The Malaysian Election Tsumami: What Happens Next?


June 11, 2018

The Malaysian Election Tsumami: What Happens Next?

The CSIS Southeast Asia Program is pleased to present “The Malaysian Election Tsunami: What Happens Next?” a panel discussion featuring Dr. Meredith L. Weiss and Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun. They will discuss the outcomes of 14th Malaysian general election, and what the election means for the state of democracy in Malaysia and the region. Dr. Meredith L. Weiss is professor of political science and director of International Programs at the State University of New York at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. She has published widely on political mobilization and contention, the politics of identity and development, and electoral politics in Southeast Asia, with particular focus on Malaysia and Singapore. Her books include Student Activism in Malaysia: Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow (2011) and Protest and Possibilities: Civil Society and Coalitions for Political Change in Malaysia (2006), as well as a number of edited volumes, most recently, Political Participation in Asia: Defining and Deploying Political Space (with Eva Hansson, 2018). Her articles appear in Asian Survey, Critical Asian Studies, Democratization, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of Democracy, New Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, and other journals. A forthcoming book explores the resilience of electoral-authoritarian politics in Malaysia and Singapore; other current projects include a collaborative study of “money politics” in Southeast Asia and a co-edited volume on Malaysia’s 2018 general elections.

Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun served as the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia from 2013 to 2016. He has also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Mr. Yun’s other overseas postings include the Republic of Korea, Thailand, France, Indonesia and Hong Kong. He most recently served as U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy from 2016 to 2018. He currently serves as senior advisor at The Asia Group and as senior adviser to the Asia Program at the United States Institute of Peace. This event was made possible through general support to CSIS.

 

Mahathir 2.0 Diplomacy


June 2, 2018

Opinion

Mahathir 2.0 Diplomacy–Madhater?

Image result for Dr Mahathir and PM Lee Hsien Loong

COMMENT | Many Malaysians seem puzzled by repeat-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent exercise in what’s known as “megaphone diplomacy”, his very public and provocative statement in an interview with the Financial Times that Malaysians’ ridding themselves of the BN regime for the first time in the nation’s history may inspire Singaporeans to do likewise after nearly 60 unbroken years of government by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

“I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence,” Malaysiakini quoted Mahathir as remarking, much to the mystification of most, if not all of us.

I must confess that I haven’t been a mega-fan of Mahathir in the past. But recalling that I’ve made fun of him as ‘Mahahahathir’ a few times, I have to admit now that the joke’s entirely on me.

And as for my occasionally calling him Madhathir, now that he’s demonstrated enough smarts as to lead the opposition to a stunning victory over the seemingly-unbeatable UMNO-BN robber-regime, I have to concede that if he’s crazy then he’s crazy like a fox.

However, having said all that, there’s no denying that he’s always seemed to have a bee in his bonnet, if not a bat in his belfry, about Singapore.

There are plenty of possible reasons for this, two of the most obvious being a natural species rivalry between himself as the Malaysian Tiger and Lee Kuan Yew (photo) as the Singapore Lion, or envy of the tremendous success of the ‘little red dot’ despite its lack of land, sand, water and other natural resources compared with much bigger and more bountiful but much more corrupt and less prosperous Malaysia.

Image result for high-speed rail link with Singapore

 

But this recent piece of apparently highly undiplomatic megaphone diplomacy that Mahathir has directed at the city-state seems more specifically motivated by his decision to scrap the projected high-speed rail link with Singapore.

Presumably on the grounds that this was just another of the wildly-overpriced rent-seeking projects devised by the Najib Abdul Razak-headed former UMNO-BN regime for the enrichment of its members and cronies, rather than for the benefit of the Malaysian people.

Remember Jack Abramoff?

But it inevitably causes some of us to recall the howls of protest by Mahathir way back when his first hand-picked successor as Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, cancelled Mahathir’s proposed “crooked bridge” link between Malaysia and Singapore.

