A Malaysian Kleptocrat’s Vast Depredations

A Malaysian Kleptocrat’s Vast DepredationsThe sheer amount of money the thieves involved in 1Malaysia Development Bhd. managed to steal and spend in the United States in the brief five years of the state-backed investment company’s active existence is simply astonishing, according to documents filed last week by the US Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Section in Los Angeles. The documents…

Politics Drives an Islamic Agenda in Malaysia

Politics Drives an Islamic Agenda in MalaysiaWhen Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat, or parliament reconvenes on July 24, its most controversial order of business is a measure that could send the country down the road towards an Islamic dictatorship, a bill that would allow for the imposition of shariah law in the rural eastern state of Kelantan. But critics say it could spread…

For Malaysians, What’s In a Handshake?

For Malaysians, What’s In a Handshake?The recent ‘gripping’ world news of the handshake between Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron during the former’s maiden visit to Europe as president was fraught with symbolism – or so we were told.  There has been a certain amount of meaningful handshaking in Malaysia as well that is equally fraught with symbolism. Of that we…

Malaysia Goes After Influential Opposition News Portal

Malaysia Goes After Influential Opposition News PortalThe Malaysian government, having gone after social media platforms and a long list of other social critics, is now turning its attention to Malaysiakini, the most influential of the country’s independent news portals, and increasing its detention of social activists. Amnesty International and Article 19, two international rights organizations, have condemned the government’s decision to…

Malaysia Squeezes Social Media Administrators

Malaysia Squeezes Social Media AdministratorsWith national elections looming, perhaps as early as August or September, the Malaysian government is warning its legions of myriad social media critics to knock off tweeting or posting content the government deems “inappropriate.” The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has promulgated a new “advisory for group admins” that critics say is designed to coerce…

Malaysian Opposition Figure Calls Premier a Crook, Faces Suit

Malaysian Opposition Figure Calls Premier a Crook, Faces SuitMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who as “Malaysian Public Official 1” is the target of what was said to be the largest single action ever brought under the US’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is suing Democratic Action Party National Spokesman Tony Pua for calling him a thief. The prime minister’ legal action against Pua has…

New Round of Repression in Malaysia

New Round of Repression in MalaysiaMalaysian authorities have increased the pace of their harassment of critics, according to human rights organizations in Kuala Lumpur, which political analysts view as a prelude to early elections. Ominously, five people have been kidnapped or disappeared and people are being arrested over Facebook postings and held for three or four days, critics say. Opposition…

US Justice Department Probe of 1MDB in Danger?

US Justice Department Probe of 1MDB in Danger?There is concern in Kuala Lumpur that the United States Justice Department’s investigation into the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd., which is ensnared in one of the world’s biggest financial scandals, could be stymied in the wake of the March 10 firing by President Donald Trump of the country’s 46 US attorneys. The Trump administration announced…

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister Side

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister SideTwo very worrying trends in Malaysia may have come together: the rise of religious intolerance and the use of murder as a political weapon. The well-organized kidnap and disappearance of a Chinese Christian pastor, Raymond Koh Keng Joo on Feb. 13 in the middle of Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly driven…

Malaysia’s N. Korea Ties Now a Major Embarrassment

Malaysia’s N. Korea Ties Now a Major EmbarrassmentWith the recall of North Korea’s ambassador in the wake of the murder of dictator Kim Jong-un’s elder half-brother, Malaysian authorities may want to rid themselves of a relationship that has blossomed since the two countries opened reciprocal embassies 34 years ago and has become embarrassing to say the least. Kim Jong-nam was allegedly murdered…
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