Summer is coming to an end and the United Nations is already in full swing with a slew of meetings that, on paper, will have Prime Minister Najib Razak in attendance.
After all, Malaysia is a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the top decision-making body in the world organisation. It holds membership for two years, i.e. 2015 and 2016.
But Najib Razak has decided not to attend the UNSC meetings this month. He has been all but named as Malaysian Official 1 by the Department of Justice just a month ago and has decided to skip the UNSC meetings.
In his place will be Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the putative successor to Najib Razak once he decides to leave government. That isn’t going to happen soon but as the deputy, Zahid now has to make the trip to New York.
Not only that, Zahid will make another trip to New York next month when the United Nations General Assembly resumes for the year and world leaders descend to give their two cents worth at the assembly. Najib has made much of a big deal of standing in front of the world and talking about his Global Movement of Moderates in the past, but this time he won’t be there to repeat it.
Two official trips to New York, something that Najib and wife have loved in the past years but unable to do so this time, no thanks to the DoJ suit which is now in the courts this week for rebuttals and defence by those who do not want their assets seized by the US.
What can one make of it?
Najib has consistently denied the DoJ action has anything to do with him and those responsible will have to answer for themselves. But why not go to New York if you have nothing to fear?
Is the Umno divisional meetings more important for this leader? Are there more pressing matters here than pressing the flesh in New York, where golfing buddy President Barack Obama will have his farewell sessions before leaving the White House next January?
What is clear is Malaysia’s power couple will avoid many countries now that the DoJ have laid bare the shennanigans that caused 1MDB to rack up debts that it finds hard to repay. One assumed the pilfered money was for the elections war chest but it turned out most was for personal use.
They travelled the world, jet-setting across so many times a year over so many countries that the joke was Najib only visited Malaysia, particularly the time when flash floods denuded Kelantan in 2014.
Now, he is stuck here and can only travel across Malaysia speaking out against foreign interference but unable to do the same elsewhere. New York remains a memory and dream for both Malaysian Official 1 and his spouse.
No more Fifth Avenue boutiques, no more Central Park views, no more the best of New York.
At most is a trip to Mikey’s Original New York Pizza in Publika, up from Bestari after the Isyak prayers in the Federal Territory mosque near their Jalan Duta mansion. What a crash landing for the couple in Putrajaya.