Sunday, 6 September 2015

As Scandal Mounts, Largesse Keeps Malaysia’s PM in Power

Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak – a British-educated technocrat with a reputation for opulence – is at the center of an unprecedented scandal. A sovereign wealth fund established to develop lucrative industries and boost economic growth in Malaysia, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has incurred more than $11 billion in debts and is at the center of a political and financial controversy.

In July, an exposé in the Wall Street Journal published documents sourced from an ongoing government probe into 1MDB that traced nearly $700 million being channeled into Najib’s personal bank accounts from entities linked to the indebted fund. The fund paid inflated prices for assets and laundered money that Najib used to fund his campaign in the 2013 general elections, according to the source.

The allegations against the prime minister caused an uproar in Malaysia on both sides of the political divide. Najib denied wrong-doing and dismissed the report as political sabotage. In the days that followed, special task forces raided the offices of 1MDB and three linked companies, freezing bank accounts and seizing documents that could have paved the way for possible criminal charges against Najib and others.

Read the full story on New Eastern Outlook

Nile Bowie is a Singapore-based political commentator and columnist for the Malaysian Reserve newspaper. He can be reached at