Not that I’m suggesting that there’s necessarily any resemblance between the crooked-bridge and possibly crooked high-speed rail projects, but at least on a superficial level, there appears to be an element of inconsistency in Mahathir’s attitude towards them.

Just as there does in his approach to the US and the rest of “the West”, with which he routinely conducted a campaign of megaphone diplomacy during his first term as Prime Minister.

A duplicitous campaign of megaphone diplomacy, or in other words megaphoney diplomacy as it turned out, as in the same period of time his administration allegedly paid more than a million dollars to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of corruption, for arranging a meeting for Mahathir with the US President at the time, George W Bush (photo).

But the fact that he recently submitted to an interview with the Voice of America seems to indicate that he has less appetite for megaphoney diplomacy with the US these days.

And in any event, there’s very little possibility that he or anybody else could trump the current US President in the megaphoney department.

Except, of course, for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is clearly using his yapping lapdog, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, to demonstrate to the world that the megaphoney Trump is all bark and no bite.

But that’s another story, except, of course, for the fact that the planned venue for the so-called “summit” that Trump, the leader of the richest and most militarily powerful nation on earth, has apparently allowed himself to be faked into with Kim, leader of China’s pathetic little no-account client country, happens to be Singapore.

A situation over which Mahathir surely won’t be shedding any Mahatears, as it promises to provide him with a golden opportunity to enjoy practising his diplomacy skills, both megaphone or megaphoney, on Singapore, the US and North Korea all at once.


DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views ofb Malaysiakini.

When will messy 1MDN Scandal end and Justice done?


May 28, 2018

When will  messy 1MDN Scandal end and Justice done?

By Tashny Sukumaran

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2147883/where-will-it-end-najib-razaks-1mdb-chickens-come-home-roost

Image result for najib and rosmah asleep

Rosmah Mansor and Najib Razak are being pursued by a new Sheriff in town

The 1MDB scandal had haunted the administration of Najib Razak after first coming to light in 2015. Now there is a new sheriff in town, the public is on the edge of its seat as it watches the wheels of justice begin to turn.

The late night raid is not a new phenomenon in Malaysian politics. It happened in 1998 to then Deputy Prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. But while that raid stoked the fires of the Reformasi movement, the recent Police lockdown of embattled former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s house saw the electorate rejoicing.

The Police began searching all of Najib’s properties last week as part of an investigation into the 1MDB financial scandal which has haunted the former Prime Minister since 2015. Investigators in several countries have alleged US$4.5 billion was stolen from the state investment fund that was set up by Najib himself in 2009.

From Malaysia’s ‘first lady’ to ‘bag lady’: why Rosmah Mansor’s vast collection of Hermes Birkins caused a social media storm

During the election that removed Najib and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, 1MDB was a major talking point for the newly installed Pakatan Harapan government. It hammered the issue when canvassing in a country where cost of living is a big concern for many.

The scandal first came to light when reports emerged that investigators had traced US$680 million from the fund sent to Najib’s private account. Cash from the fund was meant to be spent on infrastructure ventures, but mounting evidence suggested money was being siphoned off for political and personal purposes, including allegedly into Najib and his family’s coffers.

As Prime Minister, Najib agreed to cooperate with an investigation – but only after sacking the Attorney Ggeneral, Abdul Gani Patail. He was subsequently cleared of all wrongdoing, with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) claiming the funds he received came from Arab benefactors.

In 2016 and 2017, the US justice department filed a series of forfeiture suits to seize assets valued at US$1.7 billion – including yachts, Picassos, luxury homes, jewellery, a private jet and cash set aside to produce Hollywood films.

Malaysian PM Mahathir begins big government clean up, but is his ruling coalition in a mess?

Malaysian financier Jho Low – known for trying to woo Paris Hilton and giving lingerie model Miranda Kerr extravagant jewellery – was ordered to turn over one such asset, the US$250 million superyacht Equanimity, to the US authorities two weeks ago.

