What is the link between the recent statement by the Malaysian police that 1MDB’s rain man Jho Low is in a hideout in Macau, China and the sudden claims made by Manilla over the Malaysian state of Sabah?
China has the habit of using proxies to push its agenda. It uses North Korea to tease the U.S. when Pyongyang threatens Washington with nuclear strikes.
The Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, usually deaf and mute rebutted the Malaysian police chief saying they are not harbouring the fugitive wanted in the 1MDB scandal.
On Wednesday, China’s denial came with no surprise. China has all the reasons to keep Jho Low. Investigations by journalists from the Wall Street show Jho Low has been hiding in Macau for a long time now.
Interpol should be aware of his itinerary.
Nevertheless, China seems offended by the assertions that Jho Low is hiding in Macau. A rebuttal from the Chinese Embassy may not be enough to tell Malaysia it should lay its hands off Jho Low, the billionaire.
China has been milking Jho Low for months if not years now. It is not cheap to be a fugitive and to live in China where everything, according to various sources, is about big bucks.
The Philippines, recently a friend of China, makes it an almost annual issue now to reiterate its claims over Sabah..
But this time, it faced a string of attack from the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin tweeted that “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines.”
It was a reaction to a US Embassy item describing the area straddling both nations as part of Malaysia, which is the official state of affairs.
Hishamuddin Hussein, on his official Twitter account, said he will summon the Philippine ambassador on Monday in reaction to his Philippine counterpart’s July 27 tweet.
The spat shows two things: The Asean is a divided lot and China is taking advantage of the situation.
Beijing is still in control of the South China Sea despite the fact that most of the seas fall under international sea laws.
Philippines claims over Sabah does not bring trouble into Malaysian waters, it gives China an open door to continue its bullying of the Asean nations in the region.
Not only it is hiding an international criminal, it is also playing the divisive card in the Asean.
The Philippines, for decades a dependent on the U.S. military for its regional security now has China to depend on.
China has interests in the SCS and Manilla, almost an ally with Beijing against its Asean counterparts, is claiming Sabah, a claim it cannot support or expect to win in an international court.