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Malaysians welcome anti-corruption drive

Cynics may regard the new prime minister of Malaysia's dramatic moves against corruption and overblown projects as little more than electioneering. But many in the financial community see the actions as a welcome and necessary change of tack for the country. Peter Koh reports.

On February 10th Malaysians woke
up to discover that Eric Chia Eng
Hock had been arrested in conjunction
with one of the country's longest
running financial scandals.

THE HEADLINE-GRABBING arrests made by Malaysia's Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) last month are the subject of much discussion in Kuala Lumpur's financial community. It isn't the allegations of impropriety that have got Malaysians talking so much as the fact that the government appears to be doing something about it. The arrests have attracted widespread praise. But the questions on people's minds now concern just how far the government is prepared to go and what the consequences will be.

Prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi spent his first 100 days in office carefully spelling out his agenda, including promises to clamp down on corruption, cut red tape, and improve transparency in the award of government contracts.

The first arrest came just two days after the prime minister celebrated his 100th day in office, an event that was orchestrated to remind people of what the new head of government had achieved and promised since he took over from his predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad.

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