Justice department documents say officials managing 1MDB embezzled and laundered US$4.5 billion between 2009 and 2014. The money trail crosses about 10 countries and several offshore accounts in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands. Besides Low, the lawsuits named Riza Aziz – Najib’s stepson – and “Malaysian Official 1” or MO1, which is widely believed to be Najib. And now the fund is saddled with billions of US dollars of debt – taken on via bonds sold by Goldman Sachs, the principal on which will be due in 2022.

 

Justice department documents say officials managing 1MDB embezzled and laundered US$4.5 billion between 2009 and 2014. The money trail crosses about 10 countries and several offshore accounts in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands. Besides Low, the lawsuits named Riza Aziz – Najib’s stepson – and “Malaysian Official 1” or MO1, which is widely believed to be Najib. And now the fund is saddled with billions of US dollars of debt – taken on via bonds sold by Goldman Sachs, the principal on which will be due in 2022.

Breaking Barisan Nasional’s 60-year grip on Malaysia was the easy part. Here’s Mahathir’s real challenge

Malaysia boleh: Mahathir’s return to power is more than a palace coup. It is a new era of hope

The political backlash, although not immediate, has gathered its own momentum: members of Najib’s own party began filing police reports, his detractors, including Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, formed a new political party helmed by former and current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and the Barisan Nasional coalition was toppled after 61 years in power.

Pakatan Harapan is pursuing those responsible, now with the full force of government behind them.

Shocked and Awed

The Malaysian public has been stunned by revelation after revelation, beginning with the raids of Najib’s residences, which led the confiscation of 284 boxes of luxury handbags, massive amounts of jewellery, and stacks of cash totalling US$28.6 million – which Najib dismissed as campaign donations.

With all the heat coming down on the former prime minister, Najib has asked for witness protection, saying he was the target of death threats from foreigners linked to 1MDB. Following the raids, Najib was questioned for several hours by the MACC, while the newly minted finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, told reporters that the fund’s directors had confirmed its insolvency and inability to pay its debts.

 

The big reveal of this week though was not just that 1MDB has been gutted, but that the previous government had used the country’s main sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Holdings, and the central bank to pay off 1MDB debt – meaning the infestation had spread across the system, potentially contaminating these other pillars of the Malaysian economy.

In a strongly worded statement Lim called 1MDB Director Arul Kanda “utterly dishonest and untrustworthy, and instructed the legal advisers to the Ministry of Finance to review his position as the president of 1MDB”.

Kanda reiterated claims to This Week in Asia that Lim had cast him in a bad light, but refused to comment further.

James Chin, the Director of Asia Institute Tasmania think tank, said 1MDB was now being clearly presented to the Malaysian public as “a scam”. He noted that the ramifications of the meltdown would probably affect all large government projects and government-linked companies.

1MDB vs 38 Oxley Road: why Malaysia envies Singapore

“In terms of impact, this whole mess reaffirms what we know already: there is monkey business at the top of the [Barisan Nasional] food chain. The only difference is the scale, which we won’t know until the final audit. Mainly however, the layer of governance in federal and state projects and borrowings will be more closely studied by the markets, which is a good thing.”

A task force set up by Mahathir soon after he was elected to investigate 1MDB and reclaim its assets met US justice department and FBI officials on Thursday. The task force said US officials revealed that their requests from the past two years for the MACC and the attorney general’s office to cooperate in their investigation had been ignored.

The Singaporean Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore said they were prepared to help Malaysian authorities with the investigation. The authority has fined eight banks and shut down Swiss private banks BSI and Falcon in Singapore, jailing several, after its own probe into 1MDB.

Meanwhile, Xavier Justo, a Swiss citizen who first blew the whistle on alleged impropriety at the fund, told Malaysian newspaper The Star that he would testify in any 1MDB-related trial.

Najib, who is banned from leaving Malaysia, has stoked public anger through a series of mistimed statements, including describing himself as unemployed despite still drawing a salary as a Member of Parliament. He also complained about Police helping themselves to chocolates in his fridge during the raid, and accusing Mahathir of only telling “half the story”.

How will Najib’s golfing buddy Trump treat Malaysia’s 1MDB probe?

