This is a Malay name; the name Razak is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Najib. The Arabic word "bin" ("b.") or "binti"/"binte" ("bt."/"bte."), if used, means "son of" or "daughter of" respectively.
Dato' SriHaji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak (Jawi: حاج محمد نجيب بن تون حاج عبدالرازق; born 23 July 1953), is a Malaysian politician, who is the sixth and current Prime Minister of Malaysia. He was sworn into the position on 3 April 2009 to succeed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He is the President of the United Malays National Organisation, the leading party in Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
Najib is the eldest son of Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysia's second Prime Minister, and the nephew of Hussein Onn, Malaysia's third Prime Minister. He was elected to the Parliament of Malaysia in 1976, at the age of 23, replacing his deceased father in the Pahang-based seat of Pekan. From 1982 to 1986 he was the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Pahang, before entering the federal Cabinet of Mahathir Mohamad in 1986 as the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. He served in various Cabinet posts throughout the remainder of the 1980s and 1990s, including as Minister for Defence and Minister for Education. He became Deputy Prime Minister on 7 January 2004, serving under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, before replacing Badawi a year after Barisan Nasional suffered heavy losses in the 2008 election. Under his leadership, Barisan Nasional won the 2013 election, although for the first time in Malaysia's history the opposition won the majority of the popular vote.
Najib's tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by economic liberalisation measures, such as cuts to government subsidies, loosening of restrictions on foreign investment, and reductions in preferential measures for ethnic Malays in business. After the 2013 election his government was marked by the pursuit of a number of its critics on sedition charges, the imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following a conviction for sodomy, the implementation of a Goods and Services Tax (GST), and an ongoing scandal involving state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which led to rallies calling for Najib's resignation, spearheaded by the grassroots movement Bersih. These protests culminated in the Malaysian Citizens' Declaration by Mahathir Mohamad, Pakatan Harapan and NGO's to oust Najib. Najib's response to the corruption accusations has been to tighten his grip on power by replacing the deputy prime minister, suspending two newspapers and pushing through parliament a controversial National Security Council Bill that provides the prime minister with unprecedented powers.
Najib's various subsidy cuts have contributed to soaring living costs, while fluctuating oil prices as well as fallout from the 1MDB scandal have led to a steady depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit.
Early and personal life
Born 23 July 1953, in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, Najib is the eldest of Malaysian 2nd Prime Minister Abdul Razak's six sons, and the nephew of Hussein Onn, Malaysia's third Prime Minister. His younger brother, Dato' Seri Mohd Nazir Abdul Razak, runs the country's second-largest lender, Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd. Najib is also one of the Four Noblemen of the Pahang Darul Makmur (Royal Court) by virtue of his inherited title as the Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar. He received his primary and secondary education at St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur. He later attended Malvern College in Worcestershire, England, and subsequently went to the University of Nottingham, where he received a bachelor's degree in industrial economics in 1974. Najib Razak returned to Malaysia in 1974 and entered the business world, serving briefly in Bank Negara (Central Bank) and later with Petronas (Malaysia's national oil company) as a public affairs manager.
In 1976 Najib married Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar ('Kui Yie') with whom he has three children: Mohd Nizar Najib (born 1978), Mohd Nazifuddin Najib and Puteri Norlisa Najib. In 1987 he divorced Ku Yie and married Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor with whom he has two children: Mohd Norashman Najib and Nooryana Najwa Najib. His daughter, Nooryana, is married to the nephew of Kazakhstan's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Najib Razak is an avid golf lover and he is known to have played golf with the last two American Presidents - Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Trump has referred to Najib as “my favourite prime minister”.
Early political career
Election to Parliament and Menteri Besar of Pahang
The eldest son of Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Hussein, in 1976 Najib was selected to run for the seat in parliament left vacant by his father's death. The national outpouring of grief following Tun Razak's death and the respect for his father helped Najib win election unopposed as Member of Parliament at the very young age of 23. In 1986 Najib won re-election to the same seat.
Najib was first assigned into the Cabinet of Malaysia at the age of 25 when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Post in 1978, becoming the youngest deputy minister in the country. He served as the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Pahang between 1982 and 1986, becoming the youngest Menteri Besar in the state to enter office when he was sworn in at the age of 29. In 1986 he was appointed as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in the Cabinet of Mahathir Mohamad. He focused on improving Malaysian sports and introduced the National Sports Policy in 1988. In 1989 Malaysia achieved its best-ever performance at the South East Asia (SEA) Games, held in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib was appointed head of UMNO Youth's Pekan branch and became a member of UMNO Youth's Executive Council (Exco) in 1976. In 1981, he was selected as a member of UMNO's Supreme Council, before winning the post of Vice-President of UMNO Youth in 1982.
