Malaysia in vortex of “Embassy Row” in Washington

Washington Times
Embassy Row
James Morrison
Thursday, December 11, 2008


Malaysian political insiders are aghast over reports that a former ambassador to the United States is lobbying to regain his old position in Washington and hoping to win diplomatic approval quietly from the outgoing Bush administration to avoid scrutiny from the Obama White House.

Abdul Khalid Ghazzali, ambassador here from 1999 to 2006, left Washington under a cloud because of his connections to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges a few months before Mr. Ghazzali returned to Malaysia and resigned from the foreign service.

The controversy erupted in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after the Web blog, Malaysia Today, recently reported that Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi planned to reappoint Mr. Ghazzali. Members of Parliament later raised questions about the reports. A spokesman for the Malaysian Embassy in Washington said the government has made “no formal announcement” about a new ambassador.

Another blogger, Abu Muzamil Khan, claimed that the prime minister is trying to “sneak the appointment [through] during the [U.S.] presidential transition.”

In a 2006 news conference, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad admitted that Abramoff received $1.2 million to arrange a meeting between him and President Bush in 2002, but Mr. Mahathir insisted that none of the money came from the Malaysian government.

However, U.S. Senate investigators established links between Abramoff and the Malaysian Embassy while Mr. Ghazzali was ambassador. In a guilty plea, Abramoff admitted that the embassy paid money to a fake think tank, the American International Center, established by an associate of his in a Delaware beach house.

Mr. Khan, in an e-mail, added that political insiders are speculating that Mr. Ghazzali, who still claims close ties on Capitol Hill, is being sent back to Washington to “fend off the likely outcry that is expected as a new politically motivated show trial” begins against Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister under Mr. Mahathir who later led a democracy opposition movement.

In Washington, Ambassador Rajmah Hussain replaced Mr. Ghazzali in 2006 but returned to Malaysia earlier this year.

  1. #1 by HJ Angus on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 1:31 pm

    Under the Malaysia BOLEH policy we do rehabilate wayward leaders as long as they are UMNO members.

  2. #2 by frankyapp on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 2:48 pm

    In Bolehland,anything can happen,be it good or bad. In the end,the story will end happily ever after.This embassy row in washington,liked I said and now saying again is one of many more scandals to be exposed.Nothing will come out clean and clear.These UNMO guys just sweep all the dirt under the carpet. The police,the ACA are all sleeping with these guys dreaming wonderful dreams of pocket full of money and enjoying themselves in bolehland at the expend of the rakyat.

  3. #3 by trublumsian on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 2:55 pm

    yep, they sneak themselves out of controversy, and sneak loyalists like racist ahmad ismail back in the fray when u’r not looking.

    commonly, we hear:
    “we will review the issue”
    “we will set up a commission to look into this”
    “i have spoken to xx, he has apologize”
    “we consider this case close”
    “there is not enough evidence”
    “this is not in our jurisdiction”
    “we are waiting for a formal report”
    “we should not touch on this sensitive issue”
    “due to some current factors, this is (conveniently) no longer an issue”
    “(let’s jail someone to get him/her off my back)”
    “(don’t say anything…)”

  4. #4 by All For The Road on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 4:20 pm

    Why is there no immediate appointment on the part of the government for the vacated post of Malaysia’s ambassador to Washington? Why the dilly-dally on the matter? If the former ambassador from 1999 to 2006, Abdul Khalid Ghazzali, is reappointed
    to the post, I think it smacks of a political agenda. Is it because of the Anwar Ibrahim factor that he is recalled to serve his political master’s game plan? Is there no other candidate?

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 4:42 pm

    How to engineer a sneak appointment when Obama’s next secretary of state and national security advisor can read what James Morrison wrote in the Washington Times by the article under column Embassy Row, titled The Malaysian Controversy”?

    Will outgoing Bush admin appoint at this juncture of transition that may be out of line with Obama’s foreign policy?

    Ex premier TDM admitted that Abramoff received US$1.2 million to arrange a meeting between him and President Bush in 2002 for photo op. After that in ‘gratitude’, TDM lambasted Bush along with Blair for human rights violation bordering on genocide in Iraq & Palestine. Think the Bush Admin will extend help? Or another US$1.2 million to some important functionary within outgoing administration is in offing to lobby?

