Malaysia. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Malaysia is 32,366,010 people in 2020. Malaysia's ruling party UMNO won a clear victory in
the parliamentary elections in March. UMNO, with Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the forefront, was able to
take 198 of the 219 seats in Parliament's House after the
election. The election results were perceived primarily as a
great personal success for Prime Minister Badawi, who in
October of the previous year had succeeded Mahathir bin
Mohamad who dominated Malaysian politics for 22 years. With
the election, Badawi strengthened his mandate as the
country's leader. UMNO's victory was widely believed to be
due to an intense and popular campaign against the
corruption among business leaders and high politicians.
The election result was a severe setback for the Islamist
opposition party PAS, which lost a full 20 out of 27 seats
in the lower house. The opposition party Keadilan, formerly
the imprisoned politician Anwar Ibrahim's platform, lost all
seats in the lower house except one. UMNO also won big in
the elections to the governing assemblies in Malaysia's 13 states.
PAS only managed to retain control of the state of Kelantan.
Former top politician Anwar Ibrahim was released in
September from the prison where he served a nine-year
sentence for sexual intercourse with men (banned in Malaysia). The
release came on the same day as the nation's highest court,
the Federal Court, annulled the verdict against him. The
decision was motivated mainly by the fact that the
prosecutor's main witness was unreliable. According to the
Federal Court, Anwar Ibrahim should have been acquitted.
Upon release, he had been incarcerated for six years. Anwar
Ibrahim was Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister under
Malaysia's then leader Mahathir bin Mohamad and was regarded as his
closest husband and successor. However, they both ended up
in conflict and Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to long prison
terms for corruption in 1999 and sexual intercourse between
men in 2000.
Anwar has always maintained that the trials were
politically motivated and aimed at removing him from the
political arena when he began to pose a threat to Mahathir's
position of power. Once in freedom, Anwar Ibrahim praised
Prime Minister Badawi for "not interfering in the judicial
process" unlike Mahathir bin Mohamad. However, Anwar
Ibrahim's hopes for a political comeback were shattered when
the Federal Court later in September rejected his
application for an appeal against the corruption verdict of
1999. The sentence was served in 2003, but the ban on
political activity for Anwar Ibrahim applied to 2008.
The May 2013 parliamentary elections were won by Anwar
Ibrahim's Pakitan Rakyat coalition with 50.87% votes. An
increase of 4.12% compared to the election 4 years earlier.
However, due to the electoral system's design, the majority
of votes did not give a majority in parliament, with Najib's
Barisan coalition getting 133 seats (for 47.38% of the
vote), while Ibrahim had to settle for 89. In response to
the injustices, Ibrahim called for demonstrations. Three
days after the election, he spoke to 120,000 black-clad
protesters at a football stadium near Kuala Lumpur. The
government responded again by arresting the leaders of the
demonstrations, citing that the demonstrations were illegal
unless the authorities were informed of them 10 days before.
Despite a majority in the population against him, Najib was
able to continue on the prime minister's post with a solid
majority in parliament behind him.
In October 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited
Malaysia. The two countries signed agreements to strengthen
their bilateral relations and to triple trade by 2017.
An appeal court overturned in March 2014 the court's
acquittal in January 2012 by Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy. The
consequence was that the opposition leader would spend 5
years in prison. The circumstances were quite special. The
court should evl. having dealt with the case in April, but
it was advanced to March 7. The vote, therefore, led to
Ibrahim being barred from running for additional elections
in the Kajang district on March 23. The Court of Appeals'
judgment was appealed in October to the Federal Court - the
country's highest court. On November 7, the court postponed
its order indefinitely. The leader of the opposition is
therefore formally imprisoned following the order of the
Court of Appeal. The appeal to the Federal Court had no
suspensory effect on the judgment. International human
rights organizations with Amnesty International at the
forefront had already stated in advance,
In March, the Malaysian aircraft MH370 disappeared en
route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and
crew on board. Over the Gulf of Siam, the plane had turned
over, flown back across the Malaka Peninsula out south into
the Indian Ocean. The plane was believed to have crashed
into the southern Indian Ocean.
In April, US President Obama visited the country and the
two countries decided to strengthen their cooperation.
Throughout 2014, the regime stepped up the persecution of
human rights activists and journalists for "encouraging
rebellion". Two people were sentenced to 10 and 12 months in
prison and another 16 were placed on the prosecution bench.
As part of censorship legislation, the print media were
required to obtain licenses (for their publication) from the
Ministry of the Interior, and the Minister of the Interior
was authorized to arbitrarily revoke licenses (and thus
close print media). As in Denmark, the police's violations
of human rights are widespread, and the police enjoy almost
total impunity for their crimes. Throughout 2014, at least
13 people died in police custody.
In July 2015, a corruption scandal exploded when the
Wall Street Journalcould say in an article that 700
million US $ had been transferred from state-owned company
1MDB to Prime Minister Najib's personal bank accounts. 1MDB
had been created on Najib's personal initiative in 2009 as
part of the government's economic restructuring program. Six
years later, the state corporation had repaid a debt of $
11.1 billion. US $. Prime Minister UMNO's party announced in
August that US $ was a personal gift from Saudi Arabia the
Prime Minister and therefore was not channeled into the
party. The scandal continued with new revelations. The
regime responded again by closing two newspapers and in
December a new comprehensive security legislation was passed
giving the Prime Minister unprecedented powers beyond
democratic control. The legislation was sharply criticized
by the Malaysian Bar Council and by human rights
organizations.The New York Times and Wall
Street Journal through the fall of 15 revealed their
corruption scandal and its ramifications to the United
States, where the Najib family made major investments.
(1MDB: The inside story of the world's biggest financial
scandal, Guardian 28/7 2016).