Malaysia Culture

Malaysia Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Malaysia

According to NATUREGNOSIS.COM, Malaysia is a country located in Asia. The spread of daily newspapers in Malaysia is relatively high (158 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 inv., 2000). In Malaysia there are about 50 daily newspapers, published in Malay, English and Chinese. The largest are the Malay Berita Harian (founded 1957; 350,000 copies) and Utusan Malaysia (1965; 240,000 copies), the English-speaking New Straits Times (1945; 190,000 copies) and The Star (1971; 190,000 copies)..) and the Chinese-speaking Nanyang Siang Pau (1923; 180,000 copies). There are also newspapers published in Punjabi and Tamil. Most newspapers are party-owned. Party-bound press (which includes, above all, opposition newspapers) must not be sold publicly since 1991, but must be distributed directly to party members. Since 1990, the Bernama news agency (founded in 1968) has the exclusive right to convey news, even to foreign journalists.

Over the radio and television, the Ministry of Information exercises some control, and the broadcasting right can be revoked if Malay values are violated. The State Radio Malaysia (founded 1946) and Television Malaysia (founded 1963) broadcast in six (in Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil, respectively) and two channels respectively. A private broadcasting company, Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad, was established in 1983, and in 1995 private MetroVision also began broadcasting. There are 420 radio and 168 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, 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 wood.

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 monuments.



Prohibition of fake news is lifted

October 8

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

September 14

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

11 September

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

August 28th

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

July 25

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

May 9

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 Court ICC.

Murdered Vietnamese free

May 2

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

April 1st

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 Parliament.

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

January 31

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

January 26

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

January 6

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 Shah.

Malaysia Culture

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