Certain quarters have described the meeting between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and United States President Donald Trump as a successful public relations coup.
Ruling politicians also claimed that the meeting proved that the allegations against Najib with regard to the 1MDB scandal are false.
However, the prime minister’s arch nemesis Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that the people, including those in Felda settlements, would not be fooled by the “propaganda visit”.
“Throughout the meeting, there was no discussion about 1MDB.
“Only discussions about Malaysian investments to strengthen the US economy using the people’s money – EPF funds – to buy support for Najib.
“I think Felda settlers are able to understand that this is not a success by Najib, or that he was cleared,” Mahathir told Malaysiakini in an interview this morning.
Mahathir has been campaigning hard in Felda areas, which are vote banks for the ruling coalition, in his attempt to win Malay votes, which could determine the outcome of the next election.
The former prime minister said this when asked whether Najib’s meeting with Trump would diffuse allegations against the prime minister, including that he dared not step into the US because he would be arrested.
Criminal investigations are currently underway in the US over the 1MDB scandal.
In its civil forfeiture suits on the scandal, the US Department of Justice has claimed that an unnamed Malaysia Official 1 (MO1) received US$731 million in allegedly misappropriated 1MDB funds.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan confirmed that MO1 is Najib, but stressed that not being named meant the prime minister was not under US investigation.
Najib has denied abusing public funds for personal gain. He was also cleared on this by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.
‘BAD LEADER’ TRUMP
Meanwhile, Mahathir said he would have been worried about Najib’s White House visit if the latter had met a more respected president like Barrack Obama or a person like Hillary Clinton.
“No one thinks highly of Trump. He is regarded as a recalcitrant, or whatever you want to call him.
“He is a bad leader, and has a tendency to be friendly with people like him, that is, people without any principles,” Mahathir added.
Obama had visited Malaysia twice since Najib took over the leadership and the pair also played a round of golf in Hawaii.