Partyforumseasia: When we published our first post on the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia, one reader wrote in that the prison gates were wide open for former Prime Minister Najib Razak who lost the general election in May 2018. Nearly a year later, Najib is still running free, and what is even more surprising, roaming the country being cheered as “bossku” (my boss) and “boss kita” (our boss) by crowds wherever he appears. To a certain degree, this is a reaction to the slow implementation of promised reforms by the new government under Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. One of the slow-moving processes is the reform of political patronage in Malaysia’s intricate network of state-owned and government-linked companies, another one being the reduction of the overblown bureaucracy which is also a result of the former government’s corrupt mechanisms of employing its own supporter clientele. 1MDB is supposed to have been the source of quasi-unlimited funds for the former government’s money politics.
But there is also another, maybe more potent, development behind. Najib’s financial mastermind, fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, alias Jho Low, who is suspected to have diverted billions from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, is spending millions to “unsully” his image.
On its website “opensecrets.org”, Washington based Center for Responsive Politics has published in great detail that the elusive businessman has spent so far more than 1.4 million US$ on law firms and reputation management companies in the US to influence his own and Najib’s prosecution. LINK
Najib’s continuing freedom in Malaysia may be close to an end, though. The list of charges is long enough, and all but one of his appeals have been rejected by the Court of Appeal recently: