Public lecture: Kerstin Steiner on the tangled web of politics, economics and law: the crisis management of 1MDB scandal

The seminar speaker, Associate Professor Kerstin Steiner.

In this public lecture, La Trobe Law School’s Associate Professor Kerstin Steiner will present a paper titled ‘The Tangled Web of Politics, Economics and Law: The Crisis Management of 1MDB Scandal’.


In 2015, allegations of mismanagement of funds in the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB) surfaced. 1MDB was set up in 2009 when Prime Minister Najib Razak came into office, and was supposed to oversee Kuala Lumpur’s transformation into a thriving commercial hub.

The scandal has triggered a national and international ‘crisis of confidence’ undermining the trust in the current political regime to allow an impartial and transparent investigation into this matter. Criticisms, including from the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, have added to the chorus of mounting pressure on the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, amid reports of a paper trail tracing millions of dollars into his personal bank account.

The talk will look at the development of the scandal and crisis management by the government and in particular the management of the national and international investigations.


Associate Professor Kerstin Steiner is an Associate Professor at the Law School, La Trobe University specialising on Southeast Asia and the intersection of law, religion, culture, politics and economics. She is also an Associate of the Asian Law Centre and the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, both at the University of Melbourne.

She has held numerous visiting positions including at the University of Malaya; Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Politics and Law, Osaka University; and a visiting scholar position at the Centre for Socio-legal Studies, Oxford University.

She presented her research extensively locally and internationally including at Oxford University, and University of Warwick, UK; Social Science Research Centre (WZB) Berlin, University of Bielefeld, University of Muenster, University of Osnabrueck and Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany; National University of Singapore, Singapore; and University of Melbourne, Australia.

Her publications include ‘Rule of Law in Brunei’ in Rule of Law in ASEAN Region: Update on the Baseline Study commissioned by the Human Rights Resource Centre (2016); ‘Comparative Law in Syariah Courts: A Case Study of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei’ in Mads Adenas and Duncan Fairgrieve (eds) Comparative Law before the Courts, Oxford University Press (2015); Islam, Law and the State in Southeast Asia a co-authored two volumes series published by IB Tauris (2012); and a forthcoming chapter ‘Politics and Economics: The 1MDB Scandal and Corruption in Malaysia’ in Sophie Lemiere (ed) Misplaced Democracy.

Public Lecture

Date: Wednesday 29 March 2017

Time: 5.30pm-7pm

Venue: City Campus, La Trobe University (Room 2.10, Level 2, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne)

Cost: Free

RVSP: Please register via Eventbrite.

La Trobe