Donald Trump: The Misunderstood and Maligned Republican Presidential Front Runner?


May 2, 2016

Donald Trump: The Misunderstood and Maligned Republican Presidential Front Runner

by Bunn Nagara

http://www.thestar.com.my

Trump’s success so far should not be a surprise if opponents and punters had not been so smugly dismissive of his chances. They underestimated him and are now reaping the consequences of their misjudgments.–Bunn Nagara

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He dares to think Big and unafraid to be Different

First, rivals and critics misunderstood the basis of Trump’s popularity. They disliked his style and persona, finding them distasteful with good reason, but confused these with his public appeal.

THE US political establishment continues to be caught off-guard by Donald Trump’s ever-ascending campaign, which is impacting on the Republican and Democratic establishments equally.

Yet Trump’s success so far should not be a surprise if opponents and punters had not been so smugly dismissive of his chances. They underestimated him and are now reaping the consequences of their misjudgments.

First, rivals and critics misunderstood the basis of Trump’s popularity. They disliked his style and persona, finding them distasteful with good reason, but confused these with his public appeal.

They haughtily branded his approach “populist” but failed to understand that he was also popular. They could not understand the link between populism and popularity, which for Trump works uniquely in his favour. They also wrongly argued that he had nothing to say on foreign policy. It has only now begun to dawn on observers that Trump is known mainly for his foreign policy postures: making allies pay more for security, a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US, building a wall on the Mexican border and making Mexicans pay for it.

His opponents have also contended that Trump’s understanding of foreign policy is merely superficial or simply mistaken. Yet, he continues to astonish by winning even more popular support.

Earlier in his campaign Trump was characterised as an equal-opportunity offender. He did not discriminate against any one group by discriminating against all groups.He would trample on the political correctness of left and right, then beat his chest on the vanquished niceties of Democrats and Republicans. And his popular appeal soared further.

If Trump manages to do this without the pomp and heraldry of the Washington elite, as he continues to, it may explain why this elite is out of touch with voters. Much of his grassroots appeal derives from a refusal to conform to Beltway conventions and a proud declaration of this refusal.

Another early criticism that failed to stick was that Trump was not an orthodox Republican. But he could become a contender in the Republican fold, which gave him the platform to promote his campaign. Again his critics fail to understand that it does not matter if he is not an orthodox Republican. What mattered was winning – first the party nomination, then the presidency.

Voters themselves are not as firmly divided along party lines as party bosses tend to think. There were “Reagan Democrats” and there continue to be voters on the fringe of one party and on the verge of another.

A common blind spot among Trump’s critics is that he happens to appeal to “traditional” Republican supporters and also some Democratic ones. Critics remain stumped by his success because they refuse to acknowledge his strengths that blur or transcend party lines.

Still another dismissive and mistaken denial of Trump’s prospects is the criticism that his grasp of issues is shallow. But that did not stop Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from winning the presidency.

Much in the misplaced and misleading views of Trump’s critics was on display following his speech on foreign policy in Washington on April 27 hosted by the Center for the National Interest. It was said to lack content yet again, but as compere Zalmay Khalilzad put it earlier, the speech was to provide a picture of Trump’s “foreign policy philosophy”.

Still, critics tried to evaluate the details or pick apart the factoids as if it were a blueprint, concluding that it was too general and contained inaccuracies and inconsistencies. And once again, none of that made any difference to Trump’s supporters.

A smarter assessment of the speech would compare it with Trump’s previous speeches. Here he was more mellow and measured, having doused the fire of earlier rhetoric without fully abandoning the rhetorical.

In a word, Trump appeared to be what many wanted him to be: more “presidential”. This solidified his support base while pleasing many on the fence.

In a play for bipartisan support, Trump called for “a new rational American foreign policy” that could be supported by Republicans, Democrats and close allies abroad. He said the US needed to put “America first”, but the realist tone was described by critics as “isolationist”.

A source of Trump’s strength is his ability to be polemical in a way that connects directly to the concerns of the average citizen. Critics wrongly dismiss this as simple populist rhetoric but he is making points and raising questions that other contenders fail to do or choose not to.

He connects resoundingly with Joe Public at gut level, but Washington insiders disregard this at their own peril as mere gutter talk. And he continues to benefit electorally at their expense.

