China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

Malaysia’s Najib Erases Predecessor’s Economic Vision

Malaysia’s Najib Erases Predecessor’s Economic VisionOn Oct. 21, Malaysia’s scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak tabled a RM260.8 billion budget that is not only short on money and long on politics but seeks to obliterate the philosophy behind the economic blueprint of his arch-enemy, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Najib, also the finance minister, dubbed his 30-year development program “Transformasi Nasional…

Ten Years on, Mongolian Beauty’s Murder Remains Unexplained in Malaysia

Ten Years on, Mongolian Beauty’s Murder Remains Unexplained in MalaysiaIt will soon be 10 years since Altantuya Shaariibuu, a jet-setting Mongolian translator and party girl, was murdered sensationally in a patch of jungle outside the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya on the night of Oct. 19, 2006.  Although two elite policemen were convicted of killing her, the party who ordered her execution has…

Malaysia: Crackdown on Free Speech Intensifies

Malaysia: Crackdown on Free Speech IntensifiesMalaysia’s prosecutions of peaceful speech over the past year have spread beyond activists and politicians to ordinary citizens on social media, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report. The government’s actions signal an ever-broadening crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in the country. The 40-page report, “Deepening the Culture of Fear: The…

1MDB, Criminal Probe Separate Key Aide from Malaysia Tycoon’s Empire

1MDB, Criminal Probe Separate Key Aide from Malaysia Tycoon’s EmpireAugustus Ralph Marshall, the trusted key aide to T. Ananda Krishnan – Malaysia’s second-richest man – has left all posts in the sprawling cross-media empire as of end September, several sources told the Asia Sentinel. Marshall has been under investigation in the past few years in India and Indonesia over joint ventures by Malaysia’s dominant…

Former PM Mahathir Adds to Malaysia’s Muddled Political Mix

Former PM Mahathir Adds to Malaysia’s Muddled Political MixExtraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and nowhere more than in Malaysia, struggling with a political scandal that has all but paralyzed governance. Thus it was that on Sept. 5 the jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim met his enemy and persecutor of 18 years, Mahathir Mohamad.  It was Mahathir’s forces that engineered trumped-up charges of…

Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?

Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak may have lost a huge chunk of the fabled US$681 million that was allegedly steered to him from the scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Bhd fund, according to sources in Kuala Lumpur.  The money appears to have been used to acquire a major part of the estimated US$1 billion in assets seized…

International Financial Community Grows Leery of Malaysia

International Financial Community Grows Leery of MalaysiaAlthough Malaysian politicians and government officials remain in full denial of reality over a US Justice Department investigation of massive fraud involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and his family, local and international bankers are not. The bankers are trying to digest the implications of a downgrade by Fitch Ratings in late July of  long-term foreign…

Malaysia’s Mahathir Seeks to Lead New Party Against Najib

Malaysia’s Mahathir Seeks to Lead New Party Against NajibHow much chance the rebel political party being established in Malaysia and backed by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has of besting the deeply corrupt Barisan Nasional is open to question. But it is emblematic of the desperation by  his opponents to break the power of the United Malays National Organization and Prime Minister Najib…

Malaysia May Have Known Fate of Doomed MH370

Malaysia May Have Known Fate of Doomed MH370It seems almost impossible to believe, but the Malaysian government must have known since shortly after it crashed that Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the doomed flight MH370, deliberately put the plane down in the Indian Ocean on the night of March 8, 2014 after rendering everybody aboard unconscious and creating the greatest mystery…