Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Malaysia daripada terjemahan Thomas Fuller

Malaysia has long prided itself as a model of ethnic harmony. But the country's three main races Malays, Chinese and Indians now find themselves at an uneasy turning point. The post-independence political formula of race-based parties united in a common coalition is breaking down, with Chinese and Indians withdrawing their support. An affirmative action program favoring Malays has been extended indefinitely and is widely resented among non-Malays. Add religious tensions to the mix and the notion of a common Malaysian identity is looking fragile. Malay Muslims are asserting their rights to be judged by a separate Islamic legal system in matters pertaining to marriage, divorce and inheritance. The civil courts have so far ruled in their favor.

Yet as the country searches for a common identity, some parts of the country are thriving. Construction is booming in the heart of the commercial capital, Kuala Lumpur. The government is reaping billions of dollars from the surge in commodity prices, mainly oil and gas and palm oil and rubber. Malaysia continues to build world-class highways and other physical infrastructure. But the quality of its universities and education system remains middling to poor.

In February 2008, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called for general elections. The campaign was a barometer of a soured national mood, with voters in opinion polls saying their greatest concerns were ethnic tensions, income inequality, rising prices of fuel and food and a surge in crime. Contested vigorously by the opposition, the elections were also a test of Mr. Abdullah's popularity. He came to power in 2003 promising sweeping reforms and a crackdown on corruption, but his administration has been widely seen as ineffectual. When opposition party members and activists wanted to send a message about the state of Mr. Abdullah's administration, they delivered a present to his office -- a pillow.

Thomas Fuller is a journalist who writes about Asia for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune

General Information on Malaysia

Official Name: Malaysia
Capital: Kuala Lumpur (Current local time)
Government Type: Constitutional monarchy
Population: 24.82 million
Area: 127,316 square miles; roughly the size of New Mexico
Languages: Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
Literacy: Total Population: [89%] Male: [92%]; Female: [85%]
GDP Per Capita: $12,900
Year of Independence: 1957
Web site: Parlimen.gov.my In Bahasa Malaysia 

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