Being blunt and brutally frank, whether or not he has all his facts right, also helps him to project an image of honesty and openness. It is not something that Hillary Clinton, for example, does because it does not come naturally to her – and people sense it.

In another instance of his open bipartisan approach, he likened the victimisation of his campaign by the system to Bernie Sanders’ predicament. Clearly both are not their respective parties’ Establishment favourites, regardless of their level of support, but again party apparatchiks rejected the assertion.

Sanders himself embodied the smug misperceptions of Trump by saying he hoped and prayed Trump would be the Republican nominee, implying that a Democrat would then win the presidency because many Americans would not support him. Increasingly that appears to be an error of judgment.

An Associated Press report from Washington two days ago found that Congressional Republicans are now warming to Trump and switching their support to him.

This includes Congressmen and Senators who had opposed or otherwise not supported Trump before, including some – Mike Kelly, Orrin Hatch, Bill Shuster, Jeff Miller and Tom Rooney – who had until recently supported his rivals.

This is the trigger Trump needs to escalate his campaign and seal his party nomination. Such a move on Capitol Hill is likely to snowball in his favour.

It is not solely a result of Trump’s appeal, of course. His closest party rival, Ted Cruz, has personal liabilities that senior Republicans themselves are starting to turn against.

Yet another of Trump’s strengths his critics ignore at their cost is his ability to change course abruptly and deftly without causing a ripple. His previous controversies concerning women and minorities may easily be forgotten once he speaks against his previous disparaging comments on them – another inconsistency his supporters will not mind.

At root, Trump’s position on foreign policy – or any other policy – is a patchwork in progress. A decisive moment for him would be his choice of running mate, but until then his campaign will press on regardless without being affected by that consideration.

A key aspect of his campaign that his rivals need to consider, but still have not, is the vote bank created by his appeal to US nationalism. His championing of the national interest is unmatched by anyone, and none of his rivals even seem to want to approach it.

Again, they may have reason to regret that. It is now a core election issue in the US, and no campaign has developed it as much as Trump’s.

* Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

Malay Stereotypes in Academia and Business


May 2, 2016

Malay Stereotypes in Academia and Business

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

Malay Academic Inferiority stated at this age

This burden of self-affirmation and stereotype threat can crop up well beyond our formative years and at the most unexpected venues. During the Alif Ba Ta Conference a few years ago, organized by the UMNO Club of New York and New Jersey at which I discussed self-affirmation and stereotype threat, a group of students confided to me their experiences in the special matriculation class preparing them for American universities. Midway through that class they were given a test. Those who excelled were sent abroad earlier.

Even though the class was filled predominantly with Malays, for the group selected to leave earlier, non-Malays were over represented. How do I explain that, the students inquired? I immediately sensed their burden of stereotype threat – Malay ineptitude in academics.

Matured with a wrong attitude towards Learning

So I asked them what they had done between their school examination in November the preceding year until they were enrolled in that special class the following July. To a person they all replied “Nothing!” Yes, nothing! Then I also asked them whether they had discussed with their successful and predominantly non-Malay classmates how they managed to do so well, specifically what were they doing from January till July when they started their matriculation classes together. The Malay students could not answer me.

Obviously they never thought to ask or were too embarrassed to discuss that sensitive topic with their non-Malay classmates, or their teachers. For their part, their matriculation teachers, unlike my Mr. Peter Norton at Malay College in the 1960s during my Sixth Form years there, merely accepted the fact as it was.

Whenever I meet Malaysians at elite American campuses I always try to discern through casual conversation what schools they attended (in particular their matriculation classes) in Malaysia and what made them choose America and pick that particular university. Invariably those students (even Malays) came from other than our national schools, reflecting the quality of such schools. Further and far more crucial, they had spent the six-or seven-month hiatus following their November SPM examination enrolled in private pre-university classes.

So when they were selected into the government’s special matrikulasi class, they were already six months ahead as compared to their Malay classmates who did “nothing.” That is a significant advantage in what would typically be a two-year course at most.

The Malay College IB Program

Malay College recently (July 2011) started its International Baccalaureate (IB) program after over a decade in planning. Again, the students were those who did well in their SPM the previous November. Apart from its radically different learning and teaching philosophy, IB is all English. Meanwhile those students had spent the previous 11 years in Malay medium. I suggested to those in charge that they should enroll the students earlier (as in January) so they could have six months of “pre-IB” where they could improve their English and other skills.

