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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

Week of November 24, 1995

WHIPPING CHANGE?

The central government is asking Johore's Islamic Affairs department to back down on its recommendation to institute public whipping for convicted adulterers. Malaysia says the state is within its rights to the pass the law, but other Islamic nations have experienced "negative repercussions" after implementing such "stringent measures."


Week of November 17, 1995

Other news from Malaysia this week:

  • Mega-Deal: Questions and grumbles over Malaysian divestment in a crown jewel
  • Economy: Malaysia's prospects in 1996 and beyond

Week of November 10, 1995

FAKE SCRIP

The discovery of forged share certificates of Malaysian gaming group Genting, one of the country's biggest listed firms, led the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange to suspend trading in the shares. The KLSE asked Genting to recall all its share certificates. The company reported that 166,000 fakes are in circulation; analysts say there are more.


Week of November 3, 1995

TROUBLE FOR NGO

Malaysian police extensively questioned Irene Fernandez, head of an organization that exposed alleged abuses at government-run detention camps for illegal workers. Some suspect the government wants to disband her group because of its embarrassing accusations. So far no camp officials have been charged with any offenses.


Week of October 27, 1995

POLICE ACTION CALL

Malaysian police called for tougher action against non-Muslims who use the services of prostitutes. While Muslims can be prosecuted under Syariah law, it was difficult to prove a case against other offenders, said Kuala Lumpur police chief Ismail Che Rus. He also attacked water and power companies for supplying known brothels.


Week of October 20, 1995

A DRAMATIC TURN

A Malaysian ban on the hit TV series Justice Pao caused outrage even among members of the ruling National Front coalition. The Malaysian Chinese Association, a key member of the Front, said it would raise the matter in cabinet. The Information Ministry said Justice Pao was not allowed because it was a foreign costume drama.

Other news from Malaysia this week:

  • Cover: Malaysian Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim may succeed Mahathir Mohamad sooner rather than later
  • Scorecard: Who's up, who's down in UMNO
  • Leadership: What kind of PM would Anwar make?
  • Contests: Past leadership challenges

Week of October 13, 1995

CULT CAPERS

Malaysian police stormed a plantation in Sabah where followers of a doomsday cult, some armed with spears and bows and arrows, had gathered to await the end of the world. Police arrested 192 people, almost all of them from the Indonesian island of Timor. The cult members, dressed in white robes and wearing yellow amulets, believe the world will end this month.


Week of October 6, 1995

CANCER CURE

A National University of Malaysia researcher claims she has discovered an anti-tumor compound made from tropical forest plants, which could retard or prevent breast cancer. Azimahtol Hawariah said tests had shown the compound slows the spread of breast cancer cells, and could be developed as a treatment. But she warned that fatty foods may reduce its effectiveness.

Other news from Malaysia this week

  • Malaysia: The end of affirmative action for bumiputras?
  • Inflation: Don't miss the big picture
  • Profits: Malaysia's controversial Joseph Chong gets results
  • Empire: How to build one in the Philippines

Week of September 29, 1995

ILL-FATED FLIGHT

A Malaysian Airlines Fokker 50 crashed at Tawau airport in eastern Sabah state Sept. 15, killing 34 of the 53 people on board. The flight MH 2133 from the state capital Kota Kinabalu was carrying 49 passengers and four crew when it overshot the runway and crashed into squatter houses. Malaysia's deputy finance minister narrowly missed boarding the plane.


Week of September 22, 1995

WIRED TO STUDY

Though usually low on the nation's rankings for numbers of drug users, the east Malaysian state of Sabah has recently seen a startling rise in the use of a synthetic drug, methamphetamine - known locally as syabu. Selling for $20 a gram, a single dose induces a high as well as sleeplessness - attracting students who increasingly use it to stay awake to study.

Other news from Malaysia this week

  • Building Blocks: Malaysia's Education Minister says learning must sustain further economic growth

Week of September 15, 1995

FINGER LICKING

Kentucky Fried Chicken director Kevin Lau was remanded on suspicion of criminal conspiracy linked to the boardroom tussle between the Laus and rival director Ishak Ismail at KFC Holdings in Malaysia. On Jan. 28 a police report alleged that a hit-man had been hired to murder Kevin and his brother Francis. The man later admitted he was paid to impersonate a hired killer.


Week of September 8, 1995

LEGAL CHALLENGE

The Bar Council publicly questioned the Malaysian judiciary's integrity. Contradictory rulings related to a dispute between Ayer Molek Rubber Co. and Insas, it said, "raise very serious concerns as to the administration of justice." Recent decisions in several cases have caused some observers to ask if litigants can maneuver to have their cases heard by judges of their choice.


Week of September 1, 1995

CALL FOR UNITY

Former deputy PM Ghafar Baba urged the formation of a political party for all of Malaysia's three main ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese and Indian. Politics, he explained, must develop as the economy grows. Though many still harbor ethnic loyalties, he said, "We have become more mature now and challenges can only be met if there is a united Malaysian nation."

