Malaysian Mongolian Murder Figure gets a new trial date

In a highly unusual development that stunned legal observers, a Malaysian judge has abruptly ordered the potentially explosive murder trial of an influential political figure moved up by a full year and transferred to another court. The Shah Alam High Court is scheduled to hear the month-long case starting June 4. Abdul Razak Baginda, the head…

Morality, Spies and Chastity Belts…

When Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shot down a move last month by the Islamic government in the northeastern state of Terengganu to train spies to watch couples engaged in “immoral activities” like premarital sex, he was taking notice of a rising tide of fundamentalism in the country. “There’s no need for that. Why…

Saving the Heart of Borneo

On Feb. 12, in an elaborate ceremony in Bali, representatives of the three governments with jurisdiction over the ecological jewel that is the island of Borneo signed the “Heart of Borneo” Declaration, promising to conserve one of the most important centers of biological diversity in the world. Designed to conserve and provide sustainable management for…

Anwar’s Long-Shot Gamble

Out of prison and looking to resume his political life, Anwar Ibrahim, the once and -- he hopes -- future heir apparent to Malaysia’s premiership, is gambling on returning to power by doing what has never been done before: confronting the country’s race-based politics and trying to break the 60-year reign of the ruling United…

Malaysian murder a tale of love gone wrong

A well-placed Malaysian political analyst facing charges of conspiring to murder a young Mongolian woman has admitted to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur that he was having an affair with the victim and giving her large sums of money.  Abdul Razak Baginda, 46, carried on a romance with Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, from the end…

Malaysian Justice is a Waiting Game

Malaysia's shambolic judicial system, in which both criminal and civil cases can take years to be decided, is under the spotlight again, this time over a lengthy delay in the spectacular murder trial involving a prominent Malaysian political figure accused of the gruesome murder of his Mongolian mistress. The trial of 46-year-old political analyst Abdul…

Malaysian Murder Gets Stickier for Ruling Party

Questions over the spectacular murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaaribuu came closer to the very top of Malaysian politics Wednesday when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim asked publicly who had ordered two police officers in Malaysia’s elite Special Operations Force to pick her up from the home of political advisor Abdul Razak Baginda. Abdul Razak was…

Update: Political analyst freed on bail in Mongolian Model Murder

A prominent Malaysian political analyst with close ties to one of the country’s top political figures was freed on bail Thursday after posting a 1 million ringgit bond and pleading not guilty to abetting the sensational murder of a Mongolian beauty queen whose baby he allegedly fathered. Abdul Razak Baginda, 46, entered the not guilty…

UPDATE: CHARGED!

Setting the stage for a lurid courtroom drama that is sure to grip a country that officially sees itself as upright and puritanical, one of Malaysia’s most prominent political analysts has been charged with the gruesome slaying of a Mongolian “free lance” fashion model who claimed that he was her lover and the father of…

The Cesspit of Malay Politics

The crisis that is wracking Malaysia’s United Malays National Organisation, the country’s biggest ethnic party, is not the crisis of a sex and murder scandal. Not the crisis of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s heart attack. Not the crisis of infighting between the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – Pak Lah -- camp and his predecessor’s interests.…