Tag Archives: Malaysia

North Korea & Malaysia News | Malaysians & North Koreans

North Korea and Malaysia institute exit bans on each other’s citizens
  • North Korea’s frustration at Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the murder of the half-brother of leader Kim Jong Un led to the announcement of a ban on the departure of Malaysian nationals from the country.
  • Malaysian PM Najib Razak responded by initially banning the departure of North Korean diplomatic staff before extending it to all North Koreans.
  • Two people—an Indonesian woman and a Vietnamese woman—have been charged in the homicide, though they claim they believed to have been taking part in a prank.
Read

Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysia and N Korea in tit-for-tat exit bans” (BBC News | March 2017)

North Korea, Malaysia’s diplomatic ties frayed over Kim Jong Nam’s death” (CNN | March 2017)

Malaysia says talks on with North Korea for return of nine citizens” (Reuters | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)

Malaysia News | Artist-Critics

Popular Malaysian political cartoonist detained for work critical of PM
  • Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar, faces charges for cartoons allegedly insulting scandal-embroiled Prime Minister Najib Razak, the latest in a series of sedition charges he faces.
  • Zunar’s work has satirized Najib’s lavish lifestyle and the scandal involving the alleged diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars from a Malaysian development fund into the PM’s personal bank account, which has led to Najib’s use of a colonial-era sedition law to quell critics’ dissent.
  • The detention came after the disruption of Zunar’s exhibition at the George Town Literary Festival, where Penang Umno Youth members stormed the festival and demanded the removal of his work.

Read more:
Malaysian cartoonist ‘Zunar’ arrested at literary festival, charged with sedition – again” (Deutsche Welle)
Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar arrested under sedition law” (Reuters)
Mob storms cartoonist Zunar’s show” (The Malay Mail)

(Image Credit: Zunar, via Deutsche Welle)

Southeast Asia News | Indonesians

Three Indonesians kidnapped by Islamist extremists off coast of Malaysia
  • Three members of a fishing crew were kidnapped at gunpoint off the eastern coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah after their ship was reportedly boarded and the crews’ passports demanded.
  • Authorities have yet to determine who organized the kidnapping but suspect the radical Islamist group Abu Sayyaf and believe the abducted crew members may be held in the southern Philippines.
  • Abu Sayyaf executed two Canadians earlier this year and is still holding Japanese, Norwegian, and Dutch nationals.

Read more:
Malaysia hunting for 3 Indonesians kidnapped by armed men off Sabah coast: Police” (The Straits Times)
Armed gunmen kidnap three Indonesians in waters off Lahad Datu” (The Malay Mail)
Gunmen kidnap three Indonesians off Malaysian state of Sabah” (Reuters)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Malaysia News | Artists & LGBT

Malaysian film banned for LGBT and government-mocking storylines
  • Banglasia, directed by Malaysian YouTube star Namewee, was banned by the government for “mocking national security issues” and highlighting “negative sociocultural lifestyles such as lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT).”
  • The film focuses on a diverse group of people overcoming their differences and took comedic aim at controversial political events from Malaysia’s history.
  • A Kickstarter campaign to recoup lost finances and secure an Internet release for the film stalled.

Read more:
Ministry: ‘Banglasia’ film banned for ridiculing national security, promoting LGBT” (The Malay Mail)
Malaysian film promoting LBGT rights banned for ‘mocking national security’” (The Guardian)
Banglasia trailer (YouTube)

Malaysia News | Transgender

Challenge to ban on cross-dressing dismissed by Malaysian high court on technicality
  • Malaysia’s Federal Court rejected the challenge to the state of Negeri Semblian’s ban on cross-dressing, overturning a lower-court decision striking down the ban.
  • The case brought by three transgender individuals was dismissed by the court on a technicality, saying the case should have first been taken up by the Federal Court.
  • The rejection comes as Islamic conservatism increases in the Malay-majority country, with Shariah law a difficult hurdle for gender and sexual minorities to clear.

Read more:
Court of Appeal wrong to declare religious law unconstitutional, rules Federal Court” (The Malaysian Insider)
Transgender case: Federal Court overturns Court of Appeal’s decision” (Astro Awani)
Malaysia court upholds ban on cross dressing by transgender Muslims” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Olivia Harris/Reuters)

Malaysia News | Chinese & Indian

Pro-Malay, pro-government rally targets ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians
  • Thousands of Malays took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur, drawing fire from police water cannons after voicing anti-Chinese and anti-Indian sentiment and trying to break through barricades to the city’s Chinatown.
  • The demonstration took place in support of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has lost support from most of the ethnic minority communities after coming under fire for allegedly embezzling $700 million.
  • Malays make up 60% of Malaysian society, with ethnic Chinese comprising 25% and ethnic Indians 10%.

“I am here to defend Malay dignity and dominance. … We must not let others take over our country.”

Read the full AP story at Yahoo! News.

(Image Credit: AP Photo, via Yahoo! News)