Contains selective news articles I select

Posts tagged ‘United Land of Malaysia’

Malaysia PM signs defense deal in tilt toward China

Beijing (AFP)

Nov 1, 2016

Malaysia and China signed a defense deal and pledged closer cooperation in the South China Sea Tuesday, signalling a potential strategic shift by Premier Najib Razak as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal.

Najib’s week-long trip marks another potential setback for Washington’s “pivot” toward Asia, two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte of longtime US ally the Philippines visited China with olive branch in hand.

Meeting at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Najib and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang witnessed the signing of nine agreements spanning defense, business and other spheres.

“I believe this visit will bring our bilateral ties to a new high… a historic high,” Najib said prior to meeting with Li.

Asked for details of the defense arrangement, Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said that the two countries were “focusing on naval cooperation,” adding that the deal “marks a big event in our bilateral ties.”

China and Malaysia have an outstanding territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which is claimed almost in its entirety by Beijing.

Parts of the vast maritime region are also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, among others, who have found themselves caught in an increasingly tense dispute between the US and China over Beijing’s construction of military-capable artificial islands in the region.

“China and Malaysia are littoral states of the South China Sea so we need to enhance our cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea and enhance our mutual trust,” Liu said.

— Separation anxiety —

Last month in Beijing, Duterte stunned observers by announcing his country’s “separation” from longstanding partner the United States.

Though he subsequently backed off, saying their alliance remained intact, the episode underlined China’s increasing diplomatic and economic gravitational pull at the expense of the United States.

Najib’s visit provides fresh evidence, said Southeast Asia politics analyst Bridget Welsh.

“This is the new regional norm. Now China is implementing the power and the US is in retreat,” she said, adding Washington’s Asia “pivot” was “dead in the water”.

Taking office in 2009, Najib reached out to Washington, and relations warmed following decades of periodic distrust.

But he has increasingly leaned toward China as it became Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, and especially after the eruption last year of a massive corruption scandal implicating Najib and a state investment fund he founded.

Billions are alleged to have been siphoned from the fund, 1MDB, in a stunning international campaign of embezzlement and money-laundering that has sparked investigations in several countries.

Najib’s ties with Washington became strained when the US Justice Department moved in July to seize more than $1 billion in assets it says were purchased by Najib relatives and associates using stolen 1MDB money.

Justice Department filings said a “Malaysian Official 1” took part in the looting. Malaysia has since admitted that official was Najib.

Najib and 1MDB deny wrongdoing and have railed at foreign forces they say concocted the scandal.

1MDB launched a fire sale of assets to stay solvent, and China’s biggest nuclear energy producer China General Nuclear Power Corporation came to the rescue last year, purchasing its power assets for $2.3 billion.

Depressed oil prices have slashed government revenue in energy-exporting Malaysia, which also faces rising public-sector debt.

“This trip reflects not only Malaysia’s geostrategic re-alignment to China as the ‘regional banker’ but also the reality that Najib is desperate for alternative financial sources,” Welsh said.

China has increasingly won major infrastructure and other projects in Malaysia.

Among the agreements was one to build a new rail line on Malaysia’s east coast.

Later this week Najib will meet President Xi Jinping, as well as Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba…

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Malaysia_PM_signs_defence_deal_in_tilt_toward_China_999.html.

Malaysia hands over 3 FETO members to Turkey

15 October 2016 Saturday

Malaysia handed over three members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) to Turkey late Thursday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

In remarks made to the media in southwestern Turkey’s Antalya province, Cavusoglu said a FETO member had infiltrated the Second Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Bangkok last week. “They threw him out. This is an organization which tries to infiltrate everywhere.”

He reiterated that Turkey would continue its fight against FETO till the end. “Our fight against them will continue till the end, both inland and abroad. We will not stop following them.”

About his meeting with Malaysian Premier Najib Razak last week, Cavusoglu said Razak told him Malaysia would surrender the three FETO members to Turkey during the summit in Bangkok.

“I gave the information [about the FETO members] to our president, prime minister and related [state] institutions after I returned to Turkey. They surrendered the three people last night following the mutual dialogues,” he said.

Turkey accuses FETO, which is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of organizing the July 15 coup attempt as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The defeated coup left 241 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/178706/malaysia-hands-over-3-feto-members-to-turkey.

