Published 28 Jul 2020, 3:22 pm
Modified 28 Jul 2020, 11:58 pm
After years reporting on the 1MDB and SRC International affair, Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown said the court’s guilty verdict against former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak today felt like vindication.
“Of course it felt like a vindication to hear the judge lay out in such clear and precise terms the confirmation of all we have been writing about.
“It is no longer ‘foreign lies’. It is a solid judgment by a Malaysian judge after months of going through the facts and listening to the arguments,” said Rewcastle-Brown (above) when contacted by Malaysiakini.
She has been writing extensively about 1MDB and its one-time subsidiary SRC International since 2013, uncovering irregularities, the role played in the two companies by Penang-born Jho Low and the international money trail leading to Najib’s bank accounts.
Much of what the editor wrote about and the evidence she had uncovered have appeared in various trials against Najib.
In 2015, at the height of the crackdown against dissidents and investigators probing 1MDB, the Najib-administration blocked Malaysian access to Rewcastle-Brown’s blog Sarawak Report, issued a warrant for her arrest and accused her of breaching laws barring “activities detrimental to Parliamentary democracy”.
Many of Najib’s supporters have accused her of being part of a massive foreign conspiracy to overthrow Najib’s administration through undemocratic means.
upport good journalism
Asked for her message to journalists who face adversity in reporting corruption, as she did for years, Rewcastle-Brown said she hoped the outcome of Najib’s case reinforces the appreciation of journalism’s role in keeping societies free and free from corruption.
“Given the nature of this crime perpetrated at the highest levels, there was an overwhelming likelihood for Najib that he would get away with it because all the normal agents of the law were deterred from confronting the highest in the land.
“In these circumstances, it takes journalists to speak out and communicate to the public and ask the right questions about suspicious goings-on,” she said.
Rewcastle-Brown said she had feared for her safety and faced many legal and other threats, which she said was always a risk for journalists trying to cover major stories.
Rewcastle-Brown could not enter Malaysia until BN was ousted during the 2018 elections. She has since published a book on her experience in covering the 1MDB affair and won an award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for her work in 2018.
“So I hope Malaysia takes note of the important role and supports rather than harasses journalists who are trying to speak truth to power and bring the truth to the public about matters that those in power may not like,” she said.