How Najib Used PetroSaudi To Wage Black Propaganda Against Anwar - EXCLUSIVE
Mike Froman, ex-Dep National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs – US National Security Council
If the Malaysian authorities have genuinely taken possession of the entire Justo dossier on the relationship between 1MDB, Jho Low and PetroSaudi, they will be able to verify for themselves that on 26th Oct 2010 a certain Nawaf Obaid wrote a very strange email to the then Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs in the US National Security Council, Michael Froman.
The email to Mike Froman was entitled ‘CONFIDENTIAL Alert’. Nawaf then forwarded it to his brother, Tarek Obaid, the CEO of PetroSaudi, who in turn sent it on the same afternoon to none other than Jho Low, the man who had negotiated the 1MDB joint venture with PetroSaudi on behalf of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Warning to Hilary Clinton
We reproduce that email in full, because it makes plain that its purpose was to prevent the then US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, from meeting with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, by alleging that he was supporting terrorism:
Sent: Tue, Oct 26, 2010 8:00 pm
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL Alert
To: Mr. Michael B. Froman
Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs
US National Security Council
Sent: Tue, Oct 26, 2010 8:00 pm
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL Alert
I was just reading the morning papers and came across an article talking about Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s, upcoming visit to South-East Asia and to Malaysia in particular. In the spirit of our openness and deep trust that we have developed over the past two years of working together on various economic and financial issues dealing with the IMF/World Bank,G-20 and Energy in the context of the wider US-Saudi special “strategic” bilateral relationship, I think I should alert you on a possible deeply embarrassing situation that Secretary Clinton could find herself in.
The confidential secret assessment that I had come to see you about two weeks ago is nearly complete and I hope to be able to pass you a copy with a lot of hard supporting intelligence next week when we meet. Basically, this assessment has uncovered beyond any doubt the existing close ties between Malaysian controversial politician Anwar Ibrahim and the Muslim Brotherhood network. More alarmingly, we have found proof of Mr. Ibrahim’s ties with some of the leading brotherhood ideologues and financiers around the globe, such as Youssef Al Qaradawi, Yassin Qadi, Youssef Nada and others. The International Institute of Islamic thoughts in Virginia that was raided on numerous occasions by the federal authorities in the past several years and the nerve center of brotherhood financing in the US has Mr. Ibrahim as a founding member.
This came to our attention through a friendly country who informed us that the Malaysians were concerned that senior Saudi officials and the Saudi government were involved in supporting and funding Mr. Ibrahim’s political agenda. After a thorough investigation this has of course proven to be completely untrue and we were able to trace these misleading claims and their purposes. But the issue is that he has got himself involved with basically a lot of the names that were investigated by the US government after 9/11 with “potential ties to terrorism funding” and we have a trove of evidence to support this.
So, as this assessment will be shared with various governments as the data is collected from various countries (including the US, especially from the 9/11 investigation reports), I am concerned that the substance of the report or most of the report will be made public at some point which could cause embarrassment for Secretary Clinton and other senior US officials who might ask to see him publically. I do not think I will be able to turn over the entire assessment and supporting evidence before the end of next week, so I just thought it prudent to send you this very confidential email to alert you and your colleagues.
I that you will treat this email and the content with full secrecy when you pass it on.
I am available to talk if you about this issue whenever you want. I look forward to seeing you next week.
So, who is this provider of secret Saudi assessments to US officials, because, as jubilant emails later showed, the brothers were soon congratulating themselves on the fact that Hilary Clinton did indeed scotch plans to see Anwar on that trip?
Subject: Clinton-Ibrahim NO Meeting
I have just been told to look for this Reuters story that appeared two weeks ago. In fact, Secretary Clinton was made aware the weekend before her trip to Malaysia about “the assessment” and was advised NOT to meet him in person. On arriving in KL, she had no plans on seeing him or having the picture taken with him. The issue of conflicts of her agenda was never the reason as she could of met with him if she really had insisted. To avoid giving the true reason (due to the understanding we have with our friends), a close advisor to her used an excuse of timing and simply said she would talk to him by phone, which she ended up NOT doing.NO
Clinton calls for fair trial for Malaysia’s Anwar
Tue, Nov 2 2010
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Tuesday for Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to get a fair trial but carefully sought to avoid offending the Malaysian government.
Anwar, on trial for sodomy in what Washington views as a politically motivated case, has denied the charge and says it is a repeat of a government conspiracy that saw him dismissed as deputy prime minister in 1998.
Clinton is in Malaysia for meetings with top officials of a country that has seen its relations the United States improve significantly in recent years despite the disagreement over Anwar’s treatment.
“It’s well known that the United States believes that it is important for all aspects of the case to be conducted fairly and transparently and in a way that increases confidence in the rule of law in Malaysia,” Clinton told reporters at a news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
Clinton said she has discussed Anwar’s prosecution with the Malaysian government but it was unclear whether she had done so on Tuesday or in the past.
“I have raised it and we have continued to raise it and it is a part of our ongoing dialogue,” she said.
Anifah said his government wanted to ensure that Anwar received a fair trial and would not interfere in the case.
“What surprises me is that if there is a political prosecution … the Malaysian national government is much smarter. We may as well stop Anwar before he becomes a member of parliament rather than bring it to the open trial in the court,” Anifah told reporters.
“It is my interest and our interest to make sure that Anwar get a fair trial because if there is such thing as a political prosecution — if it can happen to Anwar — it can happen to the rest of us,” he said.
“I have faith in the independence of the judiciary … it doesn’t bother us one bit whether Anwar will be getting a federal judgment or otherwise, but what bothers us is that there will be a fair and open trial,” he added.
Clinton did not meet Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is ill, during her visit to the South East Asian nation but spoke to him by telephone from his hospital room and will hold talks with the foreign minister later on Tuesday.
In what appeared to be a carefully calibrated effort to ensure symmetry, two U.S. officials said Clinton would speak to Anwar on the telephone but would not meet him face to face.
(Editing by Robert Birsel)
Currently back in the US as a visiting fellow at Harvard
Nawaf is the brother of PetroSaudi Director, Tarek Obaid. They are among three sons of a former businessman and arms dealer, Essam Obaid, who made and lost a fortune in Saudi Arabi before he died, according to an informant close to the family.
Setting up a ‘strategic studies institute’, called the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, Nawaf has operated as a private ‘think tank’, specialising in providing supposed intelligence and insight on Saudi Arabia to baffled westerners.
Last year, the Obaid brothers emulated Jho Low and set up a foundation in the name of their parents, which they have been heavily promoting as a philanthropic institution. Nawaf is also the CEO of this outfit, but the money for it notably emerged after the 1MDB PetroSaudi deal. Beforehand, the brothers were well connected but not wealthy.
Nawaf had developed his academic links and spent time in Washington, temporarily as an advisor to Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal in 2005. However, a provocative opinion piece in the Washington Post (suggesting the potential for war between Saudi extremists and America) reportedly soon lost him this job.
So, Nawaf was back in Riyadh by 2010, cultivating his Western contacts and providing his ‘op eds’ (opinion pieces) to news organisations whenever he could. He also at this time had a job in the Saudi Royal Household in Riyadh, which was viewed as providing considerable access, as did Tarek’s handy friendship and business partnerships with King Abdullah’s 7th son, Prince Turki bin Abdullah.
Nawaf is now a visiting fellow at Harvard
The PetroSaudi database has provided extensive information showing that during this period Nawaf Obaid became heavily involved in providing a series of favours for Najib, on behalf of Tarek and Jho Low in the aftermath of the PetroSaudi deal – for which he appears to have been exceedingly well remunerated.
These included fixing visits to Mecca and brief audiences with the King, helping draft speeches by the Prime Minister and even working on an extravagant project proposed by Najib, whereby the King of Saudi Arabia would lend 1MDB US$10 billion, in return for a whole series of grandiose projects to be launched in his name.
