US National Security Advisor Dr.Susan Rice tells Najib and Cohorts: Respect The Rule of Law

April 28, 2014

Goodbye, MalaysiaGoodbye, Mr.President and Thank You for coming to our Country. Thank You also for this reminder: “Malaysia won’t succeed if non-Muslims don’t have opportunity.”

US National Security Advisor Dr.Susan Rice tells Najib and Cohorts: Respect The Rule of Law

dr-susan-riceUS National Security Adviser Susan Rice (left) today met Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and expressed concern at a sodomy conviction against him that is widely seen as politically motivated.

Wrapping up a US visit to Malaysia led by President Barack Obama, Rice also called on the government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ensure the rule of law in the country.

“Ambassador Rice emphasised to Mr Anwar that the United States has followed his case closely, and that the decision to prosecute him and the trial have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the courts,” a White House statement said after their meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail on March 7 on charges he sodomised former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. He is free pending an appeal.

Anwar says the charge is false and part of a long-running government campaign to smear his name with charges of sodomy, which is illegal in Malaysia.The opposition has heavily eroded the ruling coalition’s control of parliament in recent elections.

Rice also said during the meeting that it was “critical for Malaysia to apply the rule Anwar-Kajangof law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia’s democracy and judiciary”.

Obama left Malaysia today morning for the Philippines as part of an Asian tour that also took him to Japan and South Korea.

The President nudged Najib in a joint press briefing yesterday to ensure rights were protected, but also indicated the issue was unlikely to stand in the way of US plans to improve ties with Malaysia. Obama is keen to shore up US engagement with a region in which China’s increasing assertiveness is causing growing alarm.

Anwar released a statement after the Rice meeting, saying he told her that US-Malaysia ties should include not just trade and security and other traditional issues but also “human rights, good governance and democracy”.

The US administration raised eyebrows by leaving Anwar off Obama’s list of appointments. But the President said sending his senior foreign policy official to the meeting signalled the importance he attached to it.

Malaysia’s ruling regime has kept a tight grip on power for decades, often jailing or pressuring opponents with court charges.Critics say it has launched a clampdown on rights and free expression since Anwar’s opposition won the popular vote in elections last year for the first time.

Najib retained power due in part to an electoral system favouring his coalition. – AFP, April 28, 2014.


Ambiga: We told President Obama what Najib didn’t

by Hafiz Yatim@

Members of the civil society presented Malaysia in its rawest form to US President Barack Obama during their nearly hour-long meeting with him yesterday.

Human rights group Hakam Associate President Ambiga Sreenevasen, who was among those present, shared with Malaysiakini what was discussed during the historic session with President Barack Obama.

“Some of the issues (raised) were the divisive politics, religious and racial extremism, discrimination, authoritarianism of the government by way of repressive legislation, free and fair elections and the rule of  law…,” Ambiga said.

Also highlighted were the charges against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and the persecution of the opposition by way of sedition charges and charges under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Obama, she said, was also briefed on how Malaysian authorities stifled the media.

“We made it clear (to the President)  that Malaysia was neither a  moderate Muslim nation nor was it a democracy in the true sense of the word,” the former Bar Council President added.

Ambiga’s views were similarly shared by Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, who said  Malaysia was neither a democratic nor a moderate country, and that old laws were used against the opposition, as highlighted by Bar Council president Christopher Leong, who were among those who met with Obama.

Earlier today, PKR Vice-President N Surendran also pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had mislead the public by saying that the Sodomy II case against Anwar was private action when it was the Attorney-General who initiated the charge.

Obama meets, Najib did not

Ambiga said Obama had put the civil society leaders at ease and that the meeting very informal, throughout.“Obama was concerned about what we raised and agreed with us on the importance of upholding the rule of law and human rights. Interestingly, he had apparently earlier said, at the town hall meeting (at Universiti Malaya) that Malaysia cannot prosper as a nation if there was discrimination against the non-Muslims.

“This is a significant statement by President Obama and needed to be said. Sadly, we decry such discrimination in other countries but do not fully appreciate the effects of such conduct on the future of our nation.”

As what had been reiterated by Maria (left), Christian Federation of Malaysia General Secretary Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri and Leong, Ambiga said the US President indicated he would raise these concerns with the Malaysian government when he could. Obama, Ambiga said, asked the NGOs to continue with their engagement on human rights issues.

She pointed out that lawyer Honey Tan, one of the proponents of the Universal Periodic Review and one of the participants, made an interesting observation, that while the Prime Minister Najib has not met with these members of civil society groups despite requests made, the US President has.

“Hence, we are very appreciative of the time the US President spent with us. MoreAmbiga importantly, I believe that this meeting sends out a powerful message that civil society plays a significant role in the advancement of democracy the world over,” Ambiga, a recipient of the  US International Women of Courage Award in 2009, said.

In reference to Obama’s statement at the state dinner that Malaysia should have, in the next generation, a better nation than the one given to us, Ambiga said in Malaysia’s case, the next generation was not being handed over a better Malaysia.

‘A divided nation for the next generation’

“We are handing them a nation divided by religion and race. Ultimately we recognise this is our battle to fight. For us it was important the President knew about Malaysia as it is, and put the human rights on the agenda of cooperation with the Malaysian government.”

Ambiga said while Najib had stated the Peaceful Assembly Act for shoring his reform image, he failed to admit that this law prohibits street protests and that opposition members are facing charges on the matter.

While Najib also declared that the government had nothing to do with Anwar’s sodomy trial, he failed to admit that it was the government that appealed against the High Court’s acquittal of Anwar.

She also described Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s immediate response to Obama by saying that Malaysia does not discriminate as not encouraging and Ambiga wondered whether there would be a change in the Malaysian government’s attitude towards human rights and civil society.


27 thoughts on “US National Security Advisor Dr.Susan Rice tells Najib and Cohorts: Respect The Rule of Law

  1. The conviction of Anwar Ibrahim is politically motivated. Our Prime Minister is not telling the truth and we all know that. He naively assumes that President Obama is not fully briefed on the matter by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Rice and the White House staff, and the State Department officials. –Din Merican

  2. Din,
    Who is Susan Rice? As compared with Al Gore whose speech nearly causes Madhater to drop dead

    In case you don’t know, read below:

    Susan E. Rice was born on November 17, 1964, in Washington, D.C. She went on to study at Stanford University and the University of Oxford in Oxfordshire with a focus on international affairs. She worked with President Clinton as part of the National Security Council and oversaw African affairs, later working at the Brookings Institution. In 2009, she joined President Obama’s Cabinet, receiving Senate confirmation to be U.N. ambassador. In 2013, she was appointed national security adviser by Obama.

    Early Life

    U.N. Ambassador and foreign policy adviser Susan Elizabeth Rice was born in Washington, D.C., on November 17, 1964, to parents Lois Dickson Fitt and Emmett J. Rice. Rice’s family is well renowned among the Washington elite; father, Emmett, is a Cornell University economics professor and former governor of the Federal Reserve System, while mother Lois is an education policy researcher and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.

    Growing up, Rice’s family often spoke of politics and foreign policy at the dinner table. Her mother’s job also brought notable figures through the house, including Madeleine Albright, with whom Rice’s mother served with on a local school board. Albright would later become a pivotal figure in Rice’s personal and professional life.

    Rice attended National Cathedral School, a prep academy in Washington, D.C. She excelled in academics, becoming her class valedictorian, and showed her aptitude in the politic realm as president of the student council. She also loved athletics, competing in three different sports, and became a star point guard on the basketball team.

    After graduation, Rice attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. In college, she pushed herself to excel. She not only earned Departmental Honors and University Distinction, but also became a Harry S. Truman scholar, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and earned a Rhodes scholarship. She turned the heads of top administrators when she created a fund that withheld alumni donations until the university either stopped their investments in companies doing business in South Africa, or the country ended apartheid.

    Interest in Diplomacy

    After receiving her bachelor’s degree in history in 1986, Susan Rice went on to attend University of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. Here, she earned her M.Phil and D.Phil in international relations, and wrote a dissertation that examined Rhodesia’s transition from white rule. Her paper won the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Walter Frewen Lord Prize for outstanding research in the field of Commonwealth History, as well as the Chatham House-British International Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the United Kingdom in the field of International Relations.

    She finished her schooling in 1990, and started work as an international management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On Septmber 12, 1992, she married her Stanford romantic interest, Ian Cameron, who was working as a television producer in Toronto for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The couple lived in Canada until 1993, when Rice took a job with the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., under President Clinton.

    Rice began work as the director of international organizations and peacekeeping for the NSC, where she had what she calls her “most searing experience” when she visited Rwanda during what was later classified as a genocide. “I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of decomposing corpses outside and inside a church,” she said. “It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen. It makes you mad. It makes you determined. It makes you know that even if you’re the last lone voice and you believe you’re right, it is worth every bit of energy you can throw into it.” She took the lessons learned from her peacekeeping position to a new post as special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs in 1995.

    Government Appointments

    She quickly advanced ahead of her peers and veteran officials when her friend and mentor, Madeleine Albright, recommended Rice for the post of assistant secretary for African affairs in 1997. With her appointment, she became one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state ever. Many elder politicians disagreed with placing a young woman in the position, arguing that she would be unable to deal with older, male leaders. But Rice developed a reputation for her direct, plainspoken opinions, and an ability to bring people to her side of the table. “They have no choice but to deal with me on professional terms. I represent the United States of America,” she says. “Yeah, they may do a double take, but then they have to listen to what you say, how you say it and what you do about what you say.”

    During her tenure in this post, she also became well acquainted with the actions of the extremist group, Al Qaeda; she was the top diplomat for African issues during the 1998 terrorist bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

    Her involvement and rise into politics mirrored that of Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state under President George W. Bush. The two are both female, African-American, foreign policy experts who have ties to Stanford University. However, the two are not related. The mix-up has happened so often that Democrats have a saying about the confusion: “They’ve got their Rice, and we’ve got ours.”

    U.N. Ambassador

    Rice left the public sector in 2002 to become a senior fellow in foreign policy for the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. Their mission is to conduct independent research and provide recommendations to the government based on their findings. As a fellow, Rice specialized in research on U.S. foreign policy, weak and failing states, as well as the implications of global poverty and transnational security threats.

    Rice took leave from Brookings in 2008, to become the senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. After Obama’s successful election in November of 2008, Rice was nominated to be the U.N. Ambassador for the United States. On January 22, 2009, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, making her the first African-American woman to be America’s ambassador to the U.N.

    National Security Adviser

    In June 2013, Rice was named national security adviser by President Barack Obama, succeeding former adviser Tom Donilon. “I’m deeply honored and humbled to serve our country as your national security adviser,” Rice stated during an event held in Washington, D.C., to announce her new role, according to NBC News.

    Soon after the announcement was made, President Obama expressed his excitement to work with the newest adviser in a statement: “I am absolutely thrilled that she’ll be back at my side leading my national security team in my second term,” he said.

    Rice and her husband have two children, and currently reside in Washington, D.C.

  3. Let me get something off my wheezy, constricted chest.

    PR started weighing in on the TPPA ‘controversy’ by waging war on the idea. It was a knee-jerk reaction – anything proposed by the Goons must be shot down, trampled and voided. Right?

    So now you guys expect POTUS, who holds the syphilitic TPPA (as it stands, anyway) to pay homage to Anwar, the leader of the Rat Pack? That’s why Anwar was forced to concede that POTUS had to figure in “..that US-Malaysia ties should include not just trade and security and other traditional issues but also “human rights, good governance and democracy”.

    Time for Real-Politik.. Grow up!

  4. Din, thanks for posting. Both are good articles. The White House will be embarrassed to learn that Najib and Company barred Malaysiakini and the other news websites from the joint press conference with Obama. So at the very moment Obama is proclaiming Najib a reformer, Najib is demonstrating that he is not.
    Sorry, Ambassador Mallot,I have to say this–that Najib is not serious about anything. I am surprised that President Obama wants to do business with such a leader who can’t honour his words.–Din Merican.

  5. The important thing is – would the Malaysian Court pander to US or their `bread& butter’ Boss! To borrow a Malaysian comic punchline `Lu pike la sendiri, boh!’
    With time running out and KakWan `pasrah’ at 67 Anwar Ibrahim is set to get ready for Sg. Buloh. Barring, of course, a fervent wish among the Muslims (non-UMNOes) a major catastrophe happening to the Seri Perdana, a sign from Allah that one should not dishonour one’s own parents’ good deeds and moral values!
    Whatever course Najib has navigated for the past 6 years, this act alone will be a major disaster for this nation – just wait and see. AI is no karamah but because of the tainted Judiciary, this miscarriage of justice goes beyond the death of Karpal. His spirit will be watching all those corrupt and sinful in the corridors of Malaysian Judiciary.
    We will be fasting Ramadan at the end of June. We have a further 15 days of Rejab, 30 days of Shaaban prior to that. that 45 days we Muslims can focus to put an end to all these secular UMNO’s chicanery.
    Alas, we may see the fragmentation of Pakatan as well, with PAS going headlong into its Hudud Agenda!
    A beaten Anwar? Not by any chance, even if this stint in Sg.Buloh may kill his political career!
    Allahuakbar!!! No sinner can get away from Allah’s long arms of Hudud Laws so the offender better be prepared!

