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Malaysia

Yearbook 2012

Malaysia. According to countryaah, Malaysia's most prominent opposition politician, Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the People's Justice Party (PKR), was acquitted in January by a court in the capital Kuala Lumpur in a well-publicized, two-year trial in which Anwar was charged with committing homosexual acts, which is prohibited in Malaysia according to an old law from the colonial era. Anwar, who was accused of a so-called sodomy violation by a former employee, was released after the evidence (including DNA samples) against him was deemed to be unreliable. The prosecutor's side appealed the verdict. Anwar was for some years in the 1990s one of Mahathir bin Mohamad's (mighty prime minister 1981-2003) closest men, but since the two became osams and arch enemies, Anwar was deposed as vice prime minister in 1998 and charged with corruption and sodomy. He was convicted of both offenses in 1999. The sodomy was canceled in 2004.

2012 Malaysia

At the end of April, tens of thousands of Malaysians walked the streets of Kuala Lumpur in protest of the country's electoral laws, which they felt favored the ruling National Front with the party UMNO at the forefront. The coalition has ruled in Malaysia since the country's independence in 1957. Demonstrations were the largest in a decade and riot police were called out to quell the riots with tear gas and water cannons. At least 20 people were arrested. The demonstrations were organized by opposition movements and Anwar Ibrahim participated. He was later indicted for violating the demonstration laws. Governors in Malaysia have been extremely sensitive to strikes and demonstrations since 1969, when hundreds of people were killed in ethnically related riots.

In May, for the first time, minimum wages were introduced in an effort to strengthen poor families. In the western Malacca peninsula, the minimum wage was set at about SEK 2,000 a month, while in eastern Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo) it was set at about SEK 1,800. The decision on the minimum wage applied to private employees, and employers were given a year to implement the decision, which, however, received criticism for pressing the country's private small businesses hard.

In September, the Malaysian Atomic Energy Agency authorized the Australian company Lynas to extract so-called earth metals in the state of Pahang in Malaysia for two years. The production produces a radioactive waste that environmental activists protested against, but which Lynas stated that it would handle responsibly.

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