The 1MDB: Tragedy or farce?

The Malaysian government’s ambitious investment experiment, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), has turned into a political and financial minefield for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his ministers.

In recent months, the debt-laden sovereign wealth fund has made domestic and international headlines with explosive allegations of corruption, widespread mismanagement of public funds, serious political misbehaviour and opaque corporate dealings.

The relentless attacks on 1MDB – which have included public disclosures of confidential e-mail trails highlighting opaque transactions for highly dubious investments – have not only come from the country’s feisty opposition, but also former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who in recent days has publicly called for Najib’s resignation.

“Najib is facing too many scandals, and there are no answers,” Dr Mahathir told reporters last week, adding that if the country’s dominant party, Umno, which – as the main partner in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition – has helmed Malaysia since independence in 1957, wants to remain in power, then “I think they must change the prime minister”.

Writing Najib’s political obituary, however, may be a little premature, say several senior Umno officials aligned to the party president and prime minister.

They note that 1MDB has been the invisible pillar that has helped prop up the country’s entrenched patronage-driven political system, by indirectly providing financial aid to a clutch of little-known foundations that have in turn helped Najib to fund election campaigns and funnel money to Umno warlords to keep them loyal.

But the sovereign fund’s worsening financial position continues to send shockwaves over the Malaysian banking system, and remains the most serious economic policy challenge for Najib’s administration.

The 1MDB: Tragedy or farce?
10 April 2015 – TMI


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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
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