MALAYSIA is agog with speculation. The government, which charged a sitting minister and a prominent businessman with corruption earlier this month, says it has a list of 18 other high-profile suspects due for similar treatment.

 Opposition politicians say that Rafidah Aziz, the minister of trade, should be among them. She denies any wrong-doing and says she will sue her critics for defamation—a threat they claim to welcome as a chance to prove their accusations in court.Is the pervasiveness of corruption, a problem common to most countries in South-East Asia, at last getting a proper airing?

The region is certainly awash with celebrated corruption cases. Joseph Estrada, the deposed president of the Philippines, is currently on trial for “economic plunder”.

On February 12th, Indonesia's supreme court finally ruled on a long-running embezzlement case against Akbar Tandjung, the speaker of parliament. In 2001, Thailand's constitutional court heard charges that Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister, had concealed some assets during an earlier stint as minister.

 Last October, it sentenced a former health minister, Rakkiat Sukthana, to 15 years in jail for colluding with pharmaceutical firms.

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