Malaysian politics are stranger than fiction

Malaysian politics are stranger than fiction



hey it's Lou and some wild shit is going down in Malaysia where political allies have turned on each other dissidents have teamed up with their persecutors and a 4.5 billion dollar corruption scandal helped bring down the only political party that has ever controlled the government 61 years of autocratic rule was overturned in a stunning electoral upset and sent a powerful warning to authoritarian leaders the world over no matter how entrenched your power you're a single election away from being voted out of office he's gaining its independence from the British in the 1950s Malaysian politics have been dominated by one party boom no boom no was able to gain the loyalty of the country's largest constituency that's ethnic Malays by giving them advantages over Chinese immigrants who represent a sizeable chunk of the population under uno rule Malays benefited from affirmative action housing discounts and job quarters among many other things and a powerful opposition force was never able to challenge oome 'no because a uno controlled the levers of power and blocked them and every opportunity through things like gerrymandering and b the opposition was really diverse and was unable to present a single cohesive unifying message to be fair uno did transform malaysia into a modern economy much of that growth took place under Prime Minister Mahathir which made him both popular and a little cocky the guy was not a fan of dissent he stamped out free speech and fired critics within the government including Supreme Court judges he was accused of eliminating the checks and balances designed to keep absolute power out of his hands now early in mahavira's political career a potential rival emerged Anwar Ibrahim he was a charismatic student leader who pushed for Muslim empowerment sensing a threat Mahavira actually welcomed Anwar into the uno fold in fact Anwar eventually became Maha thiers Deputy Prime Minister but as the economy turned south in the late 1990s so did this Anwar Mahavira alliance Anwar started criticizing his boss and calling for reforms but mysteriously by coincidence Anwar was suddenly charged with sodomy specifically of having an affair with his wife's male driver Malaysia isn't exactly haven for gay people so these were particularly nasty charges that were by most accounts completely made-up anyway Anwar gets convicted sent to jail eventually his conviction is overturned but he gets tried again on different sodomy charges and is thrown back behind bars meanwhile Mahavira decides to retire in 2003 and he hand picks his successor turns out that successor is ineffectual he's apparently a grandpa figure that falls asleep in meetings so Mahad fear calls for his ouster he supports a new candidate for Prime Minister Najib Razak unfortunately Najib turns out to be a bit of a scoundrel allegedly at least he starts this fun called 1mdb it's supposed to be for Malaysia's economic development but it winds up being used to finance films like the wolf of Wall Street and dumb and dumber to somehow funds from 1mdb are spent on art work for Leonardo DiCaprio and jewelry for Miranda Kerr friends of the family suddenly have these baller yachts Najib's wife receives a single 27 million dollar necklace oh and just about 700 million dollars is discovered in the Jeeves personal bank account he says it was donation from an unnamed member of the Saudi royal family quite a donation all of this looks terrible and draws the attention of international investigators in Switzerland Dubai Singapore and the US US Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls a 1mdb scandal which involves four point five billion dollars in misappropriated funds klappa cracy at its worst back home in Malaysia Najib fires his Attorney General the new one he appoints quickly clears him of any wrongdoing but Malaysians aren't stupid they're pissed off an estimated 500,000 people took to the streets to call for the resignation often the Jeep / 1mdb one cartoonist keeps her furniture Mujeeb as the Man of Steel the cartoonist gets charged with sedition and faces up to 43 years in prison so that's the type of guy Najib is and his family makes no effort to hide their gaudy and almost definitely stolen wealth even as the scandal becomes a national obsession his wife's extravagance is legendary this particularly pisses off your average Malaysian because Najib recently a new tax on goods and services Bridget Welsh a Malaysian scholar John Cabot University told me the vast majority of Malaysians never had to pay any taxes at all 40% of the country lives on just a thousand dollars a month so now for the first time ever your average citizen is chipping in to a government coffer that the Prime Minister is likely stealing from okay so enough is enough Najib and oome know are losing support but the problem is the opposition is still disorganized in fact some opposition leaders are in jail and they're still racial and religious tensions in the country that prevent Malay voters from abandoning oome now who the hell is going to bring down the Jeep enter back into this shitstorm Maha fear he's now 92 years old and he says he's humiliated by the fact that Najib has corrupted oom No he feels guilty for initially supporting him so he aligns himself with these fractured bits of opposition many of whom despise him but will hold their nose in order to defeat a common enemy this is like george w bush running as a democrat in 2020 but anyway here's the kicker Mahavira recognizes that he's old he understands that he's an establishment figure at a time when the establishment is deeply unpopular so he says if I'm elected prime minister I will hand over power to Anwar yes that same Anwar we put in jail for sodomy and who's beaten by mahavira's police force in a crazy about face Mahavira promises a pardon and he even makes Anwar wife his running mate imagine campaigning with the guy who puts her husband in jail for sodomy so this whole dynamic seemed suspicious to me my fear the former autocrat who jailed critics who turned on former allies in the past Malaysians should just trust him now they actually think he'll hand over power isn't he responsible for this mess in the first place chin wat Wong a Malaysian political scientist understood my skepticism but he offered a Zen one-liner the man who tied the Bell around the tiger's neck is the only one who can remove it in other words Mahavira one of the chief architects of the oom know machine is best qualified to bring it down professor Welsh added sometimes you live long enough to see your mistakes so perhaps he simply got a different perspective now but anyway none of this seemed to matter because leading up to the May elections Najib used all his levers of power to try and fix the race he been maja theorists photo on billboards he threatened to arrest him for spreading fake news he gerrymandered districts he even made the election fall on a weekday a move clearly designed to depress voter turnout so because of all these advantages most experts thought he'd easily get reelected the experts were wrong for the first time in six decades oom no lost control of the government malaise immigrants secularists Muslims Christians they all put aside their differences and work together to kick out the scandal Najib actually tried to flee the country but the authorities stopped him a new commission has been impaneled to investigate the 1mdb scandal and the Jeep's family had hundreds of suitcases and boxes full of cash jewelry and expensive handbags confiscated DiCaprio incur hands it over the gifts they received to authorities a while ago by the way encouragingly mafia has secured an Juarez pardon from Malaysia's King long story don't have time to get into it and Anwar is finally out of jail how does it feel to be out this time exhilarating it's unclear when he'll take over or if he'll take over Joseph Lee out chin young a professor of international politics based in Singapore told me that the real challenge begins now the opposition forces had very little in common other than their hatred for Najib and old rivalries are already emerging a unified agenda isn't apparent to quote Hamilton winning is easy young men governing is harder professor Welsh is more optimistic yes questions remain yes there should be healthy skepticism but at the end of the day Malaysians finally rejected their one party system a culture that tolerated corruption that led ethnic and religious differences divide them put those aside rally together and said we want change and they made it happen peacefully perhaps it's a lesson to the rest of the world even when the deck is stacked against you you can overcome your shitty leaders at the ballot box you

