Controlling the Narrative: The Law, Human Rights and 1MDB in Malaysia

Malaysia usually features at the periphery of international news, recent events have thrust the Southeast Asian nation into the limelight. In 2015, after recovering from the two airline tragedies of the previous year, Malaysia found itself again in the headlines of the international press. Since then, allegations of mismanagement of funds in the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB) have dominated the news. 1MDB was set up in 2009 when Prime Minister Najib Razak came into office, and was supposed to oversee Kuala Lumpur’s transformation into a thriving commercial hub. Criticisms, including from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, have added to the mounting pressure on Mr Najib, amid reports of missing paper trails and the mismanagement of millions of dollars. The scandal has triggered a national and international ‘crisis of confidence’, undermining the trust in the current regime’s ability to conduct a transparent investigation into this matter. The talk will look at the crisis management and in particular on the official responses to those allegations.