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M’sian celebs speak out against government

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysian artists have raised uncomfortable questions against the government in recent days, a rare move as local performers critical of the government often fear they would be sidelined from TV appearances and from government functions.

Malaysian singer Sheila Majid on Monday sent out a tweet criticising the government over cost of living issues.

This came three days after actress Nur Fathia Latiff last Friday hit out at a government-backed inquiry that implicated former premier Mahathir Mohamad in huge central bank trading losses in the 1990s.

Sheila, 52, who has 214,000 Twitter followers, on Monday tweeted in English: "Food is expensive, ringgit is weak, cost of living is high and jobs are scarce... Stop making excuses and looking for faults. Focus on the job of getting our country back on track."

Nur Fathia, tweeted last Friday in Malay and English, after the Royal Commission of Inquiry's findings on the central bank losses implicating Dr Mahathir was published: "Action taken only after 30 years? After decades of Tun's service? Is this 'smart'? When a person does nine good things, no one sees it. One 'mistake' and is that all you see?"

The 30-year-old has 197,000 Twitter followers.

She added in the tweet: "You want to dig up old stories right? Let's talk about a sum of money that was deposited to someone's personal account. Investigations should be made accordingly and 'the result' is to be disclosed to the public since there are questions that have not been fully answered."

Nur Fathia was likely referring to the scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had been defending himself against reports that US$700 million (S$944 million) were purportedly deposited into his personal bank accounts from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

He has been cleared any wrongdoing.

The criticism came at a sensitive time as Malaysia's biggest party, Umno, led by Mr Najib, on Tuesday started its annual meeting. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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