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Malaysia

Yearbook 2007

Malaysia. In southern Malaysia, the year began with heavy floods forcing at least 100,000 people to leave their homes. The government warned of food shortages and the spread of infection among the homeless. The worst was the situation in the area around Johor Baharu. The crisis center was built in 300 places where the affected could get food and roof over their heads. About 20 people died in what was referred to as the worst floods in the country in nearly 40 years.

2007 Malaysia

A filling election in the Ijok district in April attracted considerable attention, as it marked the former Finance and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's political comeback. Anwar Ibrahim himself was banned from running for political office until 2008 because of a corruption conviction, but he chose to publicly go out and support the candidate for his old party People's Justice Party (PKR). However, the election was won by a candidate from another party who is part of the ruling party coalition UMNO.

According to CountryAAH, Malaysia's continued good economic growth meant that during the spring, the government announced that employees within the state administration would receive substantial salary increases of up to 35 per cent for the poorest paid. Malaysia's GDP growth averages 5 percent per year.

When a federal court rejected a 42-year-old Christian woman's request to have her religious affiliation on the ID card changed from "Islam" to "Christianity," this sparked strong debate over whether religious freedom is truly guaranteed in Malaysia's constitution. The woman had converted to Christianity from Islam in 1998, but the federal court ruled that only a Sharia court applying Islamic jurisprudence could decide on a possible change in religious affiliation. The problem was that a sharia court was likely to convict her as a defender, in practice a criminal.

Malaysia's constitution provides for religious freedom, but in the country all ethnic Malays are automatically classified as Muslims.

That same month, a Muslim woman was given permission to give her Hindu husband full custody of six of their seven children. She chose to do this after a Sharia court declared her 21-year-old marriage to her husband invalid because he did not convert to Islam at the time of the marriage. The woman and children had been forced into a Muslim village from the family home.

In November, Malaysian car manufacturer Proton launched a plan to produce a Muslim car. In it, for example, special place is made for the Qur'an, and the car would also have a compass showing which direction Mecca is located. The production of the Muslim car would be done in collaboration with manufacturers in Turkey and Iran.

In the same month, a large government-critical demonstration was held in the capital Kuala Lumpur. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people protested against electoral laws that they felt would benefit the ruling UMNO. Police met protesters with tear gas and water cannons. About 20 people were arrested at the time.

Tear gas and water cannons also met around 5,000 Indian Malaysians who demonstrated in the capital that month. The ethnic Indians objected to what they consider to be discrimination against the Indian minority, and they also demanded financial compensation from the United Kingdom for the British during the colonial period bringing Indians to Malaysia to work on plantations there.

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