There is a general impression that Malaysia is a peaceful country. This appears to be far from true. Bridget Welsh, writing in East Asia Forum, notes that the political norm in Malaysia can be brutal.

Malaysian politics is dirty. Murder, sodomy, secret trysts, sex videos and conspiracy are all commonplace, and corruption scandals occur regularly. Both sides wallow in this political gutter, each trying to darken the reputation of the other, and not fully appreciating how much the system as a whole has been damaged. The acquittal provided the government with an opportunity to take the high road and move away from this negative approach to politics. Instead, it opted to appeal – despite the shabbiness of the evidence.

New Mandala readers only have to visit the site of Malaysia’s most famous exiled blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, at Malaysia Today, to get a dose of the defiled nature of Malaysian politics. From the allegations that UMNO engineered the killing of Sabah’s top leaders who had demanded 20% of oil royalties, to the recent “death” of a prominent business man investigating covertly scandals in the state of Selangor…and many more.

Are these allegations true?

If they are, can this peaceful fa├зade remain?