DIANA JABLONSKI WRITES – The government of Malaysia has been under close observation due to reports of corruption against current Prime Minister Najib Razak. Mahathir Mohamad, the longest serving former Prime Minister in Malaysia, has taken advantage of Razak’s vulnerable state by convincing the Malaysian people that Razak is unfit to lead the country.
Mohamad focused on targeting Razak’s actions pertaining to the recent financial scandal involving 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Razak was accused of setting up the 1MDB fund for fraud and money laundering purposes, which was said to have resulted in an amount equivalent to more than one billion U.S. dollars being taken from the state and placed into Razak’s personal bank account. Although Razak denies any possible wrongdoing, these allegations alone support Mohamad’s proposition that Razak should no longer hold his position as Prime Minister.
Despite the criticism made against Razak for the apparent scandal, on September 12th, Razak made an appearance at the White House to meet with President Donald Trump, hoping to regain political support and emphasize his legitimacy as Prime Minister. Regardless of the investigation against Razak for his role in the 1MDB scandal, President Trump welcomed the Prime Minister and stated that the U.S. and Malaysia will remain allies in upcoming issues specifically involving terrorist threats from other foreign countries.
However, Razak’s visit to the U.S. had the opposite effect on his reputation. During Razak’s meeting with Trump, he proposed to give billions to the U.S. economy, ignoring the fact that Malaysia is suffering a financial crisis of its own. Mohamad was quick to expose this and publicly disapproved of the meeting– claiming that it was an unnecessary use of government funds to take a photo with Trump.
The media and Mohamad have kept a close watch on Razak. The accusations of corruption and opposition from the former Prime Minister have raised concerns about Razak’s chances of winning the UMNO general assembly at the upcoming 14th General Election. With multiple critics against Razak, it is possible that these faults may cost him the upcoming election, resulting in a loss for Razak, and a win for Mohamad.