Opaque is as bad as fake.

Let’s not be fooled by this week’s fake attacks on fake news and views by two of the fraudulent Umno/BN regime’s leading exponents of such fakery, Salleh Said Keruak and Ahmad Maslan.

These fakers are hoping we’ll all be so focused on the fantastic hypocrisy of their remarks as to be fooled into forgetting that fake news, for all its evils, is at least out in the open where we can fight it with the truth, but that we are totally powerless against non-news, or denial of information we have a right to.

In other words, the censorship or outright silence on government actions and economic management as enforced by the Umno/BN’s notoriously extreme Official Secrets Act (OSA) and similarly truth-repressive statutes ruthlessly enforced by other repressive regimes around the world arguably disadvantages people even more than lies do.

Though of course state secrecy and lies always actually work together, with secrecy serving as the first and fundamental line of defence against revelations of official incompetencies, corruptions and other criminalities, and lying kept in reserve in case such embarrassments become public.

For example, the case of world-record looting of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and subsequent laundering of the proceeds was long kept secret by the Malaysia’s regime-complicit banking authorities, so-called law-enforcement agencies and ‘mainstream’ media, and it was only after overseas-based media and economic regulators made the scandal public that Umno/BN had to resort to crying ‘fake news’ and to creating its own genuinely fake fake news in response.

Though this frenzy of fakery has doubtless proven a mixed blessing for the Umno/BN regime, on the one hand failing to protect it from international opprobrium and ridicule, not to mention the investigation and possible prosecution of some of its members and cronies, and on the other hand drawing both local and global attention away from countless lesser or still-secret scandals.

The farrago of fakery inspired by the 1MDB affair seems to have been a mixed blessing for the Malaysian people, too. Those still steadfastly supporting Umno/BN out of what I can only assume must be stupidity, cupidity or a dismal combination of both, have been shamed even more than before.

And those too smart, honest or just plain true to themselves and their ethical, religious or political principles to feel or even bother faking any respect or regard for the regime must be feeling considerably encouraged and even empowered.

Though of course they can be by no means confident of sufficient power to rid themselves and their beloved country of the Umno/BN curse in the forthcoming 14th general election, considering that the regime’s system of secrecy remains firmly in place, and that it continues to protect and sustain itself with a combination of fake ‘news’ media and fraudulent electoral and other faux-democratic institutions.

Plus, of course the customary fake reminders from the regime that only Umno/BN can be trusted to continue its alleged ‘struggle’ to support royalty, the Malay race and the Muslim religion, and thus keep the nation united.

But at least, I suppose, Malaysians can console themselves that they are not quite so bedeviled by official fakery as their fellows in, say, China or North Korea.

Or can they? China, or Chaina as I prefer to think of it in light of the fact that its citizens are totally bound by the system of secrecy and fakery forged by their single-party dictatorship, seems to be making quite startling inroads into Malaysia, due to the fact that Umno/BN seems to be secretly or at least stealthily selling the country out for the cash it needs to compensate for the massive toll they’ve taken on the national economy through 1MDB and countless other corruptions.

So it doesn’t seem to far-fetched to imagine that Malaysians could someday or even soon find themselves not only part of Chaina’s so-called ‘belt-and-road’ fantasy, but also brow-beaten by Chainese-style fake news in addition to the  Umno/BN variety, and even under the fake ‘protection’ of a local version of the triumphally truth-resistant ‘great firewall’ of Chaina.

And an even worse fate for Malaysians would be to find themselves playing host to increasing numbers of secret North Korean factories and their captive sweated if not outright slave labourers, considering that assurances to Donald Trump by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that Malaysia would co-operate in sanctions against the Kim Jong-un regime following the assassination of Kim’s half-brother at KLIA will doubtless prove to be as fake as everything else that Najib promises.

In short, as I’m nearing my dreaded word limit, I urge all who truly love Malaysia to do whatever it takes, from massive marches through overwhelming voting to million-strong class-action court cases against its members, to finally force this fake, opaque, on-the-take Umno/BN regime to embrace truth, transparency and accountability or else, as I’ve said so many times before, fake off.