Malaysia, Turkey agree to deepen military cooperation

October 9, 2016

Malaysia and Turkey have agreed to enhance defense relations, including the strengthening and coordination of military cooperation, according to Malaysia’s defense minister.

In a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency on Sunday, Hishammuddin Hussein said that following a recent working visit to Turkey relations between the two countries would be more structured and focused moving forward.

He added that areas of potential collaboration discussed with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Defense Minister Fikri Isik included the enhancement of tie-ups in the defense industry as well as other strategic areas of interest.

“We also discussed a range of counter-measures against the Islamic State [Daesh] threat and agreed that returning fighters from territories lost in Iraq and Syria pose a serious threat to Muslim countries that uphold democracy,” he said.

During the meetings, Hussein said he conveyed Malaysia’s unwavering support to Erdogan’s administration and condemned July’s attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

“We both agreed to stand together in opposing unconstitutional attempts. Coups in any form that undermine the people’s will must never be tolerated,” he underlined.

Hussein said that Erdogan had also conveyed the need for continued cooperation between the two countries on issues related to terrorism.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161009-malaysia-turkey-agree-to-deepen-military-cooperation/.

Indonesia, Malaysian MPs support democracy in Turkey

16 July 2016 Saturday

Indonesian and Malaysian lawmakers have voiced support for democracy in Turkey after an attempted military coup.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry expressed concern Saturday over the situation in Turkey, as well as hope that the principles of democracy would be upheld.

“Indonesia emphasizes the importance of respect for the constitution and the principle of democratization,” it said in a statement quoted by detik.com.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said “we are monitoring the situation in Turkey closely” in a post on his Twitter account.

Leaders of Malaysia’s opposition pact expressed “shock” at the attempted coup late Friday.

“This military attempt to force regime change in Turkey is a blatant disregard for the democratic process and totally undermines the will of the Turkish people,” the Hope Pact said in a statement, underlining its solidarity with Turkey’s president and people.

“We pray for the safety of the Turkish people who are now amassing on the streets as a show of support for democracy,” it underlined. “We also call for a swift end to this attempted military coup, and a calm and restrained response by all sides.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier announced that a group within the Turkish military attempted an overthrow of the government.

Tanks drove around the streets of Istanbul late Friday, while warplanes and helicopters flew overhead in the capital Ankara, where bombs exploded at Parliament.

Some pro-coup soldiers attempted to take over state TV channel TRT, block CNN TURK broadcast and cut off TV networks at the ground station of satellite communications agency Turksat in Ankara’s Golbasi district.

Citizens responded to the action by the group, identified by Erdogan as the FETO/PDY terrorist organization, by taking to the streets across Turkey to protest.

The incidents have left at least 90 people dead and more than 1,000 others injured.

Erdogan declared the coup attempt over Saturday from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, where he vowed to remain until the situation in the country returns to normal.

He also slammed United States-based preacher Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of leading a terrorist organization and attempting to infiltrate and overthrow the democratically-elected government in Turkey.

“It is enough the betrayal you have done to this nation,” Erdogan said, without mentioning Gulen’s name, and called on him to return to his country, where he would face trial.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/175029/indonesia-malaysian-mps-support-democracy-in-turkey.

Malaysia decides not to send Taiwanese suspects to China

April 15, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia deported 20 Taiwanese criminal suspects to Taiwan on Friday despite Beijing’s request that they be sent to China, amid an ongoing battle over jurisdiction involving the self-ruled island. A Malaysia official said another 32 Taiwanese suspects sought by China also will be sent to Taiwan.

A Taiwanese Foreign Ministry statement said the 20 suspects, who were detained on suspicion of committing wire fraud, had boarded a plane bound for Taiwan on Friday. Malaysian officials had delayed the flight, saying they were awaiting legal approval, but the Taiwanese foreign ministry said the plane was allowed to take off late Friday afternoon.

Taiwan’s statement Friday evening said its officials were actively engaged in talks to pressure Malaysia to allow another remaining 32 suspects to be deported to Taiwan for investigation. Later Friday, a Malaysian government official said the country has decided “to send the suspects back to their respective countries to be dealt with accordingly.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The latest battle over Taiwanese deportations came after Kenya sent 45 Taiwanese suspects to China instead of Taiwan. Beijing wants to investigate them for defrauding victims in China by posing as police officers and insurance agents over the phone in order to obtain banking details.