In 1987, Najib was selected as the acting head of the Movement of UMNO Youth by Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim after Anwar was asked to contest the post of UMNO Vice-President. Following mounting ethnic tensions anti-Chinese sentiments were expressed at a UMNO Youth rally held in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur the same year where Najib spoke. Rising tensions soon lead to fears of ethnic violence and eventually resulted in a security operation known as Operasi Lalang, that included numerous administrative detentions. In June 2009 Najib overturned a rule that required 30% Malay ownership in corporations, and allowed non-ethnic Malays, like the Chinese and the Indians to exercise more financial control in Malaysia. Najib has also worked to improve relations with Singapore, which is seen by many as Chinese-dominated, to encourage it to invest more heavily in the Malaysian economy.
Following the complete reorganisation and founding of the "New" UMNO by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the aftermath of the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis, Najib was appointed president of UMNO Youth in 1988.
By 1993, Najib was elected as one of six vice-presidents of UMNO in response to Anwar's decision to contest as the deputy president of UMNO. Najib continued to defend his post in party elections held in 1993, 1996, and 2004.
Senior Ministerial career
Minister for Defence (1991–1995)
In 1991, Mahathir appointed Najib as Minister of Defence. Under Najib's direction, Malaysian troops were deployed to assist the UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in 1993. Malaysian forces were greeted warmly by Bosnians as well as Serbs and Croats. Malaysia also assisted peacekeeping operations in Somalia in 1993, losing one soldier in an effort to aid US soldiers during the Battle of Mogadishu. Najib later criticised the UN's Somalia operation as putting too much emphasis on military action. Since then Malaysia has stated a preference for participating in Chapter 6 "peace enforcement" missions, rather than Chapter 7 "peacekeeping" missions. After four years at the Ministry of Defence, Najib assumed control of the Education Ministry in 1995. He returned to the Ministry of Defence in 2000.
Minister for Education (1995–2000)
In 1995, Najib left the Defence Ministry for the first time when he was appointed Minister of Education. His challenge was to respond to Malaysia's newly proclaimed aspiration to become a fully developed nation by the year 2020. During his five-year tenure, Najib restructured the Ministry, created an independent corporate structure for public universities, and encouraged collaboration with foreign universities and institutions. The 1996 Private Higher Education Institutions Act, allowed foreign universities to establish degree-conferring schools in Malaysia, providing greater educational opportunities for Malaysians and positioning Malaysia as a regional learning hub. Najib also upgraded teaching certificates to the status of diplomas, so that teachers in that category would receive a higher monthly starting salary.
During the 1999 general elections Najib suffered a major setback when he barely won re-election to the Parliament by a margin of 241 votes, compared to a margin of over 10,000 in the previous election. Although a surprise to political observers, it was understandable given the political upheavals of 1999.
Return as Minister for Defence (2000–2008)
During his second tenure as Minister of Defence Najib coordinated Malaysia's relief efforts following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, and provided support to Indonesia in arresting those responsible for the 2004 Bali bombings. Najib also oversaw the deployment of Malaysian troops as a part of a UN peacekeeping force in 2006, when Malaysia volunteered to help stabilise Lebanon following the 2006 Lebanon War.
As Defence Minister, Najib instituted compulsory military service in December 2003, stating that it would encourage interaction and friendship between youth of different ethnic groups and religions. During its first five years of operation, over 339,000 Malaysian youth participated in the PLKN (the Bahasa Malaysian acronym for "Malaysian National Service"), which is intended to promote tolerance, teamwork, and community engagement. The programme, however, has faced challenges. Safety issues in the program have been reported and several people died during or shortly after their terms of service during the program's first few years. In response, Najib strengthened the PLKN's health screening requirements and reinforced the government's commitment to punish negligent PLKN officials.
The French courts are investigating allegations of corruption in the purchases of two Scorpène submarines, by the Malaysian Ministry of Defence in 2002, at a time when Najib was the minister of defence. The allegations are that Abdul Razak Baginda, an aide of Najib, received "commission" payments from the French submarine builder DCNS.Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, a Mongolian woman hired as a French translator to facilitate the purchase of the submarines and mistress to Baginda, subsequently tried to blackmail Baginda for a $500,000 cut and was subsequently murdered. 2 policemen, who were bodyguards posted to Najib, were charged and found guilty.
