Combatting Rampant Corruption - Can Malaysia Move from Political Upheaval to Progressive Change?


A Conversation About 1MDB and the Country's Future

Turbulent Times in Malaysia

Ever since its independence from British rule in 1957 Malaysia’s development has been remarkable – politically as well as economically. The Southeast Asian country has not only enjoyed rapid economic expansion in the last couple of decades, but its government was also internationally hailed for its handling of the financial crisis in 1997. Due to its well-established infrastructure and the high educational level, Malaysia gained a lot of importance for international investors.

However, under the leadership of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s former prime minister, the country has been marred by corruption scandals, cronyism, and questionable governance. When the extent of the 1MDB scandal was brought to light by journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown and countless informants, a huge opposition also formed within the population and culminated in Najib Razak being voted out of office in 2018. In May 2018, 94-year old Mahathir Mohamad, who already ruled Malaysia from 1981 until 2003, returned to the Prime Minister’s office.

In conversation with Manfred Rist, foreign correspondent for Southeast Asia of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Clare Rewcastle Brown and political scientist Bridget Welsh will discuss the impact of corruption on Malaysia’s politics.


18:00 – Doors open
18:30 – Clare Rewcastle Brown and Bridget Welsh in conversation with Manfred Rist
19:30 – Q&A
20:00 – Apéro
20:30 – End of event


Regular CHF 50
Asia Society Member CHF 40

Full no-show charge unless registration is cancelled until 24 hours before the event.

Clare Rewcastle Brown

Clare Rewcastle Brown is a former British television reporter and the founder and editor of the website Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak, which came to prominence for challenging wide scale political corruption in Malaysia and the impacts on civil and indigenous rights as well as on the environment. Her investigations resulted in the exposure of the 1MDB Development Fund scandal, which revealed the alleged grand kleptocracy by the Malaysian Prime Minister; rocked the global financial community; helped put the off-shore finance industry on the run and embarrassed some of the most famous figures in Hollywood, Vegas and New York. In 2018 she received the Guardian Award for fraud reporting from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and was named the Bob Brown Foundation’s ‘Environmentalist of the Year’ in Australia.

Bridget Welsh

Bridget Welsh is an Honorary Research Associate with the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia (UoNARI-M) based in Kuala Lumpur. She is also a Senior Research Associate of the Hu Feng Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center, and a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University. Bridget specializes in Southeast Asian politics, with a focus on Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Indonesia. She taught at John Cabot University, Ipek University, Singapore Management University, SAIS (JHU) and Hofstra University. Bridget is a Senior Advisor for Freedom House, a member of the International Research Council of the National Endowment for Democracy and a core member of the Asian Barometer Survey covering fifteen countries in East Asia.  

Manfred Rist

Manfred Rist, is the Southeast Asia correspondent of Neue Zürcher Zeitung based in Singapore, covering business and political affairs in the region. Since 1999 he has been reporting about democratic and economic transformations in Indonesia, military coups in Thailand, crackdowns in Myanmar and Cambodia and the rise of new economic powers like Vietnam. Manfred is the former Chairman of the Swiss Business Association in Singapore and teaches Multimedia-Reporting at the Singapore University of Social Science.  

This event is co-hosted by Neue Zürcher Zeitung

NZZ Live

Event Details

Mon 25 Nov 2019
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.


Falkenstrasse 11

8008 Zürich


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