This is Najib speaking at the UN general assembly, where he delivered an impassioned speech about the need to oppose extremism. (Check out 2:45 in the video to see the other Malaysians at the UN.) All well and good, but will he oppose extremism, whether religious or racial, which threatens to tear us apart in Malaysia? We are watching, and so far not many are convinced by his resolve in reining in the bigots out to create trouble here.

In fact, I was expecting him to speak along these lines at the UN. His strong words against religious extremism would have been music to the ears of the US administration. Najib’s address takes place against the backdrop of an FBI probe into 1MDB while a US federal grand jury is examining allegations of corruption involving Najib Razak, and people close to him.

Here you can see that the hall was more than half empty:

This is happening at a time when Malaysia is under pressure to get on board the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. See below:

Most people are in the dark about what the TPP is all about and whether it would be in the best interests of the nation. And that is precisely the idea – the main reason why TPP negotiations are held in secret is to keep the public in the dark about its impact and what we are giving up.

If you are not convinced that the TPP will leave Malaysia worse off, read what Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz and senior economist Adam Hersh say in their appeal to the government to put the interests of ordinary Malaysians uppermost.

Economists at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, forecast that Malaysia would actually be a net trade loser as a result of joining TPP, with difference between the value Malaysia produces for export and the value it imports, the trade balance, declining by US$17 billion (RM75 billion) per year as a result of the agreement. In other words, the TPP would make Malaysia worse off by the most straightforward of economic measures.

These trade agreements are not free-trade agreements, but managed trade agreements, and typically managed for the interests of corporate interests.

And while the name Trans-Pacific Partnership suggests a “partnership”, it is a special kind of partnership, where one country, the US, calls most of the shots, giving into other “partners” the bare minimum necessary to secure compliance from their corporate and other special interests.

Not surprisingly, the big winners are corporate interests in the US, the big losers are ordinary citizens, both in the US and elsewhere.

Even the Malay Economic Action Council says Malaysia should withdraw from the negotiations, the final stages (at the ministerial level) of which will be held in Atlanta.

So why are we still thinking about the TPP?

The Diplomat quotes a scholar as saying Najib’s survival would not only be good for the TPP, but arguably the US-Malaysia relationship more generally.

At a time when Najib is fighting for his political survival, it comes to this: On the one hand, the US wants the TPP signed. On the other, there is that matter of the FBI and grand jury probes.

So what happens now? Maybe a referendum on the TPP should be held, or at the very least, MPs should be allowed to vote according to their conscience on whether Malaysia should go down this path. At least, that would stimulate a national debate on this issue, which has received scant coverage. (Why is it that the most important issues e.g. combating climate change and analysing the TPP receive the least coverage in the media?)

We should not leave it to a few people at the top to decide something that would have far-reaching and long-term implications for the people.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. The national “negotiating” team has not received the “talking points” they are to use on us. So, though they say they are satisfied, they do not have a copy of what they have agreed to, and that that will take another month!

  2. The Malay Rulers want ‘appropriate stern action’ be taken against those found to be implicated in 1MDB fiasco. The end is near for Jibby?

  3. Wouldn’t it be an unthinkable moment for a Malay Muslim Malaysian PM to meet and shake hand with the Israeli PM? Instead of shaking hands or friendly chat with Netanyahu at the UN, shouldn’t he be telling Netanyahu straight to his face, that we don’t like what Israel is doing?

    Is Najib a wounded man desperately looking for friendship, that he has to resort to normalizing friendship with Israel?

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, how will Jamal Yunos and Ali Tinju of the Red Shirts react to such embarrassment? Will they organize a Red Shirt rally to protest over Malaysia’s apparent friendly tone towards Israel or will they bottle up their anger and pretend not to know, since Najib is their hero?

    Will Perkasa, Isma and Pekida dare to show their faces and chide the Umno President for acknowledging Israel’s existence?

    Isn’t it true that we now have a bungling PM who is a betrayer to the Palestinian cause?

    Will the Perak and Pahang Mufti dare to make a stand and call for Jewish-Muslim unity instead of destroying Malaysian unity?

    Why is there a deafening silence, the chest thumping, the condemnation or the hair pulling antics that goes so well with all things remotely Jewish?

    http://malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=604051:kissing-the-israelis-may-well-be-najibs-biggest-blunder&Itemid=2#axzz3nl2KZxO5

  4. In all the discussion, no one has really probed deeply WHY IS NAJIB NOT LET UP ON PURSUING THE TPP NOW? He is pandering to the right-wingers in his part as much as he can at home and TPP is opposed by them so why is he pursuing it?

