Malaysia: From a thriving democracy to a degenerate nation under Najib Razak in 7 Years

November 26, 2016

Malaysia: From a thriving democracy to a degenerate nation under Najib Razak in 7 Years

by The Economist

FORTY thousand people wearing yellow shirts gathered in Malaysia’s capital on November 19th, to protest against corruption and impunity in government. The rally was orderly and restrained; the response of the authorities was not. On the eve of the protest, police arrested Maria Chin Abdullah, leader of a coalition of human-rights groups that organised the event. She was placed in solitary confinement, and can be held there for 28 days. Even by Malaysia’s dismal recent standards this marked a fresh low. Ordinary Malaysians should not stand by while their leaders undermine the rule of law so casually.

Ms Chin Abdullah’s detention was justified by an anti-terrorism law which the government had promised would never be used against political opponents. The true motivation was to stifle outrage over 1MDB, a state-owned investment firm from which billions have gone missing. In July American government investigators said they thought that $3.5bn had been taken from the firm and that hundreds of millions of dollars went to the prime minister, Najib Razak (who says he has never taken public funds for personal gain). The investigators’ findings corroborated exposés written by local and foreign journalists, who have been unravelling the saga for several years.

Elsewhere the scandal would have sparked a swift change in government. But the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has held power for six decades and enjoys broad support from Malaysia’s ethnic-Malay majority, some of whom resent their ethnic-Chinese and Indian compatriots. The party has devised many ways to protect its leaders from internal revolts, so Mr Najib found it easy to purge critics, delay a parliamentary investigation and replace an attorney-general said to have been preparing charges against him.

No one in Malaysia has been charged over 1MDB’s missing money. But a court has handed a prison sentence to an opposition politician who frustrated efforts to hush up the affair. The editor and publisher of one of Malaysia’s last independent news organisations face jail under a rule which forbids certain content published with “intent to annoy”. A competitor closed in March after authorities ordered its website blocked.

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Mr Najib’s party is carelessly widening Malaysia’s ethnic and religious splits. Seeking to bolster support among conservative Malay Muslims, it is toying with a proposal to intensify the whippings which may be meted out by sharia courts. It has failed properly to condemn pro-government gangs that last year menacingly gathered in a Chinese part of the capital. Their leaders paint ethnic Malays as victims of sinister conspiracies—dangerous rumour-mongering in a country where politics is still defined by the racial violence of the 1960s.

Easily broken, hard to fix

Until now foreign investors have been fairly sanguine about the economy. But they are growing rattled. The ringgit has depreciated faster than other emerging-market currencies (see article). Last week the authorities asked foreign banks to stop some ringgit trading abroad, raising fears of harsher controls.

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Rural ethnic Malays, a crucial constituency, feel that the scandal is a remote affair. Even some educated urbanites still favour Mr Najib’s government over the opposition, underestimating the damage being done by the scandal. If change is to come, the disparate opposition needs to do a better job of winning such people over; its fractious parties must overcome their divisions and present a plausible candidate to replace Mr Najib in a general election that could be held as soon as next year. Malaysia has always been an imperfect democracy, but the rot eating at its institutions is harming its international standing and its economic prospects alike.

5 thoughts on “Malaysia: From a thriving democracy to a degenerate nation under Najib Razak in 7 Years

  1. Systematic fraud is systematic incompetence. Wall Street says it’s the point where there is no difference between fraud and stupidity.

    The ultimate democracy in Malaysia is not the vote or ballot box but money. Najib waste much faster than he can make, so ultimately he will lose.

  2. Just yesterday, Dear Leader reminded his cohorts (i.e Sons of UMNOb) not to believe in ‘black magic’ and ‘superstition’ while talking about autism and other ‘degenerative’ mental conditions.

    Yet this bloke is an ardent purveyor of Numerology, Necromancy and Dark Arts of Kleptocratic Mayhem. So this is the 7th year of his reign? Isn’t 7 a Scared number among many religions? Yet he remains inviolable. He has shown to be the most corrupt, depraved, unpopular, inept and irredeemable leader since the dawn of independence. A coward in emperor’s clothes – who’s afraid of anything from geriatrics, cartoons, students, rancorous debates, emancipated women etc., who insists that this is The Manifest Destiny! A strange Deity indeed.. Even the Muses are despondent indeed.

    So we go into the nadir of Malusia. UMNOb’s hold on political power and luxury continues unabated. Jibros remains well cocooned from the desperation and helplessness that most Malusians face nowadays. The Bodoh-Sombong and Thuggishness of his Party of Sycophants remains much the hybrid of the Fascist Hitlerjugend and Dinosaurian Tiga-Line gangsters.

    He is veering beyond Machiavellism towards Armageddon. Malaysia is now in the throes of a general systemic meltdown – where the politics, economics and will are locked into survival for ‘daily crumbs’.

    The useless Oppo is partly to blame for their fractiousness and blind faith to the righteousness of their myriad principles – none of which brings effective relief for the common folk.

    My question is: Are we all complicit in some way or other?

  3. So what! Doggie. According to Lajib’s neomancer, ktemoc who still resides in Australia despite of the strong presence of One Nation…..remember her, doggie

    I wonder why Pauline Hanson has yet to locate this chinaman and deport him back to Penang.

    Sorry, sorry, back to what the neomancer had said that what Lajib is doing is lathing as compared to Dr M. So in another word, according to ktemoc, Lajib must continue to rule…….

    Please excoriate him back in aussie land…….please. Pauline Hanson is now a senator in Australia

    Thank God that neomancer does not stay in Queensland, Australia

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