“Words said and allegations made while in the opposition carry a very different weight now that you are in power and holding the positions of the finance minister or the prime minister,” he said, accusing the new government of slander.

Lim retaliated by detailing how the new government had discovered federal debt had reached US$250 billion; a combination of official debt, government guarantees for entities unable to service debts, and lease payments for projects such as roads and schools.

Mahathir also remained undeterred, saying he would not strike a deal under any circumstances with Najib, his former protégé turned rival.

And while Najib enjoys immunity as a former head of state, Mahathir can revoke it at any time, said lawyer Surendra Ananth, co-chair of the Malaysian Bar Constitutional Law Committee.

“State immunity is not personal. It is enjoyed by the state,” he said. “Such immunity, being enjoyed by the state, can be waived anytime.”

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said pursuing justice over the 1MDB financial scandal was Pakatan Harapan living up to its election pledge. “Individuals and companies that benefited from 1MDB funds could be raided too. It is going to be a long-haul process and require a lot of manpower from MACC.”

Malaysia’s leader is eyeing a rigged reelection–The Washington Post


May 8, 2018

Malaysia’s leader is eyeing a rigged reelection. Trump will probably congratulate him.


President Trump with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Washington in September 2017. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER Najib Razak has some problems that might seem familiar to some in Washington. He gained office despite losing the popular vote. He has been unable to shake investigations on corruption charges despite firing a top law-enforcement official. His party has splintered over his leadership. Now, on May 9, he must face voters again.

Mr. Najib’s solution? Launch a campaign under the slogan “Make my country great.” Redraw election districts so they are heavily tilted toward his party’s candidates. Adopt a budget-busting policy of handing out cash to likely supporters. Last but not least: Pass a new law banning “fake news,” and use it to silence critical media and to threaten the arrest of the opposition’s leader.

Image result for mahathir mohamad

The betting in Kuala Lumpur is that all this will lead to Mr. Najib’s claiming a new mandate after Wednesday’s vote. President Trump, who favored the Malaysian leader with a White House visit last year, is unlikely to raise objections. That’s unfortunate, as Mr.­ Najib’s corrupt and increasingly authoritarian rule is leading his nation away from the United States.

Among those investigating Mr. Najib’s corruption is the U.S. Justice Department, which has alleged that the prime minister and close associates diverted $4.5 billion from a government investment fund. Justice is seeking to seize $1.7 billion in assets connected to the fraud and alleges that $730 million of the funds were deposited in bank accounts controlled by Mr. Najib. The Prime Minister denies wrongdoing but fired the Malaysian Attorney General who was investigating the charges.

Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the coalition that outpolled the ruling party in the 2013 election, meanwhile was jailed on trumped-up sodomy charges. Still very popular, Mr. Anwar will not be released until after the election. But his party has formed an unlikely alliance with Mr. Najib’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who broke with Mr. Najib following the corruption allegations.

Not content with gerrymandered districts — which, according to one calculation, could allow the ruling party to win a parliamentary majority with as little as 16 percent of the vote — the government has hounded the opposition with dirty tricks. New regulations effectively banned local candidates from using Mr. Mahathir’s name on posters or campaigning with him. His party was suspended for allegedly failing to file paperwork. Authorities are now threatening to prosecute Mr. Mahathir under the fake-news law.

A win by Mr. Najib will do more than reward his ugly tactics. It will likely increase Malaysia’s internal polarization: The Prime Minister has catered to Malay nationalism with xenophobic slogans and attacks on Christians and ethnic Chinese. It will propel Malaysia closer to China, which is happy to tolerate Mr. Najib’s authoritarianism and has taken advantage of Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from a trans-Pacific trade treaty that would have bound the United States closer to Malaysia. A president pursuing U.S. interests would be seeking to isolate Mr. Najib. Instead, if he pulls off his rigged reelection, Mr. Najib can probably count on Mr. Trump’s congratulations.

