20 Political Headlines That Broke The Internet In 2016

SAYS' main newsmakers of 2016!

Cover image via SAYS

1. 9 November was a historical day for the United States of America as Donald J. Trump won the US presidential elections, beating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The shocking win saw the Republicans capturing the White House again after eight years of it being under the Democrats.

US President Donald John Trump

Image via AP/LM Otero

2. In November, a young Malaysian lecturer's open letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak went viral.

Ashely Greig's heartfelt letter perfectly described the thoughts of most Malaysians about the recent price hikes on fuel and cooking oil, which puts a further dent on struggling Malaysians' financial condition.

Image via AP / SAYS

3. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit to seize dozens of properties worth close to USD13.5 billion, allegedly bought with 1MDB funds.

The list saw assets in the form of apartments and properties to paintings worth more than billions of dollars.

Laurel Beverly Hills Mansion, Beverly Hills, California was purchased for USD31 million.

Image via Sarawak Report

4. The last week of September saw a sudden spark in GE14 talks among Malaysians, with many speculating that it may be held as early as March 2017.

To ensure that their names will be included in the electoral roll in time to vote in the 14th General Elections, thousands of Malaysians crowded local post offices to register as voters.

Image via Cilisos

5. Bersih 5 which was held on 29 November was for most parts a peaceful rally, with no commotions, riots or fights except for one minor moment involving a Bersih supporter.

The angry man wanted to go through the police blockades until activist Adam Adli stepped in to remind the man the importance of patience and Bersih's real motives.

Activist Adam Adli saved the day by diffusing the tense situation with his gentle demenour and positive talk.

Image via Facebook

6. 2016 saw PM Najib Razak speaking extensively about the influence and importance of technology in the world of politics.

In line with that, he released a mobile app, 'Najib Razak' that would allow you to be up to date with all the latest happenings about Najib and even interact with him.

Image via SAYS

6. On 17 September, Bernama revealed that our very own 'first lady', Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor will be receiving the prestigious 'Lead by Example' award for her exemplary work with the PERMATA program.

The happy news quickly took a sour turn, after the Antiquities Coalition announced that they have removed her from the list of honourees as they couldn't verify the sources of PERMATA's fundings.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor

Image via AFP via Asia One

7. The year started with a shocking news for Malaysians as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that notorious terrorist group, Islamic State (ISIS) had planned to kidnap PM Najib Razak and other top level Malaysian ministers.

Thanks to the efforts of the Malaysian police force's anti-terrorism unit, the kidnapping attempts failed.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Image via Coconuts KL

8. Earlier this year, the authorities conducted investigations on human trafficking syndicates in Malaysia, only to find out that there were a group of immigration officers who had sabotaged the system.

Following that, the Immigration Department fired 15 of its officers, while another 14 were slapped with suspensions and the remaining eight had their salary increments frozen.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via The Malay Mail Online

9. Bersih 5 happened on Saturday, 19 November. The rally was the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections' fifth protest and an estimated number of 40,000 people joined this year.

Bersih 5

Image via SAYS

10. The US government filed a civil lawsuit seeking to seize assets worth more than USD1 billion that had been allegedly bought using money stolen from the 1MDB fund.

They named PM Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, Jho Low, the Malaysian financier who helped set up 1MDB and Khadem Al Qubaisi, the former Managing Director Of Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Co. in the lawsuit.

From left to right, Riza Aziz, Jho Low and Khadem Al Qubaisi.

Image via WSJ

11. When speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Peru recently, US President Barack Obama, stressed on the importance of improving world peace and maintaining it.

"There are limits to our reach into other countries if they're determined to oppress their people, or not provide girls education, or siphon off development funds into Swiss bank accounts because they’re corrupt".

Image via VOA News

His mention of siphoning off development funds led to speculations about how he may have referred to the scandal ridden 1MDB state investment fund.

12. The Wall Street Journal revealed in September that PM Najib Razak's wife, Rosmah Mansor has spent USD6 million on clothes, shoes and jewellery in just seven years.

However, in her biography, the 'first lady' has denied all allegations of expensive, unexplained purchases by saying that, "I have bought some jewellery and dressed with my own money. What is wrong with that?".

Image via Coconuts KL

13. Danny Quah, the former Professor of Economics and International Development at the LSE and Political Science wrote an article about the failings of the Najib regime and 1MDB last year.

"Malaysia has gone rogue – with a corrupt political elite, a compromised judiciary, an electoral process that isn’t working, and a system that punishes whistle-blowers," read the article which went viral again after the Sarawak Report resposted it in November.

14. Unlike most foreign presidential elections, America's elections caught the attention of the whole world, especially after Donald J. Trump bagged the White House in a surprising win.

His controversial ideas and policies were greatly different from President Barack Obama's. We took a look at possible changes and how Trump's presidency will affect Malaysia.

Image via ABS CBN News

15. Bersih 5 served as a great platform for not only creating an awareness and fighting for democracy and free and fair elections, but also an amazing display of Malaysians' creativity.

We did a compilation of all the thought-provoking and creative banners and signs we spotted during the rally.

Image via SAYS

16. 2016 saw a massive clampdown on freedom of speech.

In line with that, a 76-year-old elderly Johorian man was arrested for "insulting" PM Najib Razak by sharing a photo of the prime minister in a WhatsApp chat group named, '"Bicara Politik Melayu" (Discuss Malay Politics).

Image via Telegraph UK

17. In July, the US Department Of Justice (DOJ) held a press conference to announce the filing of the civil forfeiture complaints to seize assets tied to the scandal-ridden 1MDB state fund.

US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch's speech at the press conference on 1MDB highlighted how the case is the "largest single action ever brought by the department's Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative" among many other things.

US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

Image via The Wall Street Journal

18. Despite his unpopular sentiments and racy campaign speeches and policies, thousands of Americans opted for Trump over Hillary.

His win brought an immense amount of negative comments and criticisms from people over the world, including a large number of Malaysians.

19. Syarul Ema Rena Abu Samah or popularly known as Ratu Naga, posted a Facebook status in July about Datin Rosmah Mansor and the Sultan of Pahang. It read, "Looks affectionate, cute and funny (comel dan manja)".

Just a few days later, 14 PDRM and MCMC officers barged into the heavily pregnant lady's house and "raided her house like she was a terrorist" for insulting Rosmah, PM Najib and the Sultan of Pahang.

Image via Rizal/Mansor

20. The 2016 UMNO General Assembly lasted for five days, from 29 November till 3 December.

In the span of five days, there were loads of fiery, racially-stoked speeches by UMNO leaders that played on Malay sentiments and showed plenty of support for PM Najib Razak.

Ledang Wanita Umno head Khairin Nisa' Ismail said, "The time is getting closer to GE14, avoid break-ups as we can prevent political doom, which if it happens, will mean the Malays will be colonised and not able to recover."

Image via Sinar Harian

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