The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has visited the White House and met President Trump but he continues to be hounded and haunted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic suit to forfeit some US$1.7 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
The jury is out as to whether Najib could capitalize on his White House visit and meeting with President Trump for his benefit in the run-up to the 14th General Election, or whether it would be a deadweight to sink his premiership and coalition in the next general election.
The missing “elephant” in the Trump-Najib meeting is not only the talk of Malaysians and Americans, but the whole world – as never before had any Malaysian Prime Minister or possibly any visiting foreign leader who had been bombarded by such a bad press, both in the United States and world-wide.
What is worse, Najib’s visit has added a new ethical conundrum for both Trump and Najib – as the Malaysian Prime Minister and his entourage are staying at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, raising the question whether Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution which forbids presidents from receiving gifts or payment for services rendered from foreign governments while in office.
Those who believe that Najib’s visit to the White House will ipso facto put the 1MDB scandal behind him are being incredibly naïve, for all that Najib’s visit to the White House has done is to present an unprecedented spectacle of two leaders who are both under investigation by the US DOJ – the Malaysian Prime Minister and the US President, one for theft and money-laundering of more than US$4.5 billion over six years from 1MDB and the other on whether Trump’s current or former aides colluded with Russian intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The unprecedented White House meeting in fact conjured up images of posters of former US President Nixon in prison garb and raises the question whether the two personages who met at the White House yesterday would end up in prison garbs!
Najib must face up to the reality of the situation – there is no way for him to wish the “elephant” of the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia as a global kleptocracy away with mere pretence and charade that the infamy and ignominy of 1MDB scandal and Malaysia as a global kleptocracy do not exist.
Najib should open up, invite and answer questions about the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia as a global kleptocracy when he visits the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations later today before the end of his three-day visit to United States.
Let it be a start for the Malaysian authorities especially Parliament and the Judiciary to grapple with and kill Malaysia’s new demons – 1MDB scandal and Malaysia as a global kleptocracy – which have tainted and tarred Malaysia’s reputation and international standing.
It is indeed supreme irony that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the launching of two LRT coaches on the Kelana Jaya Line, painted with the theme Jerung atau bilis dalam jaring kami (Big fish or small, we will get you).
This MACC LRT campaign only serves to remind Malaysians that the MACC is only a paper-tiger, as it could only act against ikan bilis or may be medium-size fishes but not jerung, who enjoy both immunity and impunity in the MACC’s anti-corruption campaign.
Is the MACC prepared to prove that it is serious about eradicating corruption, without fear or favour, and if so, when is it going to get serious with investigations into the 1MDB scandal and address Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy as a global kleptocracy?