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Tony Abbott goes the rabid rabbit.

Again. But rather than just getting mad at his latest antics, let’s also get even. Even more alert and antagonistic to the alarming fact that his brainless bunny act is an attempt to hide the fact that he’s actually as cunning as the proverbial shithouse rat.

Realising as he long ago apparently did that by rabbiting on against any and all enlightened initiatives, from efforts to stem climate-change to reforms of inequitable taxes and marriage legislation, he’ll reduce the majority of us to impotent rage, and thus make us easier meat than ever for the rabble of religionists, greed-is-God ‘neoliberals’ and anti-conservation con-artists calling themselves ‘conservatives’ that collectively identify as the political ‘right’.

Or, in other words, as I never tire of pointing-out, the wrong. The wrong in their unceasing warring – and, in the cases of their supporters in politics and the media, whoring – against any and all opposition to their traditional sense of self-entitlement to run the world for their own benefit, and if necessary ruin it for the rest of us.

And as long as the wrong-wingers see him as an ally if not an outright messiah, Tony Abbott – or, as my beloved sister Mercia refers to him, Tony Abort – like Donald Trump and his other fellow ‘con’ as in ‘conservative’ politicians, couldn’t care less what a moron he looks to the vast and unfortunately largely silent majority of us.

Or how hopelessly hypocritical, or, if you prefer, phoney Tony he reveals himself to be, as in his recent ‘Daring to Doubt’ address to some wrong-wing UK group calling itself the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

His likening of climate-change believers, activists and legislators to primitive people trying to appease the volcano gods by sacrificing goats may well have gone down a treat with his self-interestedly deluded audience, but all it did for me, and I assume many others, was to recall that as a professed Catholic he himself believes in the appeasement of an alleged God by so sacrificing reason in favour of ‘faith’ as to believe in far more ludicrous concepts than those espoused by many if not most ‘primitive’ religions.

For example, at least volcanoes and goats actually exist, whereas, say, the virgin birth and the ‘Holy Ghost’, in both of which Abbott as a professed Catholic presumably believes, are to say the least highly questionable.

But no doubt confident of saving his immortal soul for an eternity in heaven by virtue of his faith in these and sundry other such fantasies, Abbott seems hell-bent on investing his remaining years on earth to saving mankind from such scourges as big government, clean energy, anything including the word ‘equality’, and, even more crucially, to saving the right or rather wrong wing of Australia’s grossly mis-labeled ‘Liberal’ Party from political extinction.

Even, or perhaps especially, if it means crucifying his usurper as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in the process. Never mind such biblical exhortations as ‘vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’, or ‘if thine enemy smites you on the cheek, turn the other’, let alone such anti-neoliberal sentiments as ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ and ‘it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.’

But, as I’ve written previously, religious quotes seem as powerless as reason against Abbott’s bad habits. So all I can think of as a kind of mental myxomatosis against him and all his fellow rabid wrong-wing rabbits is to constantly remind myself and the more humane of my fellow humans to do everything in our power to foil their plot to make goats of us, the better to lead us like lambs to the slaughter.

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Malaysian exports and expats.

I see that tirelessly self-praising and pathologically lying Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak bragged to an audience of farmers and fishermen this past week that he is ‘personally responsible’ for the recent rapid rise in exports of Malaysia-grown durians to China.

And in case this wasn’t enough to convince these primary producers to keep supporting his ever-ruling Umno/BN regime, he also typically announced that he was giving the whole group of them a cash handout.

Apparently at least some of the recipients of this prime-ministerial largesse found it pretty impressive. And none so much as chairperson of the National Farmers Association (Nafas) and also BN assemblyperson, Saipolbahari Suib, who expressed tremendous gratitude for Najib’s support and declared that farmers and fishermen are ready to be ‘used’ by him.

‘Use us, we are ready to give the best for your leadership,’ Malaysiakini reported him as pledging, ‘we have received so much we will aways remember your contributions.’

However, most Malaysiakini readers who commented on this story saw Najib’s so-called ‘contributions’ as nothing but cons, considering that not only is the value of Malaysian exports of durians to China peanuts compared with those from Thailand to China, but that increasing exports of the best Malaysian durians has priced them beyond the reach of local consumers.

And, as I couldn’t help commenting myself, Najib and his Umno/BN regime have made Malaysia smell like durians in the nostrils of the whole wide world by permitting if not colluding in the export to the US and elsewhere of countless billions of ringitt allegedly plundered from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

All of this in addition, of course, to all the other billions extorted for decades from public funds, overpriced public projects and the nation’s publicly-owned oil, timber and other resources and exported to secret overseas bank accounts or money-laundering real-estate and other investments.

In fact I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if dirty, smelly money wasn’t by far Malaysia’s biggest export.  And thus, given that similarly dirty, stinking legal and other civil institutions including elections have been designed by Umno/BN to ensure that this dire situation doesn’t change anytime soon, if ever, I see the point of Zaid Ibrahim’s recent exhortation to Malaysians desiring a decent future to export themselves and their children to someplace more promising.

Actually Zaid, for some reason best known to himself, suggested London as the optimal destination for Malaysians to export or expatriate themselves to.

And personally I find it hard to argue with this, as that’s where my elder son headed for when he exited Australia in search of more exciting professional opportunities twenty or so years ago, and where I make excursions as often as possible to visit him and his family.

But of course there are plenty of perfectly acceptable alternative possibilities, and selfishly I’d suggest that one of them is Australia, and even more specifically Sydney.

This, after all, is where I chose to bring my Ipoh-born wife and KL-born daughter when I extricated them from Malaysia way back in 1997.

And, as I wrote in a 2007 Malaysiakini column titled ‘Another brain down the drain’, and another in 2010 called ‘Advance Austrasia Fair’, they seem pretty happy to be here.

There are lots of other Malaysians I’d be delighted to see settled in Sydney too, as it would save me making trips back to Umno/BN’s unpleasant version or rather perversion of Malaysia for the pleasure of seeing them.

Old friends like Jaya and JesuisAnwar, for example, to anonymously mention two of many who, for obvious political reasons, I won’t risk more accurately identifying.

But it’s some small consolation in their absence to meet ex-Malaysians like the doctor at a major Sydney hospital who treated me so expertly for my latest medical emergency last week, and who turned out to have been imported here at the age of eight by parents who hailed from Klang and Penang.

As delighted as I always am to meet such Malaysian exports and expats, however, I have lots of sympathy for those who would like to leave the mess that Umno/BN have made of their beloved country, but for one reason or another just can’t.

And I have not only sympathy but also the greatest respect for those most admirable of Malaysians who deliberately choose not to abandon their homeland to the mercies of Umno/BN, but stay there and fight for it, in many cases at extreme personal and professional cost.

And I consider that the very least I can do from a distance is to help these stand-and-fight Malaysians as much as possible in their ceaseless efforts to politically execute the excruciating Umno/BN regime, and finally render it extinct.

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Word Wars 3.

The funniest response I saw this past week to the escalating war of words between the leaders of the US and North Korea was the fake story by satirical site The Borowitz Report that ‘in what some security experts fear could be a high-stakes war of Elton John lyrics, minutes after Donald Trump called Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man,” the North Korean dictator responded by calling Trump “Honky Cat”.’

‘As he issued the Elton John-based attack,’ the TBR non-story continued, ‘Kim warned that he had an extensive collection of the singer-songwriter’s albums and was prepared to weaponize every lyric in them.’

Seriously, though, for those of us to whom words aren’t just lyrics but a matter of life and death, Kim Jong-un’s actual response to the ‘Rocket Man’ epithet was to call Trump ‘mentally deranged’.

