By Daily Kos - Xanthophobia: fear of the colour yellow. On Thursday, the Home Ministry of Malaysia decided to ban a primary color. Why? Because the people of Malaysia have gotten sick of the political corruption. Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Malaysia defied police orders on Saturday, massing in the capital in a display of anger at the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of corruption involving hundreds of millions of dollars. The demonstration in central Kuala Lumpur, which had been planned for weeks, was declared illegal by the Malaysian police, and on Friday the government went as far as to pass a decree banning the yellow clothing worn by the protesters.
By Cat April Watters in Hot Indie News - A crowd gathered at 313 E 43rd St. yesterday in NYC in front of the Malaysian Consulate to express outrage to the fact that despite the fact that Malaysian police discovered 28 suspected human trafficking camps located about 500 meters from the countries northern border AND 139 graves of trafficked persons, within weeks, Monday, July 27th, the State Department upgraded Malaysia from Tier 3 to Tier 2 on the Trafficking in Persons list in a cynical ploy to circumvent legislation prohibiting Fast Tracking of trade deals with Tier 3 nations. Malaysia is one of the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so Malaysia’s Tier 3 status would have prevented TPP from being Fast Tracked. Human rights group are outraged by the upgrade, which comes just two months after the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves of trafficked person in Malaysia.
By Communications Workers of America - Advocates for human rights and anti-trafficking efforts have been expressing outrage about the news that Malaysia is poised to receive an improved ranking on the U.S. State Department’s annual assessment of human trafficking across the globe. The assessed improvement is at odds with the recent and troubling facts on the ground, many experts are pointing out. Perhaps most troubling is the notion that the upgraded Malaysia ranking is driven by the Obama Administration’s desire to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. AsReuters reported last week: “The upgrade to so-called ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ status removes a potential barrier to President Barack Obama's signature global trade deal.
By George Zornick in The Nation - When Congress finally passed fast-track trade authority last month, there was a major problem for President Obama and his trade negotiators: a provision of the bill forbid any fast-tracked trade deal from including countries on Tier 3 of the State Department’s human trafficking list. That’s the worst classification the United States gives to countries in its Trafficking In Persons annual report, a status earned by countries like Zimbabwe, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and North Korea. Also on the list: Malaysia, one of the 12 potential signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that is in the final round of negotiations this month.
By Zach Carter in Huffington Post - President Barack Obama's effort to include Malaysia in a major pending trade pact has baffled human rights advocates, who see it as a reward for a regime with one of the world's worst human trafficking records. But the myriad interests involved in the trade fight include some very large American corporations, which are currently padding their profits with labor costs kept low by modern-day slavery in Malaysia. Major U.S. electronics brands, including Intel, AMD, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments and Dell, have relied on Malaysian manufacturing for years -- either in their own factories, or through facilities operated by their suppliers. Computer processors, hard drives, smartphone parts and other consumer electronic devices are all part of the slavery system -- more than one-fourth of all workers in the Malaysian electronics industry are victims of forced labor, according to a damning 2014 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor.
After WikiLeaks released a secret gag order in Australia blocking the country's media from reporting on a massive political corruption scandal, international leaders are evading culpability and scrambling to control the narrative. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose name was included in the gag order, denied involvement in the case and asked Australia to be transparent in its investigation, which implicates several Australian bank executives and international heads of state in a multi-million dollar bribery scheme. “We are shocked by the report by WikiLeaks," Yudhoyono said in a press conference. "Given the facts I have obtained, the report is hurtful." The court order, issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, blocked news agencies from reporting on the investigation looking into subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and government officials in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia are accused of paying off high-ranking officials from 1999 to 2004 to secure the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.