Nawaf’s comment to Tarek, who forwarded this latest suggestion drawn up between Jho Low and his so-called “BB” (Najib Razak) was scathing:
“No No N, just ask for 1 Trillion dollars in this case and save everyone the hasstle! Someone is taking some sever and I mean sever DRUGS!” (sic)
No No N, just ask for 1 Trillion dollars in this case and save everyone the hasstle!
Someone is taking some sever and I mean sever DRUGS!
From: Tarek Obaid <Tarek.Obaid@Petrosaudi.com>
To: NawafObaid@aol.com <NawafObaid@aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Oct 30, 2010 11:22 am
Subject: FW: Spoke to BB, some ideas. Let’s discuss first before we talk further to BB.
Thought we could just wire it straight out…..
—— Forwarded Message
From: “LOW, Jho (Personal)” <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2010 01:57:47 +0200
To: Tarek Obaid <Tarek.Obaid@Petrosaudi.com>
Subject: Re: Spoke to BB, some ideas. Let’s discuss first before we talk further to BB.
Sorry sent empty msg earlier. Spoke to BB, some ideas. Let’s discuss first before we talk further to BB.
– A special 7 day high profile visit to Malaysia end nov, early jan with a entourage of 500 people and the most senior religious leader to be accompanying King Abdullah.
Potential commitments include:
– 30 year loan of usd10b islamic debt to 1MDB/GOM at 1.1% interest. If to GOM, a portion (more than 50%) to be recommitted to 1MDB from GOM at same terms
– USD1b to build the King Abdullah Institute of Islamic Finance in KLIFD
– USD1b to build the King Abdullah Science & Tecnology University in Bandar Malaysia
– USD1b for the world first full fledged Islamic Mega Bank License issued by Central Bank of Malaysia
– USD250m to build the King Abdullah University of Islamic Studies in a location of GOM’s choice to be managed by 1MDB
– USD15/TBCm to build Permata Schools (gifted kids) in a location of Permata’s choice to be managed by 1MDB
– J/V between a Saudi Company and 1MDB of USD1b to invest in Langkawi to promote Langkawi as a tourism hub accompanied by PM and TDM
– USD (TBC)m to build Saudi Royal Summer Palace in Langkawi to be managed by 1MDB
– USD (TBC)m King Abdullah Chair/Scholarship in major Malaysian University for Islamic Studies in KSA
– USD (TBC)m donation by King Abdullah to Yayasan 1MDB
– Signing (potentially private) between PetroSaudi and Petronas (contents to be confirmed). Oil & Gas concessions and purchase of assets both ways
– Friday prayers at major mosque with top islamic cleric and HM with PM to be broadcasted nationwide
– A new special honorary award created for HM King Abdullah
– 1 and a half day official visit coupled by a 5 and a half day private holiday. PM and family will join the weekend holiday in Malaysia (Four Seasons Langkawi and perhaps also jungle)
– PM and all ministers to receive King Abdullah and entourage personally at airport coupled with full guard of honour and military parade with F-18 fly-by. All roads to be cleared
– anything else to add?
Nawaf was right to be cynical, since the money was never forthcoming. Najib’s equally fanciful Middle Eastern donor is plainly not from Saudi Arabia!
Meanwhile, the email evidence indicates that the main area where Nawaf was being detailed to assist was on the anti-Anwar propaganda campaign, targeted at breaking down western liberal sympathies for the Malaysian opposition leader by painting him as a terrorist.
The emails show that these efforts by Nawaf and Tarek Obaid were at the behest of Jho Low, who regularly described the Prime Minister as his “BB” (big boss). Low had poured US$300 million into PetroSaudi and paid Tarek a US$85 million brokerage fee for acting as “a front” in the scheme to siphon a total US$1.4 billion out of the 1MDB joint venture. It appears that he expected these favours in return.
Remember Josh Trevino and Chuck Devore?
Josh Trevino was paid by Najib to defame Anwar in the US
This campaign involving the Obaid brothers coincided with other black PR operations being waged by BN against Anwar, which have already been exposed by Sarawak Report.
In 2010-11 SR had also found itself the victim of a blogging campaign orchestrated by the American opinion writer Josh Trevino, whom we discovered was being paid by the PM’s office to attack Anwar Ibrahim using made-to-order Texas based blogs, such as New Ledger and Malaysia Watcher.
Trevino, who has far right, anti-Palestinian views, was also working for the Texas politician Chuck Devore. SR uncovered how Trevino and the UK company FBC Media were being paid tens of millions of dollars by the PM’s office to issue black propaganda, first against Anwar and then by Taib Mahmud against Sarawak Report. The material was then being fed back into local Malaysian media outlets, as if they were reflecting mainstream US opinion.
After our exposes, which also showed that FBC Media was illegally promoting Malaysia on its current affairs programmes, Trevino’s operation and FBC Media were closed down and major enquiries were held into media manipulation in the UK and US.
Now we can show (thanks to Justo’s PetroSaudi database) how closely the PetroSaudi team were working with these commercial conspirators in pushing the same stories onto the US agenda and with Najib’s office.
On the very same day, Oct 26 2010, that Nawaf emailed his National Security Council contact Mike Froman about Anwar, Josh Trevino’s political master Chuck Devore published a parallel paper also designed to warn Hilary Clinton away from relations with Anwar.
Nawaf emailed his brother Tarek on the matter a few days later on 2nd November, under the title “This is getting traction in the United States”. He attached the article from the foreign affairs journal Foreign Policy by Chuck Devore dated Oct 26th, threatening Clinton over Anwar’s alleged terrorist leanings, which he claimed he was hiding behind a liberal “charade”.
The article had originally been forwarded by Nawaf to Newsweek to try to get their correspondent to pick up on this story as well:
From: Christopher Dickey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 10:19 am
Subject: Re: This is beginning to get traction inside the US
Yep. Am on the case.
On Awlaki, have to write this week. So if you can’t Skype or phone, maybe there’s some other guidance you could give me.
Newsweek Paris Bureau Chief / Mideast Editor
French cell phone: +33 6 80 33 94 87
US cell phone: +1 917 297 7613
On Nov 1, 2010, at 5:51 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Secretary of State Clinton Should Steer Clear of Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim
Posted by Chuck DeVore Oct 26th 2010 at 8:18 am in Foreign Policy, Islam |
Malaysia is on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s agenda this week as she swings through Asia. When she visits with Malaysian leaders, she might meet with Anwar Ibrahim, a supposed democracy and reform leader who, it is said, has been unfairly maligned by an overbearing government. Clinton shouldn’t, as Malaysia is no Myanmar and Ibrahim is no Aung San Suu Kyi.
Once a British colony, Malaysia has been independent since 1957. It has transformed itself from a raw materials exporter to a nation with a strong economy boasting a per capita income of $14,900, roughly quadruple that of its larger neighbors: the Philippines and Indonesia. Malaysia’s 26 million people are 60 percent Muslim, 19 percent Buddhist, 9 percent Christian and 7 percent Hindu. The legal system is based on English common law with Islamic law (Sharia) applying to Muslims in the matters of family law and religion. Islam in Malaysia, as in much of the Asian Pacific region, has been less prone to violence as it came to the region more as a function of peaceful trade rather than bloody conquest. Malaysia’s economy has steadily improved, and, under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, so too has press freedoms and application of rule of law. It has a distance yet to travel, but a victory by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in next year’s elections would not advance the cause of democracy.
Serving as deputy to former long-time Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, Ibrahim helped steer Malaysia through the Asian financial crisis in 1997. But, when Ibrahim tried to leverage his success into the Prime Minister’s office, Mahathir would have none of it, striking back with charges of corruption and sodomy. Ibrahim saw his political career sidetracked with his convictions on both charges (the sodomy charge was later reversed in 2004, but new sodomy charges were filed in 2008).
There’s no denying that Anwar Ibrahim knows how to manipulate Western press and politicians. Ibrahim has fashioned himself a sympathetic profile in the West by leveraging the sodomy charges the nominally Muslim government has twice maladroitly leveled against him while claiming to be two things he isn’t: a government reformer and a moderate Muslim.
