Malaysia’s Foreign Policy is Clear and Consistent


September 17, 2017

Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman: Malaysia’s Foreign Policy is Clear and Consistent

by Anifah Aman

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COMMENT | I refer to the comment article written by Rais Hussin, a supreme council member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), who also heads the Policy and Strategy Bureau of PPBM, entitled All that glitters is not gold in US-Malaysia relationship which was published by Malaysiakini on 15 September 2017.

I noted Rais Hussin keen interests on the conduct of Malaysia’s foreign policy. As Rais Hussin would appreciate, Malaysia’s foreign policy is clear and consistent. Malaysia continues to pursue an independent, principled and pragmatic foreign policy, with the overarching thrust to safeguard its sovereignty and national interest as well as to contribute meaningfully towards a just and equitable community of nations.

The conduct of Malaysia’s foreign policy will continue to be guided by the principles of respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non–interference in the affairs of other nations, peaceful settlement of disputes, peaceful co–existence and mutual benefit in relations.

Therefore, I am perplexed to discover inaccurate and false narrative in his comment article, and wonder whether Rais Hussin was being deliberately obtuse. As such, I am compelled to address the inaccurate and false narrative, point by point as below:

1. Malaysia has entered the orbit of Chinese influence both commercially and militarily. On any given week, many illegal Chinese fishing vessels cruise along the coasts of West and East Malaysia.

As a small nation that relies heavily on international trade, Malaysia has no choice but to have relations with all countries in the world. As threats to peace and security become more complex, Malaysia has no choice but to work together with all countries in the world.

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Increased economic and investment activities between Malaysia and China were the result of globalisation and the law of supply and demand. Likewise, increased activities in the sphere of security would include closer military cooperation. It should in no way be construed as a sign that Malaysia has entered the orbit of Chinese influence. Malaysia has similar relations with many other countries, including the United States of America, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Singapore, etc.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agencies (MMEA) will arrest any fishing vessels that conduct illegal fishing activities in Malaysia’s maritime areas. MMEA vessels and aircraft, as well as vessels and aircraft belonging to the Malaysian Armed Forces conduct routine patrol and surveillance of Malaysia’s maritime areas. Chinese fishing vessels have been spotted only sporadically, and therefore it is completely untrue and utterly erroneous to suggest that Chinese fishing vessels cruise along the coasts of West and East Malaysia on a weekly basis.

2. More oddly, the Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has allowed two Chinese submarines to dock in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, with the most recent berthing taking place just before Trump met Najib in the White House. The very act of allowing Chinese submarine to break into Malaysian waters, all without the formality of conducting a joint exercise, suggests that Malaysia is now a quasi-alliance of China that is willing to listen to Beijing at every turn. Thus, how can the US-Malaysia relationship serve as a building block of a stronger international maritime order?

It is true that Chinese warship and submarine made a port call at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in early September 2017. That was not the first time that Chinese military vessels make a port call at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and would not be the last.

Military vessels from numerous countries including the United States of America, Australia, Japan, France, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc., have made port calls to various Malaysian ports, including at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and will continue to do so.

Therefore, it is clearly a fallacy to equate the recent docking of Chinese military vessels as a sign of Malaysia quasi–alliance with China.

Military vessels undertake port call at foreign countries to replenish supply, provide shore leave to the crew after long period at sea, as well as to undertake minor maintenance. Port call by foreign military vessels also contribute to local economies.

With regard to the procedure, any foreign military vessels planning to make port call at Malaysian ports, including at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, must submit such request to the Government of Malaysia through diplomatic channels. Such request would be considered by the relevant Malaysian agencies before being submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for final approval.

It is also timely to state at this juncture that Malaysia upholds the supremacy of the rule of law. Malaysia believes that international law is the equaliser amongst states, regardless of their political, economic or military power. All countries must work together to ensure peace and stability, as well as maritime order.

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3. Fourthly, Malaysia did nothing monumental with regards to ASEAN and the East Asian Summit in 2015 when Putrajaya was the chair of both entities, except holding grandiose and well-choreographed meetings as a public relations stunt.

4. Yet, 2015 was the year when China’s militarisation of the South China Sea began in earnest.

5. If Malaysia couldn’t contain the situation in the South China Sea and North Korea, why should one believe that without chairing Asean and the East Asian Summit, Malaysia could wield even more influence?

Malaysia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015 was well–regarded by many countries. Malaysia’s constructive approach on various issues including the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula (and North Korean nuclear issue) was well-received.

