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).