Deputy Prime Minister (2004–2009)
In 2004, Mahathir retired and was replaced by his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Najib became Deputy Prime Minister and was given a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including oversight of FELDA, the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), and the Election Commission. Najib also chaired more than 28 cabinet committees. He remained as Minister for Defence.
In September 2008, Najib became the Minister for Finance, handing the Defence portfolio to Badawi. During the global financial crisis, Malaysia faced a strong recession and reduced levels of trade throughout the South Asian region. In response, Najib announced a series of stimulus packages to be implemented over a two-year period with the intention of acting as a countercyclical response that might otherwise protect Malaysia's economy. He also pressed for the country to move beyond existing manufacturing capabilities through education, research and development to develop greater strength as a provider of sophisticated business services.
Becoming Prime Minister
After a poor showing by the ruling UMNO coalition in the elections of 8 March 2008 in which opposition parties gained control of five of thirteen Malaysian state governments, Badawi identified Najib as his intended successor. On 8 October 2008, Prime Minister Badawi announced he would step down in March 2009, paving the way for Najib to succeed him. However he said the onus was on Najib to win party elections set for March before he could take over. Najib ran for the presidency of UMNO and went on to win on 2 November 2008, without contest.
On 26 March 2009, Najib won the UMNO presidency unopposed. He was sworn in as Prime Minister of Malaysia on 3 April 2009 In 2012, Najib also assumed the role of women, family and community development minister, a position he held until the 2013 election.
Main article: Premiership of Najib Razak
Najib entered office as Prime Minister with a focus on domestic economic issues and political reform. On his first day as Prime Minister, Najib announced as his first actions the removal of bans on two opposition newspapers, Suara Keadilan and Harakahdaily, run by the opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led People's Justice Party and the Pan Islamic Party, respectively, and the release of 13 people held under the Internal Security Act. Among the released detainees were two ethnic Indian activists who were arrested in December 2007 for leading an anti-government campaign, three foreigners and eight suspected Islamic militants. Najib also pledged to conduct a comprehensive review of the much-criticised law which allows for indefinite detention without trial. In the speech, he emphasised his commitment to tackling poverty, restructuring Malaysian society, expanding access to quality education for all, and promoting renewed "passion for public service". He also deferred and abandoned the digital television transition plan of all free-to-air broadcasters such as Radio Televisyen Malaysia.
Main article: 1Malaysia
1Malaysia is an ongoing campaign announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak on 16 September 2008, calling for the cabinet, government agencies, and civil servants to emphasise ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance. The eight values of 1Malaysia as articulated by Najib Razak are perseverance, a culture of excellence, acceptance, loyalty, education, humility, integrity, and meritocracy.
On 17 September 2008, Najib launched 1Malaysia.com.my in an effort to communicate with the citizens of Malaysia more efficiently and support the broader 1Malaysia campaign. He has used the site to highlight his policy initiatives and to provide a forum for Malaysians to their government. The 1Malaysia campaign makes extensive use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Research has suggested that Najib and UMNO have made extensive efforts to establish a favourable online presence through the recruitment and support of bloggers and other social media users, sometimes known as 'cybertroopers.'
However, Najib has been criticised for an apparent deterioration of race relations in Malaysia during his tenure that has occurred despite the 1Malaysia programme. In 2014, the long-serving former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad withdrew his support for Najib citing, among other things, the abandonment by Chinese voters of the Barisan Nasional coalition. Najib's tenure has also been marked by increasingly aggressive racial rhetoric from elements within Najib's UMNO party, particularly towards Chinese Malaysians.
The first BR1M Project was a scheme devised by Najib Razak to help poor Malaysians. The amount of RM 500.00 Ringgit Malaysia was given to households with an income of less than RM 3,000 a month.
The second BR1M Project, also known as BR1M 2.0, will be launched in February 2013[needs update] and more than 2.5 billion ringgit will be distributed to Malaysians nationwide. This will affect 5.7 million household all over the country. In addition to the RM 500.00 for household, the government has also allocated RM 250.00 to single individuals. Those who have received RM 500.00 from the first BR1M project need not apply as it will be automatically processed.
