Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?

Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?What was the US President Donald Trump trying to convey with his body language as he sat, with arms tightly folded across his chest, facing down Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was seated opposite him, at the conference table during Najib’s Sept. 12 visit to the White House? Well before Najib had landed in…

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The Donald

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The DonaldWhen Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia meets US President Donald Trump at the White House on Sept. 12, as nearly as it can be determined, it will be the first time America’s chief executive has ever met with a foreign leader being pursued by the US Justice Department for corruption. Najib is infamously known…

Malaysia at 60: The Promise Fades

Malaysia at 60: The Promise FadesOn Aug. 31, Malaysia will celebrate – if that is the proper word – the 60th anniversary of its founding with its people subdued and with a government widely regarded as a kleptocacy. It is wracked with a continuing scandal that has robbed the exchequer of an estimated US$11.4 billion lost to fraud and mismanagement…

Malaysia’s Najib Gets a White House Pass

Malaysia’s Najib Gets a White House PassIn asking Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the White House, US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to arguably Southeast Asia’s biggest crook among the region’s current leaders and one who has jailed or threatened the country’s opposition into near irrelevance. The White House didn’t answer a request for comment. But in a…

French Justice Catching up With Malaysians in Sub Scandal?

French Justice Catching up With Malaysians in Sub Scandal?Although Abdul Razak Baginda, the central figure in what was previously Malaysia’s most notorious scandal, has been charged with “active and passive complicity in corruption” by French prosecutors, according to Agence France Press on Aug. 1, it is unlikely that they are going to catch up with him anytime soon. Razak remains in Malaysia, a…

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…
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