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…

Malaysia Loses a Polymath – and a Malaysian

Malaysia Loses a Polymath – and a MalaysianRehman Rashid, who died on June 3 in Kuala Lumpur of complications from a heart attack, was described by a friend as “essentially an old-school secular, Anglophile, Queens English-speaking ‘Malay’ with an elite education. Most under-40 contemporary Malays would struggle to relate to him, because there are vanishingly few similar to him around these days…

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…

Najib’s Latest Smokescreen

Najib’s Latest SmokescreenThe list of names, initials, deals and numbers can make it hard for the public to keep track of what has been revealed about the goings on at 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the government’s scandal-riddled sovereign investment fund, which may have liabilities amounting to as much as RM50 billion and which is arguably the biggest scandal…

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…

Malaysia’s Rajah Bomoh: Throwback to an Earlier Age

Malaysia’s Rajah Bomoh: Throwback to an Earlier AgeOn March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from the radar screens of air traffic controllers at 1:19 am in what has become the biggest mystery in aviation history. The Boeing 777-200R, with 227 passengers and 12 crew, had departed from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 am. It was en route northeast…
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