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Commentary: Anti-corruption sweep exposes a disturbing fact in Malaysia

Already, one MACC official was arrested on suspicions that he was being courted with monetary inducements to cowl up ongoing probes into folks near Muhyiddin.


The widening anti-corruption internet in latest weeks has uncovered a disturbing fact in Malaysia. Cash, politics and enterprise have lengthy intermingled at an enormous value to the financial system, however simply how widespread it has change into means severe reform can be wanted.

A central plank for the federal government underneath Mahathir Mohamad that got here to energy in mid-1981 was Malaysia’s formidable privatisation coverage. Whereas privatisation was typically in step with financial coverage considering at the moment, it had been criticised as selling corruption, the place corporations aligned to the ruling authorities coalition have been awarded the rights to handle state property or to develop, implement and handle new public works initiatives and companies underneath lengthy and profitable concession intervals.

By the point Najib Razak took over as prime minister in late March 2009 from Mahathir’s successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian financial system had change into closely politicised, resulting in severe inefficiencies. 

Contract awards, corresponding to the development of the mass rail techniques, railway networks and toll street concessions have been typically thought-about to be inflated to extract political premiums. Beforehand privatised corporations have been additionally re-nationalised, corresponding to nationwide service Malaysia Airways in 2014. 

Najib additionally arrange 1MDB, the state-owned funding fund that ultimately led to his downfall. Funds raised from multi-billion-dollar bond points flowed again into Najib’s personal accounts to finance his political campaigns for his then-ruling social gathering, United Malays Nationwide Organisation (UMNO). The previous prime minister started serving his 12-year jail sentence on corruption and cash laundering fees in August 2022.

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