Ibrahim’s passion for government reform was suspect from the start. While riding the crest of his popularity in 1998, his allies called for a debate on “cronyism and nepotism” which Malaysia’s former strongman Prime Minister Mahathir quickly turned on its head by producing lists of those who benefited from by receiving shares from privatized government corporations. The lists showed Ibrahim, his allies, his brothers and his father owned million of shares in newly privatized companies. Tellingly, Ibrahim’s corruption conviction was never overturned.
Selling Ibrahim as a moderate Muslim is altogether a different challenge. While Ibrahim enjoys the support of Al Gore and Paul Wolfowitz, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith calls him out as an anti-Semitic demagogue unworthy of meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State. Tellingly, when Ibrahim was recently in New York, shadowing a visit there by Prime Minister Najib Razak, he met with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Ibrahim was a co-founder of IIIT which listed the Malaysian politician as a trustee as recently as last year.
The problem is that IIIT is a Muslim Brotherhood front that has repeatedly been tied to terrorist network financing. In their 2001 book “Violence” IIIT called the state of Israel a “foreign usurper” that must be attacked with “fear, terror and lack of security.” Only three years ago, Malaysian Muslim feminist Zainah Anwar called out IIIT for suppressing moderate Koranic teachings. Of direct concern to Americans should be that the Muslim Brotherhood’s new “Supreme Guide” or leader, Muhammad Badi, called for violent jihad against both the U.S. and Israel in a September 30 sermon, saying it was a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Ibrahim met with IIIT leaders in New York only days after this sermon.
Anwar Ibrahim is simply one in a long line of Islamist leaders who know how to say one thing to a Western audience who longs to hear soothing words, while saying and acting differently when they think no one from the West is paying attention. If Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party (run by his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) comes to power in 2011, it will likely mark another occurrence of democracy being used to destroy democracy. Secretary of State Clinton, if she meets with Ibrahim, will act to boost his destructive charade.
Revealingly, a few days earlier on 13th October Nawaf forwarded his brother Tarek another email drawing attention to a separate article in exactly the same vein from the propaganda
Omar Mustafa of Ethos one of Najib’s closest advisors
blog Malaysia Watcher, which was directly paid for by Najib and run by Chuck Devore’s aide Josh Trevino.
The article was called “Anwar and the Terror Financiers” and had originally been sent to Nawaf by Omar Mustapha, who is the head of Ethos & Company and was acting as one of Najib’s key consultants responsible for drawing up his speeches (code name Oscar – firstname.lastname@example.org).
According to his email, Oscar/Omar was waiting for the completion of an ‘internal report’ by Nawaf – the same one that Nawaf had indicated was being completed by his contacts to Mike Froman?
Subject: Fwd: Please check out link below. We should meet soon once your internal repo...
The email trail confirms therefore that the Obaid brothers were in extremely close contact with the team running Najib’s PR over these attempts to pin terrorism allegations on Anwar.
Indeed, as early as September Nawaf had emailed Omar Mustapha to copy him into an initial approach to Michael Froman asking to meet with him “about a delicate matter that has come up regarding a certain international financial network that is literally using Saudi Arabia as a cover without the knowledge of the Saudi government”.
This email was also sent on to his brother Tarek and proves that the entire scheme to accuse Anwar of terror financing had been orchestrated together with the Prime Minister’s closest advisors from the start. The “friendly government” referred to by Nawaf in his Oct 26th email, can only have been Malaysia.
Again, the week before Nawaf emailed Froman in October, he and a Saudi advisor were demanding official red carpet treatment to be arranged by Tarek and Jho Low (who continues to claim he no longer had any involvement in 1MDB or government matters by this period) during a visit to KL. Tarek explained to Jho Low that the advisor was working with Nawaf on getting “official endorsement on the bad apple stuff” – an obvious referrence to the ‘assessment’ being orchestrated with the PM’s office.
Hawking the story about Anwar
So what exactly was this ‘intelligence’ which Nawaf as a supposed Saudi royal insider was passing to America’s politicians?
The emails which passed between the two brothers and Jho Low on the PetroSaudi database are informative on this front, because even though Nawaf indicated to Mike Froman that his ‘assessment’ document was highly secret, he was, in fact, passing it round as many journalists as he could, in order to get negative publicity against Anwar into the top US and UK media outlets.
One early score was with CNN’s Nic Robertson, who published a story almost immediately on Nawaf’s obscurely sourced ‘dossier’. Extensive emails between Robertson and Nawaf make clear that Nawaf had provided Nic with the material and was goading him to write something on the “assessment” before another media outlet took it up:
From: Nic Robertson <email@example.com>
To: Nawaf Obaid <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 12:24 pm
Subject: Re: Assessment Update
Nawaf, hi, as typical here I am getting diverted to other stories, Monday — Pakistan, Tuesday – Assange – , today Afghanistan, China and Lebanon..
I STILL PLAN TO GET TO IT THIS WEEK, BUT THANK YOU FOR THE HEADS UP.
On 1/12/11 5:07 PM, “Nawaf Obaid” <email@example.com> wrote:
Greetings from NYC!
ABC has been snooping around the assessment and the issue discussed in it.
I denied the assessment was for public use. They seems very interested in it after the Washington Times story.
Please let me know estimated time when you expect to write a story about it.
Eventually CNN ran the story in late January, after which an email from Tarek to Nawaf observed “he owes you very big now, very big” – meaning Jho Low?
He owes you very big now, very big!
Von: Nic Robertson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An: Nawaf Obaid <email@example.com>
Verschickt: Do., 27. Jan. 2011, 14:38
Thema: Here with the link
This ‘exclusive’ by CNN did not stop Nawaf trying to spread the story about Anwar’s terror funding on to other outlets, perhaps because CNN held back from directly accusing Anwar of being involved in this terror financing.
Members of Josh Trevino’s blogging team seemed angry that CNN held back from reporting that Anwar supported terrorists through the Muslim Brotherhood
Nawaf’s next target was the New York Times, to whom he showed the CNN article and explained he could provide further “exclusive” information. Again, he forwarded this email correspondence entitled “Brotherhood Project” to his PetroSaudi director brother Tarek:
“It will destroy him!”
The first contact with the NYT came in early January when a reporter contact got in touch. Nawaf immediately set up a meeting and then emailed the news to his brother saying that he would need “more information” (to back the allegations) but that a long piece in the New York Times would “destroy him” – there can be little doubt in this context that “him” meant Anwar and that this was the agenda:
For the longer piece in the New York Times Magazine. We will need more information, but this will destroy him!
From: robert worth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Nawaf obaidin Saudi <email@example.com>
Sent: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 13:54
Subject: Re: greetings from DC
Fantastic. Saturday is perfect. Let me know where and when would suit you.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 07:37:33 -0500
Subject: Re: greetings from DC
How about breakfast on Saturday in DC?
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!
From: Robert Worth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, Jan 3, 2011 3:59 am
Subject: greetings from DC
happy new year from DC! i hope all is well with you. i wanted to let you know that i’m starting a new job this month: i’m writing full time for the new york times magazine. i’ll be based in DC but still traveling to the mideast for reporting. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, as my wife moved to DC last year to take a job and i’ve been spending way too much time away from my family.
That the vendetta against Anwar had become personal by this time and not just a matter of commercial gain is made clear by the circulation of a 2010 report where Anwar raised early concerns about the nature of the PetroSaudi Joint Venture with 1MDB.
The article in Malaysiakini had been sent by Omar Mustapha in the PM’s office with the comment “Janus at work again”. Omar asked Tarek to send the information on to his brother. “Not good at all” responded Nawaf. Anwar and his questions about 1MDB PetroSaudi had clearly become a threat:
Fwd: [E] 1MDB: Another financial scandal in the making?
This is NOT good at ALL!
Sent: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 4:32 pm
Subject: Fw: [E] 1MDB: Another financial scandal in the making?
Janus at work again..
