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 costs.
According to Countryaah.com, Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia, a country located in Southeastern Asia. 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 billion lost.
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.
New restrictions in parts of the country
New restrictions are being introduced in the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as well as in the states of Selangor and Sabah, after the spread of the coronavirus gained alarming momentum in these areas. Hundreds of new infections have been confirmed in the past week. Examples of new restrictions that are introduced are that schools and places of worship are kept closed and that sports and entertainment events are banned. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for necessary matters such as the purchase of food. However, most companies are allowed to continue their operations in order to protect the country’s economy. Malaysia has had more than 16,000 confirmed cases of corona-infected residents and more than 150 dead with covid-19.
Rare criticism of China
Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein criticizes China’s claims in the South China Sea as unfounded under international law. The Minister adds that Malaysia has turned to the UN to assert its right to the territory off the Malaysian coast. The statement is unusual from Malaysia, which in the past usually chose to be low against China, which is the country’s largest trading partner.