The response? No funds lah! I hope the first batch of students had done well. Should they fail or even just not excel, then expect those ugly stereotypes to be resurrected. The burden would fall not only on them but also on those following and on Malays generally. They will certainly not blame the teachers or the organizers of the program.

The government had already spent hundreds of millions of ringgit to set up the IB program, yet it could not secure extra funds to ensure that it would succeed.

An UMNO Crony

Meanwhile in the business sphere, when Bank Bumiputra collapsed in the 1990s, ugly stereotypes on Malay aptitude for and competence in commerce were again resurrected, and not just by non-Malays. That too was very ugly, and the public behaviors of the key players merely reinforced those stereotypes. Conveniently forgotten was that the bank failed not because it was run by Malays, but because of corruption, incompetence and political patronage, the very same afflictions that burdened GLCs in China (CITIC), India (Air India), and America (Freddie Mac).

From BMBB to 1MDB

Today a generation later, the same tragic story is being repeated with 1MDB, another GLC, this time at a much greater cost and with the nation’s highest leader involved. Again here the main players are Malays. Just in case the point is missed, they brought in a non-Malay to resolve the mess. Never mind that he was no more successful than his predecessor.

The 1MDB scandal again resurrected yet another stereotype, this time on the Chinese. One of the players, the few except of course for Najib who came out like bandits literally, was a Malaysian Chinese character close to Najib’s family.  Here we have the all-too-familiar story of a scheming Chinese taking advantage of a dumb Malay leader. Well, that dumb Malay leader part of the stereotype is true. At least Malaysians should be comforted by that fact. Imagine if we had a Malay leader who was smart as well as corrupt. The damage he would inflict could be horrendous! Count your blessings, Malaysians!

He did not do well academically

Linked to stereotype threat is the maintenance of the integrity of self-affirmation. When we see something that threatens our self-image, for example, Malays not doing well academically, we shift the focus elsewhere. Thus we say we do not care for “secular knowledge;” we are more into “spiritual” and “real” knowledge, the kind that would get us into Heaven. In that way we protect ourselves as non-Muslims would certainly not be competing with us in that field. If Muslim Chinese and Indians were to later beat us and excel in the same field, then we would have to spin yet another fanciful narrative.

When I see Malays focused on religion and the Hereafter and neglect their worldly obligations, I see that as nothing more than a manifestation of this threat to their self-affirmation rather than a genuine love for religious knowledge or concerns with personal salvation.

A similar phenomenon is seen in children. When kids run a playground race, those who are left behind would rationalize that they are not really “racing” or competing. Or, it’s only a “practice.” Likewise when I am sailing; I am always racing, that is, when I am overtaking the other sailboats. When I am being overtaken, well, I am out just for a leisurely afternoon cruise!

Both stereotypes and self-affirmation threats can be remedied. We do not have to be resigned to being their victims. To do that however, we first have to free up our minds from those cluttered and unproductive mental patterns. We have to create new or modify existing narratives to be more reflective of reality, one that would also be more useful and productive.

We can learn much from the insights of modern neuroscience on how to better understand and appreciate our current particular dilemmas.

Save Malaysia from debilitating Bumiputraism


May 2, 2016

Save  Malaysia from debilitating Bumiputraism–The Agenda of the Third Force

Time to save Malaysia from neo-liberal capitalists, naked political opportunism, and racial discrimination.

by Dr Kua Kia Soong

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Kua-Kia-Soong

The Bigots and Extremists rule the day–How is this related to Neo-Liberalism, Dr. Kua? Socialism is Dead

In March 2008 the two-front system that we had called for in the 1990 general elections finally came about, producing an alternative, namely Pakatan Rakyat (PR), to the Barisan Nasional. Barely eight years later, those days of hope have been dashed by the recent split between DAP and PAS in 2015 and now, the bickering between DAP and PKR and their failure to present the BN with a one-to-one challenge in six seats at the Sarawak state elections.

The name calling by DAP leaders we thought was only reserved for the PAS leaders has now been used against PKR leaders as well.

Dearth of leadership & alternative policies in PR (now the so-called Pakatan Harapan–Coalition of Hope)

Without a doubt, the PR coalition was held together at the start by the PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, even though their alternative policies to the BN were never entirely clear. Their neo-liberal tendencies led to BN-type policies in the development of the states they controlled, ie. Selangor and Penang, policies which have produced little change in the living conditions of the lower income groups.