Malaysia has done admirably in advancing discourse on these issues, taking into account that ASEAN works on the principle of consensus, and as chairman, Malaysia is merely a facilitator.

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Malaysia’s policy on the South China Sea is clear and consistent. Throughout its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015, Malaysia has impressed upon all countries the need to ensure peace, security and stability and to avoid the threat or use of force, as well as to avoid activities that could escalate or complicate situation. Malaysia further stated that recent activities have eroded trust and confidence amongst parties. Malaysia also called on all parties to ensure non–militarisation in the South China Sea.

Malaysia’s principled and consistent position was well–received and well–accepted, and reflected as agreed texts in various documents issued during Malaysia’s chairmanship including the various chairman’s statements, joint communique of Asean ministerial meeting, etc. The texts were also used in various documents during Laos chairmanship in 2016.


ANIFAH AMAN is Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Malaysia’s Grand Poobah’s Chequebook Diplomacy in Washington DC


September 15, 2017

Malaysia’s Grand Poobah’s Chequebook Diplomacy in Washington can be strategic, admits Ambassador Emeritus Dennis Ignatius

www,malaysiakini.com

 

COMMENT | Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent White House soirée has brought Malaysia an unprecedented level of scrutiny and negative publicity. All major US newspapers, for example, unanimously panned the visit, highlighting the inappropriateness of inviting someone linked to an ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation (into 1MDB-related money-laundering charges).

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Najib’s Chequebook Diplomacy–Helping America Great Again impresses Donald J. Trump

It is a measure of just how far his reputation has fallen internationally after once having been feted everywhere as a reformist and moderate Muslim democrat. It is also a reminder of how little all of this really matters in a world dominated by realpolitik and the pursuit of strategic advantage.

Certainly, Najib himself didn’t appear to lose too much sleep over all the bad press. For him, the visit was clearly about positioning himself for the next elections and burnishing his credentials as a well-respected international leader able to run with some of the most powerful leaders in the world.

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Taken together with earlier high-profile meetings with President Xi Jinping, King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the meeting with Trump, as well as Britain’s Theresa May, lends credence to Najib’s narrative that under his stewardship, Malaysia has become “a rising star” and a “global player.”

While the urban crowd and opposition supporters will no doubt shake their heads in disbelief, it will play well with Najib’s rural base, effectively neutralising the 1MDB issue, arguably Najib’s most troublesome political challenge.

Najib’s grand strategy

Beyond the optics and the controversy over 1MDB, the visit also revealed a side to Najib that will surely drive the opposition to further despair: he is proving to be a far better strategist than he’s been given credit for.

He has parlayed the powers of his office and all the levers of state control at his disposal to successfully play off both China and the US to his advantage.

It might be recalled that he deliberately pivoted to China after his falling-out with the Obama Administration.

In Beijing, last year, he complained about foreign meddling, of being treated unfairly, of being lectured to by Western powers. In not so many words, he went on to contemptuously dismiss the US and other Western powers as has-beens with no future in Asia and hinted about a new strategic partnership with China.

It appears that Washington, already alarmed at China’s growing clout in the region, quickly got the message. Washington will now play along to get along.

Furthermore, with a more amoral (some would say unscrupulous) occupant in the White House to do business with, and with Beijing beginning to get too demanding (as witnessed by the unravelling of the Bandar Malaysia deal), Najib might have also seen the need to recalibrate the balance between the US and China.

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Playing the China-US Hedging Game

Better relations with Washington will now give Najib more room to manoeuvre. It will also allow Najib to undercut opposition criticism that he is too close to China.

He has thus put both Washington and Beijing on notice: be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you. It is, in fact, the global application of his domestic political approach: as he once told Chinese Malaysians, “If you show support [for UMNO-BN] we have no problem giving more… if not, difficult lah.”

Though it is still too early to predict how all this will turn out, no other prime minister has displayed such a flair for big power gamesmanship as he.

Buying his way to respectability

In order to demonstrate to both the US and China that they have much to gain both strategically and economically by being supportive of his administration, Najib has resorted to a form of chequebook diplomacy hitherto only used by rich and powerful countries – promising contracts, investments and big-ticket purchases in exchange for support and endorsement.

With China, Najib generously granted PRC corporations billions of ringgit in infrastructure contracts, even favouring PRC contractors over our own.

