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Malaysia

Yearbook 1999

Malaysia. On November 29, general elections were held in Malaysia, since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced new elections. This happened after what has been described as the dirtiest election campaign in M's history, where sexual allegations against the former finance minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim were important elements. As expected, the ruling party won the UMNO (United Malays National Organization), but the election is still referred to as something of a victory for the opposition, a four-party alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim's wife, Wan Azizah. Although the ruling party retained a two-thirds majority in the parliament, the opposition was strongly ahead, capturing 45 of the 193 seats, compared to 23 of 189 seats in the past.

One of the parties in the alliance, the fundamentalist PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) already had a majority in the state of Kelantan in the north, and now also triumphed in Terengganu. This is a major political problem for the Malay-dominated government, since Terengganu is considered the heart of the Malay majority. Azizah won the election in her constituency, where she defeated a representative of the ruling party. This can be seen as a signal from the voters that it is difficult to accept the trial of her husband.

According to Countryaah official website, Anwar Ibrahim, who was dismissed and imprisoned in 1998 after criticizing Mahathir's regime for corruption and slander, was sentenced in April to six years in prison for corruption. In June, the second trial began, in which he was charged with homosexual acts. It had to be postponed in September, after Anwar argued before the court that he was poisoned with arsenic in prison. Urine samples that were secretly smuggled out of prison had shown 77 times too high levels of arsenic.

About 10,000 people demonstrated in the capital Kuala Lumpur on September 19, demanding that the alleged poisoning be investigated. They were met by police with tear gas and water cannons, and several people were arrested.

Several of the financial restrictions imposed in connection with the economic crisis in 1997 and 1998 were lifted during the year. In February, the ban on making profits on foreign investments ceased, and in September currency control was eased, without causing any significant capital flight.

1999 Malaysia

As a result of the election, former Prime Minister Abdullah resigned in April 2009 and was replaced by Najib Tun Razak, who embarked on a more moderate line that was not to the same degree hard-line Malay oriented. He began his tenure in lifting the ban on two of the opposition's papers, releasing 13 people imprisoned under terrorism laws and promising that he would look into the highly-criticized detention laws that allow the state to detain people indefinitely without a sentence. In May, he announced an economic plan to accelerate Malaysia's development into a high-income country. As part of the plan, access to foreign capital was liberalized so that it could have a dominant influence in otherwise strategic sectors such as banks, telecommunications and energy. The liberalizations opened up to, that the North American financial institutions Goldman Sachs and Citigroup could expand significantly in Malaysia. In the months following his accession, he entered into new trade and cooperation agreements with, among other things, India, China, Singapore and Indonesia. In June 2010, Razak removed the subsidies for oil and gas.

Already in September 2008, Najib had launched the 1Malaysia campaign aimed at creating harmony between the country's diverse ethnic groups, national unity and more effective governance.

In May 2011, Bersih - the Movement for Clean and Free Elections - announced that it would hold a demonstration in July. Authorities responded by stepping up persecution of the movement's members and searching its offices. During the demonstration, police shot tear gas into the protesters as they passed through a tunnel, the protesters were knocked over and 1,700 arrested. Subsequently, police charged Tung Shin hospital with tear gas. It dealt with the victims of police violence. In September, Prime Minister Razak declared that the government would further tighten the country's draconian terrorist legislation with 2 new laws under Article 149 of the country's constitution: "Special laws against subversive enterprise". In November, the government passed a law against "assemblies in motion" (anti-demonstration law) and at the same time gave the police extended powers to determine the form and content of public meetings. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the "positive" development of the country, one of the US's close allies in the region.

In January 2012, the High Court overturned the verdict against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy. Human rights organizations subsequently called on the Malaysian government to review the country's conservative legislation facing homosexuals.

In October 2012, Malaysia played a key role as a mediator in the conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government of the Philippines. The negotiations led to a peace agreement between the two warring parties.

Malaysia has historically supported Palestine towards the Israeli occupation of the country. In January 2013, Najib became the first Southeast Asian Muslim prime minister to visit Palestine when he was granted access to a state visit to Gaza. He took the opportunity to urge Hamas and Fatah to form a unifying government. Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and has declared that they will only be admitted when Israel agrees to abandon the occupied territories and concludes a peace agreement with Palestine. Due. the country's positive attitude towards Palestine houses 3-5,000 Palestinian students, and many Palestinians use the country to seek temporary asylum.

As a prelude to the May parliamentary elections in February 2013, the government distributed soft money gifts to the country's poorest. Each household with a monthly income below 3,000 Ringgit received 500 Ringgit. The country's middle class and urban population typically voted against the opposition. The government's maneuver aimed to mobilize the poorer rural population to vote.

 

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