BR1M 4.0, which was announced in 2014, saw an increase in handouts from RM 650 to RM 950 for individuals earning less than RM 2,000.00, while households earning less than RM 4,000 will receive RM 750.
Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) Berhad was established under the PR1MA Act 2012 to plan, develop, construct and maintain affordable lifestyle housing for middle-income households in key urban centres. Middle-income is defined as a monthly household (husband and wife) income of between RM 2,500 and RM 7,500.
PR1MA will be the first organisation that exclusively targets this middle segment with homes ranging from RM 100,000 to RM 400,000 in a sustainable community.
National Security Council Bill 2015
Main article: National Security Council (Malaysia)
In December 2015, the National Security Council Bill 2015 was passed in Parliament after a marathon six-hour debate. The bill provides the Prime Minister of Malaysia with unprecedented powers, such as the ability to define what constitutes a security issue as well as deem any part of Malaysia a security area. Within that area, authorities may make arrests, conduct searches or seize property without a warrant. The bill was criticised by rights groups as inviting government abuse. The Malaysian Bar called it a "lurch towards an authoritarian government". The government has defended the bill, with cabinet minister Shahidan Kassim saying the law is necessary to enable better co-ordination and a uniform response in the event the country is faced with security threats, and that the law does not contravene the basic human rights guaranteed under the federal constitution.
Main article: Malaysian economic policy under Prime Minister Najib
New Economic Model
Main article: New Economic Model
On 2 May 2009, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced the government's plan to develop a New Economic Model that will speed Malaysia's transition to a high-income country. The plan will emphasise ways to increase the income and productivity of workers by encouraging knowledge industries and increasing investment from overseas.
Reform of government subsidies
Main article: Subsidy reform in Malaysia
Najib has started to implement comprehensive reform of government subsidies. On 16 July 2010, subsidies for petrol, diesel and LPG were cut as part of Malaysia's general programme of reducing and rationalising subsidies per the 10th Malaysia Plan and the New Economic Model. The government believes it will save RM 750 million by the end of 2010 through these measures with little negative impact on most citizens. Sugar and fuel subsidies were selected for reform because they disproportionately benefit the wealthy and foreigners, encourage over-consumption and create opportunities for fraud and smuggling. The Prime Minister expressed his hope that Malaysians would adopt a healthier lifestyle. He said, "there is no logic in the government allocating subsidies worth almost RM1 billion on a commodity that could endanger the people's health." Responding to concerns about how these reforms might affect the poor, the Prime Minister's Office pointed out that Malaysia will still be spending RM 7.82 billion per year on fuel and sugar subsidies and that prices for these commodities would remain the lowest in Southeast Asia. The government also stated that education and health care would continue receiving state support.
Malaysia has implemented substantial measures to attract foreign investment including a moderation of preferences designed to benefit ethnic Malays. Specifically these reforms include allowing foreign investors to hold majority stakes in most enterprises excluding "strategic" industries such as banking, telecommunications, and energy, easing insurance regulation, curtailing powers of the Foreign Investment Committee and lowering the minimum quota for Malay ownership in publicly traded companies from 30 percent to 12.5 percent. As he introduced the reforms Najib stated, "The world is changing quickly and we must be ready to change with it or risk being left behind."
Since these reforms have been implemented, the American banking firms Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have been granted permission to expand their operations in Malaysia. Goldman Sachs received licenses to set up fund management and advisory operations. Citigroup has obtained a permit to offer brokerage services. The approval of these licenses is a sharp break from Malaysia's history of domestically dominated and tightly regulated markets for financial services.
The International Institute for Management Development responded to these and other reforms by increasing Malaysia's ranking to the 10th-most competitive economy in the world in 2010 from 18th in 2009. Malaysia, which is now ranked fifth in the Asia Pacific region, scored well in business and government efficiency. Economists attributed the rise of Malaysia's ranking to the efforts of the Malaysian government to improve the country's business environment such as the New Economic Model, the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme.
The Malaysian government passed two stimulus packages to mitigate the effects of the global economic downturn. The first stimulus package, worth RM 7 billion, was announced on 4 November 2008. The second package, worth RM 60 billion, was announced on 10 March 2009. Since assuming office as Prime Minister, Najib has been monitoring the progress of the stimulus packages on a weekly basis. Government economists believe that the stimulus packages have successfully generated increased economic activity, especially in the construction sector. Malaysia's central bank reported that Malaysia's economy grew at an annualised rate of 9.5% during the first half of 2010. Prime Minister Najib says the country is on track to meet the 6% average annual growth to reach its goal of becoming a developed country by 2020. Commenting on this same economic data Najib said that as of August 2010 there were no plans for further economic stimulus. Rather he said the government would focus on improving Malaysia's economic fundamentals and increasing investment.
