Debunking the Rohingya-Taliban Link — Austin Bodetti

Source: The Diplomat

Newly arrived and long-term Rohingya refugees close to the Kutupalong makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District, Southeastern Bangladesh, Nov 21, 2016. Source: Amnesty International

Newly arrived and long-term Rohingya refugees close to the Kutupalong makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District, Southeastern Bangladesh, Nov 21, 2016. Source: Amnesty International

BY AUSTIN BODETTI

Myanmar has suffered sectarian conflict between its Buddhist majority and its Muslim minorities, in particular the Rohingya, for decades. The backlash against the Islamic-inspired terrorism of recent years, however, has provided Myanmar’s government a convenient excuse to expand its anti-Muslim pogrom and purge the Rohingya from the country under the guise of counterterrorism.

On October 9, 2016, what appears to have been a paramilitary of machete-wielding Rohingya insurgents ambushed a police station in Rakhine State in the west of the country, killing nine Buddhist policemen and wounding another five. The government, which confines thousands of Rohingya in segregated camps that been likened to concentration camps, responded by blaming the attacks on a group of religious extremists, allegedly led by a Rohingya expatriate trained by the Pakistani Taliban. The link to a transnational terrorist group allowed Myanmar to portray itself as the newest victim in the global “war on terror.” Read more

Marred by graft, Malaysia’s civil service struggles with institutionalised corruption — A. Azim Idris

Source: Asian Correspondent

BY A. AZIM IDRIS

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission displays cash and valuables seized last week. Image via @AbdMalekHussin. Image taken from Asian Correspondent

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission displays cash and valuables seized last week. Image via @AbdMalekHussin. Image taken from Asian Correspondent

THE corruption scourge in Malaysia is so rife that is has led many to believe that dodgy officials in the nation’s corridors of power are artisans at swindling taxpayer funds.

But despite their craftiness in carting away money that was otherwise meant for nation-building, many appear not to know how to conceal their ill-gotten gains.

On Wednesday, anti-graft busters made the first big case of the year, announcing yet another arrest of high-ranking government official. This time, authorities seized RM3 million (roughly US$668,000) in gold bars and cash from his upper middle-class property in Subang Jaya.

The following day, the authorities uncovered another RM 2 million (US$450,000) worth of items from the official, bringing the total seized to RM5 million (US$1.1 mil).

Aside from the varying types of gaudy watches, branded handbags, and foreign currencies recovered during the graft haul, such arrests of senior civil servants have, unfortunately and, absurdly, become a run-of-the-mill.

This is not to suggest that all Malaysian politicians and 1.6 million civil servants are tainted by corruption, but the problem seems so rampant that news of any related arrest of a high-ranking official is the new norm. Read more