Other news from Malaysia this week


Week of August 25, 1995

SHARE CROP

Good news for Malaysia's small investors: next month, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange will reduce the minimum number of shares in a lot from 1,000 to 200. (Lots are units in which punters buy stock.) Though the rule only applies to shares under the KLSE's scripless depository system and priced at over RM15, it still means anyone can take a stake for as little as $1,200.

Other news from Malaysia this week:

  • Malaysia: "Concentration camps" for guest workers?

Week of August 18, 1995

NO PARTY BUSINESS

The United Malays National Organization, Malaysia's dominant party, banned branches from forming companies that claim to represent the party. That means some 16,000 existing firms must be closed. "There is no need for them to raise money and tarnish UMNO," said party secretary-general Mohamed Rahmat. The move is in line with the group's drive against "money politics."

LINES DRAWN

After 15 years of negotiations, Singapore and Malaysia agreed Aug. 7 on the permanent boundary of their territorial waters. A 1927 treaty drew an imaginary line down the center of the Johor Strait, which separates the republic from the mainland. But the shifting of the deep water channel and land reclamation on both sides made a new agreement necessary.

Other news from Malaysia this week:

  • ASEAN: In Brunei, the grouping attains global stature

Week of July 28, 1995

RED EYE'S RETURN

The annual smog has returned to Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, with a vengeance. If past years are any indication, it will stay for the next three months, making life miserable for everyone. Factories have already been advised to avoid unnecessary burning. In last year's euphemistically named "haze," visibility was reduced to15 km for weeks on end.


Week of July 21, 1995

DELICATE MATTER

The little black book of the proprietor of a high-class call-girl operation in Malaysia's capital was said to be filled with names of Tan Sris and Datuks, titles bestowed for outstanding public service. Arrested for supplying prostitutes was the former hostess of a TV children's show, Haslinda Merican, 30. Police chief Rahim Noor said the case would be handled "delicately."


Week of July 14, 1995

NATURAL DISASTER

The killer landslide that buried 21 people on June 30 near the Genting Highlands resort in Malaysia was due to natural causes, insists Resorts World, the casino operator. There have been suggestions from Kuala Lumpur that indiscriminate logging may have been one cause of the landslide, which has been called the country's worst ever.

Other news from Malaysia this week


Week of July 07, 1995

IN THE DARK

Half of Penang island was expected to be without electricity for 10 days following explosions and a fire at a central station with three power circuits. The outage cut power to the island, which is known as Malaysia's Silicon Valley because of the large number of American microchip and semi-conductor companies there, by nearly half. Crews were working aroundthe-clock to repair the damage, according to officials. The race to restore power is made more urgent by the fact that many of the companies are running 24 hours a day. The cause was not immediately apparent.

NAVAL BASE

Malaysia will stop leasing a 71-hectare naval base on the north shore of Singapore at the beginning of 1998. The base, built by the British, has been used by the Malaysian navy since 1952. Malaysia plans to build a new, larger base in the southern state of Johore because officials feel the $3.5 million it pays Singapore in annual rent is not economical.

Other news from Malaysia this week


Week of June 30, 1995

PAC RIM PARTNERS

More than three- quarters of Malaysia's trade is with the Pacific Rim region, says Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz, which demonstrates the nation's strategic importance to the region. Seven of Malaysia's top 10 trade partners are in East Asia including Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Trade with East Asia grew 26% in 1994 to $67.9 billion. The total was $96.8 billion.

Other news from Malaysia this week


Week of June 23, 1995

PARTY DOINGS

A series of decisions affected the dominant UMNO party in Malaysia. Fifty-three members were sacked for allegedly working against the party in the last election. Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz was cleared of charges that she improperly transferred ownership shares to her son-in-law. And Rahim Tamby Chik enjoined a rival from accusing him of corruption.

Other news from Malaysia this week

  • Cover: A cultural war is being fought over sexual openness throughout Asia
  • Numbers: Sex surveys from around the region

Week of June 16, 1995

PRESS OUTCRY

Journalists trying to cover parliament in Malaysia are literally being shown the door. A rule set to take effect June 12 forbids reporters from plying their trade in the lobby of Parliament House; they must corner MPs at the entrance to the building or elsewhere. It's not clear whether the rule is merely a warning to journalists not to be so aggressive and may be rescinded, or whether it will take effect as planned. Journalists don't seem to buy the government's explanation that the ban is meant to avoid "commotion in the lobby." Nonetheless, when speaking for publication, newsmen are circumspect: "Seems a bit harsh," said one.

NO RUSH FOR HOME

Echoing Hong Kong riots from three weeks ago, about 4,000 Vietnamese boat people scheduled to be sent home from a Kuala Lumpur refugee camp escaped and threatened a mass suicide. Malaysian police quelled the riots with tear gas and water cannons. Unlike Hong Kong, officials did not blame the riots on a U.S. bill that would consider refugee claims for political asylum.

Other news from Malaysia this week

Editorial


Week of June 9, 1995

MORAL GUIDANCE

Malaysia has worked extra hard in recent weeks to protect and enhance the nation's morals. First, the country gave police more authority to arrest drunk drivers. Then, officials said they'd begin clamping down on sexual suggestion, violence and gambling in video arcade games. And most recently, the government announced it is banning all direct advertising for alcohol.

Other news from Malaysia this week

Editorials
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