The Malaysian Official 1 had reported that the Malaysian Official 1 won’t be travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week, with Malaysia represented by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Local media have now confirmed what The Malaysian Official 1 knew weeks ago, although it is now announced that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, is to receive the “Lead By Example” award from the Unesco this coming week.
How about that? The man’s wife and deputy are in New York, leaving him all alone at home.
There has been talk that Najib has been denied a US visa because he is the Malaysian Official 1, as confirmed by Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan to the BBC recently. But the US has to give a visa, if requested, under an agreement with the United Nations. So getting visas is not the issue.
While the minister has gone silent on the issue, Najib is not taking any chances of visiting the United States and possibly being asked to give a statement to the US authorities. His fear is to explain to the Malaysian people the reasons for being questioned, if it arises.
Also, Najib is spending time with his fractious kitchen cabinet of advisers – some of whom are fighting openly over strategies to keep power in the next general elections now widely believed to be held anytime between March and September 2017. There are way too many camps, and some advisers are getting fed up over his indecisive ways.
But indications are he will opt for the later end of the period, to capitalise on the euphoria of hosting the SEA Games in August 2017 and also the 60th Merdeka celebrations.
Being home alone is a tactic – to avoid questions from journalists, authorities and perhaps fellow leaders from around the world who will gather in New York. It also gives Najib some breathing space to work out the Budget 2017 and political issues particularly in handling Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s relentless sniping.
Yet, his absence in New York this week tells you something more. The man who ingratiated himself with leaders such as Barack Obama, David Cameron and initiated the Global Movement of Moderates and 1Malaysia now finds himself home-bound, all alone while others live it up in New York City.
All he has now are bilateral visits, to Indonesia and Thailand recently, and regional summits to console himself with even if his counterparts there receive him with less than the usual warmth. The jet-set life has turned into a jet-lag hibernation.