Mahathir Mohamad on corruption and ‘saving Malaysia’

We challenge Malaysia’s former prime minister, and also debate Ethiopia’s treatment of the Oromo people.

In this week’s UpFront, we speak to Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s former leader, about his call for Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign.

In the Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan examines why drone strikes are ineffective. And in the Arena, we debate Ethiopia’s treatment of the Oromo people with the Ethiopian communications minister and an Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) executive committee member.

Headliner – Former PM Mahathir Mohamad: Malaysia ‘will go to the dogs’

Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, wants to “save Malaysia” and oust the country’s current PM Najib Razak over claims that he mismanaged the economy, suppressed free speech and allegedly took hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, all accusations the PM denies.

The “Save Malaysia” movement, led by Mahathir and made up of opposition leaders from across the political spectrum, is centred on a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal that alleges nearly $700m found in Najib’s personal bank accounts came from the state-funded 1Malaysia development fund. Najib, however, says the money was a campaign donation from Saudi Arabia and has since been returned.

Mahathir, who served as the country’s prime minister for 22 years, says that Najib must “go” and that his “leadership undermines” Malaysia’s institutions. In this week’s Headliner, Mehdi Hasan challenges Mahathir on his campaign to oust the current prime minister.

“He’s gone off track,” Mahathir says. “He has done a lot of things which are actually wrong, and as a result he has put the country in a very bad position.”

Commenting on Malaysia’s future, Mahathir adds: “If Najib is there, this country will go to the dogs.”

In a wide-ranging interview, the former prime minister also discusses his political future, his legacy and his history of anti-Semitic remarks.

Reality Check: The truth about US drone strikes

Drone supporters often say that strikes are effective, their targets aren’t random and are not a recruiting tool for various armed groups. A look at evidence, though, demonstrates otherwise.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan explains why he believes drone strikes are ineffective, inaccurate and unsuccessful.

Arena: Are Ethiopia’s Oromo being violently repressed?

More than 400 Oromos have been killed and tens of thousands arrested since November, a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found. The Ethiopian government says that some protesters from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group have died, but HRW is “very generous with numbers”, and protests have been overrun by armed groups.

The latest round of protests began over a government plan to expand Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, to parts of the surrounding Oromia region. The government’s plan has since been cancelled, but protests have continued over what Oromos say is the longstanding marginalisation of the Oromo people.

So is the government guilty of a violent crackdown on the Oromos? In this week’s Arena, Getachew Reda, the country’s communication affairs minister, debates with Lencho Bati, an executive committee member of the Oromo Democratic Front.

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