Monday, February 15, 2016

US-Asean Summit: Remembering JJ's creatiivity, energy and vision

Some Malaysians have been watching too much politcal porn on the likes of Sarawak Report and Malaysian Chronicle, They actually believed that the FBI would detain PM Najib Razak once he set foot on American soil for this week's US-Asean Summit! Last I checked, Najib was detained in SoCal but by FB (not FBI) friends ... for photographs and selfies. 

KL, 15 Feb 2016
Nobody had expected the Asean bloc (led by Malaysia), once an afterthought in American policy, to become a top priority for President Barack Obama. The US-Asean Summit taking place for the first time ever in American soil this week is proof of this. But it's not just about the TPPA or the China factor, it is also about good personal and diplomatic ties, not least between Obama and PM Najib Razak, who was the Asean Chair last year. 

Malaysia can thank the late Jamaluddin Jarjis for that. During his brief tenure as the Malaysian Ambassador to the US (2009-2012), JJ worked at a furious pace to try and improve bilateral relationship not just between the two countries but also between Obama and Najib. For years, ties between Washington and Putrajaya have been lukewarm at best. After Lyndon B. Johnson's visit to Malaysia in Oct 1966, no American President had visited Malaysia until Obama's historic visit last November. The Americans were seen to be more sympathetic towards the Malaysian Opposition, especially after the sacking of Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim, whose closeness with some American leaders were viewed suspiciously by the Mahahir Administration then. JJ was aggressive and creative as Ambassador - he even took Opposition politicians with him to the US as part of his plans to bring the two nations closer and to draw Washington's attention to the Asean bloc. 

I hear that some progams initiated by JJ when he was our Special Envoy to the US may be discontinued and that some that he had planned for have never been implemented. That would be a real shame. Especially now that some of the American media are rediscovering Malaysia as a convenient punching bag. When JJ was killed in the helicopter crash in April last year, the US Embassy in KL lowered the American flag to half mast as homage to the man. We should be more appreciative of our own man.

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  1. Thank you Rocky for reminding us of Tan Sri JJ's great contributions.
    Strengthening US-Malaysia relations is part of his legacy. The importance of his work cannot really be overemphasised as it has benefitted Malaysia greatly and will continue to do so for many years to come. JJ really showed how Malaysia can punch above its own weight in the global arena.

  2. Tebing Tinggi XII5:00 pm

    "punch above its own weight in the global arena".....are you sure you are not referring to Singapore?

    After all, many commentators have said that the "little red dot" consistently punches above its weight in international meetings, fora etc.

    More than Malaysia?

    What's the sizes of US FDI pools in Malaysia and Singapore respectively? How many US companies have offices or RHQs in Singapore compared to Malaysia? How many flight connects between Changi Airport and US cities compared to KLIA connectivity?

    Stats have an inconvenient way of clouding your views, Bru!

  3. Alamak Bro Rocky. My comment on PMO post tu pun you masuk sekali. Malunya. lol.

  4. Dear Salt N Tumeric,

    Because your comments are REAL! :-) Thank you for the pics!

  5. For now and in the short term, Singapore will be ahead of Malaysia but in the longer term, Malaysia will outrun and overtake Singapore by leaps and bounds.
    1) Check out HSBC's report on "The World in 2050" where HSBC has analysed and projected Malaysia to be the World No. 21 biggest economy by 2050 compared to Singapore who will then lag far behind at No. 42.

    2) Check out also another report by PWC entitled, "The World in 2050" as they write about the shift in global economic power. According to PWC, Malaysia's ranking in terms of GDP in PPP terms is 27, 24 and 24 in 2014, 2030 and 2050. For GDP in MER terms, Malaysia is 27, 23 & 23 in 2014 , 2030 and 2050. Singapore is not even ranked in the top 32 list.

    Also page 20 & 21 of the same report reiterate what most people missed about Malaysia.

    We are in the midst of a massive economic transformation spearheaded by PM Najib since 2009. Malaysia may be slow but we are steady. The best is yet to come.