The week has closed with a surprise palace announcement in KL, informing that the Agong has departed on a ‘special visit’ to Abu Dhabi – one subject to no prior notifications and on the invitation of the Crown Prince.
According to the palace spokesman, Malaysians should apparently rejoice in the headline reason given for the visit, which is that the Emirate plans to “donate 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia for the purpose of the third phase of the clinical test in the country”.
Have a quarter of a million Malaysians been selected as guinea pigs for a previously unannounced vaccine in which Abu Dhabi has some stake? Or is the Emirate generously scouring the world’s markets to purchase existing approved vaccines to help Malaysians for some reason?
It raises the question why Malaysia is apparently thus reduced to the status of an undeveloped country reliant on Abu Dhabi to offer it medicines or at least to supply guinea pigs for trial medicines that any decent economy ought to be able to now buy directly for its people?
Perhaps the willingness to accept such charity/ agree to be guinea pigs is related to the penury in which Malaysia finds itself owing to the billions of losses from 1MDB?
As the architect of the scandal, Jho Low himself, pointed out in tapes recently released by Al Jazeera, at least a billion dollars of the stolen 1MDB money went to the “people in Abu Dhabi”, by which he meant the powerful players who facilitated the thefts in return for kickbacks, some of whom are now in jail.
““The reality is, Abu Dhabi people did take money. The discussion I left off with them is, look, whatever I settle with the DOJ [Department of Justice] that is used to pay 1MDB bonds, you should all match the same amount, which is probably close to a billion dollars,” [Al Jazeera Hunt for a Fugitive].
The US Department of Justice has confirmed in court filings that $160 million of that stolen money went towards the purchase of the yacht Topaz, belonging to the Crown Prince’s younger brother, Prince Mansour.
Prince Mansour was the head of Aabar/IPIC which played a crucial role in the theft of billions from 1MDB’s bond issues that were allegedly backed by guarantees from Aabar. However, those guarantees turned out to be a front. Vast ‘payments’ were made for the self-same guarantees out of the money raised into bogus off-shore subsidiaries of Aabar – payments which were never registered in IPIC’s main accounts because they had been diverted into backhanders and thefts instead.
By 2015, as 1MDB imploded under staggering debt repayments it could not meet, Najib was forced to beg Abu Dhabi to step in and honour the ‘guarantees’ short term. Recorded phone calls between Najib and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince ‘MBZ’ (released by the MACC in January) reveal the two men agreed to protect those “dear to” both of them (Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, was named) by finding a solution.
A short term agreement by Abu Dhabi had already bailed out 1MDB’s debts in 2015. However, the terms were kept a secret, perhaps given the lofty status of the royalty involved? To maintain the cover-up, it has now emerged that Najib later settled a highly advantageous deal for Abu Dhabi where it would keep its share of the loot and be repaid huge sums by Malaysia.
As Sarawak Report revealed earlier this year, Najib then looted over a billion dollars from bogus pipe-line deals in Malaysia with compliant Chinese companies, which Jho Low helped funnel through a new set of Middle Eastern royal frontmen in Kuwait back into Abu Dhabi to help fund that settlement.
Once Najib was ejected from office by Malaysia’s exasperated voting public the new government included the IPIC secret deal amongst its top priorities for retribution. The Harapan government announced it had been defrauded of a total thanks to the conspiracy in which Abu Dhabi had engaged at the highest levels – it wanted Najib’s covert agreement cancelled and compensation in a dispute where both countries were demanding some $6.5 billion off the other.
Without doubt this became the key issue between the two nations as Abu Dhabi fought to keep the matter entirely hidden under a secret arbitration agreement negotiated with Najib, which the Harapan government successfully overthrew thanks to court action in the UK.
By the start of 2020 Abu Dhabi was looking at a trail in open court based on Malaysia’s allegations of having been defrauded by Sovereign Wealth funds managed by the brother of the Crown Prince. However, two key developments had by then taken place as a desperate last ditch appeal by Abu Dhabi came before the UK Supreme Court.
The first, was that Najib’s home Sultan of Pahang (naturally a close ally) became Malaysia’s Agong. The new Agong was also a close Sandhurst buddy of MBZ, who had personally attended his coronation.
Second, a long-engineered establishment coup restored the reins of government in March to the defeated parties which had endorsed Najib and his management of 1MDB. Indeed, within days of the new prime minister’s surprise appointment by the new Agong word had been sent over to the British courts that the two parties had agreed to suspend their action, pending negotiations.
It appears that Sarawak Report’s eventual exposure of this delicate development, which had been kept under wraps for months whilst the negotiations proceeded, delayed the resolution. The other reason, sources have confided to Sarawak Report, is that the rulers of Abu Dhabi, who are used to getting their own way, were back to playing hardball against Malaysia once cover-up had returned to being the top priority all round.
So, Covid vaccines to one side, odds are that high up on the princely agenda over in Abu Dhabi will be a ‘royal announcement’ of a settlement over 1MDB. Equally likely is that the terms will once again be concealed from the public that will have to pay for it.
Never mind! Without doubt the main publicity will be reserved for the PR bonanza about Abu Dhabi’s brotherly kindness to their poor Malaysian ‘cousins’ in offering 500,000 doses of a trial drug against Covid 19. Perhaps that is the compensation Malaysia is to receive in return from the billions stolen by the “people in Abu Dhabi”?
Let’s hope at least for Malaysian feelings that the royal deal is not on this occasion signed on board a yacht, least of all Topaz which was the unwitting toy gifted by the Malaysian people to Prince Mansour, so far not offered back or compensated for.