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Malaysia: Faustian bargains and Najib's clique.

FCRO Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

Last Wednesday, Malaysians voted to boot their sixth prime minister, Najib, out of office. As the new government set about being formed, it became clear that many senior appointments would be terminated and some not too kindly. Thursday and Friday were public holidays. Saturday and Sunday were days off. Today the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission walked into his office and submitted his letter of resignation. (free content)

It's an uncomfortable time for many who were appointed as Najib fired those who challenged him over 1MDB. Najib made life uncomfortable for Zeti who, as the governor of the central bank, oversees the FIU. When she called for files, her future (as it was then visible) was sealed. When her contract ran out, she was sent packing. She's back, not at the central bank but as one of the tiny team of senior advisers that Mahathir has appointed.

Dzulkifli Ahmad was parachuted into the MACC when it became known that his predecessor was preparing orders requiring Najib to answer questions about 1MDB.

Police chiefs found themselves removed. Journalists found themselves in custody. And the Attorney General was replaced by Apandi Ali who promptly announced that there was insufficient evidence to continue to investigate Najib. Mahathir has already said that the new AG does not have his confidence (actually, that's our wording. Mahathir wasn't so polite). His loyalty to Najib was rewarded and secured (they thought) by granting him a new three year contract only last month.

Political satirist and cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, had been denied the right to travel by Najib, an irony, given the ban announced on Najib and his wife, that is not lost on him.

Readers might wonder why everyone writing about this situation keeps saying "Najib did this, Najib did that.." but the reason is simple: he was autocratic, concentrated so much power in his own hands and those he controlled, that the government rarely did anything without his micromanaging it.

Corruption is not only about money. It's also about influence and those who are now fearing for their jobs or resigning have been more about influence than money. They sold their souls and now the debt is coming due.