Faces of
Malaysia
Tioman

Largest island of Malaysias east coast. It’s located 32km off the coast and is some 20km long and 12km wide and the highest peak is Gunung Kajang with 1038m. In the 70ies TIME magazine selected Tioman as one the world’s most beautiful islands but lost some flair in recent years due to do development. The island has eight main villages, many beaches and is densely forested and is surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making it a scuba diving haven.

Ipoh

Ipoh is the apital of the state of Perak and the fourth largest city of peninsular Malaysia with a population of 760,000 (Metro area: 1.4 Mil). It is scenically located amoung karst limestone hills in the Kinta Valley, about 2 1/2 hours north of Kuala Lumpur. The city is somehow forgotten by most travellers in Malaysia, however it has a lot to offer with many colonial buildings and shophouses (it used to be a very rich city around the turn of the 19th century due to tin mining) and the nature (hills, caves) around. Among Malaysians it is known for good food like the popular Ipoh Chicken Rice.

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Sign at Buddhist Temple in Penang

Malaysia’s 13th General Election

There has never been a change of government in the history of Malaysia. After the hardest contested election so far, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition will continue to stay in power despite losing the popular vote.

Results of the 13th General Election in Malaysia

results of 13th GE Malaysia

Indepedent observers have labeled the election as only "partly free, no fair". Despite the fact that many irregularities and mass media strongly favors the ruling ruling Barison Nasional coalition, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat manage to win the populate with 50.9%.  However, because of the uneven size of consituencies which give much more voting power to rural areas, Barisonal managed to get a comfortable majority of 133 seasts (out of 222) despite losing the popular vote with 47.4%. A record number of 84% of voters turned up at the polling stations.


Barisan Nasional, PAS flags
Barisan Nasional (blue colour) and PAS (green colour) flages along the road side in KL. The status quo in Malaysia seem to be that the party with the most flags out on the streets gathers the most votes.

 

BN (Barisan Nasional)
Barisan Nasional was formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance. Both coalitions have been the federal ruling force since the indepence of Malaysia. Barisan Nasional consists of the Malay UMNO, Chinese MCA and Indian MIC as well as several other parties in Sabah and Sarawak. The vast majority of Barisan Nasional's seats are held by its three largest religion and race-based political parties UMNO, MCA and MIC with UMNO being the clear leader of the coaltion.

PR (Pakatan Rakyat)
Pakatan Rakyat was formed in 2008 before the 12th general election creating an alliance between the 3 largest oppostion parties - DAP (Democratic Action Party), PKR (People's Justice Party) and PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party). The coalition made unexptected gain in the 12th coaltion denying Barisan Nasional a 2/3 majority in parlament and forming the state governments of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

 

If you want to read more from the different sides of the story, you could start here:

The Star - largest english-language daily paper, owned MCA (member of Barisan Nasional) so be aware of propaganda
Malaysiakini - largest independent online newspaper
Malaysian Insider - indenpent online magazine