Questions has been raised by many as to what can be the reason(s) for the US President Donald Trump to have so much interest in PM Najib, for the latter to be invited to the White House this September 12th 2017. It is inconceivable that Trump isn’t aware of the development in the SEA Asian region, especially in the area of defence and security, where the US has much interest in region. It is inconceivable too that Trump isn’t aware of all that is happening to our nation today, a nation that was once being referred to as a fast developing nation; the Asian Tiger they say, outlasting most other nations in the ASEAN region.
Trump, during his Presidential Election campaign has voiced distrust in Muslims and the Muslim world, but that has changed somewhat upon being elected President, when he made an official visit to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Like all leaders of the world, official visits are meant to foster closer relationship among countries, especially when a country’s leader has just taken over the leadership of his country. Such unexpected and sudden change of attitude by Trump towards Muslims would come as a surprise to any leader of the Muslim world, but I suppose this isn’t the case for Saudi Arabia where there has been a long standing relation with the US government, especially on matters of defence and security, and where the US has been one of the major supplier of defence equipment to the kingdom.
In the case of Malaysia, would you not think that the invitation to PM Najib to the White House has anything to do with enticing Najib to remain a close ally of the US in the SEA Asian region, since PM Najib has probably been seen by the US to have developed the strengthening of bilateral relations with China? Or would you think there will be offers made by Trump to ease the financial and debt burden of the Najib’s regime, and all other burdens as a measure to curb the unstoppable economic and security influence of China in the SEA region?
Whatever may be the reason(s) for the ‘sudden liking’ of Trump towards Najib, one can expect the issue of 1MDB that had caused a ‘dent’ in the financial and banking system of the US to be raised by Trump. And one can assume that Trump is fully briefed by his officers on the situation surrounding the 1MDB scandal, and how the scandal has affected the US financial and banking system.
One wonders how will Najib response to questions about 1MDB when asked? The US government has noted the serious flaws in its financial and banking system that had allowed laundered money to breach its tough financial and banking system. Likewise, the 1MDB scandal has also affected banks in several other countries, notably Switzerland, Singapore, UK and Hong Kong; countries where it’s banking system are reputed to be some of the best in the world. I don’t think Najib can turn and twist his answers anymore about 1MDB when questions are asked about it; not only questions by Trump but also by the US media. Certainly, Raja Petra Kamaruddin of Malaysia Today will not be around to respond positively in Najib’s favour to questions asked by the US media. Also, Najib can no longer claim that the RM2.6 billion that got into his personal bank account was a donation from a super rich Pak Arab, because investigations by the US Department of Justice prove otherwise.
The other question that Trump could probably ask Najib is relating to Malaysia’s seemingly preferential treatment towards China for financial support to develop several large scale projects that runs into billions of ringgit, seen by many as projects that are beyond the government’s affordability for the present. There has also been an announcement that some China manufactured defence equipments are being considered by the Malaysian government. Whether the purchases are based on a need basis or otherwise are left much to the desires of the nation’s defence Chiefs. But one would have noticed that a sudden shift in Malaysia’s seemingly preference towards China’s defence equipment against traditional western defence equipment is rather unusual. Can this be tied to the large scale development projects offered to China companies that are also heavily financed by them? Or was the government being ‘armed twisted’ to accept the defence sale deals as part of the large scale multi billion ringgit projects offered and wholly financed by the China companies?
I think the US government is fully aware of the consequence(s) of China’s sudden emergence as a major financier in the economic development of Malaysia, especially in the construction of two major ports in the Peninsular i.e. Kuantan (eastern port) and Malacca (western port) where it was said to have the potential to serve as a naval port facility.
How will PM Najib answer to the above questions that will probably be raised by Trump himself or by the US media will be much awaited by Malaysians? Will Najib take a pro US stance and continue to be seen as a US ally in the region and conversely risk losing China’s financial support, or adopt a pro China’s stance and in all probability lose the US as the country’s ally. Whatever position that Najib takes will have an adverse impact on the country’s stated foreign policy towards the US and China.