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Back to Malaysia 

 

Transnational Issues in Malaysia

 


Disputes - international:
Malaysia is involved in a complex dispute with Brunei, China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam over claims to part or all of the Spratly Islands; while the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions over the Spratly Islands, it is not the legally binding "code of conduct" sought by some parties; Malaysia was not party to the March 2005 joint accord among the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam on conducting marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; disputes continue over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore,

 Singapore's land reclamation, bridge construction, and maritime boundaries in the Johor and Singapore Straits; in 2008, ICJ awards sovereignty of Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh/Horsburgh Island) to Singapore, and Middle Rocks to Malaysia, but does not rule on maritime regimes, boundaries, or disposition of South Ledge; ICJ awarded Ligitan and Sipadan islands, also claimed by Indonesia and Philippines, to Malaysia but left maritime boundary and sovereignty of Unarang rock in the hydrocarbon-rich Celebes Sea in dispute; separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompts measures to close and monitor border with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Philippines retains a dormant claim to Malaysia's Sabah State in northern Borneo; Brunei and Malaysia agreed in September 2008 to resolve their offshore and deepwater seabed dispute, resume hydrocarbon exploration, and renounce any territorial claims along their land boundary; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 15,174 (Indonesia); 21,544 (Burma) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and men, women, and children for forced labor; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for men, women, and children who migrate willingly from South and Southeast Asia to work, some of whom are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by Malaysian employers in the domestic, agricultural, construction, plantation, and industrial sectors; to a lesser extent, some Malaysian women, primarily of Chinese ethnicity, are trafficked abroad for commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the Government of Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, despite some progress in enforcing the 2007 comprehensive anti-trafficking law; it has yet to fully address labor trafficking in Malaysia; there are credible allegations of involvement of Malaysian immigration officials in trafficking and extorting Burmese refugees; the government did not develop mechanisms to effectively screen victims of trafficking in vulnerable groups and condones the confiscation of passports of migrant workers by employers (2009)

 

Illicit drugs:
Drug trafficking is prosecuted vigorously and carries severe penalties; heroin still primary drug of abuse, but synthetic drug demand remains strong; continued ecstasy and methamphetamine producer for domestic users and, to a lesser extent, the regional drug market.
 

 


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