Private developers have had a field day in these PR-held states since 2008 with the promise of more multi-billion projects in reclamation, undersea tunnels, highways and luxury development.

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The Rosmah-Centered Authoritarian of Malaysian Politics

Policies aside, Anwar’s leadership in holding the PR coalition together started to suffer a setback possibly because he was deflected by his sodomy trial as well as self-centred opportunistic tendencies among the component parties in PR.

This was clearly seen during the asinine ‘Kajang Move’ in 2014 when there was a “resignation of convenience” by the incumbent PKR Adun after internal politicking between the PKR Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and the PKR strongman Azmin Ali who was opposing him.

The cost of this short-sighted ‘Kajang Move’ was to force a by-election and leave constituents without representation for weeks. It exposed an irresponsible attitude of PR in taking the Malaysian electorate for granted by forcing a by-election just to facilitate the entry of Anwar Ibrahim into the Selangor state government. It was a most cynical violation of the public trust.

The Checkmated Anwar Ibrahim

More costly for the PR coalition, the Kajang Move had been carried out without adequate consultation with the other PR partners and fissures soon began to appear between them. Three decades of engagement with PAS, the largest Malay-based party in the coalition, was about to come asunder.

The dearth of leadership in PR was clear when the former Menteri Besar was openly maligned as inept and corrupt by lesser DAP politicians to justify his ousting. It was also clear the PAS President was not consulted over this irresponsible political move. The Kajang Move showed not only contempt for the voters in Kajang but also insensitivity toward the PAS leaders who were part of the PR coalition.

Bad mouthing the PAS President

Malaysia’s Political Nightmare–Corruption

After months of name calling against the PAS President Hadi Awang, which can only be described as ‘kurang ajar’, Pakatan Rakyat was officially disbanded on 16 June 2015 after the DAP declared it could no longer work with PAS. It was a sad day for all Malaysians who had hopes for a viable alternative to the Barisan Nasional.

The long-term effect of such uncouth bad mouthing of the PAS leader remains to be seen. The DAP will have to measure the relative weight of their token Malays in the party against the loathing towards DAP among not only UMNO supporters but now also PAS supporters.

Is this behaviour the result of insensitivity, the lack of wisdom or naked opportunism that has blinded the DAP leaders to common sense needed to engage with PAS leaders and members if they are genuinely interested in “winning over Malays to the DAP”?

The DAP is now willing and able to work with the man who has been responsible for privatising practically all of Malaysian industry and destroying whatever semblance of democracy we had in his 22 years in office – all because of the stated need to “save Malaysia”.

Naked opportunism the main culprit

The DAP’s significant political turnaround in their current readiness to work with the erstwhile oppressor and autocrat of Malaysia requires a more responsible political economic analysis by the DAP leadership to justify this volte face. They also owe the Malaysian people an analysis of class oppression in Malaysia today and how this ties in with their new agenda to “save Malaysia”.

It is certainly a sad day for Malaysians who have hoped for an alternative to the BN and who have carefully nurtured a working relationship with PAS since the Eighties, to see this Alternative Coalition wrecked by total lack of sensitivity to coalition principles, human relationships and dearth of leadership.The DAP leadership is now banking on their token Malay centrists and the former PAS “New Hopers” to get by.

No doubt the DAP will be complacent to rule Penang but succeeding to drive PAS out of PR is undoing more than thirty years’ work engaging with PAS to build the Alternative Coalition. The positive aspect of the last thirty years included PAS’ participation at so many May Day, anti-war and Bersih rallies. This has been an important contribution to inter-ethnic integration in Malaysia and the attempt to build an alternative to the BN.

What is to be done?

The squabbles within Pakatan Harapan over the apportionment of seats have to do with naked opportunism and the lack of higher principles in their respective party ideologies. The politics of opportunism can also be seen with the party elite monopolising federal seats and state seats in the same term and with no fixed term set for the party leader.

Nevertheless, with leadership and an adopted procedure as can be seen in the BN, even that naked opportunism can be managed with due diligence.

For now, we are back to square one as far as engagement with PAS is concerned. It remains to be seen how DAP’s alliance with PKR will hold. It is time for progressive Malaysians to take stock of the political situation and to consider what is to be done in the struggle to make Malaysia truly democratic, free and just for all Malaysians, and especially for our working peoples.

