An extensive labor migration, culminating in
1880-1930, laid the foundation for today's multicultural
Malaysia. Linguistically and culturally, the majority of
the people in Malay have a lot in common with the larger
ethnic groups in Indonesia.
The Malays have lived as rice-growing farmers, and in
their villages (kampongs) they have developed the art of
building practical and comfortable wooden dwelling
houses on piles.
On the Malacca peninsula, people live in
single-family homes, while several Dajak people on
Borneo have built larger, collective long houses on
piles. The Malays also built palaces and mosques in
Latest population statistics of Malaysia, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The traditional crafts, mainly textile art and
forging, are reflected in Malay words such as sarong
(clothing for both sexes), batik and crisis
(traditional, double-edged and richly decorated dagger).
The Malays usually attach great importance to
ancestry, both on the ancestors and on the mother
(unlike the Chinese, who primarily count kinship on the
mans side.) It is important to use titles correctly: "Tuanku"
or "Tengku" denotes royal birth. Anyone called "Tun" is
loud or belongs to a high order. Other noble or lowly
titles are "Tan Sri", "Datuk", "Datuk Seri" and "Dato".
The diversity is especially noticeable in the cities
with all the various shrines (Malay mosques, Chinese
temples, Christian churches, Hindu temples). From
Malaysia's Chinese, there are sometimes protests against
the seemingly random destruction of Chinese cultural
Prohibition of fake news is lifted
Parliament abolishes the law of April 2018 which prohibits the spread of fake
news and which means that anyone found guilty can be sentenced to up to six
years in prison. The vote is held following a proposal from the government.
According to critics, the law, which was passed before the election lost by the
former BN government, was to silence government-critical media and opposition
voices before the election.
Umno and PAS form an alliance
The two opposition parties Umno and PAS join forces in an alliance with the
goal of attracting Muslim voters back to the 2023 elections.
Police strike Shia Muslims
Dozens of Shia Muslims have been arrested in the state of Selangor during the
celebration of the festival of Ashura. The Shi'ite Muslim minority in the
country is perceived by many within the Sunni majority as apostates. In Selangor
it is forbidden to preach and spread Shia. All arrested are reported to be
released but some of them run the risk of prosecution.
New 1MDB trial begins
The most comprehensive of a series of corruption lawsuits against Malaysia's
former Prime Minister Najib Razak begins. The prosecutor claims that Najib Razak
played a central role in the looting of the 1MDB fund and that he channeled $
540 million into his own private bank account. Najib Razak is charged with 21
counts of money launderingand 4 for abuse of power linked to the 1MDB scandal.
According to Malaysian and US authorities, about $ 4.5 billion has been
misappropriated from the state fund. The illegal transactions must have been
made between 2011 and 2014. Najib Razak has previously been acquitted of
allegations of serious corruption linked to 1MDB on the grounds that the money
in his account was a gift from the Saudi royal house. However, after Mahathir
Mohamad came to power, the trials were resumed.
China-supported railway construction is resumed
Malaysia resumes a China-funded rail project that the Mahathir government
previously put on ice for fear of increased dependence on Beijing (see
January 2019). The cost of construction is $ 10 billion, of which China
accounts for 85 percent. The railway is part of China's extensive infrastructure
project New Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI). Malaysia has slowed down
several projects under the BRI since Mahathir returned to power. The resumed
railway line will run between northeast Malaysia to the country's largest port
on the west coast.
The government is criticized by HRW
On the anniversary of its accession, the Mahathir government is criticized by
Human Rights Watch for failing to fulfill its promises of an improved human
rights situation in the country. For example, the government has not abolished
the law that allows a suspected person to be detained without time limit, or the
disputed law on recovery. The government has also backed its proposals to
abolish the death penalty and to become a member of the International Criminal
Murdered Vietnamese free
The Vietnamese woman charged with murdering Kim Jong-Nam, half-brother of
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un, in February 2017 is released after serving her
prison sentence (see April 2019). Thus, both she and the
Indonesian who are also suspected of the murder are released. The women have
denied murder and repeated that they were tricked into believing it was a
so-called practical joke on TV. They now believe they have been tricked into
carrying out the murder of North Korean intelligence. The murder was carried out
by the women staining the nerve poison VX at Kim at the airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Prison for the Kim murder
The Vietnamese woman who was sentenced to death for the murder of North
Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam (see February 2017)
is sentenced to three years and four months in prison on a less serious charge.
The proposed abolition of the death penalty is scrapped
the 13th of March
The government backs away from the proposal to completely abolish the death
penalty. A minister tells Parliament that the proposal instead is to abolish the
mandatory death penalty for certain crimes, and that it will be up to the courts
to sentence the sentence. Today, the mandatory death penalty applies to, among
other things, murder, kidnapping, handgun possession and drug trafficking. The
change is likely to be made as a result of the reaction to the complete
abolition of the death penalty being strong from relatives to crime victims and
from parts of the political opposition. The decision is taken by a vote in
Murdered Indonesian is released
11th of March
The Indonesian woman accused of murdering Kim Jong-Nam, half-brother of North
Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un, at Kuala Lumpur Airport (see February 2017)
is released after the prosecution has been dropped. The prosecutor does not go
into why the prosecution is being filed. The Vietnamese woman who was arrested
at the same time for the same crime has not been charged with murder.
Malaysia gets a new king
Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin al-Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah is
crowned Malaysia's new king and gets the title of yang di-pertuan agong ("he who
has become master").
China-supported rail project is scrapped
The government is laying down a multi-billion class Chinese-supported railway
project with the motivation that the construction would cost too much. The
scrapped project concerns a railway line called ECRL that would link the
country's east and west coasts. With Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the
forefront, the country's new government has halted several China-funded
infrastructure projects under the New Silk Road. The agreements with China were
signed with the old government under Najib Razak, who had close relations with
Beijing. The new government gives priority to reducing the country's national
debt by more than $ 250 billion. It is unclear how much Malaysia will have to
pay in damages to China for breach of contract.
The King abdicates
King Muhammad V abdicates without any explanation. This is the first time in
Malaysia's history that the Head of State is leaving early. The 49-year-old king
took sick leave for a month at the end of 2018 but then returned to duty.
Muhammad V has been king for two years. Malaysia's kings are elected for a
five-year term among the nine sultans of the states. New temporary king becomes
Sultan Tuanku Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Azlan Muhibuddin