View video of this Singapore Press Club Book Talk, a fireside chat with Romen Bose, author of the book Final Reckoning: An Insider’s View of the Fall of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional Government.

How did a Singaporean journalist end up becoming a political communications adviser to a sitting Malaysian prime minister? When will the next General Election be held and why are there so many political parties springing up? Former correspondent with AFP, Al Jazeera International and Channel NewsAsia, Romen Bose, gives his insider’s assessment of Malaysian politics in this fireside chat with Straits Times’ Foreign Editor, Bhagyashree Garekar. He describes vividly how he became a close confidante to Malaysia’s political elite for six years, with a front row seat to the drama, intrigue, violence and incompetence that finally ended the rule of Malaysia’s sixty-one year old Barisan Nasional Government in May 2018. 

The video of the session is available at this link.

About the book – Final Reckoning
An unparalleled political blockbuster of intrigue, disaster, incompetence and the biggest financial scandal the world has ever seen.

From the innermost sanctum of the Prime Minister’s private offices among the Minaret-studded buildings of Putrajaya to streets filled with tear-gassed protestors in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Romen Bose, a former international correspondent and political communications consultant to then Prime Minister Najib Razak, provides a gripping and engaging true story of drama, intrigue, violence and incompetence that finally ended the rule of Malaysia’s sixty-one year old Barisan Nasional Government in May 2018.

With a front-row seat to the major controversies that hit the Najib Razak administration, Romen reveals for the first-time how the country’s leadership reacted to the disappearance of MH370 and the still classified covert moves to retrieve the remains of Malaysian victims following the shooting down of MH17. Final Reckoning also gives a blow-by-blow account of how the 1MDB scandal rocked the Government and the attempts by the country’s top politicians and their advisers to contain and explain it away. Through numerous conversations with key players and his presence at various top secret meetings amid the global investigations into the scandal, Final Reckoning pieces together how a sitting Prime Minister became, Najib claims, ‘the fall guy’ for a mastermind who had managed to pull off the single biggest con of the century.

Also revealed for the first-time:

  •  The final hours and minutes of the Barisan Nasional Government as its leaders attempted to keep its rule alive following its devastating loss at the polls
  • How the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) may have conspired and mortally wounded itself ahead of the General Elections
  • A spy in the Prime Minister’s Office
  • An almost successful plot allegedly planned by some of the country’s top civil servants to arrest and depose a sitting Prime Minister; and
  • The real story behind the mystery of Flight MH370, which disappeared on 8 March 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard.

In doing so, Final Reckoning tells the story of an ultimately futile scramble to try and preserve a crumbling political legacy that had long been out of step with the realities of a new Malaysia. This book is the story of the wild roller-coaster ride that marked the Barisan Nasional Government’s rule, from the 2013 General Elections, until its 61-year old hold on power came to an end on the night of 9 May 2018.

About the author
An international correspondent with over 22 years of reporting experience in the region, Romen Bose worked as a Political Communications Consultant for former Malaysian Premier Najib Razak for six years and was a close confidante to decision makers in the upper echelon of the country’s political elite. Before setting up his own consultancy, Romen was head of Asian social media at IHS Markit and worked as a senior foreign correspondent with French news agency AFP based in Kuala Lumpur. He was the founding president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia and a senior producer with the English service of Al Jazeera International when it opened its regional base in Malaysia. Prior to this, Romen was the Indochina Bureau Chief for Channel News Asia and has also consulted for the United Nations. Romen has also researched and written extensively on the second world war and its impact on Southeast Asia.

Moderated by our member, Ms Bhagyashree Garekar, The Straits Times Foreign Editor. 
She was ST’s US correspondent during the Bush/Obama administrations. She has covered Asean summits, G7, WEF in Davos and the IMF-WB meetings. She produced ST’s first ebook, Myanmar Sunrise, a prize-winner at the 2013 Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association awards in Sydney. She also wrote Living History, an ebook on ST, among the world’s oldest newspapers. She started her career in India with the top-selling financial daily, The Economic Times, with stints in New Delhi and Mumbai. She is a Jefferson Fellow.

Hosted by Ms Lau Joon-Nie, Vice President of Singapor Press Club
A lawyer by training, Joon-Nie spent over 15 years in broadcast television as a law and technology reporter, interactive producer, news and current affairs editor at Channel NewsAsia and its predecessors SBC News and TCS News. She then spent seven years at Nanyang Technological University, where she  taught courses in news and PR writing, news presentation and overseas reporting which led her to Timor-Leste, Southern Thailand, North Korea and remote places in China. After five years with the World Association of News Publishers, she’s now the Deputy CEO of the Singapore International Mediation Centre.


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