S’wak Report editor to launch book on 1MDB saga

Modified 12 Aug 2018, 12:58 am

A book about the journey of Sarawak-born independent journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown in exposing the multibillion-ringgit 1MDB scandal will hit local bookstores in the next few weeks.

Penned by the Sarawak Report editor herself, the book will give readers an insight into how Brown became involved in exposing corruption in Malaysia, and her experiences as an investigative journalist.

"I decided to speak (about) the story I and others had been living through, and of course I have quite a big insight into what has been going behind the scenes because I have been very involved.

“I know a lot of people wanted to know how I got the story, how it all unfolds, you know, the tos and fros, so I got to work to pull together the story behind the story," said Rewcastle-Brown during an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini co-founder Premesh Chandran on Thursday.

She said the book, titled “Sarawak Report” after her news blog, would be a "big book" as it contains her stories going back as far as 2010.

It was in 2010 that Rewcastle-Brown founded radio channel Radio Free Sarawak and online blog Sarawak Report, which had since become her platform to highlight Malaysian issues, particularly on the effects of corruption.

"It is going to be quite a big book because, you know, (it was about) why did I get involved and started writing about Malaysian issues, and East Malaysian issues. Actually back to 2010 was when I began so it has been more than 5 years, I realised.

“I thought Malaysians would be interested to perhaps have an outsider's observation of what it looked like and where I thought the story could go and so forth," she elaborated.

‘Beacon to other countries’

Rewcastle-Brown said it was exciting to see Malaysia getting to grips with the 1MDB case and taking action on corruption.

"It is such a beacon to other countries to see that you have dealt with this. You know, you have so many forces against you. Great, big global capital forces that were making it difficult for Malaysians to take back control.

“So these things will come out in the book because it was the journey of discovery for me as well, I think, as well as bringing this information that had been hidden to Malaysians".

The British journalist had in 2016 announced that she was writing a book about the 1MDB investigation.

Having first set up the whistleblower blog to highlight mass deforestation in Sarawak, Rewcastle-Brown later focused on 1MDB and the millions of ringgit that allegedly went into the private bank accounts of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The previous government had blocked access to Sarawak Report after it accused Rewcastle-Brown of conspiring with Dr Mahathir Mohamad to topple Najib and publishing false claims.

The police had also issued an arrest warrant for Rewcastle-Brown in 2015 for offences allegedly related to activities “detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and spreading false reports and statements to cause public alarm.

However, since the Pakatan Harapan government came into power, the Sarawak Report website has been unblocked and Rewcastle-Brown has been able to enter Malaysia freely.

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