Foreign policy and state visits
Main article: Foreign relations of Malaysia
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(April 2015)
Main article: Malaysia–Palestine relations
The government of Malaysia has long been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Malaysia also supports unity between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions. Najib visited the West Bank with his wife Rosmah Mansor, escorted by senior officers of the Malaysian government. Najib Razak became the first Muslim leader from South East Asia to set foot on Palestinian soil. Najib says Palestinians can count on Malaysia, but for there to be lasting peace, Hamas and Fatah must unite to safeguard the safety and security of the Palestinian people. Malaysia will give Palestine the moral, financial and political support it needs to rise above its struggles, but securing a future of lasting peace hinges on the Palestinians being united. Najib Razak also stated that for Palestine to move towards having a future it envisioned, Palestinians would have to take the first step – to unite among themselves.
Main article: Malaysia–United States relations
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit in September 2017 to the United States on the invitation of President Donald Trump successfully strengthened the Comprehensive Partnership that was established between Malaysia and the United States in 2014.
Najib enjoyed a close personal relationship with then US President Barack Obama and managed to upgrade Malaysia-US relations to a ‘comprehensive partnership’ in contrast to the strained relationship between both countries under the rule of former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad who was critical of the United States.
Prime Minister Najib and President Barack Obama met just before the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on 12 April 2010. This meeting was thought by many[who?] to represent a significant improvement in relations. This was their first one-on-one meeting. During their talk, Obama sought further assistance from Malaysia in stemming nuclear proliferation which Obama described as the greatest threat to world security. During the summit, Najib stressed that Malaysia only supported nuclear programmes designed for peaceful purposes. Najib's attendance at the summit was part of a week-long official visit to the United States.
Main article: India–Malaysia relations
Prime Minister Najib travelled to India on a five-day state visit in January 2010. His 200-strong entourage included cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, state government officials, members of parliament, and prominent business leaders. During his visit, Najib pushed for a free-trade agreement and co-operation across a wide range of fields. Najib and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an extradition treaty and agreements to co-operate in the areas of higher education and finance. The two countries agreed to sign a free-trade agreement before the end of 2010 and Najib called for signing a "Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement" by the same date. These economic agreements have resulted in plans for RM 1.6 trillion in investment for Malaysia. In January 2010, Najib announced plans to develop a new visa regime for Indian nationals, specifically for managers and knowledge workers to visit Malaysia.
Main article: Malaysia–Singapore relations
Najib made a two-day visit to Singapore, on 21–22 May 2009. During the visit, both Najib and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong agreed to move bilateral relations forward in a more productive manner and will either set aside or resolve the "legacy" problems between the two countries. During a speech in Singapore, Najib said he hoped his visit would signal "the beginning of a new era" between the two countries.
in 2010 Najib resolved a key diplomatic problem between the two countries by ending the impasse over transportation links and Singaporean investment in Iskandar Malaysia. Prime Minister Najib and Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, have agreed to modify the Points of Agreement signed in 1990. Specifically, the two sides have promised to move the KTM railway station from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands, set up a joint venture to be called M-S Pte Ltd to develop Marina One, and DUO in Bugis but the railway tracks were replaced by the "Green Corridor", develop a rapid transit and high-speed rail links, and allow Temasek and Khazanah to set up a joint venture for the purpose of developing a town in Iskandar Malaysia.
Main article: Malaysia–South Korea relations
Najib attended the ASEAN-South Korea Summit on 1 June 2009 hosted by South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. During the summit, the ASEAN-Korea Investment Agreement was signed to boost economic and trade relations between ASEAN and South Korea After the summit, Najib said Malaysia is keen on emulating South Korea in developing a small-scale nuclear reactor for power generation, as well as South Korea's other low-carbon green technology.
