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Police seize personal items from home of ousted PM Najib Razak

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives to break fast at Saujana Menteri Besar in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

At least a dozen armed policemen entered the home of ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak late on Wednesday.

The lawyer of the former leader confirmed this and said the police seized handbags and few other items from his home in connection with a money laundering investigation.

Witnesses say the search lasted for over six hours during which officers were seen taking large bags into the house and later loading them into a truck.

Malaysian authorities are investigating an alleged multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund One-Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was founded by Najib. — Reuters

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Malaysia’s Mahathir hopes to get back lost 1MDB funds

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2018

New Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures beside Wan Azizah, the wife of a jailed opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said he believes most of the money missing in a notorious corruption scandal can be returned.

The row over the 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) state investment fund dogged his predecessor, Najib Razak, and contributed to his shock defeat.

Malaysia’s former strongman is back in power at the age of 92 following a gap of 15 years. — Reuters

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Malaysia’s veteran leader Mahathir wins shock election victory

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Mahathir holding up hands with his coalition members/REUTERS

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has scored a historic victory in the country’s general election.

The election commission said Mahathir’s opposition alliance had won 115 seats, over the threshold of 112 seats needed to form a government.

Mahathir, 92, defeated the governing Barisan Nasional Coalition, which has been in power for more than 60 years.

He came out of retirement to take on his former protege, Najib Razak.

Mahathir will become the oldest elected leader in the world. — Reuters

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Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Commuters walk past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018. Picture taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia on Monday approved a law against “fake news” that would allow for prison of up to six years for offenders, shrugging off critics who say it was aimed at curbing dissent and free speech ahead of a general election.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a simple majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail. The first draft of the bill had proposed jail of up to 10 years.

The government said the law would not impinge on freedom of speech and cases under it would be handled through an independent court process.

“This law aims to protect the public from the spread of fake news, while allowing freedom of speech as provided for under the constitution,” Law Minister Azalina Othman Said told parliament.

The law defines fake news as “news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false” and includes features, visuals and audio recordings.

It covers digital publications and social media and will apply to offenders who maliciously spread “fake news” inside and outside Malaysia, including foreigners, if Malaysia or a Malaysian citizen were affected.

Co-opted by U.S. President Donald Trump, the term “fake news” has quickly become part of the standard repertoire of leaders in authoritarian countries to describe media reports and organizations critical of them.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, had earlier on Monday urged the government not to rush the legislation through parliament.

“I urge the government to reconsider the bill and open it up to regular and genuine public scrutiny before taking any further steps,” David Kaye said in a Twitter post.

OTHERS CONSIDER LAWS

Other countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and the Philippines, are considering how to tackle “fake news” but human rights activists fear that laws against it could be used to stifle free speech.

Malaysia is among the first few countries to introduce a law against it. Germany approved a plan last year to fine social media networks if they fail to remove hateful postings.

Malaysia already has an arsenal of laws, including a colonial-era Sedition Act, that have been used to clamp down on unfavorable news and social media posts.

News reports and social media posts on a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have hounded Prime Minister Najib, who faces arguably his toughest contest in a general election this year that could be called in days.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing in connection with losses at the fund.

A deputy minister was quoted in media last month as saying any news on 1MDB not verified by the government was “fake”.

Lim Kit Siang, a senior opposition lawmaker with the Democratic Action Party, described the bill as a “Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal Bill” which would criminalize news on the affair.

Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Robert Birsel

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