The Sins of Najib Razak


January 4, 2018

The Sins of Najib Razak

Image result for Trum[p and Najib razakMalaysia’s Kleptocrat shakes hand with America’s Super Mario at The White House last year

In a year that had its fair share of symbolic moments, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took home a fistful of trophies.

One prize was his cameo meeting in September with US President Donald Trump at the White House, which counts as a juicy political point for the coming general election.

 Najib brought “strong value propositions” for Trump in the form of a multi-billion dollar commitment to buy Boeing jets, an offer to push AirAsia to buy General Electric engines and a pledge to increase investments in American infrastructure.

With this gesture “to strengthen the US economy”, the premier secured numerous pay-offs, including blunting the barbs of his critics on the US Justice Department’s investigation into the troubled state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Though there was some collateral damage from the trip, the net gain from an electoral viewpoint would be in the PM’s favour, although Najib did remark that his comments on helping the US were misconstrued.

The tacit endorsement which Najib has earned from his meeting with the US leader would play well in rural electioneering, especially since his Washington trip was followed immediately by another photo op with British premier Theresa May.

On the home turf, Najib raised his score as the commander-in-chief of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition through a number of moves that served to blindside the opposition parties or at least, put them on the back foot.

In early April, the government made the unprecedented move of clearing the parliamentary order paper of its business to make way for a Private Member’s Bill.

Image result for Hadi Awang and Najib Razak

The next day, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang tabled a motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, seeking to grant the Syariah Court powers to impose stiffer penalties on all crimes except those with the death sentence.

The enhancement of the Syariah Courts’ powers, a prize long sought by PAS but hitherto beyond its parliamentary reach, is the clearest indication to date of the coming together of the Islamist party with Umno in an electoral alliance, despite their long history of political enmity.

The shifting alignment only reflects the growing importance of religion as a cement to hold together the fractured Malay voter base.

Another aspect of this theme is the hosting of the King Salman Centre for International Peace at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia, following Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to Malaysia in March.

Not only does this move strengthen Najib’s legitimacy as a leader among Muslims, but it also burnishes his credentials as a key ally in the global fight against terrorism.

All this would go some way towards mitigating the damage that his one-time mentor turned nemesis, the tenacious former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has been inflicting on his image since the elder leader joined forces with the opposition parties.

 

Among the list of sins that is being laid at Najib’s feet is the view that he has sold out the country’s strategic interests to obtain a funding lifeline from China. The East Coast Rail Link, among a laundry list of infrastructure projects, has been singled out for particular criticism. The PM’s team has worked hard at fending off these claims, and Najib has retorted that he would never sell Malaysia’s sovereignty.

Helping to contain Mahathir’s virulent campaign to unseat Najib, the quick-acting Royal Commission of Inquiry into Bank Negara’s foreign exchange losses in the 1990s has shifted some attention away from his litany against the PM to the debacle that took place under Mahathir’s watch.

While the inquiry report is being challenged by Mahathir, it continues to have life enough to give Najib and his team ammunition for their battle with detractors.

Even if the electorate were unimpressed by their leaders’ quarrels over past and present scandals, they would likely be motivated by the long list of benefits that Najib announced in his budget for next year.

From a reduction in income tax rates to easier hiring of domestic help and discounts on study loan repayments, to name a few, the message that Najib has sought to convey to voters is that his government is listening to their needs.

In keeping with this softer touch, Najib paid a courtesy call on de facto Pakatan Harapan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when the jailed opposition leader was in hospital for an operation on his shoulder joint in November.

If nothing else, the gesture would sit well with voters who see it as a sympathetic or even magnanimous act by the nation’s leader.

That’s a good feeling to ride, going into perhaps the toughest election challenge that the BN has faced in decades.

Image result for Mahathir takes on Najib razak

 

But still, for Najib, the coast is not as clear as he would wish it to be. He has to face the increasing number of voters unhappy with the rising cost of living, the never-ending problems with FELDA and its companies (whose settlements in the Malay heartland form the core support of UMNO and the issue of 1MDB that will not easily fade from the scrutiny of international media. Also, the emergence of new politics in Sabah and Sarawak, for which the political mantra — Sabah for Sabahans and Sarawak for Sarawakians — could sway both sides of the political divide.