China claims jurisdiction in such cases where the victims are Chinese, and says the perpetrators aren’t given due punishment when they are returned to Taiwan. The Malaysian official said a total of 120 foreigners — 68 from China and 52 from Taiwan — were detained last month in connection with a scam. He said two masterminds from China were deported April 13.

China then requested for all the remaining 118 to be sent to the mainland, on grounds that the scam involved 600 victims in China, the official said. The official said China reiterated its request to Malaysia on Friday after the 20 Taiwanese were deported to Taiwan. But he said Malaysia, which has no extradition treaty with China or Taiwan, is not obliged to accede to Beijing’s request.

Taiwan has protested that Kenya violated the legal process and accused Beijing of violating a tacit agreement not to interfere in each side’s citizens’ legal affairs abroad. A Taiwanese delegation is expected in Beijing soon to negotiate the matter.

Some see China’s moves as attempting to assert its claims to sovereignty over the island and legal authority over its residents. The sides split amid civil war in 1949 and China has long sought to isolate Taiwan diplomatically by preventing it from maintaining formal ties with most countries, including Malaysia and Kenya. China’s economic cloud lends it political influence.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has covered the Kenya deportations extensively, with suspects shown being led from the plane in prison smocks with bags over their heads. Others were shown in front of police and television cameras confessing to their crimes and apologizing to their victims.

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and video journalist Johnson Lai in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

SE Asia creates Economic Community, but challenges remain

November 22, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Thirteen years after the idea was mooted, Southeast Asian leaders on Sunday formally created a unified economic community in a region more populous and diverse than the European Union or North America, and with hopes of competing with China and India.

The 10 leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed a declaration during their summit establishing the ASEAN Economic Community, as part of a larger ASEAN Community that aims for political, security, cultural and social integration.

Summit host Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia hailed the ASEAN Community as a “landmark achievement,” and urged members to accelerate integration. “The region is primed to expand exponentially,” he said.

The community, known by its acronym AEC, is already a reality and many of its fundamentals have been applied in the region such as removal of tariff barriers and visa restrictions among others. It has also led to greater political and cultural cooperation.

AEC will bolster income and employment, and provide the region with stronger economic muscle in facing the other giants, said Michael G. Plummer, a professor of international economics at the Europe Center of Johns Hopkins University, based in Bologna, Italy.

“ASEAN integration will help balance the economic power of China and India. Individually, ASEAN countries are, perhaps, too small to be important players in the economic and security game, but as an integrated group of more than half a billion people, they would be in the major league,” Plummer said.

But there is a long way to go before the AEC becomes fully functional after becoming a legal entity on Dec. 31. The region’s diversity can be a hindrance sometimes. ASEAN has 630 million people, speaking different languages, following various faiths and governed by various systems, including rambunctious democracies, a military dictatorship, quasi-civilian, authoritarian, monarchy and communism.

“The AEC is arguably the most ambitious economic integration program in the developing world. But implementation of the AEC is increasingly uphill. Much remains to be done and the region faces many challenges in finishing. The AEC is a process,” Plummer said.

It falls short in more politically sensitive areas such as opening up agriculture, steel, auto production and other protected sectors. ASEAN citizens will be allowed to work in other countries in the region, but will be limited to jobs in eight sectors, including engineering, accountancy and tourism. This accounts for only 1.5 percent of the total jobs in the region, and host countries still can put up constitutional regulatory hurdles restricting the inflow of talent.

Intra-regional trade has remained at around 24 percent of ASEAN’s total global trade for the last decade, far lower than 60 percent in the European Union. ASEAN members also struggle to resolve diplomatic flare-ups among each other such as border disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam, or Indonesia’s inability to fight annual forest fires that spew noxious haze for months over Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Plummer said progress has been slow in in services liberalization. Cross-border flow of investment is also restricted by large exclusion lists and caps on foreign ownership. Government procurement and curbing monopolies by state-owned enterprises are highly sensitive and untouched, he said.

Although the four poorer economies — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam — have until 2018 to bring down tariffs, economic integration could further reinforce income equalities in the region, he said.

AEC “is not the finished article. Neither is it officially claimed to be. There is much work to be done,” said Mohamad Munir Abdul Majid, chairman of a council that advises ASEAN on business matters. “There is a disparity between what is officially recorded as having been achieved … and what the private sector reports as their experience.”

