Journalist who played key role in uncovering 1MDB scandal ‘briefly detained’ by Singapore authorities

Photo: Sarawak Report
Photo: Sarawak Report

The woman who played a major role in the exposé of Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal found herself detained in Singapore on Saturday morning thanks to a mysterious blacklisting she was apparently placed in.

British investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown — editor of Malaysian whistleblower site Sarawak Report — had been in Johor Bahru for the launch of her book The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose. In it, she details her experiences about uncovering corruption in Malaysia, including how she was harassed, blacklisted and faced attempts to arrest her throughout the process.

The Sarawak-born British citizen had her site blocked in Malaysia thanks to former prime minister Najib Razak, but the ban has since been lifted since his political party Barisan Nasional crumbled in the general election earlier this year.

Over the weekend, Sarawak Report posted on social media that Rewcastle Brown was detained briefly by Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoint Authority officers, who were themselves baffled about why she was blacklisted. “Turns out ‘someone’ put her on the blacklist in 2016…” noted Sarawak Report in the post.

Things were cleared up after she clarified her involvement in the 1MDB exposé, and she was free to leave. “(ICA) suggested she raise the problem of the ‘mystery blacklisting’ with the authorities,” wrote Sarawak Report. From the picture uploaded, it would appear to be that she was detained in an ICA land checkpoint bordering Johor and Singapore.

Though her articles helped to topple Najib’s administration, Rewcastle Brown revealed to The Star that she has yet to return to Sarawak as she remains on a travel blacklist to the state of her birth.

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