Malaysia Country Report
The next general election is due by 2018 but there are increasing signs that Prime Minister Najib Razak will call an election in 2017. The ruling coalition is likely to retain power due to its strength in Borneo and rural constituencies in peninsular Malaysia. Despite opposition calls for Najib to resign over his alleged role in the mismanagement of a state-owned investment fund, his position remains secure. Malaysia has a diversified economy, although as a hydrocarbon exporter its growth will be dampened by low oil prices. Najib will continue to promote infrastructure projects including major railway projects, a major refinery in Johor, and the Pan-Borneo Highway to sustain growth. The government is also likely to continue promoting key economic sectors including electrical andelectronics, financial services, and communications.
Transport, power, and telecommunications infrastructure is of very high standard, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia. The quality of labour is generally high but there is a shortage of highly skilled workers. Although there have been high-level corruption investigations and trials involving politicians and their relatives, corruption generally poses a lower risk to business compared with other Southeast Asian countries except Singapore. However, the presence of major government-linked corporations in sectors such as transport, utilities, and banking can potentially crowd out private companies. The bureaucracy poses no significant obstacle to operations.
A grenade attack on a Puchong nightclub near Kuala Lumpur in June 2016 that injured eight people was the first time in several decades that terrorists have successfully carried out an operation in Peninsular Malaysia. The attack was notable because it was carried out under the instruction of a Malaysian fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. Malaysian Islamic State fighters in Syria appear to be intensifying their efforts to urge their compatriots to carry out domestic attacks, thereby increasing the risk of further low-capability attacks, for example, using crude improvised explosive devices and grenades. However, the risk is mitigated by a highly effective counter-terrorism police.
Malaysia is highly likely to work towards a diplomatic resolution in the long-running territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which involves Brunei, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. However, having previously taken a low-key approach to the matter, Malaysia in June 2015 publicly accused China of violating its territory by anchoring its coastguard ship at Luconia Shoals. Although both countries will probably seek to avoid direct military confrontation, the increased presence of Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels in close proximity to Malaysian forces will increase the risk of limited maritime confrontations, involving the firing of water cannon, ramming, and even exchanges of gunfire.
Protests over ethnic, political, and religious issues are common, particularly in Kuala Lumpur. Large rallies involving thousands are probable in the run-up to, and immediate aftermath of, the next general election (due by August 2018), as opposition groups demand changes to an electoral system they perceive to be biased. Opposition protests against Prime Minister Najib Razak over corruption allegations and counter-protests by his supporters increase the risk of scuffles. Opposition demonstrators are unlikely to attack commercial property or cause disruption beyond the vicinity of the protest sites. Labour strikes and protests are rare.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Malaysia is located in an active seismic zone and was hit by the December 2004 tsunami that devastated the region.
Visitors should also be aware that the monsoon season - often responsible for devastating floods - lasts from April until October in the southwest and from October until February in the northeast.
The common practice in nearby Indonesia of burning farmland to make it more fertile has also led to an increase in air pollution in Malaysia, which could harm the health of visitors. Air pollution could also disrupt air travel in the country.
Finally, visitors should be aware that Malaysia is home to one of the highest rates of credit card fraud in the world.
Malaysia's climate is equatorial, hot and humid throughout the year. Rain storms strike regularly and are sometimes violent. Thunderstorms are the most intense between August and November along the western coast and are often accompanied by strong winds. From December until February the east coast is particularly wet, with frequent torrential rains and floods. The temperature of the ocean remains constant throughout the year at 28°C.
Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz