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…

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…

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian Visit

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian VisitModerate Muslims and non-Muslims alike may worry that the high-profile visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Malaysia and Indonesia signals another Saudi Salafi assault on traditionally more flexible Southeast Asian interpretations of Islam. But the royal tour, which also includes official visits to Japan and China as well as holidays in non-Muslim Bali, and…

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…

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim Killing

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim KillingSouth and North Korean diplomats are battling to persuade Malaysian authorities of diametrically different versions of the February 13 Kuala Lumpur International Airport assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam, who had exiled himself out of a well-founded belief he could be murdered. One result may have been to stall the investigation,…

Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” for Muslims: Najib Exempt?

Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” for Muslims: Najib Exempt?At 2:30 a.m. one day in mid-November, after the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States, the telephone rang in the official residence of Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia. Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor answered the telephone. On the other end was businessman Syed Azman of Weststar Group, a sprawling…