There are also other hurdles, such as corruption, uneven infrastructure and unequal costs of transportation and shipping. A wide economic gulf divides Southeast Asia’s rich and middle income economies — Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and the Philippines — and its four less developed members, Communist Vietnam and Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The AEC was envisaged in 2002 — and a blueprint created in 2007 — to face competition from China and India for market share and investments. While China’s economic growth is expected to slow to an average of 6 percent annually over the next five years, India’s expansion is likely to pick up to 7.3 percent in the same period, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The AEC is one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, which was created by the signing of the declaration Sunday. The other two pillars are political-security and socio-cultural. After the ASEAN summit, the 10 leaders huddled with heads of state from four other Asian countries as well as President Barack Obama, Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for a two-hour East Asia Summit.

Najib vows not to quit as Malaysia marks National Day

August 31, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s prime minister vowed he would not quit over a $700-million financial scandal, and accused protesters of showing “poor national spirit” by holding a massive rally to demand his resignation on the eve of the country’s National Day on Monday.

After a weekend of demonstrations, the government took back the streets of Kuala Lumpur, with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Cabinet ministers attending a gala parade involving 13,000 people. They watched jets whizz by above the landmark Independence Square, which over the weekend was surrounded by tens of thousands of protesters.

In his National Day speech late Sunday, Najib slammed protesters for showing a “shallow mind and poor national spirit.” He said the protests can disrupt public order and were not the right way to show unhappiness in a democratic country.

Najib said Malaysia was not a failed state and slammed protesters for tarnishing the country’s image. He vowed not to bow to pressure. “Once the sails have been set, once the anchor has been raised, the captain and his crew would never change course,” he said.

Police sealed off the square over the weekend. Large crowds of protesters in yellow shirts of the Bersih movement — a coalition for clean and fair elections — camped overnight around the square, even after authorities blocked the organizer’s website and banned yellow attire and the group’s logo.

The rally ended peacefully after protesters ushered in the country’s 58th National Day at midnight Sunday amid tight security. Police estimated the crowd size at 35,000, but Bersih says it swelled to 300,000 on Sunday from 200,000 on Saturday.

“What is 20,000?” Najib said, downplaying even the police number. “We can gather hundreds of thousands,” he said in a speech in a rural area in a northern state earlier Sunday. “The rest of the Malaysian population is with the government,” he was quoted as saying by the local media.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been spearheading calls for Najib’s resignation, added momentum to the rally when he turned up at the rally with his wife on both days. Mahathir, who clamped down on dissent during his 22-year rule, said people power was needed to remove Najib and return the rule of law. He stepped down in 2003 but remained influential.

Najib has been fighting for political survival after leaked documents in July showed he received some $700 million in his private accounts from entities linked to indebted state fund 1MDB. He later said the money was a donation from the Middle East and fired his critical deputy, four other Cabinet members and the attorney general investigating him.

Many of the protesters, such as Azrul Khalib, slept on the street. “This is a watershed moment. Malaysians are united in their anger at the mismanagement of this country. We are saying loudly that there should be a change in the leadership,” said Azrul.

He said he was aware that the rally will not bring change overnight, but he still participated because he wanted to be “part of efforts to build a new Malaysia.” Some used colored chalk to scrawl their demands on the street, writing slogans such as, “We want change,” and “We want clean and fair (elections).”

Two previous Bersih rallies, in 2011 and 2012, were dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons. Analysts said the rally attracted a largely urban crowd with a smaller participation of ethnic Malays, which could be the reason why the Najib government allowed it to go on.

A nation of 30 million, Malaysia is predominantly Malay Muslim, who form the core of the ruling party’s support. The country also has significant Chinese and Indian minorities who have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to the government recent years.

Malaysia’s ambitions to rise from a middle income to a developed nation this decade have been stymied by slow-paced reforms and Najib’s increasing authoritarianism. Still, the government feels “safe because it has not really affected the rural Malay segment, their bedrock support,” said political analyst Ibrahim Suffian. However, he said this doesn’t mean that rural Malays are happy with the government, as many are upset with the plunging currency and economic slowdown.

Support for Najib’s National Front has eroded in the last two general elections. It won in 2013, but lost the popular vote for the first time to an opposition alliance. Concerns over the political scandal partly contributed to the Malaysian currency plunging to a 17-year low earlier this month.

In his speech, Najib rejected fears that the economy is crumbling. “We are stable, with strong fundamentals and will continue to survive and remain competitive,” he said.

Tag Cloud