Thursday, 25 September 2008

Anwar: An American Stooge in Malaysia

"Anwar Ibrahim is a hypocrite, worse than that he is an American stooge" a disgruntled customer once said recently, at the cafe. "To the voters he says he is a reformer, wanting to effect a clean sweep of the Government and create a more transparent administration yet half a world away he is busy helping his friend’s girlfriend, Shaha Riza get a fatter paycheck, probably improperly".

Those who keep a fairly close eye on Anwar knows that he is a good friend of White House operative and principal architect of the invasion of Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz. They became chummy when the American was a diplomat in Jakarta.

We have also heard how during the financial crisis of 1997 he told people to support his so-called financial reform plans and trust Wolfowitz because he is a friend.

Now we know just how close he is to Wolfowitz.
The most famous scandal to hit the World Bank is a clear example of how close he is to Wolfie.

All this trouble started with a letter from Anwar.
Anwar is chairman of the Foundation for the Future (click here for their website) and on October 1 last year wrote a letter to Robin Cleveland, a senior Wolfowitz aide at the Bank requesting the transfer of Riza from the US State Department to the Foundation.

But before we get there let us look at what had happened.
Wolfie was getting ready for his cushy job at the World Bank and wanted to make sure that there were no reasons for his appointment to be rejected or questioned so he had Riza seconded out of the World Bank to the US State Department.

This allowed her to continually draw a fat salary from the Bank without having to actually work there. As president of the Bank, Wolfie then got the bank to give Riza a fat payrise, from $132,660 to $180,000--and guaranteed yearly pay increases of 8 percent. (She is now pulling in $193,000 a year.)

This ability to influence pay was why Wolfie wanted her to remain on World Bank payroll. The deal went through in September 2005.
At the State Department Riza, a known Arab feminist, was seconded to the department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
She was given the task of developing a foundation that would focus on reform in the Middle East and North Africa. It would eventually be called the Foundation for the Future.

At the same time Wolfie had asked his girlfriend to recruit Anwar as one of the initial advisors to the newly-formed foundation. Question: Why Anwar when the foundation is about the Middle East? Answer: You better ask Riza’s boyfriend for that one.

Almost immediately after Riza transfer to the State Department people began raising some question about her status there. J. Scott Carpenter, a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, faxed a note to the World Bank saying that "we do not view Ms. Riza as detailed or seconded to the U.S. Government."

Maybe Anwar felt sorry for Riza.
Maybe Wolfie called in a favour.
Maybe Anwar really felt that Riza was the best person to work with him at the foundation, after all she recruited him. We will never know for sure but the whole episode certainly does look that favours were being returned.

If Anwar would pull strings just to make sure his good friend’s girl gets a fat payrise, what does that say about the person. Do you think that this man would wipe the slate clean of corruption, nepotism, cronyism and money politics or take it to a higher level?

If he is indebted to at least one American operative, how many others have pulled strings on his behalf? What are the chances that he would sell his country to pay for past favours? If he is so closely related to the American network, how much of our confidence has he betrayed in the past?

Remember Wolfie kicked up a fuss on his behalf after the arrest and went to meet him in Munich when he went for medical treatment immediately after his release from prison. Is he an American operative? Was Wolfie his handler?

You figure it out.

No comments: