MP Nurul Izzah to The Donald–Support Democracy, Justice and Freedom, not Kleptocracy in Malaysia

September 13, 2017

MP Nurul Izzah to The Donald–Support Democracy, Justice and Freedom, not Kleptocracy in Malaysia

by Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP

Nurul Izzah Anwar is a member of the Malaysian Parliament and Vice President of the People’s Justice Party. She is a Graduate of SAIS, John Hopkins University

Image result for Najib I am not a crookThe Donald is hosting this Malaysian Prime Minister at The White House. A slap in the face of all freedom loving Malaysians–the unintended consequence of his invitation


On Tuesday (September 12), President Trump will host Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the White House. The two men will discuss cooperation on counterterrorism and economic development. But what should be foremost on the agenda is the hatred and fear fueled by Najib’s own party’s support of extremist groups that routinely harass and frighten the country’s significant Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities. Any conversation with a purported partner against extremist violence who fails to address these concerns at home is pointless.

As a Malaysian, I am sorry to say that my country faces a desperate situation. For the 60 years since independence, we have been under single-party rule. The corruption scandal surrounding our sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the largest of its kind ever investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, alleges that Najib’s government routinely pilfers public funds for its own enrichment and the funding of its political survival. Our political leaders are so accustomed to power that they will do anything to keep it. Our elections are routinely corrupted just enough to maintain the ruling status quo. Print and broadcast media are more than 95 percent owned or controlled by the ruling party, and peaceful political protest is routinely a cause for detention under laws meant to fight terrorism.


I know this from first-hand experience. As an opposition member of Parliament, I was arrested under sedition laws and imprisoned with actual terror suspects simply for daring to raise questions in the legislature about the political imprisonment of my father, detained opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Before he was thrown in jail, my father championed a multi-ethnic and multi-religious opposition movement in Malaysia that garnered 52 percent of the votes in the 2013 parliamentary election — a victory set aside because of gerrymandering. His arbitrary detention has been condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Image result for Trump Hotel on Lafayette Park, Washington DC

Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Delegation are staying at Trump International Hotel Washington DC 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, 20004, United States of America. What a coincidence!


All the while, a growing cohort of educated young people facing high unemployment is growing deeply mistrustful of their leaders. These energetic young men and women are frustrated by the absence of democratic institutions. That they may feel compelled to seek recourse for this dissatisfaction outside the political system represents a major threat to Malaysia’s future.

Tensions between different ethnic and religious groups have also reached alarming levels. Najib’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) party has not just turned a blind eye to extremism — they have actively encouraged it. Religious extremists are permitted to promulgate their views with impunity, and the government has actually incorporated those views and personalities into its own platform. As if this weren’t astonishing enough, in 2014, Najib himself encouraged his own party followers to emulate “brave” Islamic State fighters.

If Najib’s autocracy and extremist actions are not condemned and resisted, all of us are at risk.

Image result for Najib meet Donald Trump

Yet despite our challenges, I love my country and I know that we have incredible potential. In fact, that is what makes this issue so important. Unlike many autocratic Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia can be a true functioning pluralistic democracy with real economic strength and growth potential. Our coalition of opposition parties follows the leadership of our imprisoned leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in asserting that the only acceptable way forward for Malaysia is as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, democratic and freedom-supporting state.

But to achieve this, the Malaysian people need the help of true friends and partners around the world. Najib must hear from every nation that his actions are a threat to international security and undermine genuine efforts at countering violent extremism.

President Trump has the opportunity to deliver this message. As a former golfing buddy of the prime minister, he has an established rapport with Najib. And Trump set a precedent in his recent recalibration of aid to Egypt, where he laudably recently recognized the opportunity to stress civil society reforms by cutting some U.S. aid to Egypt. The same frankness should be applied when assessing Najib as a potential recipient of anti-terror funding from the United States.

To advance his foreign policy goals and the mission of international security cooperation, Trump must hold Najib to account. Trump must make clear that Washington will no longer be silent when U.S.-Malaysia cooperation on countering violent extremism is undermined by the Malaysian government itself. To start, Najib should immediately cease persecution of journalists and opposition leaders, and release all political prisoners, including my father. Trump must also make clear that the United States does not tolerate partners who harbor and protect terrorists, much less partners who actively encourage such behavior.

Without reforms, the Malaysian government is not a reliable partner on counterterrorism, international security or economic development. A clear message, followed by strong action, is the only way to transform Malaysia from a liability to a credible ally.


12 thoughts on “MP Nurul Izzah to The Donald–Support Democracy, Justice and Freedom, not Kleptocracy in Malaysia

  1. Can our politicians stop giving out non-sensical statements like these? Since when did US foreign policy has anything to do with the promotion of REAL democracy?!

    It’s just frustrating to be reminded all the time that Malaysia’s so-called democracy is a complete farce. Frankly, we do deserve our kind of government.

  2. Trump so sure “your enemy is our enemy” Najib – his party give PR to Zakir Naik, let the Sauds build a Wahhabi centre that spread “evil US” teaching, and anti-Israel hate your son-in-law kind of people???

  3. All Malaysians should fight on for our beloved Malaysia.We should protest at the US Embassy and show POTUS that he is supporting a human rights violator on top of being religious extremist despite his protestations and the would No 1 Kleptocrat.
    Under this criminal, even a civil servant, the director general of the Malaysian custom service can tell the people the if we remove the GST, the Malaysia will be shamed by the international community. What is the chief secretary going to with his DG who is launching into the political debate?

  4. Mrs Nurul Izzah might have good intention, but she is wrong-headed. Why would an MP, an elected official, asks the leaders of other nations to interfere with her own sovereign nation? Interfering Malaysia internal affair can be justified only if Malaysia is a failed state or Malaysia poses danger to other nations. None of them is true.

    If you cannot clean your own house, then you want others to clean the house for you? No. If your house was collapsed, then others might help (if they choose to do so).

    • Please read YB Nurul’s contribution again and you will find that YB is not asking US to interfere with Malaysia’s internal affairs. All that she had asked for is the working towards the goals of human rights and the respect for law and order which is lacking in this country. POTUS wants to create the crisis in Malaysia so that US can benefit from the chaos by stepping in and establish his regime change.

    • Respecting law and order is an internal affair because the law and order are at national level, not international. Human rights convention might be international, but it is just a convention, not a law.

  5. Drumpf is not interested in Malaysian politics nor the welfare of Malaysian citizens. Drumpf won the election on the Make America Great again, deport illegal and undocumented immigrants, build a wall between US and Mexico and stop Muslims from entering the US. Malaysia is a Muslim country so why should he help.

    • Semper Fi, you said it well. Why would a self respecting Muslim leader pay tributes (think bunga emas paid during this brief meeting) to a President who is hostile towards his own Muslim Americans. Welayu.

    • The so-called hostility of Trump toward Muslim Americans is far less than “hostility” of Tunku Abdul Rahman toward Chinese Malaysians who were physically moved to concentration camps known as Kampong Baru Cina under a bigger struggle against communism. In 2017, no descendant of Kampong Baru Cina thinks there was hostility for the action of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s or British’s.

    • The concept of New Villages was not mooted by Tunku but by Sir Gerald Templer. The Chinese were considered sympathizers to the communist and also often fell victims. The Communist terrorist had to be starved out and deprived of medicines and other essential goods, thus the village. The residents of the new villages were free to farm their land and do business but have to return to the village in the evenings. This also ensured their safety when the communist attack. Today many if the new villages are booming towns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s