    In NY, he gives the old spiel of believing in trade and lowering barriers but he also argue for maintaining the self-serving NEP policies. But the fact is believing in trade and lowering barriers means dismantling the NEP policies which he clearly don’t see the contradiction.

    This whole thing is about who Najib really is which many here were fooled from the very start of his administration – he is trying to walk a thin line of the contradiction, forsaking his responsibility of the truly hard questions. Getting the TPP but still maintaining the NEP policies means he can boast to his party he convinced the great USA of their self-rigteousness but at the same time, also boast he pushed the country “forward”. Its complete vanity.. He really don’t get it what he is doing and the result will be disastrous. In the end, what UMNO/BN will have to do is spend like crazy to keep their rabid core constituent from coming after them when it all falls apart.

    Najib is NOT THREATENING TO TEAR THIS COUNTRY APART. HE ALREADY IRRESPONSIBLY PUT US INTO IRREVERSIBLE COURSE TO BE TORNED APART..Its a runaway train that we have to stop but can’t.

    • Remember how Najib gave away the railway line in Singapore so meekly? At that point of time, there were rumours flying around that the Singapore government were having some incriminating photographs of him with the murdered Mongolian model cum interpreter cum etc. etc. etc.

      Now we are seeing the TPPA on the verge of being sealed. There are also rumours of the FBI probing into the 1MDB allegedly questionable dealings. If these rumour happened to be true, then it looks like the nation and its people are going to receive the short end of the stick (again?) due to a leader whose position is too vulnerable so much so that he might cave in to the pressure to sell out the nation and its people for the sake of self-preservation.

      On this, Mahathir cannot abdicate himself from the responsibility of the current conundrum that is besetting the people as he was the one who pushed Najib into this top leadership position with the knowledge of the baggages Najib possessed (Altantuya, PD being the better known ones then) as well as the amount of power that a PM of Malaysia commands.

      • If you have seen the nakedness of an Emperor, you have already conquered half his nation –
        tunglang’s Art of War.

    • Former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador had urged Gani Patail to come up and clarify issues surrounding 1MDB, and not continue to remain silent.

  5. Dr Mahathir urged Malays to emulate their Chinese counterparts in making them case against Prime Minister Najib. Mahathir said Malays, like the Chinese, should transcend party lines when their interests are under threat.

    • Najib is making peace with the Jews by shaking hands with Isreal prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at UN?

      Will Ali Tinju, Ali Rustam and Jamal Yunos organize any red rally to redeem the Maruah against Yahudi? Will Tajuddin elm pang once again?

  6. Has he also ignored the problem of 300,000 stateless descendants of Indian migrants from 200 years ago during the British Raj, who live in the twilight zone in the peninsula.
    “The government should also look into the welfare of the 4th and 5th generation of stateless Malaysians in the peninsula” quote Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Chairman P Waythamoorthy

    Waytha: 3,000 Syrians okay, our stateless forgotten
    http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/10/03/waytha-3000-syrians-okay-our-stateless-forgotten/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FreeMalaysiaToday+%28FMT+News%29

  7. We have a Malaysian snake oil seller in UN general assembly.
    Sleek & slippery, even the FBI cannot catch hold of it.
    Obama is contemplation Tricks or Treats (before Halloween) with TPP wheeling & dealing with this snake oil seller. “I Gotcha Your Pants Down” “You Gotcha TPP signing” “Let’s Deal”

    • Mahathir said that Malaysians were living in fear under the rule of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

      “We cannot speak, if we speak… we would be questioned. Even if I say rice is good, it would be wrong. This is because Najib’s rule is tyrannical –the worst.”

      He gave the example of former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan who was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for lodging police reports in a number of countries in relation to the 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s private bank account.

      • Just like its precursor (the ISA), SOSMA has been deliberately deviated from its original objective of fighting terrorism to a draconian law to clam down on those who threaten the political survival of the a the ruling political party or its leaders. For this case, the one whose political survival is being threatened is none other than the PM himself. Moreover, in the Bolehland of ours, one have to take cognizance of the fact that the definition of law phrases like ‘detrimental to parliamentary democracy’ can be stretched beyond any boundaries of sensibility by the law enforcers and AG Chambers before being accepted by our courts, especially the higher ones.

