Malaysia

Malaysian PM in China criticises “new colonialism”

By Peter Symonds, 28 August 2018

Prime Minister Mahathir has suspended key Chinese-based infrastructure projects, dealing a significant blow to China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Former Malaysian prime minister arrested and charged

By Peter Symonds, 5 July 2018

The 1MDB corruption affair is bound up with tensions fuelled by global economic instability and geo-political conflicts, especially between the US and China.

After a protracted delay, full Malaysian ministry sworn in

By Peter Symonds, 3 July 2018

The fact that it has taken nearly two months to assemble a full ministry is a sign of the deep, underlying divisions within the five-party ruling coalition.

New Malaysian government formed amid internal and global tensions

By John Roberts, 30 May 2018

Mahathir’s cabinet highlights the potential for conflict in the new coalition government.

Malaysian election: A political shock in South East Asia

By John Roberts, 11 May 2018

The ousting of the 61-year UMNO-led government will have ramifications beyond Malaysia.

Malaysian parliament dissolved for snap general election

By John Roberts, 11 April 2018

The government is using every means at its disposal to undermine the opposition and reverse its poor results at the 2013 elections.

Asia-Pacific trade bloc reshaped, without the US

By Mike Head, 25 January 2018

The “TPP 11” announcement points to the increasing isolation of the US, and the escalating tensions between the rival capitalist powers.

Malaysian opposition chooses autocratic Mahathir as top candidate

By John Roberts, 15 January 2018

The “reformasi” opposition’s endorsement of Mahathir as its prime ministerial candidate underscores its utterly opportunist politics.

Malaysian PM appeals to Malay chauvinism at party assembly

By John Roberts, 10 December 2016

Despite his appearance of strength at the UMNO assembly, the ground is shifting rapidly under Najib’s feet.

Malaysian prime minister forges closer military ties with China

By Peter Symonds, 3 November 2016

During his visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Najib wrote in the state-run media that former colonial powers should not lecture smaller countries over the conduct of their internal affairs.

US government lawsuit undermines Malaysian prime minister

By John Roberts, 8 August 2016

US authorities are seeking the seizure of assets allegedly stolen from Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund.

Malaysian investment fund default intensifies political instability

By John Roberts, 3 May 2016

The latest development in the 1MDB scandal is a further blow to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s hold on power.

Fresh corruption allegations undermine Malaysian prime minister

By John Roberts, 1 April 2016

The corruption scandal swirling around Prime Minister Najib Razak points to deep rifts in ruling circles produced by a deteriorating economy and rising geo-political tensions.

International investigations fuel Malaysian corruption scandal

By John Roberts, 11 February 2016

The government’s attempt to bury the protracted 1MDB scandal last month has floundered amid damaging new revelations.

China bails out embattled Malaysian prime minister

By John Roberts, 5 December 2015

A state-owned Chinese corporation has bought the power assets of Malaysia’s heavily indebted 1MDB fund, which is at the centre of a corruption scandal.

US probe into 1MDB scandal deepens Malaysian political turmoil

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 28 September 2015

The US Justice Department investigation is a damaging blow to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is facing calls for his resignation.

Mass anti-government rallies in Malaysia

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 1 September 2015

Ruling class divisions are fuelled by a deteriorating economy, which has been hard-hit by China’s slowdown, falling commodity prices and regional competition for investment.

Plane debris likely to be from missing flight MH370

By Will Morrow, 8 August 2015

French investigators suggest that the wing-part washed up on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean probably belonged to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Airplane debris may be from missing flight MH370

By Will Morrow, 1 August 2015

If the wing-flap is found to belong to MH370, it would be the first piece of evidence that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian prime minister engulfed in corruption scandal

By John Roberts, 11 July 2015

The Wall Street Journal allegations have fanned a crisis that threatens Najib’s political position and could destabilise the ruling UMNO.

Malaysia’s opposition coalition breaks apart

By John Roberts, 30 June 2015

The collapse of the three-party pact changes the political landscape and points to growing instability.

War dangers in South China Sea continue to rise

By James Cogan, 20 June 2015

Military deployments are taking place in Asia that would be viewed in China as preparations for a potential provocation.

Rohingya refugees abused and killed in camps in Malaysia/Thailand

By John Roberts, 29 May 2015

The special meeting on Indian Ocean refugees today in Bangkok will do nothing to ease the plight of thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis fleeing persecution.