A claim that came as most curious indeed from a man who is himself so dangerously deranged as to constantly threaten to blow South Koreans, Japanese, Americans or any other people within de range of his missiles to kingdom or rather Kimdom come.

Not to mention such a mortal enemy of formerly respectable words as to try and pass-off his totalitarian dictatorship as not only the ‘People’s’ in the same lying way as his big brother and chief sponsor China does, and other such anti-people pleasure-spots as Libya do, but as ‘Democratic’ into the bargain.

But even such a wrong-un as Jong-un is, as far as I’m aware he’s smart enough to avoid using the word that, thanks to both Donald Trump and Islamic terrorists, has been most recently been in the wars: ‘great’.

The very thought that such a loose cannon as the loud-mouthed and pathologically-lying President Trump can make America great again has become as much of a joke as the contention that any God worthy of the name could possibly need gangs of cold-blooded killers to demonstrate his, her or its alleged greatness.

Just as the same or any other God would surely not see the need to glorify his/her/its greatness by choosing such highly-suspect earthly representatives as the leaders, or rather misleaders and bleeders, of most if not all of the world’s self-styled ‘religious’ nations.

Like, to name just a few of those currently making a mockery of the their various religions, Buddhist Myanmar with its murderous assaults on its Rohingya minority; the majority-Catholic Philippines with its extra-judicial killings of ‘suspected’ drug traffickers and users; and Muslim Umno/BN-dominated Malaysia, with its massive 1MDB swindle and money-laundering scandal, not to mention literally countless other corruptions and associated crimes.

I’m also tempted to make the point that North, or given its total lack of any contribution whatever to the world or the human race, Nought Korea is a similar disgrace to atheism.

But on second thoughts even Communism can be counted as a kind of religion or at least anti-religion, and Kimism as a quasi-religious dynastic cult.

And I have to say that in my own country, Australia, though concertedly secular in theory and largely so in practice, Christianity, both fundamentalist and otherwise, wields too much influence in government for words.

Or at least in the current federal government, led as it is by a party that calls itself Liberal, but whose ‘right’ wing is so religiously and in every other way wrong that it’s hell-bent in keeping the ‘con’ in ‘conservative’.

Preaching ‘fairness’ while pandering to predatory banks and other big, or, if you prefer, pig business interests; promising comprehensive tax reform but delivering relief solely to the most prosperous; pretending to support clean energy while promoting polluting fossils fuels; preferring the profitability of commercial media owners over the protection of public broadcasting; and putting every possible obstacle in the path of such social reforms as marriage equality.

But if the word ‘liberal’ has had its true meaning stolen, and ‘coalition’ has come to signify concerted political collusion in favour of coal, at least ‘democracy’ here in Australia, however dimocratic or even dumbocratic as it appears at times, has yet to decline into domocracy, dermocracy or outright doomocracy as it so lamentably has in Malaysia and so many other countries.

That said, however, true government of the people, by the people, for the people is forever under threat everywhere. Which is why it’s vital that we all stay united in waging our war of words, or in the case of Zunar and our other cartooning colleagues, of words and pictures, against the forces of falsehood and fraud in North Korea, Malaysia, Australia, the US or wherever else we find them.








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Wash-out in Washington.

It’s hard to imagine why Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak thought it was a good idea to try cleansing himself of suspicions of involvement in the laundering of billions plundered from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) by staging a meeting with the Donald Trump.

Considering his well-known penchant for unconsciously employing truth-revealing puns in his pathologically-lying proclamations, perhaps he suddenly perceived the word ‘washing’ in ‘Washington’ and the connotation of ‘whitewash’ in ‘White House’ as Allah-sent signs that he should take his personal dirty laundry there.

Or else it occurred to him that by appealing to the White-House incumbent as not only a fellow golfer but even more so as fawning gofer in support of the President’s trumped-up crusade to ‘make America great again,’ he could create the kind of mutual admiration and assistance situation in which, as Najib never tires of repeating, ‘I help you, you help me.’