  6. #6 by Godfather on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 5:33 pm

    Isn’t Khalid Ghazzali the brother-in-law of Daim Zainuddin ? Remember the principle that money can buy anything.

  7. #7 by taiking on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 5:35 pm

    Umno is teaching the world our way – the malaysian experience. Its a service rendered and I think they really ought to charge those jokers across the pacific for the time spent.

  8. #8 by rubini on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 6:10 pm

    A new leading disease in Malaysia is causing horrible affliction on ordinary people. They suffer anguish, lost of confidence, hatred, frequent outburst of axiety which will cause behavioral changes. They VICTIMS of a virus which was quite dormant & only recently have been diagnosed the damaged it has done on Malaysian population.


    Urgently required – a Vaccine to innoculate against the disease. Antibiotics to kill the disease which has afflicted many Malaysians. Physchological Treatment – to monitor behavioral pattern & prevent victims from falling into relapses.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 6:51 pm

    The USD1.2 million Abramoff received to arrange a meeting between the mamak and President Bush in 2002 has most probably been used by the Americans to supply arms to Israel. In short, the anti-Semitic mamak is guilty of supply money to the IsraelisFrida treaty

  10. #10 by mata_kucing on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 7:18 pm

    Why is it that in this country, the bad guys always win? It’s so exasperating.

  11. #11 by Ramesh Laxman on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 10:00 pm

    I am not suprised that we have to pay rent to meet U.S President.
    Same like our Prime Minister staying in rented Official Residence.
    One of our former Prime Ministers said recently thay he was afraid that Vision 20/20 cannot be achieved. I agree with him. Look at all the Developed Countries and ask yourself do their leaders pay rent to meet US President and do they live in rented Official Residence.

  12. #12 by undergrad2 on Friday, 12 December 2008 - 10:51 pm

    “The USD1.2 million Abramoff received to arrange a meeting between the mamak and President Bush in 2002 has most probably been used by the Americans to supply arms to Israel. In short, the anti-Semitic mamak is guilty of supply money to the IsraelisFrida treaty”.

    Very interesting but why would an anti-Semitic politician want to help the U.S. supply arms to Zionists.

    Anyway USD 1.2 million is a drop in the bucket. The U.S. government issues an open cheque to the Israeli government running into several hundred millions each year to help it buy arms. This is a matter of public record.

    But you’re right. That was the price of what was essentially a photo ops in the White House.

  13. #13 by frankyapp on Saturday, 13 December 2008 - 2:30 am

    Hey mata kuching,cos these bad guys are pretty smart.They only set traps to catch others who oppose them eg .ISA,sedious act etc etc etc.The rest of the parties eg mata mata, aca,judiciary,etc etc etc are being well seasonedby these expert chefs n these guys just cook according to these UMNO/BN expert chefs’s recipes.Should we wanna change,we should not simply eat what’s being presented or offer on the card or table by the UMNO/BN in the 13th general election.U guys gotta be careful cos these bad guys will keep on changing their cooks and recipes to cheat the rakyat as liked you said these bad unmo/bn guys always win.These bad buys are concern,to stay alive will do angthing whatever it takes.

  14. #14 by trublumsian on Saturday, 13 December 2008 - 2:51 am

    it’s no secret the u.s. pays muslim countries to keep tabs on fanatical movements. these r considered “mild” regimes, but have pockets of potential for misdeeds. opportunities for those in position to capitalize on, small price nevertheless for the u.s.

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 13 December 2008 - 8:46 am

    “Another blogger, Abu Muzamil Khan, claimed that the prime minister is trying to “sneak the appointment [through] during the [U.S.] presidential transition.”

    Utter rubbish! Any such appointment will be on hold until the new administration kicks in.

  16. #16 by passerby on Saturday, 13 December 2008 - 10:54 am

    Don’t underestimate the ability of Bolehland. Remember some years ago, they have caused the resignation of the Irish PM. I think it was Lorraine Osman who tried to bride the Irish PM to get approval for the development of a piece of land. I don’t remember whether he was acting alone or there were other umno members involved. These umnoputras are so use to receiving corruptions that they think other countries are also running on the same basis!

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