Archive for August 10th, 2016

Malaysia’s Defiant Prime Minister: The 1MDB Purge

By Dhirenn Nair
The Diplomat
August 09, 2016

Despite a deepening scandal, Najib Razak has strengthened his position by purging his party and government of critics.

July 20, 2016 was a dies horribilis for Najib Razak, the embattled prime minister of Malaysia. For over a year, he had been battling accusations of financial mismanagement of the state fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and embezzlement for personal gain. Exposés by the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report, an investigative journalism site which is blocked in Malaysia to “maintain national security,” first showed alleged financial mismanagement in the fund. Then came allegations that Najib had over $680 million in 1MDB-related funds transferred into his own personal account. The response of the Malaysian authorities was to investigate the Sarawak Report for leaking confidential government information.

Najib, on the other hand, claimed that the funds found in his personal account were a donation from Saudi Arabia; a portion of that “donation” was used to finance his coalition’s 2013 re-election campaign and the rest was returned to the donor(s). His claim was later corroborated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the attorney general, Apandi Ali; Saudi Arabia also confirmed that a political donation had been made to Najib. Legally, the prime minister had not done anything unlawful, for there are no existing political financing laws in Malaysia. It appeared Najib has dodged a bullet — but then came the announcement by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) on July 20. Read the rest of this entry »