– http://www.theedgemarkets.com

 

Donald Trump’s big-power bullying diplomacy


December 22, 2017

Donald Trump’s big-power bullying diplomacy

by Dennis Ignatius

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for nikki haley's diplomacy

 

COMMENT | The United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned recently, in what can only be described as the height of arrogance, that the US “will be taking names” during an upcoming vote in the UN General Assembly on the status of Jerusalem. In a letter to dozens of member states, including our own I suppose, she put them on notice that “the President and the US take this vote personally.”

She also warned that she had been instructed to send the names of all countries that vote against the US directly to President Trump, presumably for further action.

In other words, there will be consequences –  retaliation or punishment – if countries do not support the US on this issue.

Trump himself has complained that other countries “take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars [from us], and then they vote against us.” Clearly, Trump intends to link foreign assistance with how countries vote on issues important to the US.

The US aid budget currently amounts to more than US$48 billion annually – US$31 billion in economic assistance and US$17 billion in military assistance. US aid, however, is mostly tied to US agricultural products and US military equipment and training. The five largest recipients of US aid are Israel (US$3.1 billion), Egypt (US$1.5 billion), Afghanistan (US$1.1 billion), Jordan (US$1 billion) and Pakistan (US$933 million). Malaysia receives about US$10 million annually, mostly in military assistance.

The US warning comes after a vote earlier this week on a resolution in the UN Security Council which overwhelmingly condemned Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Fourteen out of the 15 members of the Council voted for the resolution. Although the US vetoed the resolution, the message from the international community was clear enough.

Stung by the vote in the council, Ambassador Haley is now trying to forestall a similar rebuke in the UN General Assembly where the Permanent Five do not enjoy veto powers. The 193-member UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim states to discuss the US decision on Jerusalem.

If precedent is anything to go by, the US will very likely suffer a crushing defeat on this issue when the Assembly votes.

Self-appointed class monitor

Whichever way you look at it, Ambassador Haley’s letter is nothing less than big-power bullying. After insisting in the UN Security Council that the US will not be bullied into deciding where to locate its embassy in Israel, she is now proceeding to bully the rest of the world into acquiescing in the US decision.

While big powers often indulge in high-powered lobbying to gain support on critical issues, they rarely resort to such threatening and demeaning language, behaving like some self-appointed class monitor taking names of unruly students to report to the headmaster for punishment.

Even in far more critical situations before – on the eve of the first Iraq War, for example – when the US was desperately trying to obtain international consensus, the US never resorted to threats. I recall a meeting in early 1990 between our then Foreign Minister Abu Hassan Omar and US Secretary of State James Baker in Los Angeles, when the US laid out its case for the invasion of Iraq and the liberation of Kuwait.

Malaysia was on the Security Council that year and Baker appealed for our support. There was never any hint of threats or retaliation, just a sincere plea for support, as it should be between friendly nations. Malaysia eventually voted in favour of the US-led intervention.

Trump and his team now appear to be bringing the proverbial big stick to the table of international diplomacy, hoping to bully and cajole their way in international affairs. If Trump thinks this is the way to enhance US power and prestige, he is going to be disappointed. Threats might work in limited circumstances but it is no substitute for diplomacy and consensus building.

As the continuing standoff with North Korea aptly demonstrates, the US needs international support and consensus to help resolve important security issues.

Besides, as the world returns once again to a more multipolar global architecture, thanks to the rise of China, bullying might just prove to be counterproductive.

As for Jerusalem, whether the US likes it or not, its status is going to have to be decided at some future time as part of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Moving the US embassy might make for popular politics at home but that does not make it the right thing to do for other nations.

I hope the General Assembly will send a resounding message to President Trump that the world will not be bullied this way, and that Malaysia’s name will be on that list that Ambassador Haley sends to the White House. I, for one, will consider it a badge of honour.