Obama dilemma in second visit as 1MDB scandal plagues host Najib, says WSJ

U.S. President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak both smile as they participate in a joint news conference at the Perdana Putra Building in Putrajaya, Malaysia, April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (MALAYSIA - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

(TMI) – Barack Obama arrives in Malaysia today – his second visit in just two years – but this time his host Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is mired in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, posing a dilemma to the US president, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The paper, which in July revealed 1MDB investigation documents showing some RM2.6 billion deposited into the personal bank accounts of the prime minister, says Obama’s visit to attend the East Asia Summit this weekend comes at a time critics have been detained, prompting his advisers to at least raise the issue publicly.

“It will be a tightrope to walk,” WSJ quoted former US ambassador John Mallot as saying.

“Obama needs to distance himself because Najib is tainted goods now… but we still have interests there (Malaysia).”

Citing a presidential aide, WSJ said Obama would “bluntly address questions about the status of the political opposition” in Malaysia during his private meeting with Najib tonight.

“We’re going to be very candid about areas where we have disagreements and differences and, frankly, objections if we see that the type of universal values that we support are not being respected,” the financial daily quoted Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

Read more here