He has also earned the undying gratitude of President Xi by wholeheartedly embracing the latter’s One Belt One Road (Obor) initiative, dismissing concerns about the viability and lack of transparency of many Obor projects.

And under his watch, Malaysia made its first purchase of defence equipment from China.

In Washington, Najib opened his chequebook once again promising to buy more than RM42 billion in new aircraft for Malaysian Airlines (MAS), RM300 million in fighter jets for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), and to direct RM12 billion to RM16 billion in new investments from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Kazanah Nasional to US infrastructure projects.

He also promised to “persuade” AirAsia to switch from British-made Rolls Royce engines to American-made GE engines.

No doubt, this was all music to Trump’s ears, a small contribution to making American great again.

American officials, of course, deny the visit will have any impact on the DOJ investigations but does anybody really believe that Najib would have made all those expensive promises simply to make Trump feel good?

After this, expect European and Japanese salesmen-politicians to come knocking at our doors with hat in hand and high praise for Najib on their lips. For so long as there’s money to be made, inconvenient issues like human rights and good governance will not be allowed to get in the way.

Cost of Najib’s generosity

The downside, however, is that Malaysia’s already beleaguered opposition, as well as its human rights defenders, can now expect no sympathy or moral support from the US and other democracies.

Najib has neatly turned the tables on his detractors; far from isolating him internationally, he has now marginalised them at home.

Worse still, the nation will have to pay a heavy price for Najib’s extravagant chequebook diplomacy.  We are already heavily indebted to China; now we will be driven into even greater debt with billions of new borrowing to pay for Najib’s Washington promises.That the government of a cash-strapped developing country, which has had to impose a new tax (GST) on its own hard-pressed and long-suffering populace just to stay afloat, would offer such an extravagant economic boost to one of the richest economies in the world is both unprecedented and mind-boggling.

DENNIS IGNATIUS, a former Malaysian ambassador, firmly believes that we should put our trust not in the leadership of politicians but in the sanctity of great institutions – our secular and democratic constitution, a democratically-elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a free press and a government fully accountable to the people. He blogs here.

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When Two Grand Poobahs Meet, there are Fireworks–Of Najib and Donald


September 15,2017

Note: Malaysia’s Grand Poobah cum Corrupter Numero Uno,Najib Razak, will make his triumphant appearance at The Bunga Raya VIP complex at around 8 pm today to a hero’s welcome after a “successful visit”  to The Trump White House. A hero? Well, I am aghast at our lack of understanding of the concept of hero. To his supporters in UMNO and Barisan Nasional, one has to a robber and also an unconvicted felon to qualify.

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Welcome Home Wira Negara from The United States

A reader of this blog from Silicon Valley with a Masters Degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and former Malaysian and Vietnam War Veteran wrote this about Najib’s taxpayer funded trip:

“One crook playing host to another crook. Nothing new here. Donald Trump is turning the White House into a Club House for criminals, kleptocrats and dictators, where they exchange tips on how to tap into different government assets to transfer directly into their bank accounts. Kleptocrat Najib is Trump’s kind of guy. Trump is figuring out how to scam him out of the money he criminally stole from the Malaysian people.

And oh ya, Najib has paid a lot of money coming to pay homage at this Club House. It’s called Pay For Play… yeah, I didn’t invent the phrase, I plagiarized it. No red carpet. No state dinner. And, of course, no press conference because there’re plenty of something to hide. Najib just needed a pat on his head from Trump, so that he can return home to brag and boast and lie to his people that he’s the blessings from Trump to screw them up more.

Sure, all these criminal politicians,dictators and kleptocrats, when booking rooms for coming to pay homage at the Club House, have to pretend not knowing that the “Trump International Hotel” belongs to Donald Trump. Of course they know they’re lining Trump’s pockets by staying at his hotel, and easy enough to leave “something extra for the proprietor” without it going through official channels. It’s a bribe that isn’t officially a bribe. In country like Malaysia where bribes and cronyism are extensively common, Najib is the Grand Poobah who knows how to do it.”

I am now posting Dr. Lim Teck Ghee’s article on Najib’s pilgrimage to The White House to pay homage to America’s Grand Poobah to welcome Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri and  Yang Amat DiKasihi Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor home.

