Stunning fall of Malaysia's Najib ushers in hopes of reform

Stunning fall of Malaysia's Najib ushers in hopes of reform
FILE - In this May 9, 2018, file photo, then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak shows his finger marked with ink after voting at his hometown in Pekan, Pahang state, Malaysia. After 60 years of uninterrupted National Front rule, many Malaysians are optimistic they are ushering in an era of reform that echoes the democratic transformation of giant neighbor Indonesia two decades earlier. The difference, they hope, is that it will continue to be accomplished without setting their multiethnic country in flames. A grouping of progressive Southeast Asian lawmakers has hailed Najib’s defeat as a “bright spot amid dark times” of rising authoritarianism across the region. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Two weeks ago, Malaysia’s Najib Razak was supremely confident of being re-elected prime minister. Instead, in a dizzying political drama, he lost an unlosable election and spiraled into deepening disgrace while Malaysians are being feted for advancing democratic values against their global retreat.

In a series of humiliations, Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor were banned from leaving the country; truckloads of luggage stashed with cash and valuables as well as hundreds of expensive designer bags were seized from their properties; and anti-corruption police questioned Najib about a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal on his watch.

After 60 years of National Front rule, many Malaysians are optimistic they are ushering in an era of reform. Their hope is it will continue to be accomplished without setting their multiethnic country in flames.