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Malaysia

Yearbook 2015

Malaysia. According to COUNTRYAAH, Prime Minister Najib Razak ended up in blustery weather when the Wall Street Journal financial newspaper reported in July that $ 700 million was transferred to his private bank accounts. The money was said to come from the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The state anti-corruption authority later freed Najib. The money was said to be gifts from unnamed people in the Middle East who supported his election campaign in 2013. Najib dismissed the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prosecutor General when demanding a thorough investigation. Investigations were also initiated in Switzerland and the US.

2015 Malaysia

The tours triggered demands for Prime Minister Najib's departure. When he came to power in 2009, he had promised to fight corruption. The opposition organized major protests in August, while Najib's own Malay nationalist party UMNO conducted support protests. But criticism also occurred in UMNO, including the country's former leader Mahathir bin Mohamad, who is still exerting great influence.

Two Malaysian newspapers reporting the scandal were banned from publishing for three months and the government blocked some websites. The government continued to show little tolerance for criticism. In April, new additions to criticized security laws from the British colonial era were adopted, which Najib previously said he would abolish.

The country's highest court in February rejected opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against a five-year sentence for sodomy, which was handed down in 2014. The alleged crime was committed in 2008 and coincided with his position as leader of an opposition alliance, the Alternative Front. Anwar's request for mercy was rejected in April. Several human rights groups claimed that the sentence intended to silence him. Anwar had previously served six years for another so-called sodomy offense under colonial law.

Critics of Anwardom were also threatened with everything from fines to prison. This included organizers of demonstrations and politicians. One notable case was the political cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, who risks 43 years in prison for criticizing the verdict on Twitter.

With Anwar away from the scene, the opposition alliance collapsed in June. One reason was that the Islamist party PAS wanted to introduce sharia laws in the state of Kelantan. In September, a new tripartite alliance, Hope's Alliance, was formed, led by Anwar's wife, which included breakouts from PAS.

The Supreme Court also overturned an emphatic decision from 2014 to give three Muslim transgender people the right to dress in women's clothing. The Court referred to procedural errors and the case must be remanded. The ban was originally issued by an Islamic sharia court in the state of Negeri Sembilan.

Malaysia chaired the ASEAN Regional Cooperation Organization during the year. At the closing meeting in November, Najib announced that ASEAN had agreed to form an economic community, but many obstacles remain before it can become a reality.

The country co-founded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, which was signed in October, bringing together twelve Pacific countries, including the United States and Japan.

Together with Indonesia, Malaysia agreed in May to provide temporary protection to thousands of boat refugees from Burma's Muslim minority population Rohingya. The discovery of several mass graves near the border with Thailand was a reminder of how critical the issue is. The victims are believed to have fallen victim to human smugglers.

The search effort continued after wreckage from Malaysia Airlines passenger plane MH370, which disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board. A small breakthrough came in July when a wing section was found on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

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