DOJ probe independent of Najib-Trump meet, says White House

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is here at the invitation of President Donald Trump, said Malaysia is not asking for money from the United States.

“Hopefully Trump will change his mind (about pulling out of the TPP) now that he is a bit more politically mature”, said Yong Hee Kong, senior adviser at Singapore-based ASEAN Advisory Pte Ltd of Zico Advisory.

There are about 28,000 Malaysians living in cities throughout the United States.

“I hope there will be some agreement on at least a bilateral deal between the two countries”, he told reporters following the symposium.

He said there was a need for Malaysia to embrace both political discourse and dissent, and protect religious diversity, adding that Najib should be reminded that his White House visit did not mean the U.S. disregarded the rights violations that he had committed to save his own skin and political career.

“However, it is a bit unfortunate that the visit will be clouded by allegations surrounding our government as well as Trump’s presidency”, he said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak will be greeted in the Oval Office, for talks the White House says will focus on terrorism, trade and Asian maritime disputes.

The DoJ had in July a year ago, led a civil suit seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion (RM4.2 billion) in assets linked to an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, which has been described as the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

“It’s clear that Najib is desperate to show that his global reputation is untarnished by the 1MDB scandal, and Trump’s invitation provides just the boost he is looking for”.

“The kind of Southeast Asian partner that the USA needs to help counter terrorism and sectarian violence in the region is not one that jails its critics and promotes religious intolerance”.

Like in the first suit, the papers filed by the DoJ in June had also made mention of the involvement of a top Malaysian government official, whom they named as “Malaysian Official No 1” or “MO1”.

The Prime Minister said there was ample evidence to show that Malaysia was heading towards developed nation status.

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