At that brief meeting, our Prime Minister pledged to help the United States economically with a value proposition comprising  Malaysia Airlines’ purchase of Boeings and investments by EPF and Khazanah Nasional Berhad plus expenses incurred at Trump International Hotel which are underwritten by Malaysian taxpayers.–Din Merican

When Two Grand Poobahs Meet, there are Fireworks–Of Najib and Donald

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Observers of the recent meeting of the US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Najib Razak may have underestimated the admiration that the two leaders have for each other and their shared ideological leanings, besides their common interest in spending time with golf buddies.

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Trump has gone on record during his recent Republican Presidential campaign to famously declare:

My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.

The first part of his declaration no one should have any doubt about.

As to the second part, let history judge if Trump is able to protect the interest of the United States through his principle of greed and me-first and last. For now, he has severe problems with his home audience, recording the lowest rating of any president since approval rating polls on US Presidents started in the 1940s.

In the last few days there has been a slight uptick in Trump’s approval rating. But this cannot be attributed to Najib’s visit.

The visit of our esteemed Prime Minister – Trump’s “favourite Prime Minister” according to a signed photo apparently prominently displaced in Najib’s office – may be trumpeted by the local media as a triumph and coup. The New Straits Times, for example, has given pride of place to an article by the foreign affairs magazine, The Diplomat, which noted that it was the second visit by a Southeast Asian leader to Trump’s White House (after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam) and assessed the visit as “a feat within the context of the bilateral relationship”.

Visit An Own Goal?

However, more astute Malaysia watchers are wondering if the Prime Minister’s side may have kicked an own goal in pushing for the visit which appears planned to boost Najib’s image and the Barisan Nasional’s prospects in the coming 14th General election.

The feedback of respected media in the United States and internationally has not only been unanimously critical. It has also put the spotlight again on the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) probe – its largest kleptocracy investigation ever – into potential fraud surrounding the 1MDB fund and, among other alleged crimes, as to whether the prime minister – indirectly referred to as “Malaysian Official 1” diverted more than $1billion to his own bank account.

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In a stinging op-ed on  September 6, the widely read and influential, The Wall Street Journal urged Trump to cancel the meeting using domestic concerns as a pretext. Assessing it a mistake to accord Najib a visit, the paper identified him as an authoritarian who may be implicated in the money-laundering scandal involving 1MDB.

“Any embarrassment is better than giving a scandal-tainted leader a White House photo-op,” the editorial concluded.

Now that the visit is over, follow up news reports have focused on whether it was appropriate for the Prime Minister and his entourage to stay at the Trump International Hotel – a move seen as injudicious, if not unethical, in view of the President’s personal interest in the hotel. Cynical reports have described stays by foreign delegations at the hotel, which is managed by Trump’s children, as creating opportunities for special interests to enrich the President as well as attempts at currying favour with him.

So what did the Prime Minister actually bring home from the visit, assuming like Trump, he was greedy for Malaysia. The visit ostensibly was to mark 60 years of bilateral relations of the two countries so there was no new breakthrough in relationship to pursue. All that was achieved was the reaffirmation of the US as a strategic partner in trade and ally in regional and security issues against ISIS and North Korea.

But Najib did bring a shopping list to help Trump “in strengthening the US economy”. Included in this list was the purchase of Boeing planes estimated at more than US10 billion in value and a possible similar sum to be invested in the US by Khazanah Nasional and EPF.

In return for this generous contribution from our fund strapped national treasury to the world’s strongest economy, Najib did not return empty handed. Trump praised Najib for his “major role in not allowing Islamic State and others (terror groups) to exist”. And apparently that was all that Najib was able to squeeze out of his “greedy for the United States” golfing partner.

Will his visit derail the ongoing DOJ investigation into the 1MDB scandal? According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when asked if Trump would address the DOJ investigation:

“We’re not going to comment on an ongoing investigation being led by DOJ, and that investigation is apolitical and certainly independent of anything taking place [during the meeting of the two leaders]”.

Whether the visit will influence the DOJ in any way is a big unknown. But it must be clear to the Prime Minister’s backroom boys assessing the outcome that the Prime Ministers’s position on domestic issues such as human rights violations, religious extremism and political abuses remain subject to international scrutiny and that the Prime Minister will have even less wriggle room in the event of another controversy or crisis.

Nice Mr. Najib’s “Flourishing Democracy”


September 12, 2017

Nice Mr. Najib’s “Flourishing Democracy”: Comment by Sarawak Report

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Malaysia’s Pathological Liar claims to be on a Journey of Exoneration to the United States to meet his counterpart  at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC.–Who between two will be conning the other?

