Oh shucks, Malaysia is losing to Indonesia in what calls a reversal of fortunes of the neighboring states in terms of politics of ethnicity and religion.
The two Muslim majority nations are wrestling at odds with the capitalism of market competition, but corruption is setting the two countries apart. But Jakarta is gaining favors of investors while Malaysia is shunned on many fronts.
In Indonesia, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese Christian who is the governor of Jakarta, is running for office while defending himself against charges of blasphemy against Islam in a country of predominantly Muslim voters. A crowd of ten thousand with Muslim faith gathered to put pressure on the 50% of Jakarta who is still undecided on their choice for future governor of one of the largest metropolitan cities in Southeast Asia.
United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is going against the opposition party Pakatan Harapan to organized a rally to press for a version of Islamic law (Hudud) to be implemented in the state of Kelantan.
Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing allegations regarding the disappearance of $3 billion from a Malaysian government investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib, who was elected in 2009, says hundreds of millions of dollars in his personal bank account are a gift from an unidentified Saudi donor.
The money, “just a portion of the more than $3 billion that was stolen from 1MDB is laundered through American financial institutions in violation of United States law,” said then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
Lynch added “Unfortunately and tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account,” at a briefing in Washington.
Najib started 1MDB in 2009 to promote Malaysian development. He was the chairman of the advisory board of the fund. The U.S. Justice Department complaint says that $681 million that was transferred to Najib in 2013 originally came from the $3 billion of bonds sold for 1MDB through an investment banking unit of New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Global investors aren’t waiting for a legal verdict as they’re already making Indonesia the favored regional economy at Malaysia’s expense. But there is also the crony capitalism, which was rampant in Indonesia during the reign of Haji Mohamed Suharto, the former Indonesian army leader who ousted President Sukarno in 1967 and who ruled for 32 years resigned in 1998 was the exemplar of the kind of corrosive, mutually advantageous relationships between business people and government officials.
Another issue is about our local currency, the Indonesia rupiah has strengthened 26 percent against the Malaysian ringgit since June 2014. During the past three years, the Indonesian economy has been growing at a faster rate compared to the constant downfall of Malaysian economy.