Do forward to your brother.
From: Alert Malaysia
ReplyTo: Alert Malaysia
Subject: [E] 1MDB: Another financial scandal in the making?
Sent: Sep 20, 2010 3:14 PM
1MDB: Another financial scandal in the making?
Date: 20 September 2010
The country may end up facing another financial scandal four times the size of
the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco if the government does not come clean on
the inner workings of its 1Malaysia Development Fund Bhd (1MDB).
PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim claims there are many questions arising over
the way 1MDB reports its earnings and performance, particularly since the
company’s audited accounts ending March 2010 have yet to be finalised.
He pointed out that 1MDB was allocated RM5 billion in 2009 via government bonds,
and is expected to be issued another RM10 billion loan through state-backed
bonds, for a grand total of RM15 billion in liabilities held by the company by
“This is four times the value of bonds issued for the PKFZ, which are valued at
around RM3.685 billion,” Anwar said in a statement today.
Through January 2011, Nawaf pressed on with his attempts to get the New York Times to run the killer piece on Anwar based on his ‘assessment’ and whatever extra ‘exclusive information’ he was able to procure:
|Subject:Re: Brotherhood Project
|From:”Robert Worth” <email@example.com>
nawaf thanks, this is great. i am in cairo right now, and my editors want me to write something on the cairo/tunis stuff. i will have to report that first, but am eager to look at the report as soon as i have a minute.
thanks and best, B
On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 2:23 AM, <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I hope your well?
Please have a look at the following link. This is basically what we discussed last week over breakfast in DC. If interested, I would be more than happy to send you the assessment
as well as the entire intelligence package for you to have a look at and start your investigation. This would be a superb topic for a long investigative article
for The New York Times Magazine now that the Mubarak regime is slowly falling apart and the Brotherhood is waiting in the wings. If you agree to the project, this would be an
exclusive to you and I would supply you with never seen documents as well as officials and advisors in the main countries concerned with this issue and that took part in the
The New York Times, in the end, appears to have backed off the dossier. Likewise, Jeremy Bowen of the BBC, who was also approached. However, Nawaf’s email exchanges with the latter could not have been more telling.
Pressed by Nawaf to report on his assessment Bowen responded “the most common response I am getting is from people who suggest this is another attempt to damage Anwar Ibrahim’s reputation”.
Forwarding that blunt exchange on to his brother Tarek Nawaf remonstrated that he should tell his “accidental friend” [Jho Low] “how difficult it has been to get serious news organization to run with this subject”!
This did not stop Nawaf continuing to circulate the dossier. After all it had had a satisfactory effect in worrying US senior politicians.
His next target, just before Christmas 2010 was the Washington Times. Nawaf forwarded what seemed like positive response from the journalist who was trying to get to grips with his ‘intelligence assessment’ to his brother Tarek in an email entitled “Here You Go, Merry Christmas”!
In this exchange the Washington Times reporter provides a useful summary of the gist and purpose of Nawaf’s secret assessment, which he had been painstakingly circulating around the world media:
From: Shaun Waterman <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 9:45 pm
Subject: RE: AFP Exclusive: In Saudi, Israeli ‘new historian’ slams Netanyahu
Thanks Nawaf. I am writing the story this afternoon.
To confirm, what I have is a translation of an assessment produced by Saudi officials in response to allegations that senior members of the royal family were involved in funding Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim. The assessment clears the royals of involvement, but shows Ibrahim’s links to the large and complex web of financial organizations established by a group of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, a number of whom have been indicted or designated as terrorists by US authorities.
The official who shared the assessment with The Washington Times said he had provided it to illustrate the scale of the challenge Saudi authorites face in trying to interdict funds provided by wealthy individuals for extremists, when the funds flow through a huge network of charities and other organizations, many of which are involved in funding non-violent Islamist political activities.
Is that about right?
The Washington Times
There is no evidence that the Washington Times actually ran the story. Despite Nawaf trying his utmost to bully the reporter in the run up to Christmas:
From: Shaun Waterman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 12:01 am
Subject: RE: Follow Up
My editor says the story will run friday or monday. We will know for sure in a couple of hours. I’m sorry I can’t be more definite than that.
I want to debrief you properly on this when we see each other next week. In the meantime I am going off the grid for a couple of days over xmas. Let’s touch base next week about tuesday night
all the best
The Washington Times
Office: 202 636 4884
Mobile: 202 841 9017
“Say not the struggle naught availeth…”
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: Follow Up
From: Shaun Waterman <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, Dec 23, 2010 7:05 pm
Subject: RE: Follow Up
Let me check
I’ll get back to you
The Washington Times
Office: 202 636 4884
Mobile: 202 841 9017
Sent from a handheld device – please excuse any typos, abbreviations or apparent
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 5:58 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Follow Up
You think there is still any possibility the story might run tomorrow as this
will be the last day of the
week and it would mean that the story has been holding now for over a week?
From: Shaun Waterman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wed, Dec 22, 2010 4:58 pm
Subject: RE: Follow Up
Nawaf: I am sorry if I have put you in a difficult position, and I understand
how frustrated you must feel. I share those feelings. I think part of the delay
is that the editors want to put the story on the front page, and that has meant
waiting for a slow news day – with the lame duck congress so active there hasn’t
been one of those yet this week.
The editors assure me they still intend to run the story.
However, I understand if you feel you have approach another news organization –
I would only ask that you wait one more day, so I can let the editors know what
will happen if they don’t run it today. If you feel you need to act immediately
however, I will understand.
Once again my apologies on behalf of TWT, Nawaf. This is no way to deal with a
The Washington Times
Office: 202 636 4884
Mobile: 202 841 9017
Sent from a handheld device – please excuse any typos, abbreviations or apparent
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 6:09 PM
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Follow Up
I find myself in a very hard position. It seems that The Washington Times does
believe in the importance of the assessment or the story you have done it. So I
have to go to
the other papers that have expressed interest in this project. You have told me
on two occasions
that the story would appear this week and it seems that at the last moment it
was pulled. This might
be standard at your paper, but it really is not with others, especially with
the ones I have dealt with in
over the more than ten years I have been doing this job. To be honest, it is
Anyway, as I gave you my word you only had the exclusivity on this assessment, I
realized that I would find myself in such a situation. So, tomorrow, I will be
giving it to others
newspapers and magazines in the hope that they make better use of it than The
has done. On a personal note, such actions really undermine confidence and
However eventually there seems to have been coverage in the Huffington Post and Newsweek based on what was described as described as an “extensive dossier, compiled last year by Arab analysts with close ties to Saudi intelligence“, but again failed to produce the desired attack on Anwar.
The plainly frustrated Nawaf resorted in February to sending on to his brother a vicious critique of these publications entitled ‘The Left Discovers the Muslim Brotherhood’s Transnational Network of Extremists–and Supports Them Anyway’, written by the writer Seth Mandel, one of Josh Trevino’s team of Malaysian funded bloggers for an obscure and now defunct site called RealNewsBlog.
Nawaf highlighted in bold Mandel’s accusations that the Newsweek article did not attack Anwar enough. Tarek then sent the email on to Jho Low with the comment “Please make BB read”.
It seems, therefore, the main impact of this collaboration between Nawaf and the Trevino team of paid bloggers was to convince Najib that he was changing world opinion.
Subject: FW: NewsRealBlog: The Left Discovers the Muslim Brotherhood’s Transnational Network of Extremists–SEE IN BOLD
Pls make BB read
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 14 February 2011 17:24
Subject: NewsRealBlog: The Left Discovers the Muslim Brotherhood’s Transnational Network of Extremists–SEE IN BOLD
– NewsReal Blog – http://www.newsrealblog.com –
The Left Discovers the Muslim Brotherhood’s Transnational Network of Extremists–and Supports Them Anyway
Posted By Seth Mandel On February 10, 2011 @ 8:00 am In Anti-Semitism,Email,Feature,Right to Exist | 2 Comments
Here’s a riddle for you: How many rocket, mortar, and missile attacks can Hamasniks in Gaza launch without breaking a cease-fire?
