Malaysia's parliament early Friday approved tougher penalties for sedition in a move criticized by the United Nations and described by the opposition as "a black day" for democracy and free expression.
Malaysia's government plans to strengthen its much-criticized sedition law with longer jail terms and other changes, fresh after enacting an anti-terrorism law denounced by the opposition and rights groups as a threat to civil liberties.
Malaysia revived detention without trial when lawmakers approved an anti-terror law Tuesday that the government said was needed to fight Islamic militants, but critics assailed as a giant step backward for human rights in the country.
Malaysia's police chief said on Monday that 17 people, including two who recently returned from Syria, had been arrested on suspicion of plotting terror attacks in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was granted a furlough on Sunday to attend his father's funeral, soon after he began a five-year prison sentence on sodomy charges that he says are politically motivated.
A helicopter crashed south of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday with all six people on board, including a key political ally of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, believed to be dead, reports said.
A Malaysian cartoonist known for lampooning the ruling coalition was charged Friday with nine counts of sedition over a series of tweets criticizing the country's judiciary.
The Malaysian Islamic leader spearheading a campaign for severe Sharia punishments chuckles as he dismisses the firestorm that has ensued, saying visions of thousands of law-breakers with amputated limbs are way off the mark.
Malaysia on Wednesday implemented a six-percent consumption tax aimed at plugging a leaky tax-collection system and addressing a widening fiscal deficit, but which has sparked opposition protests over the past year.
Malaysian police detained a prominent publisher and a website editor on sedition charges Tuesday, the latest targets in a mounting tally of arrests that a senior opposition politician compared to an infamous 1987 political crackdown.
A Malaysian court convicted and sentenced a local fishmonger to death on Tuesday for the murder of two British medical students last year, his defence lawyer said.
Malaysian police arrested three leading opposition politicians in a bid to thwart a protest march on Saturday demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, his party said.
A Malaysian Muslim party on Wednesday launched a push to implement Islamic criminal punishments such as flogging and amputations in a state it governs, a move that threatens to tear apart the country's opposition.
Malaysia's transport minister on Thursday vowed to take stern action against an air traffic control supervisor if it is confirmed that he was asleep on the job when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared a year ago.