Malaysia. According to Countryaah.com, Prime Minister Najib Razak visited US new President Donald Trump in September. Najib announced that Malaysia Airlines has ordered new aircraft from manufacturer Boeing. The visit to the White House was Najib’s first since the US Department of Justice in 2016 began investigating the scandalous state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to which Najib and his circle are linked.
Among other things, US authorities have tried to seize a Picasso painting donated to actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s charity foundation and a luxury apartment in New York that is suspected to have been bought with money from 1MDB. A son-in-law of Najib who co-founded a Hollywood production company that financed DiCaprio’s film “Wolf of Wall Street” denied that any irregularities had occurred.
With the US trip, Najib was able to show that he is safely in the leadership of his party UMNO, which dominates the government coalition and aims to win the 2018 parliamentary elections.
The government has pointed out that the economy is doing well – the third quarter saw growth of 6.2%, the fastest pace in three years. The development was particularly good in service and manufacturing.
At the same time, it was unclear whether the opposition could agree on a candidate against Najib. This divide improves the outlook of the UNMO government coalition. One of Najib’s foremost challengers, Anwar Ibrahim, is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy, which was served in 2014. Both Najib and the country’s deputy prime minister as well as culture minister visited Anwar in hospital since he was operated on a shoulder in November. Pictures of them at Anwar’s bed have fueled speculation that the government is trying to strike a wedge in the opposition. Anwar’s verdict has been criticized for lack of foundation and has been seen as an example of how the government uses the legal system to silence critics.
The February murder of a half-brother to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un aroused great interest. Kim Jong Nam was murdered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur after a cloth with the nerve poison VX was pressed against his face. Two women – one from Indonesia and one from Vietnam – were tried in October on charges of murder. Both claim that they were cheated and thought they were in a TV show. They risk the death penalty if they are dropped. South Korea accuses North Korea of killing Kim Jong Nam. Relations between Malaysia and North Korea were strained for some time after the assassination. During the trial, four North Korean men were named suspects for interference.
In August, the anti-terror unit reported that the recruitment of volunteers to the Islamic State (IS) has decreased. One reason was that Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, an important leader, was killed in a drone attack in April in Syria. He had allegedly been behind an 2016 attack in Kuala Lumpur. The authorities continued to arrest suspected IS members in various attacks. Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines announced that they have increased air and sea patrol in Lake Sulus to counter piracy and militant Islamist groups such as IS.
In January, Australia, China and Malaysia completed the search for airline Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The plane disappeared in 2014 across the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board. However, the extensive search effort has contributed to increased knowledge of the seabed in the search area. At the end of the year, Malaysia negotiated with the US company Ocean Infinity to continue looking for the plane, but you only get paid if the plane is found.