Once-banned Rewcastle-Brown returns to Malaysia

Once banned, Clare Rewcastle-Brown is reported to have entered Malaysia without hindrance. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Clare Rewcastle-Brown of the Sarawak Report blog arrived in Malaysia on Saturday after the new government tore up an arrest warrant made against her.

“It was very relaxed at the airport, no problems with immigration,” she told Reuters in a brief phone interview. “It’s a big sigh of relief from me.”

Clare Rewcastle-Brown had published details of the alleged transfer of US$681 million from the government-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad through bank accounts held by Najib.

The former prime minister has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Rewcastle-Brown, a British subject, was born and spent her early years in Sarawak. Malaysian authorities issued a warrant for her arrest in 2015, citing activities “detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.

She returned to Malaysia after learning that her website had been unblocked and the warrant lifted by the new government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose Pakatan Harapan coalition won power in a surprise election victory last week.

Since taking office, Mahathir has reopened investigations into 1MDB and Najib’s involvement in the scandal.

During 2014 and 2015, Sarawak Report published a series of articles, with leaked documents and emails, that detailed how money was allegedly syphoned off from 1MDB.

Rewcastle-Brown said she had not been invited to meet with the new administration and hoped only to see friends she had not spoken with after she was blocked from entering Malaysia, Reuters reported.

“It was a tough battle for all of us… the previous administration spent so much time and money trying to get me,” she was quoted as saying. “But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have a deep down confidence that Malaysia could come through and this could have a good outcome.”

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