Life inside a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

By our correspondent, 29 May 2015

Over 200,000 Burmese Rohingya live in scores of refugee settlements in Bangladesh.

Thai military sends boat carrying hundreds of Rohingya refugees “out to sea”

By Thomas Gaist, 16 May 2015

The savage treatment of the Rohingya migrants is an acute manifestation of a growing international refugee crisis comparable in scale and brutality to that produced by World War II.

Malaysian prime minister under pressure over US-led economic pact

By John Roberts, 3 April 2015

Ex-Prime Minister Mahathir is bitterly opposed to Najib for signing up to US President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Malaysia’s highest court jails opposition leader on trumped-up charge

By John Roberts, 17 February 2015

The court dismissed Anwar Ibrahim's claim that he was the victim of a political conspiracy by the government.

Evidence mounts of safety violations contributing to AirAsia plane crash

By Will Morrow, 7 January 2015

The more information that emerges about the crash, the more it becomes clear that it was not an unforeseeable tragedy.

Wreckage of crashed AirAsia flight found in Java Sea

By Will Morrow, 31 December 2014

The three day search concluded last night with the discovery of debris and the confirmation of the deaths of 162 people on board AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Search continues for missing AirAsia flight

By Will Morrow, 30 December 2014

While there has been no explanation for what caused the plane to crash, aviation experts have focussed on the severe weather conditions.

Malaysian government retains draconian Sedition Act

By John Roberts, 6 December 2014

While the government will use the Act against its political opponents, it is also part of the police-state measures that will be used against the working class.

Dutch investigation into MH17 shoot-down fails to substantiate accusations against Russia

By Thomas Gaist, 14 October 2014

Sections of the American media have sought to spin the DSB report as implying that Russian responsibility for the attack had been established.

Malaysian government tries to railroad opposition leader to jail

By John Roberts, 9 October 2014

Anwar Ibrahim faces imprisonment and senior opposition figures have been charged under the notorious 1948 Sedition Act for criticising the government.

Malaysia offers its military facilities for US spy planes

By Peter Symonds, 16 September 2014

If US military aircraft do begin to operate from Malaysia, the move would mark a significant shift by Kuala Lumpur toward Washington.

MH17 crash provokes fresh crisis for Malaysian government

By Peter Symonds, 24 July 2014

The government is desperate to absolve its financially troubled airline of blame and deflect public distrust and anger.

Washington seizes on Malaysian airliner crash in Ukraine to threaten Russia

By Alex Lantier, 18 July 2014

Before anyone could determine how this tragedy took place, US politicians and media demanded stepped-up action against Russia.

Air search called off for missing Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 2 May 2014

The air search has been replaced with an undersea survey in the southern Indian Ocean that is likely to take months.

Possible black box signals detected in search for Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 9 April 2014

The source of the signals detected in the Indian Ocean over the weekend has not been confirmed.

No wreckage of Malaysian Airline plane recovered

By Alan Leigh, 1 April 2014

Satellite images that appeared to show debris in the southern Indian Ocean have not been verified.

Malaysian government deepens crackdown on opposition

By John Roberts, 29 March 2014

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and other leading figures face jail and fines on trumped-up charges.

Search continues for Malaysia Airlines plane

By Alan Leigh, 28 March 2014

According to experts, images with much higher clarity would be available from military surveillance satellites.

Malaysian PM: Missing plane crashed in southern Indian Ocean

By Tom Peters, 25 March 2014

Malaysian authorities say analysis of satellite data shows the plane crashed, with no survivors, but no wreckage has been recovered.

Search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane enters third week

By Tom Peters, 22 March 2014

Strategic rivalries and state secrecy continue to mar the search for MH370.

Lack of international cooperation mars search for Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 20 March 2014

All the countries involved, including the US, India and Australia, are extremely reluctant to share information that could reveal their military capabilities.

Malaysian PM declares missing aircraft deliberately diverted

By Peter Symonds, 17 March 2014

More than a week after MH370 disappeared, the questions surrounding its fate are only multiplying.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may have veered off course

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2014

Search operations are now focussed on areas of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of kilometres to the west of MH370’s last known position.

Conflicting accounts of vanished Malaysia Airline Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 13 March 2014

The lack of clarity is compounded by the competing interests at stake—including those of Malaysia Airlines, Boeing and the various governments involved.