29 thoughts on “Malaysian politics are stranger than fiction

  1. I'm going to be doing more international stories (and more stories in general). That means there's going to be more names I struggle to pronounce. I try. I'm bad at it. (UPDATE: I mispronounced UMNO).

  2. After 2 years, the new goverment is no better than UMNO; different side on the same coin… PBM only purpose is to protect Mahathir's family's empire and cronies, PKR squabble among themselves to become Prime Minister, PAN just keep revealing our security secrets and DAP becoming more like MCA; bow down to Mahathir…

  3. Chinese immigrants?? I'm a malay and i hate those word bcoz they were born and raised here at least for the past 5, 6, 7 past generation

  4. hahahaha😂bila tengok balik video nie.. pasti salah satu yang pernah komen kat sini , rasa malu.. rupanya kena tipu doh..

    mat salleh nie pun kena tipu sekali..

  5. it was NOT UMNO which ruled the country but it was BARISAN NATIONAL of which UMNO is a party to it. Please get your facts correctly and know it well before speaking up.

  6. We Malaysia, Indian , Chinese, Malay live in harmony !! As always !! Learn more in Malaysia guys !! Tun have been shot in Bosnia, nobody knew the story !! What a PM of Malaysia !! We salute you forever !!!

  7. Tun Mahathir can stand up for 10 hours for shaking hand with all people during Raya Celebration !! Can anybody do that !! 😀

  8. U just wont understand. Im sure u all hated the way your country is run. But the extent of damages done by American presidents past and present is not even 1/10 compared to what Najib has done. This is a man who is so corrupt and thought he is so untouchable that he doesnt even hide his lavish lifestyle. I dont trust Mahathir 100%. To me there is something fishy going on. But at least, I know Malaysia is in a much2 better hand with him in charge compared to Najib.

  9. you should do updated info on this . since PH already governing Malaysia now with tons of broke promises based on their manifesto during the election

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