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'New Malaysia' under Mahathir looks much like old crony state

Promises of reform to state-owned companies have gone unfulfilled

| Malaysia
It is not clear what Mahathir has done to reform Malaysia's notorious system of patronage.   © Reuters

It is coming up for two years since Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was removed from power by Mahathir Mohamad's Pakatan Harapan, or Coalition of Hope. The new government promised to put a halt to decades of crony capitalism which culminated in the scandal of 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

This involved $4.5 billion being misappropriated from the 1MDB state-owned infrastructure fund by high-level fund officials between 2009 and 2014, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Najib set up 1MBD and is on trial in Malaysia on charges related to the fund, which he denies.

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