In other words, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, or more appropriately to the Washington and White House context, the classically proverbial ‘one hand washes the other.’

The trouble being, in the case of Trump and Najib, that both hands were dirty, or at least allegedly so.

In fact the very same US Department of Justice (DOJ) that is investigating alleged dirty electoral deeds in cahoots with Russia by supporters of Trump, if not yet specifically the man himself, is also hot on the trail of the Najib’s 1MDB gang of swindlers and money-launderers.

And, as gleefully told and re-told by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN and other US media so inconveniently truthful and accurate about Trump’s wash-out of a presidency that he’s resorted to falsely slandering them as ‘fake news’, Najib has a whole laundry-list of former scandals to his name.

As a member of the Malaysia’s ruling Umno/BN for 40 years or so, he’s deeply implicated in all of this rotten regime’s countless dirty deeds, from its systematic corruption of Malaysia’s nation’s judicial, electoral and other institutions and ceaseless plundering of public funds, to the still-unresolved Scorpene Submarines scandal and associated murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu under his watch as defence minister, in addition to the 1MDB swindle.

In short, Najib is even more of a wash-out as Prime Minister of Malaysia than Donald Trump is proving to be as President of the US, and has been a total wash-out for far, far longer than Trump has been or can ever be.

As Josh Rogin of the Washington Post wrote in advance of Najib’s arrival to try and treat the White House as his personal laundromat, his ‘authoritarian power grab’ is worse than anything Trump has done.

As former US ambassador to Malaysia John Mallott noted in a similarly hard-hitting article, Rogin pointed out that, while Trump has made empty threats to jail political opponents, ‘critics of the Malaysian government have been routinely imprisoned’.

‘While Trump uses mere rhetoric to undermine the credibility of the free media, Najib uses criminal law to silence them,’ Rogin continued.

‘While Trump may wish for more compliant judicial and legislative branches, in Malaysia all checks and balances on executive power have been essentially stamped out.’

Now, with an election looming, having lost the popular vote in the previous one, and ‘engulfed by allegations (that) he pilfered billions from his own country’s sovereign wealth fund,’ Rogin further wrote, Najib ‘craves international legitimacy.’

As it turns out, Najib craves ‘international legitimacy’ so desperately that he’s happy to buy it, even if it means cleaning-out Malaysia’s treasury even further than he has already.

Though by promising Trump that his Umno/BN regime will buy more US aircraft and invest more EPF money in US infrastructure, as if he was somehow offering aid to the world’s richest nation, he has arguably made himself look even less internationally legitimate and more internationally laughable than ever.

Certainly former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz thinks so, according to an article he has written for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and that Newsweek has re-published under the heading ‘Trump’s meeting with Malaysian crook Najib reeks of the swamp’.


A great many Malaysians find Najib’s Washington antics laughable too, to judge by the general run of comments that I’ve seen on Malaysiakini accounts of announcements by the man himself and his Umno/BN minions that his image-washing and spinning Trump trip has positioned him as a ‘player on the global stage’.

What a dismal joke. What a total wash-out. And what a great day it will be for Malaysia and indeed the entire planet, when both Najib and his bosom buddy Trump, not to mention the countless other grubby heads of state devoted to doing the dirty on their citizens, from Russia, Syria, China and North Korea, through the Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia, to South Africa and Nigeria and on and on, will finally find themselves all washed-up and down the drain.


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Lying down with dogs.

I had no problem with the fact that Nick Warner, the head of Australia’s foreign spy agency, ASIS, recently saw fit to allow himself to be photographed alongside Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

After all, an ambassador, as I suppose Warner might in some sense be categorised, is, according to the famous definition by Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639) ‘an honest man sent abroad to lie and intrigue for the benefit of his country’.

But I was appalled that he saw fit to take his lying and intriguing so far as to be shown emulating Duterte’s infamous closed-fist ‘salute’.

This gesture smacked to me of a suggestion that we Australians were being represented as being ‘all the way with Duterte’ to a degree chillingly reminiscent of then Prime Minister Harold Holt’s notorious 1966 declaration that we were ‘all the way with LBJ’ in the disastrous Vietnam War.

A conflict that, as revealed by two of the best books on the subject that I have recently re-read, David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest and Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie, was characterized by as much lying to and intriguing against the citizens of the US and its allies as it was by lying, intriguing and fighting in what were allegedly their countries’ best interests.

Advocates of continuing and catastrophically escalating the Vietnam war spared nothing in their attempts to cover-up the fact that the corruption of the Diem and other, successive South-Vietnamese regimes was, as Sheehan wrote ‘a malignancy that poisoned the entire system of government.’

‘Graft was the main preoccupation of those on the Saigon side….their greed was too rapacious to permit any thought of its ultimate consequence,’ Sheehan continued.

In other words, far from a case of lying – or, as in the cases of countless combatants and civilians – dying for the good of Vietnam, the US, Australia or any other country, it was a classic case of paying dearly for defying the proverbial caution that I’ve had cause to mention many times before in these columns, ‘if you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.’

A lesson that the US, Australia and others apparently so far forgotten as to be currently learning all over again in such perennial sinks of corruption as Iraq and Afghanistan.

And now, apparently, the latest dog that Australia is in the process of deciding to lie down with is Rodrigo Duterte, who describes himself as ‘The Punisher’ in celebration of his penchant for promoting the killing of ‘suspected’ drug-users and dealers by his notoriously corrupt police.

As apparently effective as his forces of law and order have been against unarmed ‘suspects’ and innocent bystanders, however, they have proven something of a failure in combatting armed Islamic insurgents.

So much so, in fact, that these murderous scum identifying themselves as part of Islamic State have gained such a firm foothold on the traditionally guerilla-infested island of Mindanao as to have occupied the city of Marawi.

Where, despite visits from Duterte and typical snide ‘encouragements’ from him to avoid getting caught committing rape and other war crimes, they appear to have been suspiciously slow in achieving victory.

So slow, in fact, as to inevitably recall the pathetic fighting record of the erstwhile Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam, or ARVN.

And thus to apparently need, as in the case of ARVN, an infusion of foreign special forces to ‘support and advise’ local troops.

Australia has reportedly offered such forces in addition to the spy aircraft it already has in action there. But why?

Where, I wonder, are the Philippines’ partners in ASEAN, especially its two closest and most Islamic neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, where many of the IS fighters allegedly hail from?

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in rebuttal of allegations that he shared in the loot from the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (MDB) fraud, has claimed that he received a huge cash donation from a Saudi prince in recognition of his anti-IS activities, so here’s his golden opportunity to earn even more credit.

In any event, as far as I’m concerned the Australian government has more than enough fleas to be going on with, having so far apparently forgotten the stern lesson of Vietnam in recent years as to have tried lying down with such dogs as the corrupt regimes running Malaysia, Cambodia and Papua-New Guinea in vastly expensive and largely vain attempts to rid itself of unwanted asylum-seekers it chooses to demonise as ‘boat people’.

Most of whom are perfectly legitimate and deserving refugees from places around the world where Australia has aped its US ally in lying down with the corrupt regimes currently in power, like Iraq and Afghanistan, or in hopelessly failing to remove them from power, as in Syria.

As long as we’re on the subject of dogs and fleas, I’d also like to make the point that it’s high time the civilized world stopped buying China’s lie that it’s powerless to control North Korea.

Ever since the Korean war, in which it threw away the lives of an estimated 250,000 of its own troops in support of the North’s failed attempt to capture the South, China has been the dog that’s supported the North-Korean flea and told it when to jump and whom to bite.

So China, not North Korea, is the mongrel that Trump should be tweeting against, and that Australia should be shaking its comparatively puny fist at, while fleeing fleas like Duterte as fast as possible.


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Can MO1 trump USO1?

That’s the burning question provoked by reports that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is scheduled to visit the White House to meet US President Donald Trump on September 12.

