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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Malaysia: Malaysian Politics

The Kuala Lumpur skyline
Take a look at the Kuala Lumpur skyline and it's clear that Malaysia is thriving

Malaysia is not dissimilar to Indonesia and Singapore in that all these countries have long-serving, non-elected leaders who tend to stick around until they're almost dead, before passing the reins of power onto a well-groomed deputy. There are elections here, as in Indonesia, but the National Front party, dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) majority faction, has held power continuously since independence in 1957, and the opposition has all but disappeared. Malaysia is a one-party democracy, and it doesn't look as if this is going to change any time soon.

by Wan Imran Wan Chik

America here, America there,
America seems to be almost everywhere,
Sticking their noses into other countries' affairs,
Right down until your very own underwear,
'Cause they think that this whole world is theirs.
A modern country but with uncivilised people,
Infecting the world with their lifestyles and ideology,
They live without tradition or moral values, making everything look so very simple,
Invading the world through weapons of psychology,
By creating their utopia called Americanology.
'A' serious effect upon the Earth's ecology,
Making fewer friends and more and more enemies,
By disrupting other countries' peaceful economy,
Without saying 'Excuse me!' or 'I owe you an apology!'
Advanced in space travel and in astronomy,
Creators of nuclear bombs and war technology,
Heroes only in movies, novels and short stories,
'Cause every last American President needs a lobotomy.
America is a hero only to fools' eyes,
It is a villain wearing a disguise,
Plaguing the world by telling lies,
Only to be seen by leaders who are wise,
Leaders who listen to their nations' cries.
For those who are foolish America's price they will pay,
To become an uncivilised country but modern in every way,
By gambling their future to be modern and richer today,
As social problems would grow each and every day,
And the countries' identity, cultural and traditional heritage would just seem to fade away,
Which is the only defence against America which has gone far astray.

Pretty full on, isn't it? To complete the picture, Malaysia practises positive discrimination against non-Malays, which has caused considerable issues in the past. When Malaysia was first set up in 1957 following the departure of the British, it was going to be made up of Malaya (now called Peninsular Malaysia), Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei. At the last minute Brunei pulled out to protect its oil interests, and after two years Singapore was kicked out, leaving modern Malaysia as Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Singapore's leaders cite Malaysia's discrimination against non-Malays as the reason that their country left the Federation, because Singapore refused to extend these pro-Malay policies to its people, who are mostly Chinese, not Malay.

1 In , Anwar was sacked and was put on trial on charges of corruption and committing illegal homosexual acts, for which he received a six-year jail sentence. Then, in , Anwar was put on trial for sodomy, and in he was sentenced to a further nine years in jail. Anwar Ibrahim says he was framed, and that the whole thing was a political set-up. Whatever, it left Dr Mahathir unchallenged as Malaysia's leader until he retired 2003, after 22 years in power.