 

The greatest liars are the ones who set out to deceive themselves.  Najib has mocked his mentor and the former icon of UMNO, Dr Mahathir, for belatedly admitting to strong arm tactics that damaged democracy and gifted his criminal successor with far too much personal power.

On the other hand, Najib is admitting no such thing relating to himself. In an authored statement that has had the world in stitches on the eve of his great ‘journey of exoneration’ (or so he would have it) to the United States, he paints himself as a great promoter of individual rights and the rule of law in Malaysia.

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This is what UMNO has turned this person into–kissing the hand of a liar. It makes me sick.–Din Merican

Every single thing he says in this article is demonstrably untrue and it comes from the mouth of a man who has orchestrated the theft of more money from his own people than recorded in any other global investigation.  Take the United States’ revered NGO Human Rights Watch on the subject:

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said Trump’s invitation was “particularly inappropriate”, given Najib’s use of repressive laws to stifle critics.

“There’s little doubt that Najib will use this White House visit to burnish his credentials going into next year’s election in Malaysia, and redouble his repression of critics using the stamp of approval from this visit,” HRW’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson told Reuters.

Najib begs to differ.  He plainly seeks to convince himself that since he is not presently putting people up against walls and shooting them publicly he runs a consensual and democratic government.

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He created a system which gave Najib Razak absolute power to inflict harm on our body politic, not Knowledge. Now he is regretting for doing so. 

Instead, in Malaysia people live under a more subtle fear that they may disappear or end up like the opposition leader in jail on cooked up crimes. People in government jobs bemoan they and all their family must vote for Najib’s UMNO party or they will be found out and lose their posts (their bosses warn UMNO monitor their votes).  This is not democracy, it is dictatorship through fear.

Far from tolerating dissent, Najib’s brave critics in Malaysia are routinely hounded in innumerable ways, under a raft of flexible laws that give him immense power to accuse and lock them up on grounds of ‘subverting the state’, ‘acting against harmony’, ‘acting against parliamentary democracy’ and so on.

If the courts eventually release these people, given the accusations are so fickle and outrageous, he then exercises the sort of arbitrary and ‘informal’ powers that people in genuine democracies can only gasp at.  Passports are removed, bank accounts are frozen – Najib’s victims are rendered penniless prisoners within his borders.

Free Speech?–No Freedom After Speech

When Najib claims that ‘freedom of speech is alive and well in Malaysia’ he appears to forget that this site has, for example, been itself arbitrarily banned in the grounds of ‘reporting falsehoods’.

Notably, he has not dared to legally challenge a single one of those supposed falsehoods, which now stand vindicated on every point by the evidence brought forward in the United States Justice Department’s own criminal investigation into 1MDB.

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Despite that vindication Sarawak Report remains banned and the editor “wanted” under a warrant issued in Malaysia for her arrest for supposed “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.  A false terrorism alert was even made to INTERPOL by Malaysia against Sarawak Report on Najib’s orders. Journalists inside the country face daily threats over ‘subversive reporting’, which they cannot ignore when instruments such as these are readily employed.

Suppression of Criticism Protects Rule by Criminals

There is a point to this partially legalised reppression.  Najib reckons the people’s pockets and their pensions are his to raid.  And, as this site and others have reported, he has done so without restraint, by placing often unqualified henchmen into the top positions at all the cash rich government-related funds and licencing them to raid the coffers through all manner of corrupt and self-interested investments (despite trechant warnings by the Bank of Malaysia).

And, of course, there is 1MDB, just one fully unmasked scandal amongst the many more yet to be revealed.

This rampant kleptocracy of recent years has destroyed Malaysia’s underlying economic security and wrecked hopes of advancement for the many, but it has all been terrifically good  for a certain class of foreign businessman, whose lack of moral quibbles has enabled them to make a pile of money facilitating the investment of all that loot in ventures overseas.  Such folk are ever ready to whisper in the ears of the stooping and cynical denizons of the corridors of Whitehall and the White House: “best deal with this Najib. He is a crook but he says he wants to buy our weapons and invest in our ludicrous projects when others won’t”.

‘Journey of Exoneration’?

By such means Najib has achieved his promoted ‘journey of exoneration’ to the United States. He will have Hurricane Irma to thank if the Washington press diverts its interest from this dirty little tryst.  However, the disapproval of the democratic media has already been made loud and clear.

