Corruption scandal puts a dark cloud over Malaysia, Najib — Looting of billions in state funds cannot be ignored forever


Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim told Johorean football fans that he had informed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to implement policies and not just talk.

This, he said, was after he expressed his concerns about the country’s political stability to the premier.

Recounting his meeting with Najib, Tunku Ismail said he also told the PM that he was worried about what will happen to the country in the future, for despite their differences of opinion, the federal government and the royalty are interlinked.


“If you were to pinch my left thigh, my right thigh will feel it too.”

He added that he had also asked to know about present government policies, and gave the PM a piece of his mind about the matter.

“Then I advised him to implement whatever it is, and not just talk. And from now on, its time to move forward,” he said.

His comments were detailed in a post on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page describing a dialogue session he held with Johor Darul Takzim football fans and the media yesterday.

The crown prince had met with Najib in August, at the latter’s official residence, Seri Perdana, in Putrajaya.

Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail said Johor is independent and neutral, and that he speaks out for the people, not because anyone is his enemy.

“Don’t only think of yourself. I’m sad, (and) as His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor stated lately, most politicians nowadays are busy pursuing more power.


His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor

“They sacrifice for power more than they do for the people.”

Unlike other royalty, who prefer to keep a low profile, Tunku Ismail has a penchant for taking potshots at the federal government, mostly on Facebook.

He was previously embroiled in a public feud with Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz who criticised the prince for being too vocal, especially in remarks he made against the government.


Malaysia’s government has been criticised over plans to redraw electoral boundaries ahead of possible snap polls, with the opposition accusing it of gerrymandering to keep embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak in power.

The Election Commission, whose members are picked by the government, has said it intends to reorganise boundaries in 112 parliamentary seats – about half the national total – as well as 445 of the 576 state seats.

With Najib Razak’s popularity at the lowest in the history of prime ministers, and a 1MDB scandal that just refuses to go away, Najib has to find the formula to win the elections

Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua from the Democratic Action Party said the new boundaries are designed to ensure a win for Najib who is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal involving state investment fund 1MDB.

“With Najib Razak’s popularity at the lowest in the history of prime ministers, and a 1MDB scandal that just refuses to go away, Najib has to find the formula to win the elections,” Pua said on Thursday.

He said the rearrangement aims to bundle opposition-inclined voters into “super-constituencies” with more than 100,000 voters, while breaking up ruling party supporters into smaller, multiple constituencies.

The move would favour the dominant United Malays National Organisation (Umno) which leads the 13-party ruling National Front coalition, by allowing it to win maximum seats with the least possible votes, opposition politicians said.

 Kuala Lumpur skyline. Photo: EPA

Bigger political constituencies could also hobble the opposition which has limited financial and manpower resources to garner votes.

National polls have to be called by mid-2018, but there is speculation that Najib will call snap elections next year in a bid to renew his mandate.

There is no doubt this is blatant gerrymandering. Najib is set to win again soon even before the first vote is cast

The 63-year-old premier is clinging to power despite increasingly damaging allegations that he took part in the looting of billions in state funds. Najib and 1MDB have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the scandal.

Umno has been in power in Malaysia since independence in 1957.

“This systemic rigging been going on for the past few decades,” said James Chin, the director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania.

“There is no doubt this is blatant gerrymandering. Najib is set to win again soon even before the first vote is cast.”

Electoral Commission chairman Mohamad Hashim Abdullah has rubbished the allegations and urged critics to file objections before October 14, adding that the proposals were not final.

In the 2013 election, National Front won 47 per cent of the popular vote but took 60 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats.

The opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, won a majority of the popular vote, with 51 per cent but garnered only 40 per cent of the seats.


Goldman Sachs Group Inc. received requests for information about 1Malaysia Development Bhd. earlier this year from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS

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