Main article: China–Malaysia relations
Najib made a four-day visit to China on 2–5 June 2009. During the visit, Najib mentioned his family's special relationship with China, noting that his father, and Malaysia's second Prime Minister, first established diplomatic relations with China in 1974. During the visit, several substantive issues were discussed in meetings between Najib and Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The two sides signed an endorsed strategic action plan covering 13 major areas, which will serve as the guideline for relations between Malaysia and China. Najib described the trip as most fruitful. Najib also received an honorary doctorate in international relations from the Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Main article: Indonesia–Malaysia relations
Najib made a visit to Indonesia on 22–24 April 2009. Several issues were discussed, including co-operation in the tourism, oil and gas, and high-technology industries, as well as electricity supply from the Bakun dam to Kalimantan. Najib and his entourage also attended an official dinner hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani Yudhoyono.
Main article: Malaysia–New Zealand relations
Under Najib's government, Malaysia signed a free-trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand on 26 October 2009 to take effect 1 August 2010. The agreement will reduce or eliminate tariffs on thousands of industrial and agricultural products. The two countries have also agreed to reciprocate most-favoured nation status in private education, engineering services, environmental protection, mining services and information technology.
In a protest rally in December 2016, Najib criticized the Myanmar authorities for military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, and described the ongoing persecution as "genocide".
Philippines and the Moro people of Mindanao
Main articles: Malaysia–Philippines relations and Peace process with the Bangsamoro in the Philippines
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has always favoured Malaysia as a mediator in their effort of becoming an autonomous state. On 15 October 2012, the Moro rebel and the Philippines authority has devised a peace agreement to maintain the safety and security of the nation. Malaysia plays an important part in making this particular notion to be accepted by both parties. Najib follows his father the late Tun Abdul Razak in becoming the key figure in promoting peace and harmony in the region. During the official ceremony of signing the agreement, the Malaysian government was invited as a witness to the long due treaty. Malaysia plays an important part, not just as a mediator but also as a confidante for both the Philippines government and also the rebel.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump praised Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for his country’s financial investments in U.S. companies during a meeting Tuesday at the White House and thanked him for helping to fight Islamic State militants.
Left unsaid by either leader: anything about the massive corruption scandal swirling around Najib’s multibillion-dollar state fund.
Malaysia’s government has said it found no criminal wrongdoing at the fund, called 1MDB and founded by Najib. But it has been at the center of investigations in the U.S. and several countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.
The U.S. Justice Department says people close to Najib stole billions of dollars, and the federal government is working to seize $1.7 billion it says was taken from the fund to buy assets in the U.S.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later Tuesday that she was “not aware” of the corruption accusation coming up during Trump’s conversations with Najib.
At their meeting, Trump and Najib instead focused on areas of agreement, such as economic development and counterterrorism measures when they spoke during a public appearance in the Cabinet room of the White House.
“Mr. Prime Minister, it’s a great honor to have you in the United States and in the White House,” Trump said.
Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence, the president crossed his arms and listened raptly as Najib described Malaysia’s purchase of billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing. Trump said the deal is worth $10 billion to $20 billion.
Trump also pointed out that Malaysia is a “massive investor in the United States in terms of stocks and bonds.”
“They have to be very happy because we are hitting new highs on almost a weekly basis,” Trump said. “We’re very proud of our stock market, what’s happened since I became president.”
On fighting ISIS, Najib said his country would do its part to “keep our part of the world safe.” And he encouraged Trump to continue building partnerships in the region.
“The key is to support moderate and progressive Muslim regimes and governments around the world because that is the true face of Islam,” Najib said.
Najib has resisted calls to resign, has clamped down on critics and continues to enjoy the unwavering support of most ruling-party members, but his real test will come in general elections due by mid-2018.
Senior opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said many Malaysians viewed Najib’s White House visit as a “national humiliation and shame” as he is tainted by the 1MDB financial saga.
Analysts said Najib hoped to dispel the corruption scandal and secure political legitimacy with the White House visit.
“He can tell Malaysians that the 1MDB is a non-issue and that the opposition’s message that he is unwelcome by world leaders is not true. He will also try to convey the impression that the U.S. investigation on 1MDB has nothing to do with him,” said James Chin, who heads the Asia Institute in Australia’s University of Tasmania.
Najib’s entourage was spotted several times at the Trump International Hotel, down the street from the White House. Trump stepped away from his global real estate, marketing and property management company when he took office, but he has not cut financial ties with it.
Sanders said Tuesday that the White House had nothing to do with choosing the accommodations of visiting foreign dignitaries. She said she did not believe Najib was trying to curry favor with Trump by staying at his hotel.
Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur.