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1MDB scandal haunts Najib’s office ahead of general election

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As the general election approaches, many are keen to know if the 1MDB scandal would cost the ruling coalition votes, writes Ngu Ik Tien.

The 1MDB scandal has returned to haunt Najib’s office as a general election looms.

Over the last two years, the issue has gradually slipped away from the attention of local media and the public. But it has recently made headlines in the global media, including in the Economist, due to the latest exposures of wrongdoings linked to 1MDB. The foreign reporting has apparently caused a feeling of anxiety among certain public officers, who rebuked the reporting as fake news.

Aliran’s website has put up several reports and articles of the latest developments in the scandal. One of them is a MSNBC special web report, which mentioned the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) seizure of the Equanimity superyacht. Another is the response of Swiss lawmakers towards the 1MDB money confiscated by their authority. Nevertheless, all exposures have been strongly denied by the Malaysian government.

Aliran’s writers have also picked up on the issue, discussing the implications of the 1MDB financial scandal to our political system and the weaknesses of certain sectors in the West.

In his article “From Democracy to Autocracy to Kleptocracy”, Haridas laments the financial scandal has not only undermined the people’s trust in government, but also further degraded the Malaysian political system into a kleptocracy. Another commentary criticises how certain sectors in the West have compromised their professionalism in allowing the scandal to spread.

As the general election approaches, many are keen to know if the 1MDB scandal would cost the ruling coalition votes. The general understanding is that the issue has little traction with rural voters even though it might have a significant impact among urban voters.

READ MORE:  The Najib Razak 1MDB Trial Ep 71: A series of unfortunate delays

Besides news of 1MDB, Aliran also put up a few videos in conjunction with International Women’s Day. For instance, the video Isteriku by Institut Wanita Berdaya (IWB) Selangor addresses the stereotype of women in society.

A short documentary by Mahi Ramakrishnan depicts the trafficking of young Rohingya girls from Myanmar, who are then sold as child brides to Rohingya men in Malaysia.

The Aliran website has also put up several articles and reports about the poor treatment of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and in receiving countries including Malaysia.

Lastly, together with Bersih 2.0, Aliran is organising a forum titled “Satukan Tenaga, Kalahkan Penipuan” in Penang on 29 March. Aliran executive committee Dr Francis Loh, Bersih 2.0 representative Dr Toh Kin Woon and Penang Ikram secretary Zulfami Omar will be speaking at the talk which will be moderated by Aliran president Dr Prema Devaraj.

We look forward to your participation if you happen to be in Penang! You can register for the forum here.

Ngu Ik Tien
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
18 March 2018

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