Malaysia. The May 9 parliamentary elections were likened
to a political tsunami. The Government Coalition National
Front (BN) and its largest party UMNO were swept away from
power after over 60 years. The trips around the scandalous
government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad
(1MDB) and suspicious links to Prime Minister Najib Razak
contributed to the electoral flight, as did increased living
Countryaah.com, Segrade made the Hope Alliance (PH), a coalition of four
parties, which won 113 of 222 seats in the House of Commons.
The national front got 79. The opposition's victory marked a
comeback for the veteran politician and former longtime
Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. Mahathir, 92, became
the world's oldest head of government.
The day after he took office, Mahathir announced that he
had worked for another veteran - Anwar Ibrahim - to be
pardoned. Anwar was released on May 16 after being pardoned
by the king, Sultan Muhammad V. In 2014, Anwar received a
five-year sentence for sodomy. The verdict - like a previous
conviction for the same crime - was considered politically
motivated and strongly questioned. Anwar's wife Wan Azizah
Wan Ismail was named the country's first female deputy prime
minister. Anwar took office in parliament in October after
winning a general election.
After the election, Najib resigned as leader of UMNO.
Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor were investigated during
the year. Expensive handbags, jewelry and cash were seized
during house searches in their home. Several charges were
brought against Najib for corruption, money laundering and
abuse of power in connection with the 1MDB scandal. He
denies crime. Other UMNO representatives were also
investigated and former ministers were investigated for
suspected corruption. Several of the party's accounts were
frozen. Several countries, including Switzerland, Singapore
and the United States, are also investigating 1MDB. The
Mahathir government hoped to recover a third of the $ 4.5
The new government decided to halt several major
infrastructure projects signed with China under the Najib
government, citing the high cost of Malaysia. There was a
railway line and two oil lines. A high-speed train line
between Singapore and Malaysia was also maintained in the
future. The project has been discussed for several years.
In October, the World Bank lowered its forecast for
growth in 2018 to 4.9%, citing the canceled projects and
weaker exports. In April, growth was estimated at 5.4%. In
2019, growth is expected to be 4.7%.
The trial continued during the year against two women
charged with the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam,
half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. He was
murdered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur after a cloth with
the nerve poison VX was pressed against his face. The women
- one from Indonesia and one from Vietnam - risk the death
penalty if dropped. A judge ruled in August that there was
enough evidence to continue the trial. The defense will
present its case in January 2019. The women claim that they
were deceived and believed that they starred in a television
program. North Korea has been singled out for the murder
since Kim Jong Nam fell into disgrace.