Published in South China Morning Post on Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 12:08pm.

China’s investment in embattled 1MDB throw Malaysian Prime Minister a lifeline – but carry a hidden price tag

Purchase of multi-billion-dollar assets also buy China leverage in a country where race relations are in a delicate state

By Amy Chew

China’s investment forays into Southeast Asia, even as it presses on with its South China Sea reclamation works are well-known. But recent acquisitions in Malaysia have taken on an unusually high profile in a country with race relations in a delicate state, and where the Chinese are a significant minority.

In the space of less than two months, China has bought two multi-billion-dollar strategic assets from Malaysia’s debt-laden state-owned investment firm, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (IMDB), expanding its influence in the country while throwing a lifeline to embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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