Searches fail to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2014

All the sightings of debris and oil slicks have been discounted as having no connection to the vanished aircraft.

Malaysian court overturns acquittal of opposition leader Anwar

By John Roberts, 11 March 2014

The sodomy conviction follows clear support from Washington for Prime Minister Najib’s government.

Many questions unanswered about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2014

The lack of information has led to speculation about the aircraft’s sudden disappearance, including catastrophic mechanical failure, freak weather conditions and hijacking.

US secretary of state hails autocratic Malaysian government

By John Roberts, 15 October 2013

In Kerry’s “model” democracy, UMNO-led coalitions have ruled since 1957, using police-state measures and racially discriminatory policies.

Malaysian opposition offers cooperation with government

By John Roberts, 21 June 2013

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is cynically seeking to use popular resentment over the election result to pressure the government for a deal.

Malaysian government arrests opposition protest leaders

By John Roberts, 31 May 2013

US support for the government is encouraging the repressive crackdown on the opposition.

Washington endorses Malaysian ruling party’s election “victory”

By John Roberts, 20 May 2013

If the Malaysian government had been regarded as an obstacle to the US drive against China, the disputed election would have been seized upon for a regime change campaign.

Large opposition rally against Malaysian election result

By John Roberts, 9 May 2013

Thousands of opposition supporters took part in yesterday’s protest near Kuala Lumpur, denouncing the election outcome as a fraud.

Malaysian opposition leader refuses to concede election defeat

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 6 May 2013

Anwar Ibrahim declared yesterday’s national election “fraudulent” and accused the Electoral Commission of complicity.

Election marks seismic shift in Malaysian politics

By John Roberts, 4 May 2013

Tomorrow’s poll is likely to open a new period of political instability.

Malaysian parties signal pro-market measures after election

By John Roberts, 29 April 2013

Whoever wins the May 5 poll, big business has already set the agenda: to impose the burden of the global economic breakdown on working people.

Malaysian election: PSM promotes illusions in Anwar’s opposition coalition

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 17 April 2013

The Socialist Party of Malaysia is playing a key role for the ruling elites by shackling workers and youth to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the parliamentary framework.

Malaysian PM dissolves parliament for national election

By John Roberts, 4 April 2013

For the first time since Malaysia’s formal independence from Britain in 1957, the ruling UMNO party faces the prospect of losing office.

Malaysia excludes Australian senator in lead up to election

By John Roberts, 4 March 2013

Xenophon’s exclusion highlights the Malaysian government’s sensitivity in what could be the first close election in decades.

Fourteen killed in stand-off between Philippine sultan and Malaysia

By Joseph Santolan, 2 March 2013

The sultan sent forces to stake his claim to Sabah, a claim that has the longstanding endorsement of the Philippine government.

Malaysian ruling party mobilises for crisis election

By John Roberts, 21 December 2012

The election next year is likely to be the closest since formal independence from Britain in 1957.

New charges filed against Malaysian opposition leader

By John Roberts, 30 May 2012

The politically-motivated charges are aimed at undermining the opposition coalition as the government prepares for a possible early election.

Draconian security bill passed by Malaysian parliament

By Dante Pastrana, 4 May 2012

While touted as a more democratic alternative to the Internal Security Act, the new legislation maintains crucial police state powers.

Police attack large opposition rally in Malaysia

By John Roberts, 3 May 2012

The demonstration points to rising social and political tensions as the global economic crisis impacts on Malaysia.

Malaysia’s opposition leader acquitted

By John Roberts, 10 January 2012

The High Court decision deals a significant blow to the government’s efforts to jail Anwar as it prepares for elections.

Malaysian government moves for early election

By John Roberts, 8 November 2011

The preparations for an early poll are driven in part by government concerns over the global impact of the economic crises in the eurozone and the United States.

Australian government signs punitive refugee deal with Malaysia

By Will Morrow, 27 July 2011

Labor’s policy will send at least 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia, a country notorious for its mistreatment of refugees.

Malaysian government cracks down on opposition protesters

By John Roberts, 23 July 2011

The fact that the government has whipped up a communist scare campaign reflects deeper fears in Malaysia’s ruling circles of growing social tensions and the potential for unrest.

