I recently went back to Malaysia for a shrt (2-weeks) of holiday. It was interesting. The last time I was in Malaysia, it was about 8 years ago I believe and I must say that a lot has change, but the essentials that needed change didn't budge the slightest.
It is still a pretty darn beautiful country I must say, we went to a very very small and remote island off the coast of Terrenganu, in this island called Pulau Lang Tengah, and it was pristine. The clear turquoise water, colourful tropical fish just cruising along the clear beach, and some rather lethargic looking corals within reach of a shallow snorkelling trip. The food was wonderful, and the people were very helpful and they smile! I did also go back to my dad's hometown of Georgetown, in another island called Pulau Pinang (Penang), and met with some relatives and got to discuss plenty of things.
After 60 years of existance, this country still needs to improve on its human rights record. The plight of the smaller majorities and minorities of Malaysia is still ignored by the central governement, and the racist economic plan to "help" the ethnique Malays is still in force, largely in the expense of the other ethnic groups.
Freedom of speech and freedom per se is curbed, and the mentality of most people is still very archaic vis-à-vis the modern way of life that some chose to live. Hopefully with the explosion of internet, things would get better. Though I doubt it. People in Malaysia, and Asia in general, are generally not preoccupied with the non-intangibles. Philosophy or any meta-physical activities are as dead as Latin is in Europe. That does not seem to change, or will change in along time.
Having said that, it was a pleasant trip and I really really enjoyed my small island retreat.