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The Editors

Malaysia Must Overcome Its Troubled Past

The latest scandal shows a freer press and stronger opposition could help.
Under scrutiny.

Under scrutiny.

Photographer: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak may very well be, as he insists, innocent of charges that nearly $700 million in government-linked funds ended up in his personal accounts. But his handling of the scandal thus far has only underscored weaknesses in the Malaysian political system. 

The accusations against Najib revolve around the finances of 1Malaysia Development Bhd. -- a debt-ridden state investment company whose advisory board he chairs. In early July, the Wall Street Journal reported that hundreds of millions of dollars may have moved through agencies linked to 1MDB and landed in accounts controlled by the prime minister. Najib has alleged a political conspiracy to undermine him and vowed not to resign. He's threatened to sue the Journal, while Malaysian police have launched a probe into how reporters obtained the evidence for its story. The Journal has said it stands by its reporting.