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The Sarawak Report
17 January @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The 1MDB scandal, the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, and the attempt to cover it up became ‘Southeast Asia’s Watergate’, in 2018 bringing down the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak after 61 years of single-party power. Beyond that, it has had repercussions throughout the global banking sector, is shaking Goldman Sachs to the core, and is proving a test case of international authorities’ resolve to tackle kleptocracy.
Clare Rewcastle Brown is the journalist who, while investigating the deforestation of Sarawak, Borneo, and the dispossession of its people, first uncovered the story and relentlessly pursued it to bring it to public attention. Her reportage on her website, Sarawak Report – exposing the shady dealings of international politicians, finance powerhouses, prominent Western PR and legal firms, the United Nations and Hollywood glitterati – convulsed Malaysian politics and reverberated around the world.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to join Clare Rewcastle Brown in an exciting discussion about the exposure of ‘Southeast Asia’s Watergate’.
Clare Rewcastle Brown is an investigative journalist who focuses on environmental destruction in Malaysia and global financial corruption. She is the founder of the website sarawakreport.org and author of The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé, which is to be turned into a major Hollywood film. In 2018 she received the Environmentalist of the Year Award by the Bob Brown Foundation in Tasmania. Previously, Fortune Magazine named her one of the World’s 50 Most Influential Figures; she was named one of Britain’s Women of the Year 2016; in 2018 she was awarded the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Guardian Award for Investigative Journalism; and in 2013 she received the International Press Institute’s Pioneer of Media Freedom Award.
Nikita Malik – is the Director of the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism (CRT) at the Henry Jackson Society. She is an internationally recognised expert on countering violent extremism, terrorism, and hate-based violence, with a focus on youth deradicalisation. In her role, she has worked with key policy makers and government departments in the UK and globally. A key component of Nikita’s work focuses on the propagation of extremist material online, including on social media platforms and the Darknet. Her research has put forward a number of solutions to foster engagement between UK government policymakers and technology companies.
On the 17th January, Nikita Malik hosted Clare Rewcastle Brown at the Henry Jackson Society to speak about the findings of her new book The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé.
Nikita began the talk with an introduction of Clare and outlining the book’s unveiling of the attempted cover up which is likened to the South East Asian ‘Watergate’. In 2018 this led to the shutdown of the Malaysian government after sixty years of single power. Beyond that it has also had repercussions which are beyond the global banking sector and shook Goldman Sachs to the core. Clare Rewcastle Brown’s investigation into the deforestation of Sarawak and Borneo and the displacement of its people by relentlessly pursuing it to bring it to public attention. Her book is to be turned into a Hollywood film and Clare also received the Environmentalist of the Year award.
Clare started her talk but stating that every time she goes to speak about how she refers to it as 1MDB, the landscape has changed. Today had a whole series of new developments the spat between Goldman Sachs and the former Prime Minister has transformed into accusations that bucket loads of money has been stolen from 1MDB. The story started as the most remote thing she could have imagined looking into, in a tropical jungle on the other side of the world but it has now grabbed world headlines and threatened a major bank inevitably making its share price fall by 40%.
As a story it is an interesting yet depressing one to follow, covering the theft and expenditure of nearly $7billion on super yachts and Beverly Hills penthouses. It began by investigating the people behind this, not to challenge banks or do a story about high finance and business. The destruction of the tropics and damage to the soil and rivers, turning what was a region of immense value to something akin to the Australian desert is having a huge impact on global warming.
Having grown up there, her connection was strong and after speaking with local journalists in the region Clare began to realise that the entrenched state government were behind this destruction in exchange for mass wealth from oil. After grasping that people would listen to a three-minute Sky News report and move on again fairly quickly and that her films weren’t successful, she decided that something had to be better than nothing and started reaching out to Malaysians directly by starting a blog that detailed what the local journalists could not say.