In 2015, a scandal involving the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund brought down the country's authoritarian government, amid allegations that the disgraced ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak and his retinue embezzled $4.5 billion from the fund.
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In a deeply researched longread, New York Times investigative reporters Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe document in fine detail the role played by the ubiquitous McKinsey and Company in legitimizing, coordinating, and supercharging the world's most notorious human-rights-abusing regimes, from Saudi Arabia to China to Russia.
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In 2015, the Malaysian government collapsed after a scandal involving embezzlement from the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund; the scandal shows no sign of slowing down, with fresh accusations against the country's business and political leadership surfacing regularly and one prime suspect, the financier and "tabloid party boy" Jho Low going on the run, a fugitive believed to be in China.
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Attendees at a silent candlelight vigil in honor of Prabagaran Srivijayan -- a Mayasian migrant worker who was executed for drug trafficking on July 14 -- have been notified that they are the subjects of a police investigation. Read the rest
There's a wealth of found-comedy in watching this gang of armed, helmeted robbers try in vain to smash the glass in this Malaysian jewelry store in Jalan Besar, Sungai Buloh: the hammers bounce off the fantastically tough glass, whose resilience is positively otherworldly, while the otherwise beautifully choreographed robbery (which includes some pretty snazzy outfits!) founders. Read the rest
The fast-track bill rammed through Congress last month lets the president walk right into any trade deal he wants, so long as it's with countries that have decent human rights records. Read the rest
In 2009 Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak announced that the government was taking over a private investment fund called 1MDB. When a parliament member asked why, Najib replied in a letter, “By doing this, the country’s wealth can be distributed evenly among the people irrespective of race.”
Apparenty, Najib's idea of wealth distribution is wiring $700 million of the funds into his personal accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal. Also, since Najib took over the fund, it has amassed $11 billion in debt. The Prime Minister says he didn't take the funds, and that he is the victim of “political sabotage.” Read the rest
The tourists' naked selfies angered the ancestral spirits of Borneo, said the official, and we are inclined to agree.
Stock Android phones with the Darkmatter OS use encrypted storage, OS-level app controls, and secure messaging by default, but if the phone thinks it's under attack, it dismounts all the encrypted stuff and reboots as a stock Android phone with no obvious hints that its owner has anything hidden on it. Read the rest
"Hardly a major brand name" doing business in Malaysia is untainted by the use of forced labor from trafficked workers, according to a study backed by the US Department of Labor. Read the rest
Malaysia Airlines, who suffered the unprecedented and tragic loss of two jets this year, is having an understandably hard time attracting passengers; though the circumstances of the two losses do not appear to be related to negligence or anything other than terrible, awful random chance. Read the rest
"The passengers fell, one fighter stationed here says, 'from incredible heights'. As they came down, many were 'undressed by the air”.
Around 11:00AM ET today, Interfax, CNN, and other news agencies began reporting that Malaysia Airlines flight 17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.
Some 280 passengers and at least 15 crew members, a total of 295 lives, are believed to have been on board the Boeing 777 passenger jet. This is the second crash involving Malaysia Airlines within the past few months. Read the rest
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping, secret global treaty that sets out many corporatist policies by which countries surrender their national interest and sovereignty in favor of corporations, who get to violate local regulations and rules and sue countries that try to enforce them. A lot of the opposition to TPP has centered on its insane copyright provisions (leaked TPP drafts have included things like mandatory border-searches of laptops and phones for pirated music and movies; as well as "three-strikes" rules like the failed French HADOPI system, whereby whole families would be disconnected from the Internet if their router was linked to unsubstantiated claims of piracy). But increasingly, the participating countries are growing nervous with the whole premise of TPP.
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The government of Malaysia hired a US PR firm to pay conservative journalists to write articles critical of a opposition leader running on a pro-democracy platform for The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The National Review, The San Francisco Examiner, Red State, and The Washington Times. The writers who took the money then wrote for their usual places, but didn't disclose that they were getting money from a third party to criticize Anwar Ibrahim.
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The payments to conservative American opinion writers — whose work appeared in outlets from the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner to the Washington Times to National Review and RedState — emerged in a filing this week to the Department of Justice. The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of conservative writers.
Trevino lost his column at the Guardian last year after allegations that his relationship with Malaysian business interests wasn't being disclosed in columns dealing with Malaysia. Trevino told Politico in 2011 that "I was never on any 'Malaysian entity's payroll,' and I resent your assumption that I was."
According to Trevino's belated federal filing, the interests paying Trevino were in fact the government of Malaysia, "its ruling party, or interests closely aligned with either." The Malaysian government has been accused of multiple human rights abuses and restricting the press and personal freedoms.
I'm not entirely certain where I first encountered Zee Avi
. All I know is that I've got a couple of Avi tracks in my "shuffle top-rated MP3s" playlist, and when they come on, they skewer me with her beautiful voice, like a young Peggy Lee by way of Bjork.
In Malaysia, being gay can get you a caning and 20 years in prison. Now the Malaysian government is holding seminars to help teachers and parents figure out which kids are gay (boys with "tight, light-coloured clothes and large handbags" are under suspicion; girls who "have no affection for men and like to hang out and sleep in the company of women" are also suspect). The seminars are reportedly hugely attended, with 1,500 people turning up to last week's event, which was organized by the Teachers Foundation of Malaysia. The official reasoning for this is that being gay is contagious, so straight kids who are around gay kids might catch it. More a Reuters report:
The latest seminar for the teachers and parents was run by deputy education minister Puad Zarkashi, his office confirmed.
Zarkashi wasn't immediately available for comment but national news agency Bernama quoted him as saying that being able to identify the signs will help contain the spread of the unhealthy lifestyle among the young, especially students.
"Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] groups," he was quoted as saying.
"This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time."
Malaysia holds seminars to help teachers spot 'gay children' Read the rest