PRIME Minister Najib Razak today supplied indisputable evidence that he is a bosom buddy of US President Donald J. Trump.
When he was prodded and poked by the Opposition in Parliament, Najib reacted the same way the occupant of the White House would have.
As one knows, President Trump hates to be challenged and gets terribly defensive and offensive if his narrative is challenged by political opponents or the media.
Najib exhibited a similar trait today when he was asked by PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail why he didn’t stay at the Blair House in Washington when he was invited to the White House in September.
After all, Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong stayed at the Blair House during a recent visit to Washington DC.
The underlying point of this seemingly innocuous question to Najib was this: since you have been trumpeting about your successful White House visit and your close relationship with Trump, why weren’t you accorded the same treatment as Hsien Loong?
In the scheme of things, this was a nothing question; a jab by an opposition leader who was made fun of during the Budget 2018 speech.
It would have been so easy for Najib to answer this question by saying that bilateral relations with Washington are deep and broad-based, and he was pleased with how he was treated by Trump.
For good measure, he could have also congratulated Hsien Loong for his stay at the Blair House, adding that his predecessor Abdullah Badawi stayed there when he met former president Barack Obama.
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Instead, Najib shot back at Dr Wan Azizah, pointing out that he played golf with President Trump.
It sounded like a classroom exchange. The Opposition knew that Najib would react to the prodding.
His retort also reveals that despite improved ties with Singapore over the years and a good personal rapport with Hsien Loong in recent times, there is a growing suggestion that the relationship with our southern neighbour is suffering some stress beneath the surface.
In Putrajaya, there is a view that the Republic has been dragging the investigation into 1MDB for too long, and conspiracy theories abound as to why.
Be that as it may, the sharp quips and retorts in Parliament today reflect the game of one-upmanship between Najib and the opposition, and Najib and his Singaporean counterpart.
As for who will finally trump whom and triumph – that is yet to be seen.