You might think the obvious answer is zero–you cannot be firing rockets at civilians while still abiding by a cease-fire. But the world is more complex than that, or so I learned after reading the latest installment of Peter Beinart’s ongoing attempt at rehabilitating the reputations of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas, Beinart writes, “has been basically observing a de-facto cease-fire for two years now.” As of early this week, Hamasniks have launched 43 attacks on Israeli civilians so far in 2011. I assume that Beinart inserted the word “basically” to account for the fact that Hamas has not completely ceased firing, but are making an effort. Yet considering they are averaging one attack per day thus far this year, it is a positively Clintonian abuse of the weasel word.
What’s more likely, however, is that Beinart simply has no idea what’s really going on over there. And we can give the Daily Beast the benefit of the doubt by assuming that when they merged with Newsweek, the Daily Beast acquired Newsweek’s fact-checkers, which explains this type of monumental mistake making it into print.
Speaking of Newsweek: The magazine recently ran an article that echoed Beinart’s opinion that the Muslim Brotherhood is no real threat to Israel or the broader West. Beinart informs us that “The Muslim Brotherhood is not al Qaeda: It abandoned violence decades ago, and declared that it would pursue its Islamist vision through the democratic process.”
Beinart takes the Muslim Brotherhood at its word, just as he takes Hamas’s word for the cease-fire they are respecting by attacking Israel every single day. And the Newsweek reporters tell us that in a democracy, the “mystique” of the Brotherhood will rapidly fade:
“When, finally, Arab governments come to understand that, the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood may well be over.”
But perhaps the Daily Beast/Newsweek idea of keeping the Muslim Brotherhood out of power by putting the Muslim Brotherhood in power isn’t the best idea. Perhaps, that is, they should not be taken at their word.
For evidence to back up our skepticism, we look to… Newsweek? Yes, that same article that tells us to trust the Muslim Brotherhood also includes this gem:
“NEWSWEEK has obtained an extensive dossier, compiled last year by Arab analysts with close ties to Saudi intelligence, that argues that a well-financed global Muslim Brotherhood network uses ‘moderate-seeming politicians to further its extremist agenda’ as far away as Malaysia.”
This would not have been news to Newsweek had they made a regular habit of reading our site. That “moderate-seeming” politician in Malaysia is Anwar Ibrahim, whose connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, anti-Semitism, and all-around bad habits we have documented here, here, here, and here.
And that is just one example. Let’s remember that the Brotherhood operates in 70 countries worldwide. And that brings us to the most significant issue with the constant exhortations not to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood. They have a transnational network of terror-supporting Islamist anti-Semites like Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters. What do you suppose the foreign policy of an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood would be if they gained power in Egypt? With whom, do you suppose, would they ally themselves?
When it comes to Malaysia–a country our government considers an important ally in the war on terror–the Brotherhood has Anwar Ibrahim in the opposition. In Israel, the Brotherhood has its affiliate Hamas.
So now that we know the type of groups the Brotherhood associates with, and considering their stated goal remains to bring about Sharia law in each country in which the Brotherhood operates, how should we feel about the Brotherhood affiliates in the West? Britain, Germany, and France all have prominent chapters. The U.S. has many–including beloved CAIR.
These organizations have tremendous influence already, which would only increase were the Muslim Brotherhood to take even a significant slice of the power up for grabs right now in Egypt. As Stephen Coughlin, Vice President of Strategic Communication Initiatives for the Strategic Engagement Group, told me, the best recent example of the Brotherhood’s influence in Western countries would be the French riots of 2006. Though the Brotherhood did not start the riots, he said:
“The Muslim brotherhood stepped into that situation, and knew how to take control of it. And it didn’t end until the French government asked the Muslim Brotherhood-associated imams to tell people to stop. And then of course the Muslim Brother imam did, and it stopped immediately. So what did they get? They got the French to recognize that if you want to work with the Muslims in France you have to go through the Brotherhood.”
The Brotherhood considers itself the gatekeeper, as it were, to the Muslim communities around the world. And it has demonstrated it knows how to take advantage of a populist uprising it did not spur or even join at the outset. That is because the Brotherhood is, as the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano told me, “fanatically well-organized and well-financed.”
The point of Beinart’s essay, by the way, was to propose that Israel ease its restrictions on Hamas, thus giving them more land, more weapons, more resources, and more political power. He is suggesting to Western leaders that they allow for the rise to power of Hamas in the West Bank (instead of just Gaza) and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt simultaneously. Of course, calling for the inclusion of Hamas and pooh-poohing the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood has become mainstream leftist conventional wisdom. That’s why Beinart wrote it.
In the September issue of Commentary, Andrew Ferguson wrote the definitive article on Beinart, famous for his shameless careerism. The following paragraph is talking about Beinart’s New York Review of Books essay on why AIPAC and Orthodox Jews are to blame for the mess in the Mideast, but he just as easily could be–and I think, is–talking about anything Beinart writes:
“Influencing practical outcomes, though, is not the point of a career like Beinart’s. The career is an end in itself, which is why last year’s ideological fashion can be so easily shrugged off for next year’s model. Many American friends of Israel and students of Washington politics found his recent article unnerving, but not for the reasons Beinart might have hoped. Like the neoliberal he once was, he makes no new arguments and presents no new facts. If he wants to position himself as scourge to Israel’s government and scold to America’s Zionists, it is because those views are now squarely in the mainstream of liberal opinion. That alone is unnerving, and the sum of what his essay revealed. This is not a man to take chances.”
And that is the value in Beinart’s Daily Beast column as well. It is an indication of just how popular the concept of welcoming the Muslim Brotherhood into the international arena has become on the left.
We cannot control Egyptian politics, but we should not let our guard down, either. The Muslim Brotherhood is not now, nor will it be, an innocuous actor in democratic governance. The sooner we accept that, the better.
Article printed from NewsReal Blog: http://www.newsrealblog.com
URL to article: http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/02/10/the-left-discovers-the-muslim-brotherhood%e2%80%99s-transnational-network-of-extremists-and-supports-them-anyway/
So, why was Nawaf undertaking this job of pegging a dodgy story on Anwar, which he himself found hard to get any ‘serious news organisation’ to run with?
A wealth of correspondence shows that Jho Low and his “BB” Najib Razak were attempting to exploit their relationship with the Obaids to further their other agendas. In turn, it appears that Tarek, who had been paid millions for his ‘brokerage’ of the 1MDB deal, was paying his own well-connected and academically skilled brother to perform these tasks.
Shortly following these efforts over the “security assessment”, Tarek organised through the private Swiss bank, EFGL, a generous payment to Nawaf of US$200,ooo. The correspondence makes clear this was not the first such payment.
Regular payment from Tarek to Nawaf?
Lovely talking to you and pray you will be a lot better soon.
I confirm our telephone conversation that we transfer £200,000 to Nawaf’s account as stated below, tomorrow.
Kind regards, please stay in touch.
From: Tarek Obaid [mailto:Tarek.Obaid@Petrosaudi.com]
Sent: 01 February 2011 14:14
To: Harvey-Phillips, Nermine
Subject: RE: Hope you are well
I hope you are well, I have been in the states for a long time now.
Nermine, I need to wire funds to my brother Nawaf at HSBC london, like the last wire transfer and same amount could you please execute that asap.
These payments were over and above a series of other staggeringly large sums which had been wired by Tarek to Nawaf since the PetroSaudi deal, presumably in recognition of his role in managing the ‘Saudi Government’ side of the relationship with 1MDB.
On the 18th January 2010, in particular, Tarek had wired his brother a cool million dollars USD:
USD 1 million wired by Tarek from the JP Morgan account which had received USD$85 million from Jho Low’s Good Star after the PetroSaudi JV
In October Tarek sent him a further quarter of a million pounds sterling:
Tarek also purchased his brother a Swiss watch worth US$222,000. It all came from the JP Morgan account into which Jho Low had paid a staggering US$85 million ‘brokerage’ fee for Tarek’s role in the multi-billion 1MDB joint venture fraud.