      • A repeat of MadHatterism?
        This student turned tyrant is a by-product which the Progenitor in Helang Island has to kau tim.
        Karma Laws have a just way to deal the evil by way of making sure the progenitor has a longer lifespan to rid of his by-product for the benefit of mankind.
        Don’t believe? See for yourself.

  8. This loss ($17 billion) is just the gross national amount. Ordinary people – already hit by globalisation, 6 million foreigners including 1.5 million Bangladeshis, haze, etc. – will be crushed.

    Ref. your other article on streets having less cars. Under TPP, any business engaged in petrol, road construction, car manufacture, etc. can demand that the government “top up” their estimated profits if these fall due to any public initiative whatsoever.

  9. Extracts worth reading :
    http://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/malaysia-stumbles-toward-financial-crisis/

    Fiscal revenues going through floor currency is diving
    inflation rise from 0.1% in Feb to 3.3% in July (inflation jumped 33 times !!)
    huge projected fiscal deficit and steep bond indebtedness
    country may be faced with borrowing on international markets.
    sliding currency, massive corruption, borrowing costs likely to go through roof
    Najib remains insulated from overthrow by “paid for loyalty” of 192 UMNO KBs
    major financial crisis could change equation
    Economy grows weaker, scandals percolate, Najib left country
    first to London then to New York, he and Rosmah to fly to Milan where she is to
    sponsor Islamic fashion show

    M’sia entering financial crisis according leading global economists
    Central Bank reduce foreign reserves substantially to support currency
    M’sia paralyzed by corruption scandal
    US$861m into PM’s private account at AmBank in 2013
    disappear to a Singapore account, then disappear altogether shortly after.
    rocked by RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal
    billions siphoned off, billions more lost to bad investments
    losses faced by government-linked banks threaten financial system.

    Stock market heads south
    Attempts to prop up stock exchange using RM20 billion
    two-day bounce on Sept. 16 before market slide resumed
    At 1623.27, now 14.57% off April peak, worst-performing in region
    ringgit fell to 4.4570 this week, a 19.93 % drop
    central bank spent US$60 billion over past months – a third of country’s reserves.
    Sept. 15, reserves fallen to US$95.0b, enough 7.3 months of retained imports
    concerns how long country can support currency
    falling currency raising cost of imports, 69.9 percent of GDP in 2014.

    International investors bail out
    External debt reported by BNM reached all-time high in 2nd qtr at RM79.4 billion.
    World Bank’s forecast GDP 2015 4.9%, down from 6.5% July 2014, may get worse
    weak commodity subtract almost 1% growth annually over 2015–17 compared 2012–14
    Petronas drag larger, about 2¼ % avg over same period, sharp downturn in prices
    current fiscal year, Petronas contributed RM18b to budget
    another RM18b from Petroleum Development Tax
    total of RM36b from Petronas reserves.
    Officials privately forecasting two funds will contribute only RM7b each
    leaving a shortfall of RM21b

    Tax collections fall sharply
    income tax collections expected to fall 20-30% from RM111b in 2014
    drop of another RM21b to RM35b weak consumer sentiment, slow business
    Opex for Fiscal 2015 is approximately RM160b
    “They can’t reduce it unless they begin to cull civil servants,”
    “deficit 52%, off-balance-sheet contingent liabilities another RMB18
    That’s like Italy and Spain, haven’t taken into account 1MDB yet
    How are they going to borrow? ratings horrendous next year
    cost of borrowing high given Msia’s junk status.
    start selling crown jewels, assets in government companies
    45% of bonds held by foreigners, likely to bail out and redeem them
    RMB33 billion in bonds are expected to come due in the next quarter.

  10. Conceding defeat and resignation is not an option for Najib as he fears criminal prosecution. He won’t want to be imprisoned like former Korean presidents Roh Tae Woo and Chun Doo-hwan or former Taiwan president Chen Shui Bian, or living in exile like former Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos.

    Watch this and buy the books:
    Kee Thuan Chye: Unbelievably Stupid! Unbelievably Stupid Too!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lfsU5YP1kcI

  11. Any joker can make such flowery speech.
    Credits to the speech writer.
    “lure by fake promises,it is sickening” how truthful
    Malaysia dies NOT protect minorities.
    Malaysia prosecutes LGBT and nudist.

    • Bill Cosby can be portrayed as a father figure in his hit sitcom tv show of the 80s. But he could not escaped being accused as a rapists today. One cannot run away on judgement day, just ask Khir Toyo.

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