  6. Given what is happening to the courts, the US will insist any trade deal subject Malaysian players to courts outside Malaysia and enforceble here – the lost of soverignty issue – Najib can NEVER deliver on this on the TPPA,,

    I have said it before, there is NO WAY Najib can deliver on the TPPA – his track record shows his problems will only get more and he will have no political capital to deliver on TPPA. Obama wasted a trip if his goal was to get the TPPA done without making it clearer that the US interest is tied with reform in Malaysia.

  7. So tell me, bigjoe – who’s going to be the scape goat for this TPPA fiasco? ‘Cuz there’s sure to be One. Surely not Anwar..!

    That poor guy has been labelled by his detractors (including some like looes) as the cause of all angst and woe, that reside in Bolehlanders’ Muslim/non-Muslim hearts.

  8. Condoleezza (Condie) Rice came to prominence partly because she was a regular guest to the McNeil-Lehrer Newshour on U.S. public television — where she pontificated on how to deal with the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies.

    I guess the Republicans liked her strong ant-Soviet views and also the fact that she is African-American but also a conservative supporter of the Republican Party.

    Let’s not forget that she is one of the people responsible for the unprovoked invasion of Iraq and its present messy state.

  9. Let us not forget that the British only agreed to give independence to Malaya when all groups from Malaya were represented in the London Conference

  10. I hope someone also pointed out to President Obama and Susan Rice that unlike the USA where African-Americans can hold the highest political office and major cabinet posts, here in semi-apartheid Malaysia, minorities (de facto) cannot be the Prime Minister or Chief Minister of many states.
    This is also unlike Malaysia’s neighbours such as Thailand and the Philippines where Sino-Thais and Sino-Filipinos have been the Prime Minister and President many times over.

    Exception: they are Indian Muslims who successfully “pass” as Malay and loudly proclaim the Malay supremacist message. (And, perhaps in the near future, non-Malay neo-fascist “converts to Islam” who deny their own ethnic heritage).

  11. Does by freeing Anuar from the sodomy charge then only Malaysia will seeing as following the rule of law ?,
    Anuar has be campaigning for freedom of judiciary when the judiciary are not on his side ,but not otherwise, now he seeking US intervention in our judiciary system.
    What rules of law is that ?, if this the act of PM said to be .

  12. What is happening to the Yankees? President Hussein Obama, now probably a convert, cannot. Najib personally about up holding the rule ofnlaw. He had to speakmthrough Rice, a junior official. Worse Obama actually said malaysia’s human right record had impr over under Najib’s watch! And of course this Afro-American leader had to please Najib by upgrading the diplomatic status but walked home empty handed. Obama is a fool.

  13. For tebing’s edification:
    Rule of Law is actually very different from Rule by Law.
    Some semblance of Justice is to be had from the former. None from the Latter.
    A compromised Judiciary is the Bane of all Righteousness and Justice, both Secular and Divine..
    I hope that you are a True Submitter, and not a Pharisee – like all ‘tinggi’, Holier than Thou types.
    The USofA ain’t that great Justice Leagues either, but at least they submit to their relatively unblemished Constitution when in Peril and Supreme Court. Over here, it’s make it up – like ‘kacau dodol’ – when it suits the Elitist interest. Mana-a-Sai?

  14. Obama called Najib a reformer; that’s going over the top. Nobody in Malaysia takes the 6th Malaysian Prime Minister seriously. He has become one big joke. We are waiting for UMNO to remove him from office.

  15. Dr. Rice was a D.Phil Oxford graduate in intrnational relations. She is the former US representative to the UN. She is quite a blunt talker. Malaysian government should accept what she said to you folks. She means business.

  16. Guys & Gals,
    I am still waiting for celebrity death match between CLF aka The Lupus & ktemoc in Aussie land. Come on la! Both of them are in aussie land. Is it something to do with the phrase below

    “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

    Yeah, I know who Susan Rice is. Unlike Anwar Ibrahim, Susan Rice is made scape goat over the Benghazi USA embassy attack by many people including republicans & tea party idiots. What say you, The Lupus? Hahahaha!

    To be continued

  17. /// Phua Kai Lit April 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    Condoleezza (Condie) Rice came to prominence partly because she was a regular guest to the McNeil-Lehrer Newshour on U.S. public television — where she pontificated on how to deal with the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. ///

    Sorry, wrong Rice. One is a black rice, the other white rice. One is long-grained, the other more fragrant.

  18. Najib “naively assumes that President Obama is not fully briefed on the matter”?

    You could very well be absolutely correct on that, Dato. I keep trying to remind myself not to get surprised at just how much further bumbling Najib can still push the boundaries of what I had figured his limits of incompetence to be.

    But it could be something else, something which highlights another sad angle of this PM of Malaysia. He could simply have no choice.

    He could very be fully, or at least reasonably, aware that Obama knows all the dirt on the underhanded conviction of Anwar. But how could Najib hold an honest discussion with Obama about the wrongs of that action? Najib is in an indefensible position.

    So perhaps the only move left to him, however sorry position that it may have been, was to play (THIS time main-main sahaja!) the ignorant fool role.

    As for Obama calling Najib a reformer, I agree with what Sakmongkol (Dato Mohd. Ariff Sabri) opined:

    “President Obama says Dato Najib has the instincts for unity and moderation. That’s a most diplomatic way of saying- hey man I think you suck. It only serves to confirm that Najib is not a rational leader who believes that the ay forward is moderation and unity. Instincts as we already know are associated with animals who don’t think but act on instincts and impulses. So what Obama is saying, Najib’s intelligence is at the same level of nimals like chimpanzees and orang utans.”

    The Obama Visit

  19. “…. while the Prime Minister Najib has not met with these members of civil society groups despite requests made, the US President has …. ”

    Ambiga, Maria & Honey, if the PM meets with you, be prepared to have a conversation about the price of kangkung and chicken in the market. Anything more than that will be too complicated for him to understand.

  20. Hi “Wrath of Grapes”

    Just commenting on the Condie Rice mentioned in the biographical details
    on Susan Rice posted by Datuk Din.

    To get the message across that right-wing politicians will pick handy conservative intellectuals (and even pseudo-intellectuals) to join their team or give such people prominence in govt-controlled mass media (as in Malaysia) every time.
    Even if the intellectuals have not been very distinguished as scholars and thinkers in the academic world.

  21. They also employ what we do. When you want to scold your son-in-law you scold your daughter. As a visiting Head of State he must be politically correct in his public statements. He may or may not say what he wants to say in private during four-eyes meetings. Much of it depends how you read between the lines.

  22. Obama is a politician, and like all of them, the sovereign might of the USA outweighs everything else; that is why Saudara Anwar was sidelined. Anwar is just not that important enough for the national interests of the USA. And the fight for the future of our country and the leaders we have are our own, you cannot count on the help of the outsiders. Those that rely on the USA to bring change do it at their own peril.

    And unfortunately, we Malaysians simply are not united and motivated enough to bring the change the country needs. Najib is not that stupid not to recognize the need for a prosperous nation. He lacks the strongman mentality and the conviction to put away those bigots in UMNO and truly be a leader to all Malaysians. Pitting one race or religion against another has been a time tested strategy that has worked to be the top dog in UMNO. That has always been the case after our Tuanku Abdul Rahman left. That was why TAR put Mahathir in the lockers. He saw what was coming. But he had no one on his side except the minorities, and until some one like TAR becomes our PM, we will simply be doled the same dish of bull, and that dish gets bigger and stinkier. One would think that the Royalties would have some sense of the need for a truly united nation that prospers from progress, rather than degrade to common thievery…but then, that would be hoping for leadership amongst the trees…

  23. Dato

    You wrote
    “Sorry, Ambassador Mallot,I have to say this–that Najib is not serious about anything. I am surprised that President Obama wants to do business with such a leader who can’t honour his words.–Din Merican.”

    Words will be honoured so long as the conditions are right i.e. incentives. its purely transactional.

    Obama came and witnessed several deals including Air Asia X. I bet you that he is twisting Najib’s arm on RMAF new generation of fighters.

    Its all about money and self-interests.


  24. Robert Lim,
    Hahaha! Armtwist Jibby into buying US fighters? I guess it would be fighter jets with missle decoding codes given to Singapore. If that really happens, Madhater would go ballistics. If that’s the case, likelihood more singapore fighter jets flying through johore airspace without authorisation. Hahahaha!

    Uncle Ho from Vietnam did not rely on USA. Vietnam, another tin pot little asian country has beaten the mighty USA. Mao is right…..Politics through the barrel of the gun. Of course, the Lupus would always harp on how mighty USA is. Hahahaha! Ok, beware…..Lupus would bite you

  25. “Malaysia won’t succeed if non-Muslims don’t have opportunity.”

    What other opportunity else non-muslims in Malaysia don’t have ? To pray in the mosque ?

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