On the face of it, of course, this could be seen as just another in a series of the customary pilgrimages by the heads of small, insignificant nations to pay homage to the world’s most powerful personage.

And so it certainly is, at least to some extent. But Donald Trump is, to put it mildly, not your usual US President, and thus Najib possibly perceives him as a prospect for more than an exchange of the usual platitudes.

For example, the fact that Trump’s administration is under investigation for possible electoral collusion with Putin’s Russian regime probably gives Najib some hope of presidential sympathy for the fact that the US Department of Justice suspects him of complicity in massive money-laundering.

And thus some prospect that Trump, perceiving himself to be a victim of persecution, as he frequently claims to do, might feel a kind of felonious fellowship with Najib and extend him some help in dodging the attentions of the DOJ.

Not that Najib has ever himself admitted to being the ‘Malaysian Official 1’ (MO1) identified in the DOJ documents pertaining to allegations of money-laundering associated with the multi-billion-ringgit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) swindle.

But nor has he ever given any indication of who else MO1 could possibly be, or why he summarily fired an attorney-general of Malaysia who showed signs of investigating the 1MDB matter, just as Trump similarly fired a head of the FBI for refusing to go easy on him.

Besides hoping that Trump will welcome him as a similarly put-upon partner in suspected crime, Najib also possibly hopes that he and his potential friend in the White House share common or at least somewhat similar interests in Saudi Arabia.

It was a rich Saudi prince, after all, from whom Najib claimed he had received a ‘donation’ of the billions of ringgit that investigators of 1MDB money-laundering activities discovered in his bank accounts, and Saudi Arabia was the first stop in the bizarre peace and arms-sales mission on which Trump embarked following his election to the presidency.

The Saudi connection ties-in perfectly, too, with Trump’s crusade against Islamic State, as Najib claimed that the princely ‘donation’ he received was in recognition for his strenuous efforts to combat IS.

Efforts that nobody else, as far as I know, has ever been aware of his making, diplomatically, militarily or otherwise. Quite the contrary, in fact, in light of his notorious call a couple of years ago to members of his Umno/BN regime to emulate the ‘spirit and courage of IS’ in their ‘struggle’ against the Malaysian opposition.

Najib’s false claims about ‘donations’, IS, and indeed everything else about which he ever makes public pronouncements, inevitably bring us to the core characteristic that he and Trump have in common, a propensity for pathological lying.

And, by extension, for characterizing any and every disagreement with their lies as ‘fake news’.

Though whether their shared antipathy to the truth will turn out to unite or divide them when they actually meet face-to-face for a discussion that is bound to stress the ‘con’ in conversation, remains to be seen.

My guess is that their mutual lying will prove as insuperable a barrier between them as will the other fatal character flaw they have in common, rampant narcissism.

Trump, I suspect, will despise Najib for clearly being not nearly as ‘great’ as himself, and for coming from a country that is not only less ‘great’ than the US, but contemptibly corrupt and suspiciously Islamic into the bargain.

In other words, he’ll come to the same proverbial conclusion about Najib as past US administrations have about other dubious third-world potentates, especially those so rash as to have relationships with enemies of the US, as Najib’s Malaysia so rashly does with North Korea, that ‘he may be a son of a bitch, but at least he’s our son of a bitch’.

And Najib will console himself that his people love him because he gives them signs to wave that say so; that at least the remaining hair he has on his head appears real; and that even if his First Lady may not as slim and blonde as Trump’s, Rosmah almost certainly has a far bigger collection of handbags and pink diamonds than Melania could possibly have.

But one thing I’m pretty sure Najib alias MO1 won’t get out of his forthcoming White House meeting is any reprieve from US investigations into his alleged 1MDB-related activities.

Because Trump or, if you prefer, USO1 is in a similar predicament, and it’s going to take enough of his time, energy and fakery to defend himself against charges of stealing the presidency, without having to support some third-world nobody in his efforts to beat what looks for all the world like an open-and-shut case of money-laundering.



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