisions in terms of how a country qualified to be part of its Visa Waiver Programme.
"But given the growing and expanding trade that exists and the people-to-people relations between Malaysia and the United States, I want to make sure that we can start down a path.
"It may take a little bit of time, but we welcome the opportunity to engage with the (Malaysian) Govern-ment on this issue," he said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Visa Waiver Programme allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less.
To date, 37 countries come under the programme. They include Brunei, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.
Najib thanked Obama for agreeing to consider Malaysia's participation in the programme.