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It has been noted that whilst Trump’s State Department personnel have been lined up for the welcoming party in this supposed strategic reach-out, designed to prize Malaysia back from China, representatives from the Department of Justice will markedly be absent.  Najib has to hope that this independent arm of state will not take advantage of her presence to interview Malaysia’s ‘First Lady’ about the $200 million of diamonds and jewellery, which she personally commissioned in the presence of Jho Low, her husband and bespoke boutique owner Lorraine Schwarz, at the Bel-Air Hotel in California over New Year in 2014.

They were bought with money stolen from 1MDB and the Department of Justice will doubtless be intrigued to know how she thought her husband would be paying for them.

864. In October 2014, $1,300,000 in funds traceable to misappropriated Deutsche Bank loan proceeds were used to purchase 27 different 18-carat gold necklaces and bracelets (“27 ASSORTED GOLD NECKLACES AND BRACELETS”) from Schwartz Inc. in New York. LOW arranged for the purchase and payment of this jewelry on behalf of the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1.

865. Schwartz was invited to show MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 jewelry at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles on or about January 3, 2014. LOW texted Schwartz that day to confirm that she was there. At the Bel Air Hotel, Schwartz had dinner with MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 and others, and thereafter was invited to a suite to show jewelry to her. She selected 27 different necklaces and bracelets. {DOJ Court Indictment]

Perhaps from the proceeds of GST? As money has poured out of Malaysia into Najib’s private projects he has sought to replace it with this tax on household goods.  He has also sought to counter the stench of high level corruption emanating from his own activities by setting the MACC onto everybody beneath him instead.  Over 600 arrests just this year against people who plainly reckoned that since their boss regards his job a licence to plunder it is only right they should have a piece of the action.

Meanwhile, as we all know, the mounds of evidence of corruption by Najib himself, which resulted in charges and a planned arrest by the former Attorney General, have been shelved in Malaysia, thanks to Najib’s abuse of the constitution and sacking of that AG.

All of the above qualifies Najib not as a democrat, but as a full blown dictator, as everyone who knows anything about Malaysia knows and understands – with the possible exception of himself, since self-delusion is a characteristic of all dictators.

Not Shooting People Yet, But Najib Has Made Ready To Do So

Najib buys his followers (with stolen cash) and pays others to bend the law.  He cheats and rigs elections. He persecutes critics who point out such failings.

However, in case such measures cease to work (which he plainly fears they may in the face of his flagrant sins and gross unpopularity) he has already enacted a series of unprecedented and totalitarian measures that will give him powers to shoot, burn and kill whoever and whatever he likes simply by declaring a State of Emergency in the presence of his cousin the Defence Minister and a couple of other chosen flunkeys. The Council of Rulers protested this shocking law – Najib ignored them.

The United States should note that Najib has achieved something very remarkable in Malaysia:  he has united a raft of former sworn enemies into a unprecedented coalition against him.  It is a coalition that unites religions and races into a platform calling for reform and its de facto head is the opposition leader currently in jail.  Najib has even propelled his draconian predecessor, Dr Mahathir into joining this coalition and into calling for the re-strenghtening of Malaysia’s independent institutions against the strong-man at the centre.

On his own side, meanwhile, Najib has reduced his following within UMNO to a tight core of paid-up interest groups, which has mischievously joined forces with the extremist rump of its own former political foe the PAS party, which has been campaigning for an Islamic State in Malaysia.

It is a sad thing for the United States to be seemingly allying with a criminal ethnic nationalist in bed with Islamic extremists against a reformist coalition based on broad democratic values. Yet this is what appears to be shown by this latest invitation extended on behalf of President Trump and Najib is using it to his full advantage.

After all, like all true dictators of a totalitarian mould Najib has full control of Malaysia’s mainstream media – a control he is seeking to extend into the online world as soon as possible with plans to monitor Facebook and blogs for ‘seditious’ criticism.  This media is promoting dutifully via the papers, radio and TV that Najib’s presence in the Oval Office represents ‘proof’ that the devastating and detailed proceedings of the United States Justice Department are nothing but manufactured lies.

The creeps lining the corridors of Whitehall and the White House know that isn’t so.  They also know how a continuing criminal regime will damage Malaysia and the stability of the region. They must take responsibility for their superficial cynicism in allowing this charade to have taken place.

 

Najib-Trump meeting under the spotlight


September 9, 2017

Najib-Trump meeting under the spotlight

Malaysia’s embattled premier will seek to reset bilateral relations with America’s leader while avoiding any commitments that may irk his financial patrons in Beijing.

