Archive for February 23rd, 2017

The Danger of Najibizing Malaysia’s Foreign Policy

By Prashanth Parameswaran
The Diplomat
February 15, 2017

Recent controversies over the country’s foreign policy decisions are the product of a broader problem.

On February 2, Malaysia revived a decades-old dispute with neighboring Singapore over the islet of Pedra Branca/Batu Puteh, complicating a historically rocky bilateral relationship that has been stable of late. Though Malaysia claimed that the application to revise the 2008 International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement that was in Singapore’s favor is grounded in its discovery of newly unearthed documents, some dismissed the move as posturing by the government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak ahead of Malaysia’s upcoming elections.

While Malaysian officials have rejected claims that the decision was politically motivated, the truth matters less than the doubts being raised. The reemergence of the dispute is just the latest example the reveals a more fundamental problem: that the perception Najib is acting in his own personal interest rather than the national interest is increasingly undermining the execution of Malaysia’s foreign policy. Though this perceived “Najibization” of Malaysia’s foreign policy may benefit certain groups, it also poses greater dangers for the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Roils Opaque Fine Art Market
22 February 2017

Scandal-engulfed 1MDB has roiled the opaque market for fine art, an $64 billion industry where deals of several hundred thousand dollars can be clinched with no questions asked.

Jho Low allegedly spent millions on a Hollywood film, penthouses, luxury hotels, a recording company – and fine art. Last year, Monet’s «Water Lilies with Reflections of Tall Grass» was seized in a Swiss freeport as part of an investigation into alleged graft at 1MDB.

Freeports, one of the last remaining vestiges of Swiss private banking secrecy, have come under increased scrutiny – as now has the art world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nor Mohd Yakcop should resign or be sacked or suspended as Khazanah Nasional Deputy Chairman if the Cabinet is serious about probe into Bank Negara forex losses in the 1990s

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop should resign or be sacked or suspended as Khazanah Nasional Bhd Deputy Chairman if the Cabinet is serious about probe into Bank Negara foreign exchange (forex) losses in the 1990s.

This is because Nor Mohamed Yakcop was the chief operator of Bank Negara’s forex speculation which resulted in colossal losses which could total some RM30 billion.

Former Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said when he appeared in court yesterday that Nor Mohamaed Yakcop was complicit in the Bank Negara forex losses in early 1990s when the latter was then a senior Bank Negara official.

He made a revelation when he said that as Finance Minister at the time, he had asked for Nor’s resignation but this was not allowed. Read the rest of this entry »

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