PetroSaudi had, of course, also received a further US$300 million in that deal, with which it launched itself into a highly profitable drilling venture in Venezuela, which insiders have told Sarawak Report is worth half a million dollars a day in net profit.
Over the following year Nawaf was prevailed upon on a number of further occasions to forward Najib’s propaganda agenda. The Saudi loan went nowhere, as predicted.
However, Obaid was later caught up in Rosmah’s so-called ‘mercy mission’ to fly home Malaysian students caught up in the Libya conflict. He was also dragged in to assist on a number of Najib’s speeches by his aide Omar Mustapha, as well as helping draft comment pieces for US newspaper, supposedly authored by Najib.
At one point Tarek huffed “us again” when Omar again pressed for their input.
You see from his own words!
Sent: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 11:16 pm
Subject: Re : Final CFR Speech Draft
My dear Omar :-
You absolutely correct. We are working on it this evening and you will have the new shortened draft for the PM to speak for about 20 to 25 minutes tomorrow and as soon as you arrive in NYC.
Safe trip and talk in the evening!
De : email@example.com
A : firstname.lastname@example.org
Envoyé le : Jeudi, 23 Septembre 2010 13:17
Sujet : Re: Final CFR Speech Draft
I really like the final product for CFR. But am concerned at 3,800 words it is too long. PM speaks at a rate of 100 words per minute, so this is around 38 minutes! May be too lengthy for an impatient New York crowd?
Your thoughts my friend?
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.
From: Oscar <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 18:39:54 +0800
Subject: Re: Final CFR Speech Draft
Noted, with gratitude for your assistance.
On Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 6:31 AM, <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We have done a final edit and made some small tweaks, in BOLD.
I am pasting below and attaching it.
Thank you to Hank (Greenberg) for your kind words of introduction and
to the Council for inviting me to speak with you this morning. Hank
has been a longstanding friend and supporter of Malaysia and I am
extremely delighted to be back in the United States, to partake of the
dynamic culture of the great city of New York, and of course to be
here at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the most progressive
and productive political discussion forums in the world. It is
especially inspiring to be here in a time of intense global
uncertainty and tension – a time when the kind of clear-sighted,
level-headed, intellectually-daring ideas and proposals for which the
Council is renowned is needed more than ever.
As the world still reels from a financial crisis that has reverberated
through the economic fibers of almost every nation, and as we continue
to take stock of and seek mutually beneficial resolutions to events in
the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, I believe more than
ever that we must bravely embark on a new voyage of international
dialogue, reflection and cooperation. We must work together to wrest
growth from recession and harmony from conflict.
I would like to begin my speech today with a little anecdote about
Thomas Jefferson, for as I am in America it seems only fitting and
proper that I should take one of its great thinkers as a launching off
point for the ideas I will here present. The time was 1777, and the
founding father was circulating among his friends a copy of his Bill
for Religious Freedom; a more moving, fundamental expression of
tolerance than even the First Amendment of the US Constitution. He was
having little luck pushing the bill through the Virginia Legislature,
which feared alienating the Anglican church, and felt that getting
some feedback on its phrasing might improve his chances. But in order
that the feedback be unbiased, he omitted to mention to his readers
that he was the author of the bill. Nevertheless, one of Jefferson’s
friends, Quaker lawyer John Todd, intuiting the WRITER from the style,
wrote to Jefferson approvingly of the document’s sentiments, and said
something that I, as the leader of a multi-ethnic, democratic nation
not entirely unlike America, have always taken as both an inspiration
and a challenge: “People of different sentiments in religion will all
be one in their love and fidelity to the State, which secures them
everything dear and valuable.”
I find this quote to be an inspiration because it helps us believe in
people of all religions putting aside their differences and working
for the common good, but it also contains a subtle challenge, for it
makes clear that the common love and fidelity of the people for their
state can only prove more powerful than their religious differences if
the state “secures them everything dear and valuable.” It is to the
issue of securing the people of Malaysia – and by extension all people
– everything dear and valuable that my speech is dedicated. In short,
I want to spell out what Malaysia is doing, both in our own country
and in collaboration with our international partners, to maintain the
peace, increase the economic prosperity, and play a pivotal role in
the overall march of global progress.
First, I wish to talk about Malaysia’s relationship with the United
States and to make some remarks regarding recent issues surrounding
9/11 and the meeting of the Muslim and American worlds. While there
will always be those on BOTH sides who seek to sow misunderstanding
and to fan the flames of hatred between Islam and the US, as President
Obama recently said, we must, while remembering the tragic events of
9/11, not give in to their prejudices. The forces that connect us are
far greater than the forces that drive us apart, and Malaysia and the
United States will remain united both by our common values and by our
shared strategic interests.
In that light, I would like to announce today that Malaysia will
commit to financially support TOTALING US$3m towards the building of
the proposed Parc 51 Muslim cultural center in lower Manhattan. We
will also commit to financing a special outreach program that will be
MODELED on the inter-faith and inter-ethnic approaches we have taken
to bring communities together in Malaysia. We hope this small
contribution will further cement the relationship between our two
countries as we share our own experiences – successes as well as
challenges – of sustaining nationhood in a complex ethnic and
Among the many common bonds between Malaysia and the US stands first
and foremost the safeguarding of our societies against the forces of
terror. Our countries are united in the fight against the threats of
extremism, and we must continue to cooperate intensively with each
other on security issues. We are also one in believing that the world
needs to come together to find a solution to the controversy
surrounding Iran, and we believe that this solution must be diplomatic
rather than military.
Malaysia stands with the United States in having concerns over various
international issues. In Afghanistan, Malaysia is cooperating with
American and other nations in rebuilding the country, training
teachers and public officials, and looking at how we can do even more
to build social order by extending that training to policy and
military personnel. In fact, just this summer we decided to send 40
personnel as part of an Interim National Support and Assistance
Operation Mission to Afghanistan to work with the Provincial
Reconstruction Team from New Zealand. A number of Malaysian medics
also left for Kabul just a few weeks ago.
Another important area in which Malaysia looks to assist the US goals
is in the Middle EAST peace process. While Malaysia considers itself a
religious and ethnic melting pot, it has a strong cultural connection
to the Muslim world and the Middle East due to the fact that over 60%
of its population PRACTICES Islam. Therefore, we take great interest
in the Israeli-Palestinian situation. It is, in our opinion, extremely
important that the violence and injustice occurring on all sides there
come to an end, and we have lent and will continue to lend our
untiring efforts toward that goal.
While Malaysia supports the peace process and believes that the core
interests of both parties can be satisfied within a lasting agreement
as proposed by the Arab Peace Plan put forward by King Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia, we firmly declare that the basic rights of the
Palestinians must not be sacrificed to achieve that peace. The
Palestinian people must be deemed worthy of and accorded the same
fundamental human rights – safety, dignity, freedom, justice, health,
self-determination, and economic opportunity – as all people on this
planet. Israel’s settlement building policy must cease immediately and
the Palestinians should have a viable independent sovereign state. I
realise this may not be a popular statement to make in America – and
perhaps even more so in New York – but I am speaking without fear nor
favour, as an honest, long-standing friend of the United States.
On all issues relating to national security and international
relations, I firmly believe that Malaysia can provide something to the
United States that is perhaps as unique as it is valuable – We stand
in a special position to be a moderate Muslim partner for America. In
a time when America is reaching out to so many Muslim countries and
seeking to understand them and inspire them to join in the joint
securing of our societies against extremism, such a partner could be
extremely important, and I am all too happy to offer our assistance as
But relationship between Malaysia and America is about more than just
strategic partnerships and international dilemmas. It is about trade
and investment. It is about investing in the global recovery. It is
about spawning optimism and opportunity. It is about working together
to provide our people with everything dear and valuable through the
growth of our economies.
The United States is Malaysia’s biggest trading partner. Malaysia
receives exports from the US worth more than $500 million dollars a
month and rising. In fact, in the first seven months of this year,
exports of US goods and services were up 17.9%. More than 600 U.S.
companies now operate in Malaysia, with investments valued at almost
$13 billion dollars. A high proportion of American direct investment
in Malaysia is by new knowledge-based companies like Dell, Intel and
Motorola, and recently we have seen tech giants like Microsoft
announce that they are expanding their operations in Malaysia. This is
an exciting development that takes Malaysia another step closer to
becoming the hi-tech, knowledge-based, innovative economy we envision
Indeed, Malaysia is the high-tech gateway to South East Asia, and
South East Asia – the 10 ASEAN nations, nearly 600 million people with
an economic growth rate of 6% this year, is a fantastic place to
invest with new growth opportunities opening up all the time.
The importance of ASEAN to Malaysia and the other economies of which
it consists cannot be overstated. In today’s fast changing global
economy where companies can operate anywhere, nations like Malaysia
need to work harder than ever to attract investors, and that means
thinking regionally as well as nationally. For that reason I am
committed to working, with the welcome support of the United States,
towards an ASEAN that is empowered to meet its goals OF greater
economic integration – an unapologetic regionalism, but a regionalism
that is co-operative, open and transparent rather than pitted against
other regional and global architectures.
As America’s fourth largest overseas market, ASEAN is very much a
force to be taken seriously – and with the second ASEAN/U.S. summit
just concluded here in New York, I would encourage those of you from
the business and diplomatic community to find out a bit more about all
it has to offer. As Secretary of State Clinton has remarked, now is
the time to re-engage with South East Asia.
So I am proud of Malaysia’s place at the heart of ASEAN, and I am
determined to do everything possible to cement that strong position
for the benefit of all. But to cement that position and make our
country an economic model for all ASEAN members, it is important that
Malaysia make some key policy changes to its economic regime. This is
why I am deeply committed to a wide-ranging program of domestic
reforms to advance the economic status of our country and to make it
more attractive to investors. What we are doing specifically requires
a bit of backstory, so allow me, if you will, a short history lesson.
Since Malaysian independence in 1957, our tale has been one of
incredible transformation and growth. We have developed from a
low-income commodities-based economy dependent on rubber and tin to a
modern, industrial, middle-income nation with strong economic
fundamentals. The programs of our leaders have been responsible for
this remarkable change, and for ensuring an average annual growth rate
of 8 per cent per year in the late eighties and nineties. In fact,
from 1957 to 1997, the average annual growth rate was 6.7 per cent.
This growth improved the lives of all Malaysians. The country’s per
capita income rose from $306 in 1965 to over $6,700 last year. Also,
the percentage of the population living in absolute poverty plummeted
from 50% in 1970 to less than 4% today. Most importantly, income
inequality declined substantially during these years, and education
and health standards also improved remarkably. These transformations
continue to this day as we seek to move to the next level and take our
place among the world’s high-income nations.
This amazing growth story has come about because of the New Economic
Policy (NEP) that was put in place by my father nearly 40 years ago.
It was for its time a highly enlightened plan, and it has brought us
far. However, it is my assertion that certain elements of the NEP have
overstayed their welcome and that we must adapt them anew to better
suit the economic climate in which we find ourselves.
This is why in March, 2010, I introduced my New Economic Model (NEM).
It will replace the NEP and herald a number of significant
improvements to the way Malaysia does business. It will cut red tape,
encourage investment, increase competition and drive innovation. It
will improve the performance of our institutions and public services.
And it will help assure even greater harmony among our many diverse
peoples by giving each the opportunity to excel at their dreams
without indiscriminate preference or artificial impediments.
Apropos OF this issue, as you may have heard, there is much debate in
Malaysia about my decision to replace the NEP with the NEM because at
the heart of the NEP was an affirmative action program, quite
visionary for its time, that many hold largely responsible for the
economic progress our country has made since its inception. The policy
came about because of race riots first triggered by the native Malays
in 1969. At that time, while they constituted 55% of the population,
they only owned 3% of the wealth. Clearly, this was a state of
economic inequality that needed to be addressed. Therefore, the NEP
was put into place and, as my father wrote in the foreword, while the
goal of the policy was to reduce severe economic inequality, a bedrock
principle of the law was that no Malaysian should “experience any loss
or feel any sense of deprivation of his rights, privileges, income,
job or opportunity.” This remains our guiding principle to this day,
and I have no intention of dismantling my father’s legacy and every
intention of furthering it.
However, I do plan on adapting it to the demands of the 21st century.
Under my government, we are finding more market efficient mechanisms
to achieve the goals of the NEP: increasing social equity and creating
a more level playing field for all market participants, domestic and
international. The steps that we are taking – for example in
liberalizing ownership requirements in key sectors of our economy and
gradually withdrawing broad based and unsustainable subsidies – are
real and far-reaching: sometimes risky, occasionally unpopular, but
essential if Malaysia is to escape the middle income trap and make the
leap from a manufacturing and export-oriented economy to a hi-tech,
Certainly, Malaysia is a highly competitive country, but faced with
increased competition from low-cost producers like China, Vietnam and
India, it is clear that we cannot compete for the manufacture of
low-cost goods and services in a race to the bottom. Instead, we must
become a major player in the race to the top – moving up the value
chain to compete with any global player due to the innovation, skill
and talent of our people and businesses.
Let me add that I am a firm believer that for Malaysia to succeed in
its aims to transform ourselves into a high income economy, we will
continue to need the active participation, boundless energy and
innovative capacity of the private sector. It is in this light that
only last week, my government unveiled for public scrutiny, details of
the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) that were identified as
drivers of growth in this next stage of our development. A total of
131 projects amounting to $444 billion in investments have been
identified under this 10 year Economic Transformation Programme to
kick start our drive towards high income nation status. 92% of the
funding required is expected to come from private sector sources, of
which around 27% is expected to be foreign direct investment. The 12
key sectors identified include ground-breaking investments and
projects in oil & gas, financial services, tourism, urban
infrastructure, education, palm oil, agriculture, ICT services, urban
infrastructure and retail trade. If we get this right, we will create
3.3 million new jobs, triple our Gross National Income (GNI) from $188
billion to $523 billion by 2020 and more than double per capita income
from $6,700 currently to at least $15,000 to achieve the World Bank’s
benchmark for a high-income nation.
In short, if our economy is to flourish, and if our society is to
become more unified through the benefits of prosperity, we are going
to need to work together to find new niches, new sources of growth and
new ways of gaining a competitive advantage. I believe it is that
spirit of enterprise and innovation, through ever closer partnership
between government, the private sector and civil society – coupled
with a firm political will to eliminate corruption, wastage ad
inefficiencies (one of 6 NKRAs, or “National Key Result Areas” of my
government) that has for too long held our country in its grasp – that
will set Malaysia on a bold new path and chart the course towards
economic success and the ability to again – in the words of Jefferson
– secure everything dear and valuable for our people.
And now, just before I hand the floor back to Hank and begin taking
questions, I want to speak more specifically about what I mean when I
say the Malaysian people, for in a more detailed description there
lies, I believe, an important, unique feature about Malaysia and a way
in which we can play a pivotal role in US/Islamic relations and global
issues in general. I am speaking of the most striking social aspect of
our country – our diversity.
Malaysia is a melting pot. We are a multi-ethnic nation made up of
Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous peoples. And despite – or
perhaps because of – this diversity, we have been blessed with a
veritable boon of social harmony. Peace has flowered beautifully in
our nation, and we have reaped its many rewards.
How have we done it? While there are many reasons – a solid
parliamentary structure, an emphasis on economic progress and
education, a strong governmental commitment to religious freedom and
ethnic harmony – one quality of our political and social culture is
perhaps more responsible than any other.
You see, in the Muslim world we have a word, wasatiyyah, which means
‘moderation’ or ‘balance’. It is a quality that is valued very highly
in Malaysian society, and it has been key in preserving the social
harmony of our nation. It promotes a sense of fairness and justice
that seeks to maintain balance. Indeed, the holy Quran celebrates such
balance premised upon justice in these words: “Thus We have made of
you a community justly balanced that you might be witnesses over the
nations and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (al-Baqarah,
It is because the nation is “justly balanced” that the interests of
the different communities are taken into consideration when
formulating national policy. Thus, while Malay is the official
language and taught in mainstream public schools, other languages are
widely used in everyday life – and public funding is provided for
special schools where Mandarin and Tamil is the medium of instruction.
While Islam is the religion of the Malaysian Federation, the followers
of other faiths are accorded freedom of worship. While the Malaysian
Constitution protects the special position of the Malays and other
indigenous communities, it also safeguards the legitimate interests of
the other communities.
I have attempted to codify into policy this spirit of equilibrium and
tolerance by announcing 1Malaysia, a new national banner behind which
all Malaysian citizens can unite in the name of building a more open
and equitable society that allows all its members an opportunity to
flourish. It is a determinedly democratic impulse that is underpinned
by my commitment to furthering national unity and social justice, but
I also make no apologies for saying that it is also about leveraging
our economic strengths.
For if we are to continue to compete in the new global economy, we
must make the most of the talents of all our people and not just some
of them. We must inspire, educate and empower not only the Malays, but
all of our citizens. For just as America’s great melting pot has
always been a source of strength, I am equally certain that Malaysia’s
multicultural diversity is to its great benefit as well. We are
geographically and culturally unique, with strong historic and
cultural links to China, India, the Middle East, and this means we are
able to engage with new and emerging centers of economic growth while
at the same time act as a sturdy and established bridge to the West.
By taking steps to help everyone make the most of their talents – and
human talent has for too long been undervalued in Malaysia, something
I am seeking to address – we are paving the way not only for a fair
society with opportunities for all our citizens regardless of race or
religion but also for a Malaysia that is more stable, more transparent
and even more market friendly. We are fully accepting that social
harmony and economic reform are the two feet of a forward-moving
nation. And the energy that compels them both is increasing prosperity
through fairness, through balancing meritocracy with social justice to
build a nation that is united and ready to meet its many challenges
Thomas Jefferson had to wait until 1786 – nine years after it was
first introduced – to see his Bill of Religious Freedom become law in
Virginia. While I am confident that I will not have to wait quite that
long to reap the dividends from the New Economic Model, I am also
aware that politics is a process, and that there are always more
questions and more answers to insert into the laboratory of action.
Certainly, for my part, I feel that one of the most important things I
can do is listen: to the markets, to the insights and opinions of
those around me – and I especially look forward to our upcoming
discussion – and, of course, I must listen to the Malaysian people.
For in the end it is their interests that I have at heart. It is their
unity and prosperity that I know to be my primary objective as their
leader. In short, I know that they will put aside their differences
and give their allegiance to their state if their state can secure
them everything dear and valuable. It is to that end that I dedicate
myself for the days ahead just as I dedicate myself today to
discussing with you how we might best achieve it together.
When Najib wanted to go to Mecca, gain an audience with the King and also to increase the Malaysian quota of pilgrims, again Nawaf was pressed to help draft the requests and to pass them via his Saudi court contacts. This was a privilege that ought only to be reserved for Najib, Jho Low made clear – ticking off Anifah Aman for also trying to use the Obaid family contacts to organise his own pilgrimage to Mecca!
Rosmah is “NUTS”!
However, the relationship and Nawaf’s growing disdain was nowhere more clearly illustrated than when Rosmah herself moved in to hijack the arrangement in order to promote her own image over the evacuation of Malaysian students in 2011.
The Malaysian media was told that Rosmah, who had contacted Tarek and Nawaf to arrange official approval for the flights, had used her ‘close personal ties’ with the Saudi royal family to help organise the evacuations in 2011.
But, in private correspondence over the subsequent press hullaballoo Nawaf told his brother and Jho Low “she is nuts”!
Rosmah’s nuts Nawaf tells Tarek and Jho!
She is NUTS
From: Tarek Obaid <Tarek.Obaid@Petrosaudi.com>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sun, Feb 6, 2011 3:19 am
Subject: You are welcome!!!
Sunday February 6, 2011PM and wife’s personal ties a big help
KUALA LUMPUR: The Saudi Arabian government has granted unlimited flight access to Malaysia to airlift its citizens from Egypt to Jeddah – a rare move made possible due to the close personal relationship between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor with the Saudi Royal House.“I am very happy with the Saudi authorities for granting us all sorts of special concessions in the airlifting of our citizens,” said Najib in an interview here yesterday. “They have told us that we can mount as many flights as we need in the rescue mission.“This is a rare privilege, mostly because of
the close personal ties my wife and I have with King Abdullah Abdul Aziz and his family,” he added.The Saudi government had granted blanket visas to all those evacuated from Egypt as well as landing rights for the eight RMAF, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia aircraft taking part in the evacuation exercise.Najib said that when faced with such a crisis, it was diplomatically acceptable for both private and official channels to be used to ensure the rescue operation was successful.“It is fortunate that we enjoy such a good relationship with the Saudi royal
family. I was actually awakened at 2.30am on Thursday by a call from Saudi Arabia confirming the various special concessions for our airlift.“I think it takes a very special friendship to work until so late to solve someone else’s problem and then to call someone at that hour to tell them about the blanket approval.”Rosmah said she had also made some calls because she could not stand by and watch the students suffer “as some of them had nothing to eat”.“As a mother, how could I not act? I feel for all the mothers whose children are studying there.
I am glad I could help.“Some of the Malaysian officials, aware of my Saudi connections, also asked me to assist. My husband was busy so that was why I helped,” she said.“I could not afford to take any risk by waiting as every minute matters in a situation like this. Waiting a minute could cost lives. That’s why I made the call to the Saudis,” she said.“Of course, I reported to him (Najib) what I did later.”
Aided by a bombing campaign?
There is one aspect to this sequence of events which shows why Nawaf was taken seriously by Froman and the powers that be in the US in late 2010, even if the majority of the media proved wary of his dossier on Anwar.
At the very time that Nawaf was promoting his “assessment” about terror funding a series of aviation bomb plots were unfolding.
Nawaf appears to have taken some credit after Saudi intelligence tipped off the Americans about two cargo planes carrying suspected Al Qaeda explosive devices on a path from Yemen via Manchester to Chicago.
The tip off came just hours before the planes were searched and the bombs defused on 30th October. This was four days after Nawaf had emailed Froman and just before they were due to meet the following week.
Tarek immediately contacted Jho Low to claim ownership of the story. “Guess who was behind this” he crowed “and meeting next Tuesday in 3 days? My guy”. To which Jho Low responded “nice”.
Subject: Guess who behind this and meeting next tuesday in 3 days? My guy
The drama may provide one reason why Nawaf and his warnings about Anwar may have been taken seriously by the US authorities.
Emails show that when he achieved his meeting the following week with Mike Froman, they were joined by none other than the Counter-Terrorism Chief John Brennan who had dominated the news during the cargo plane drama just days before. Tarek was impressed with his brother’s clout:
At the end of October 2010 the US had reason to be especially grateful to the Saudis for the tip off over the Al Queida bomb plot and with his further security dossier Nawaf, the court insider, was upping his status in Washington by the minute.
Undoubtedly, the circumstances would have given extra weight to Nawaf’s further warnings and his “assessment” about Anwar. A week later it seems, Hilary Clinton was advised to take heed and listen to the caution of the friendly Saudi ‘intelligence expert’.
Najib must have reckoned he had scored, while the well-rewarded Nawaf was soon on his way to a fellowship at Harvard and as a Distinguished International Affairs Fellow at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations.
Najib had denied his ties with Jho Low (left) and the team from PetroSaudi – Prince Turki (2nd left) and Tarek Obaid (2nd right)