Malaysian government cracks down on electoral reform rally

By John Roberts, 11 July 2011

Despite the limited character of the Bersih coalition’s call for electoral changes, the government was clearly unnerved by the rally.

Judge endorses prosecution case in Malaysian opposition leader’s trial

By John Roberts, 20 May 2011

The court not only ruled that the prosecution had a prima facie case against Anwar, but declared that the evidence of its chief witness was “reliable”.

Defence lawyers demand acquittal of Malaysian opposition leader

By John Roberts, 6 May 2011

Any ruling by the judge to acquit Anwar would run counter to the government’s determined campaign to remove the opposition leader from the political scene.

Malaysian opposition leader suspended from parliament

By John Roberts, 29 December 2010

Through Anwar’s suspension the government has regained the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to change the country’s constitution at will.

US praises Malaysia’s autocratic government

By John Roberts, 29 November 2010

Visits to Malaysia by Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates earlier this month amounted to a US endorsement of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-led coalition government.

Malaysian government plays the communal card

By John Roberts, 26 March 2010

Tacitly backed by the government, Muslim hardliners are continuing to stoke communal tensions over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Trial of Malaysian opposition leader begins

By John Roberts, 9 February 2010

A sodomy conviction would effectively end Anwar’s political career and undermine the opposition, which made significant inroads at the 2008 national election.

Malaysian government continues persecution of opposition leader

By John Roberts, 28 December 2009

The Malaysian government is continuing its prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following a High Court ruling dismissing his application for sodomy charges to be struck down.

Mass arrests at Malaysian protest

By John Roberts, 5 August 2009

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to demand the repeal of draconian security laws. Police responded with beatings, tear gas, water cannon and mass arrests.

Malaysian government alters ethnic-based investment laws

By John Roberts, 24 July 2009

Under intense economic and political pressure, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced measures to reduce the preferences given to ethic Malays.

Malaysian government crackdown on political opponents

By John Roberts, 9 June 2009

The Malaysian government carried out a wave of arrests last month in a bid to stem opposition to its ousting of the state government in Perak earlier this year.

Political turmoil wracks northern state in Malaysia

By Dante Pastrana, 15 May 2009

In a protracted power struggle in the northern Malaysian state of Perak, the former chief minister this week was reinstalled in power by a court, then removed within a day.

Najib Razak to take over as Malaysian prime minister

By Dante Pastrana, 2 April 2009

Najib Razak is due to be sworn in tomorrow as Malaysia’s new prime minister following his election as president of the ruling UMNO party. Despite his near unanimous approval, UMNO continues to be wracked by sharp internal tensions.

ASEAN summit: amid talk of cooperation, economic rivalry on the rise

By John Chan, 5 March 2009

The annual summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok last weekend followed what is becoming a familiar pattern at top-level international gatherings. Amid a sharp downturn in all 10 member states, ASEAN leaders pledged themselves to economic cooperation and free trade, even as they resort to protectionist measures.

Malaysia’s prime minister to step down next year

By John Roberts, 20 October 2008

After weeks of political infighting, Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi announced on October 8 that he will not contest the presidency of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) at the party's rescheduled conference next March.

Political power struggle in Malaysia continues unabated

By John Roberts, 30 September 2008

The deadline set by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to force the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition from office—September 16—has come and gone. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is still in power and the government insists that it will continue to rule. Yet the power struggle shows no signs of ending.

Malaysia proposes limited changes to ban on political activity at universities

By Wan Ali, 5 September 2008

The Malaysian government has proposed, but is yet to enact, its promise to allow political freedoms for university students through an amendment of the country’s notorious University and University College Act 1971 (AUKU). The amending legislation was sent to the Malaysian parliament in July.

Anwar’s landslide win: a further blow to Malaysian government

By John Roberts, 28 August 2008

Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the opposition Malaysian Peoples Front (PKR), won a hotly contested by-election for the seat of Permatang Pauh on Tuesday with 67 percent of the vote. The scale of the win in the northern state of Penang will see Anwar back in the national parliament for the first time in a decade and intensify the opposition’s confrontation with the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

Malaysia: Anwar contests by-election despite being charged

By John Roberts, 18 August 2008

Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of the opposition Malaysian Peoples Front (PKR), nominated on Saturday for the August 26 by-election in the seat of Permatang Pauh, which was made vacant by the resignation of his wife. Anwar is seeking to re-enter parliament despite facing a politically motivated charge of sodomy. His aim is to bring down the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-dominated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government that has held power for 51 years.