Building the socialist alternative

While there was hope of an alternative coalition to challenge the Barisan Nasional that has been in power for nearly sixty years, Malaysians were prepared to be patient until BN was deposed. It is now clear that some of these opposition parties are ideologically similar to BN in their commitment to neo-liberal capitalism evident in their own state policies.

With our hopes dashed, it is time to build a Third Force that is people-centred, free and equal and led by those who are committed to a common platform set on an alternative road to development.It is time to reclaim the national assets that have been sold to private magnates and to ensure there is fair redistribution of income to the people. There is a need for state intervention and nationalisation of basic resources such as oil and gas; utilities such as water, energy; health, education and social services.

We need progressive taxation to check unfettered capital transfers by speculators and finance moguls and to balance rampant income inequality. Such a socialist alternative differentiates itself from the Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan.

Save Malaysia from Neo-liberal capitalism

Malaysia needs to be saved from neo-liberal capitalism that was unleashed by Mahathir when he came to power in 1981.

Mahathir is indeed the “father of neo-liberalism in Malaysia” after selling off our national assets through his privatisation policies in his 22 years, our national resources hived off to crony capitalists under the guise of affirmative action. Mahathir succeeded in creating private Malay capitalists out of the erstwhile state capitalists who had entrenched their power after May 13, 1969.

Privatisation in Malaysia since the eighties has not demonstrated that increase in efficiency, productivity, or competition, the elimination of sources of state deficit as privatisation has been purported to produce. The failures of MAS, Proton, KTM and other corporations testify to this fact. In most cases, privatisation has merely substituted a private monopoly for a public one without producing any of the benefits that are supposed to come from competition.

Neoliberal policies represent the political requirements of global capital, harmonising the national with the global economy, freeing capital from social forms in which it is under or open to state control and thereby turning those forms into corporate private property as Mahathir succeeded in doing. It will be more and more difficult to maintain a public sector to alleviate the living conditions of workers and the poor when all these public services have been privatised.

Save Malaysia from racism and racial discrimination

Malaysia needs to be saved from racism and racial discrimination. For years now and especially since the New Economic Policy, “race” (“bumiputeraism”) has been used to divide the Malaysian masses so that they cannot unite against their common oppressors and exploiters. Racial discrimination further worsens the plight of workers in the non-Bumiputera communities. Neither the BN or PH have categorically pledged to abolish the New Economic Policy that has been the racist/ populist strategy to try to win over the Bumiputeras and to enrich the well-placed Bumiputeras.

Powerful capitalist interests control our resources and markets and thrive on the cheap labour of Malaysian workers and migrant labour even in the states run by Pakatan Rakyat. The price has been paid by workers and the poor whose living standards continue to be pushed downwards.

If voting changed anything, they’d have made it illegal’

This resistance to neo-liberal capitalism can only be led by a Third Force that tries to empower oppressed people in the process of democratic participation. Popular democratic participation is not just in economic but also political institutions. Real democracy will never be attained merely through periodic general elections and relying on parliament alone. As Emma Goldman put it, “If voting changed anything, they’d have made it illegal!”

Peoples’ power comes about through direct action, based on the self-organisation of workers and other communities in their struggle against capital, with directly elected workplace and community councils taking responsibility for their own affairs and linked to decisions for society at large. The idea is to create an entirely new form of politics centered on direct popular power. When working class people are organized, they can start to believe in their capacity to change the world.

This is the task before us. Can you see any alternative?

Kua Kia Soong is the advisor of SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia).

 

President Bill Clinton’s Lecture @Georgetown-Purpose


May 1, 2016

President Bill Clinton’s  Lecture @ Georgetown University, Washington DC–Purpose

Earlier today I posted this April 21, 2015 Lecture by the 42nd President of the United States, President William Jefferson Clinton, to guests, faculty and students at Georgetown University, Washington  DC–where he attended the Walsh School of Foreign Service  in 1968 before going to Oxford and Yale– on  Facebook of The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, The University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh for the benefit of my colleagues and Masters and Doctoral students.

In his Lecture, President Bill Clinton spoke about inclusive politics and inclusive economics and the purpose of public service, citing many examples of leaders in politics, business and civil society when he was in the White  House. I hope my fellow Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of our country, my associates and friends and readers who support my blog can get the drift of Bill Clinton’s message  and reflect on his thoughts about the true purpose of public service.