Singapore, September 9, 2017 5:10 PM (UTC+8)

 

http://www.atimes.com/article/najib-trump-meeting-spotlight/

Image result for Najib Razak and Rosmah MansorHeading for The White House to pay homage to Emperor Donald J Trump, and hoping to do an Obama on the 45th POTUS

The US Department of Justice has filed dozens of civil lawsuits seeking to seize dozens of US-based properties and other assets tied to 1MDB, a state fund Najib created and until recently oversaw. The charges claim Malaysian officials and their associates conspired to fraudulently divert US$1.7 billion from 1MDB to purchase assets in America.

Media reports have widely speculated that Najib is the unnamed “Malaysian Official 1” mentioned in the charge sheet. US investigators believe more than US$3.5 billion was illicitly siphoned from the state fund. The DoJ recently asked to stay its civil proceedings to avoid prejudicing an ongoing US government criminal investigation into the charges.

Najib’s 1MDB troubles extend beyond the US. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund gave 1MDB five days to make a US$600 million payment owed to its International Petroleum Investment Company. Malaysia had vowed to make the payment from proceeds collected in a 1MDB asset sale rationalization plan. Switzerland and Singapore have also opened probes into alleged financial irregularities involving the fund.

A construction worker talks on the phone in front of a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Olivia Harris - RTX2576B

 

The Malaysian leader appears keen to leverage the Trump visit as a diplomatic opportunity to deflect attention from his 1MDB troubles, emphasizing to his critics that he has been invited at the highest level of the US government while the DoJ-led cases and Federal Bureau of Investigation probe are ongoing.

US-Malaysia relations had improved significantly under former US President Barack Obama, but notably cooled after the 1MDB probe was launched, opening the way for China to steal a march. Najib has leaned heavily on China, now Malaysia’s largest trade partner and foreign investor, for financial sustenance amid a sluggish domestic economy.

Chinese state enterprises have stepped in to acquire a power generation business and other distressed 1MDB assets to relieve pressure on the indebted fund, adding further impetus to the strategic importance of bilateral ties while pulling Najib’s beleaguered administration closer to Beijing.

Najib also secured US$34 billion in economic and investment agreements with Beijing last year, including the first major defense deal between the two countries involving the purchase of four Chinese-made naval vessels. The two sides held their first joint military drill, involving more than 1,000 Chinese troops, in September 2015.

Those drills, including joint search and rescue, hijacked vessel rescue, and disaster relief were held partly in the Strait of Malacca, a strategically crucial waterway where as much as 80% of China’s energy imports pass. Strategic analysts predict the US would bid to block China’s passage through the narrow waterway in any conflict.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak inspects honor guards during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, November 1, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee

American media have framed Najib’s visit as part of an intensifying regional tug-of-war between the US and China for Southeast Asian influence, a contest Beijing increasingly appears to be winning.

CNN referred to Najib’s visit as “the latest salvo in the ongoing battle for supremacy in Southeast Asia between Washington and Beijing”, while a New York Times article noted that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “confronted a resurgent China everywhere he went” during last month’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit held in Manila.

Najib is also expected to leverage his White House invitation to score political points against opposition figures who had earlier cast doubts he would be granted an audience with Trump because of his ongoing 1MDB legal troubles – though the US leader has been undeterred so far by the bad optics of fraternizing with controversial foreign leaders.

The US Department of Justice has filed dozens of civil lawsuits seeking to seize dozens of US properties and other assets tied to 1MDB, a state fund Najib created and until recently oversaw

“Najib wants to create the impression that the 1MDB scandal is a baseless accusation churned out by the opposition,” said Shamsul Akmar, an independent political analyst. “His supporters would also contend that if Najib is guilty of wrongdoings with 1MDB, surely Trump would not want to be associated with him, let alone receive him and be seen together.”

“Trump’s readiness to meet Najib only encourages his supporters to believe that [his] strategy of leaning towards China had made the US realize that it cannot take Malaysia for granted,” Akmar said. “That should give Najib the courage to urge Trump to assist in slowing down pursuit of the 1MDB case.”

The visit will also give Najib political ammunition to counter opposition criticism his government has become too dependent on China. It will require a fine diplomatic balancing act, however, to both please Trump and avoid alienating China at a time Beijing has given his 1MDB liabilities such a crucial financial lifeline.

 

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon