Why JJ not suitable to be the Malaysian voice in Washington
LIM KIT SIANG’S BLOG
Re your blog entitled “Malaysian Ambassador to US – why Ghazzali and JJ on the short-list?”, some additional information that may be handy:
JJ was sent to DC by the Prime Minister to join Anifah during the visit. This is tantamount to Anifah being shadowed by a trusted crony.
However, Anifah did NOT include JJ among those attending the meeting with Hilary Clinton – this suggests that Anifah did not wish to be overshadowed.
While Anifah’s attack on Anwar at the Press Conference was puzzling, it is likely that he was egged on by JJ.
JJ ‘s actions are consistent with his previous track record and lends support to the view that JJ’s primary task as Ambassador in Washington will be to smear Anwar in Washington as the show trial moves forward.
In conversations with folks he indicated that he would use his “network” presumably the Malaysia-US Friendship Council; he is also indicated that he would spend 6 weeks there and considerable time in KL.
Thus he will be a “part-timer”. If so he will need to be “assisted” – hence the notion that Ghazzali should be in the US as well!
Incidentally, the latter’s name after languishing at the State Department for half a year was withdrawn. The inaction on the part of the US was in a sense a rejection – other Ambassadorial nominees of other countries e.g. Thailand were approved speedily. The languishing was linked presumably with Ghazzali’s entanglement with the Jack Abramoff affair.
It is too much of a coincidence that JJ is under consideration as he is also tainted by the Abramoff connection. As an ambassador he will be living in a glass house so he should make sure to improve official ties between the US and Malaysia instead of using lobbyists such as the disgraced Abramoff or fictitious associations such as Malaysia America Friendship council established by JJ.
A simple google search shows that the Malaysia-US Friendship Council uses Foley Hoag, a lobbying company to carry out its lobbying activities.
According to Open Secrets, a website that tracks all lobbying expenditures incurred by the various lobbying entities registered in the United States, the Malaysia-US Friendship Council paid Foley Hoag more than $904,000 to carry out lobbying activities. An article from the Washington Post makes reference to JJ and his role in setting up the Council. There are stories that JJ was the fund raiser —– among the rumored contributors were Tenaga (JJ was the Chairman at that time) YTL, Genting Power. Your questions in Parliament to Syed Hamid Albar were never fully answered as to the source of funds.
A Malaysian lawyer working with Foley Hoag, Alima Joned, is a principal officer of the council.
JJ’s name has not been submitted to the US as yet. The stories in the Malaysian media are perhaps a testing of the waters. The State Department and other US Agencies are probably doing their own due diligence in advance. Even on the basis of what is in the public domain, stormy weather is likely to be encountered. Incidentally, JJ committed a faux pax by doing personal lobbying with US officials during his visit to the US.
Bottom line: all this is most damaging to building relationships with the new US Administration, more so as during the Bush years the Democrats were ignored; almost all energies were channeled cultivating the neo-cons. JJ’s suitability to act as the Malaysian voice in Washington is questionable, especially at this point of time.