Malaysian PM Najib says will use all means to fight Trump's Jerusalem move

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ruling party have been burnishing their Islamic credentials with the aim of boosting their chances in the general election.

By REUTERS
December 22, 2017 12:17
2 minute read.
Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview in Putrajaya, Malaysia

Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed on Friday to use every means to protest against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a tough stand likely to win him support among Muslim voters.

Najib has been embroiled in a graft scandal over a state-run fund, and has faced unprecedented criticism from former ruling party stalwarts, making the support of members of the Muslim, ethnic Malay majority vital in a general election next year.

"We will continue to fight on this issue, using every available means, through political and diplomatic channels, through discussion and prayer, until one day, God willing, Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinian people," Najib told a rally of about 1,500 in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.

He said he would not "sacrifice the sanctity of Islam" despite his friendship with Trump. Najib visited the White House in September.

"It is our first duty as Muslims to uphold the religion. If Jerusalem is a sacred land for Muslims, then it is upon us to free it from the grasps of Zionists," Najib said.

Najib and his ruling party have been burnishing their Islamic credentials with the aim of boosting their chances in the general election, which must be held by mid-2018.

About 60 percent of Malaysia's population is ethnic Malay Muslim, with most of the rest ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian.

Najib, who did not mention the election in his speech at the rally, is hoping to win a third term despite the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that has dogged his premiership for two years.

US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions this month described the scandal at the sovereign fund set up by Najib as the worst form of kleptocracy. The US Department of Justice has filed several lawsuits to seize more than $1.7 billion in assets believed to have been stolen from 1MDB.


Sessions did not identify any officials he thought were corrupt.

Najib, who served as chairman of 1MDB's advisory board, has consistently denied any wrongdoing at the fund, and Malaysia's attorney-general has cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The ruling party united behind Najib at a conference this month, letting him stand unopposed in a party leadership contest due next year. A rebounding economy and currency have also helped him improve his image.

Four years ago, the ruling party crept back into power despite losing the popular vote and registering its worst ever election performance.

This time, the challenge is coming from the veteran former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who gave up the premiership in 2003 after 22 years in power and had been Najib's mentor.

Mahathir, the chairman of the opposition coalition, last week called Trump an "international bully" and a "villain" for his recognition of Jerusalem.

Mahathir said on Twitter the Friday rally could "only be meaningful if it results in the BN government acting against Donald Trump and the United States", referring to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Malaysia was one of the 128 countries that defied Trump on Thursday and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Related Content

June 19, 2019
Defying Trump, U.S. senator moves toward vote to block Saudi arms sales

By REUTERS

Cookie Settings