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Nazir Razak: Reflections on CIMB, 1MDB and a family name


Nazir Razak, who built CIMB from an obscure Malaysian merchant bank to a pan-regional universal player, is the youngest of five brothers. The eldest, Najib, was the prime minister who was convicted for his role in the 1MDB scandal. That pitted the two against one another. In the background of the brothers’ opposition was the legacy of their father.

Podcast: Nazir Razak – what’s in a name?

You couldn’t have had a closer ring-side seat to the political and financial evolution of Malaysia than Nazir Razak did without actually being in the ring. Which, increasingly, he was.

Son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, brother of its fifth, against whom he ended up in direct opposition over the 1MDB scandal, along the way Nazir built one of southeast Asia’s most powerful banks out of extremely modest foundations.

It has been quite a journey, and Nazir (given the number of Razaks in this story, and the Malaysian custom, we will go by first names) has now immortalized it in a book, 'What’s in a name'.

It is going to rattle some cages, particularly in the family; among other things it makes clear the increasingly fractious relationship that Nazir, the youngest of five, and his other brothers had with Najib as they realized just how much their eldest-sibling-and-prime-minister knew about the devastating 1MDB scandal.

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Chris Wright is Asia editor. He covers the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. He has previously been Middle East editor of Euromoney, editor of Asiamoney, investment editor of the Australian Financial Review and a correspondent on emerging markets and sovereign wealth for numerous publications worldwide. He has also written two books.
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