Malaysia PM Najib Razak gets new powers amid protests over 1MDB fund scandal


(The Guardian) – Malaysia’s prime pinister Najib Razak is to get sweeping security powers amid planned protests calling for his resignation over allegations that millions of dollars from a state fund wound up in his personal bank account.

The new National Security Council act, which comes into force on Monday 1 August, allows Najib to designate any area as a “security area”, where he can deploy forces to search any individual, vehicle or premise without a warrant. It also allows investigators to dispense with formal inquests into killings by the police or armed forces in those areas.

Najib’s ruling coalition promoted the law as a means to counter threats to security in predominantly Muslim Malaysia, which has long dealt with a fringe element of radical Islamists.

But critics say the law’s expansive powers threaten human rights and democracy in the emerging nation and could now be used to silence critics of the One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund scandal.

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