Najib still an asset?


Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mr. Najib Razak’s carefully constructed international image may come unstuck. The reason, the silly deal he made with the Australian government on a refugee swap.

An Australian refugee rights advocate group, led by Mr. David Manne,  will challenge the Australian federal government’s Malaysia solution on two arguments:

(i) that asylum-seekers arriving in Australia have a right to have claims for refugee protection assessed here; and

(ii) that the High Court can review Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s declaration that Malaysia is a suitable destination for off-shore processing.

A full bench at the High Court of Australia will decide this.

The second argument will be of interest to Mr. Najib Razak.

Mr. Manne was quoted as follows in The Australian:

Mr Manne made it clear that Malaysia’s human rights record, and particularly its treatment of refugees, would be put on trial.

“Amongst the claims that are being made among many of those that we are acting for are that they in fact would face the real risk of being persecuted in Malaysia due to the human rights situation there,” he said.

“Malaysia has a long standing record of very serious mistreatment of asylum-seekers and refugees including, as we know, arbitrary arrest, arbitrary detention, beatings, whippings, canings and even deportation. A number of our clients have made very strong claims of fearing that they would not be protected in Malaysia.”

Thus far, Mr. Najib Razak has had the upper hand in winning admiration from the international community through a very successful international public relations campaign. However, this momentum changed on 9, July 2010, with his heavy handed clamp down of Malaysians advocating for free and fair rlections.

A further blow came when Sarawak Report exposed how the Government of Malaysia was promoting itself unethically abroad.