I am sure our Prime Minister has own purpose to be in public service. But you can bet that  Najib’s  purpose is not something the 42nd President of the United States has in mind.–Din Merican

Thank You, Zeti, says Prime Minister Najib Razak


May 1, 2016

Prime Minister  Najib thanks Ex-Bank Negara Governor Zeti

by Bernama

Prime Minister Najib Razak today expressed his appreciation to Zeti Akhtar Aziz, whom he described as having served the nation in the most outstanding manner as the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Najib said Zeti had led and implemented initiatives to ensure the stability of the country’s banking and financial sectors, besides placing Malaysia’s economy on a strong footing.“Malaysia takes pride in the contribution and achievements of Dr Zeti, a woman who also received international recognition and awards, all this while.

“Thank you Dr Zeti and I wish you success and the best of luck,” said the Prime Minister in his Facebook entry, today.Zeti, who retired on April 30, was chosen as one of the best central bank heads in the world by the magazine, Global Finance in 2009.

The daughter of Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid and a noted cultural figure, Allahyarhamah Sharifah Azah Mohamed Alsagoff, Zeti joined BNM in 1985 as Deputy Manager in the Economics Research Department. Dato’Muhammad Ibrahim succeeds her as the new BNM Governor.

Through The Looking Glass – Into The World Of Najib Razak COMMENT


May 1, 2016

Through The Looking Glass – Into The World Of Najib Razak COMMENT by The Sarawak Report

'Seditious' cartoonist Zunar gives his take on the Sarawak scene

The present election abuses in Sarawak, spearheaded by Najib Razak, present a truly appalling spectacle.Blatant and jaw-dropping bribery, bullying and law-breaking by the ruling BN party have reached unprecedented levels, even for Malaysia, as every day reports of new excesses continue to shock.

But the desperate Prime Minister plainly does not care.  He has personally taken charge of the whole charade, touring around the state handing out money “from BN” to everyone he wants to bribe.

The Chief Crook and Associates in Laughter–Rakyat Bodoh da!

Meanwhile, opposition leaders and activists are being openly barred from the state or told by the score that they have to leave in advance of the election, so that they cannot be present to assist in monitoring the count. So much for Adenan reforming the bad old ways of Taib Mahmud.

Postal votes from thousands of absent West Malaysian soldiers are being utilised to flood constituencies they are not from;  the practice of refusing to issue ID cards to opposition communities persists and of course the gerrymandering alone means that the opposition would have to win over 70% of all votes to even gain a simple majority of seats.

Browbeaten and exhausted opposition folk, who have no money, compared to resources of hundreds of millions of ringgit, fleets of helicopters and all the apparatus of the state in the hands of BN, can only stand by and protest.

Public money from 1MDB is being thrown at Sarawak

RM2 million for St Jude’s Church in Bunan Gega - even more for mosques

Najib and Adenan are clearly perfectly willing to use money that has been stolen from the state, through 1MDB and timber cronies, to lavish on communities, who know that they only see this manna from heaven when elections come around.

Gifts of a couple of million ringgit to a church here, cheques of thousands of ringgit to schools there, crackly notes for every voter….The fact that these gifts are peanuts, compared to what BN’s politicians have looted from the people of Sarawak, in terms of their natural resources and land rights, is something they have taken care to hide. During their decades of cynical exploitation this ruling clique have sneered that Sarawakians are “blind” to the wealth of their own state.

The shocking and blatant examples are numerous - here from one of our own comments

To observers from the outside world it is all, therefore, a total shocker: a sham election if there ever was one.

And another instance from our comment column

Najib no longer cares about appearances

However, Najib has plainly ceased to care about appearances, if he ever did.  In his looking glass world it simply doesn’t matter that he is blatantly indulging in such outrageous abuses and illegalities, because he will make sure his client Malaysian media reports a completely different story for his domestic audience.

Those who don’t comply are already being harassed and threatened by Najib’s stack of new laws designed to ‘protect a democratically elected government’ from ‘seditious forces’ etc etc.

Adenan bought in

The Institute of Journalists has protested at this persecution of their members, trying to report the truth, but Najib, supported by Adenan, has shown no hesitation in abusing his authority over the Election Commission, the police, the civil service and even the once independent judiciary to ignore all such complaints.