Malaysian government persists with bogus charges against Anwar

By John Roberts, 28 July 2008

Political tensions remain high in Malaysia following the arrest and release of de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on trumped-up charges of sodomy. The police, backed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, are pressing ahead with the so-called investigation, while Anwar has launched a political counteroffensive with the declared aim of forming a new government in September.

Malaysian opposition leader arrested: an act of political desperation

By John Roberts, 17 July 2008

In what is a sign of political desperation on the part of the Malaysian government, police yesterday arrested leading opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, subjected him to three hours of interrogation, and detained him overnight. The arrest over trumped-up charges of sodomy and its timing are aimed at politically undermining Anwar and the opposition right at the point when the government confronts potential splits in its own ranks and motions of no confidence in parliament.

Malaysian opposition leader threatened with spurious new charges

By John Roberts, 1 July 2008

In the midst of the country’s deepening political turmoil, Malaysian police suddenly announced on Saturday that they were investigating charges of sodomy against de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Saying that he feared an attempt on his life, Anwar, on the advice of his Peoples Justice Party (Keadilan), went straight from a party meeting in Kuala Lumpur to seek refuge in the Turkish Embassy.

Rising prices hit Malaysia

By Wan Ali, 17 June 2008

As in other Asian countries, price rises are hitting Malaysia, raising concerns in ruling circles over the potential for social discontent and protests. Inflation, particularly for food and fuel, was a major issue in national elections held in March that resulted in a sharp reversal for the ruling Barisan National (BN) coalition. The government lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in 34 years.

Malaysia’s ruling coalition rattled after election debacle

By John Roberts, 13 May 2008

The new Malaysian parliament was sworn on April 28 after national elections on March 8, which delivered a major blow to the ruling Barisan National (BN) coalition. Unruly scenes during the country’s first ever televised parliamentary session highlight the sharp underlying political tensions that have surfaced as cracks have begun to appear in the regime that has ruled the country since independence in 1957.

In a highly political decision, Malaysian court frees Anwar Ibriham

By John Roberts, 15 September 2004

In an unexpected ruling on September 2, the Malaysian Federal Court, the nation’s highest judicial body, freed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim after overturning his conviction on a charge of sodomy. Anwar had already served six years after being convicted on a charge of abuse of power in April 1999. He was about to start serving the nine-year sentence for the sodomy charge, imposed in 2000.

Government routs opposition parties in Malaysian elections

By John Roberts, 29 March 2004

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi scored its largest-ever electoral win at the national polls in Malaysia on March 21. BN won 198 of the total of 219 parliamentary seats, up 50 from the 1999 election. Badawi’s own United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the major component of the BN coalition, increased its seats from 71 to 109.

Mahathir’s anti-Semitic comments: fallout from Washington’s “war on terrorism”

By Peter Symonds, 31 October 2003

Just a fortnight before he was due to retire, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad triggered an international furore over anti-Semitic remarks made to the triennial gathering of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The episode was symptomatic not just of Mahathir’s racialist outlook but the rising anger in Muslim countries at the murderous actions of Washington and its close ally, Israel.

Malaysian government detains opponents without trial for another two years

By John Roberts, 3 October 2003

In a politically-motivated manoeuvre, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last week extended the detention of nine political activists for another two years. They have been held without trial or charge since August 2001 under the country’s notorious Internal Security Act (ISA) on suspicion of terrorism.

Scant media coverage as Malaysia keeps Anwar in jail

By John Roberts, 4 September 2003

On August 19, Malaysia’s Court of Appeal issued a 206-page judgment rejecting a legal appeal by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim against his conviction in 2000 on charges of sodomy. Anwar, who has just completed the mandatory portion of a six-year sentence for a corruption conviction, must now serve a further nine years on the sodomy charge.

Malaysia rounds up Acehnese refugees for deportation

By John Roberts, 26 August 2003

In a flagrant attack on democratic rights, Malaysian police last week set up road blocks around the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Kuala Lumpur and detained scores of people seeking to register as refugees. Many were from the war-torn province of Aceh on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra where the Indonesian military has been conducting a huge offensive against separatist guerrillas since May.