Thus he determines to bludgeon a “great victory” in Sarawak.  If in the end this also demands a further bit of cheating at the ballot box, so what?  The opposition can always be banned from the count or their officials bought over by huge bribes, the logic goes. It’s all happened before.

Najib will then announce through the looking glass world of his Malaysian media that the glorious result has entirely vindicated his position – in a nutshell, that he has been “cleared” by the electorate. “Foreign” critics and domestic “subversives” will be told to take a hike.

The fact that the world knows that the money Najib has been lavishing in Sarawak was stolen from the public purse will be ignored – the anonymous ‘Saudi Royal donor’ can always be said to have returned back what was previously allegedly returned to him – who cares?  The Prime Minister will present himself as an all Malaysian hero and the whole of the domestic media will be forced to report the matter in this fashion – or else risk jail.

Maybe this ‘victory’ will present him with his widely mooted opportunity to slam his own former party leader, the 90 year old Dr Mahathir behind bars, for having dared point out his grand theft from 1MDB?

Looking Forward to being in Jail with Bro Anwar Ibrahim

The opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has already been trapped in jail for over a year, for the sin of being far too effective an opponent for Mr Najib …. another outrageous advantage granted to BN over the leaderless PR coalition in Sarawak.

To Najib’s way of thinking it simply doesn’t matter if the world knows the truth, even most Malaysians, because as long as he can mobilise huge sums of cash then he can control the party leaders in charge of UMNO and control the electoral charade he calls democracy.

The reality is different

However, in the real world on the other side of the looking glass from Malaysia, an entirely separate scenario is starting to unfold, which Najib Razak appears determined to ignore, in a triumph of wishful thinking over stark reality.

Najib and those around him have lost their judgement if they think Malaysia can defy the rest of the world economy, along with the global regulators and enforcers of law and order, simply to save the position of one man, who has been caught stealing vast sums from his own country.

Yet whilst he has cavorted around Sarawak the past few days, handing out cash, the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister has failed to issue one word about the fact that the instrument of this theft, 1MDB, has now gone into default.  A US$6 billion cross default looms large and he stays silent.

Add to that the demand yesterday from Bank Negara that 1MDB further repay the US$1.8 billion it deceptively ‘invested’ into PetroSaudi.And to that the blood-curdlingly deadly investigations that are daily progressing in Singapore against the managers of BSI Bank, who processed the cash stolen through Good Star by Jho Low along with other key accounts for 1MDB, SRC and Aabar Investments PJS Limited.

Not only has the Singapore Commercial Affairs Department described this BSI investigation as the most complex cross-border money-laundering exercise they have ever undertaken, they have also highlighted the “staggering amounts of money” involved.

The rest of the world, Luxembourg, Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, the United States and a growing list of other investigating jurisdictions are all shocked too – and they clearly mean business given the actions and statements of recent weeks.  Now the wheels are in motion does Najib seriously think he can stop this process in a wider world, where he has no powers whatsoever?

This is money that was taken out of 1MDB and then laundered through a network of companies managed by Jho Low and later his accomplices from Aabar.  A great deal of this money went to Najib and his step-son’s Hollywood production company.

The details are complex and need to be teased out, but sooner rather than later players are going to be prosecuted and the money trail revealed.Does Najib think he can escape the situation by continuing to say black is white in his looking glass bubble of Malaysia and handing out yet more of the stolen public cash to his client party fixers?

What happens when the global economy inevitably reacts to the revelation that Malaysia is being run by a master thief and criminal, whose bank accounts are frozen world-wide and whose pet fund is billions of dollars in the red? How will Malaysian business respond to a plunging ringgit, which this will inevitably trigger?  Suddenly, Najib’s cash will seem less helpful to his crony clients and business borrowers.

Malaysians will discover that their country has become an international scandal with a world record thief for a leader, taxes rocketing to bail him out and a plunging currency to boot.

So, although Najib thinks he can use all his concentrated powers to force black to be called white in the domestic media, the truth is that this Prime Minister has lost control. He can no longer steer events, even though he tells himself he can….. because the alternative is something he fears to contemplate.

http://www.sarawakreport.org/2016/04/through-the-looking-glass-into-the-world-of-najib-razak-comment/?utm_source=Sarawak+Report&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fb78fbe98a-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_97635b3a5d-fb78fbe98a-291721933