Faces of
Malaysia
Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu, KT in short, is located at the east coast of the Peninsula Malaysia and at the mouth of the Sungai Terengganu (or Terengganu River) that empties here into the South China Sea. It is the capital of the state of Terengganu, which forms, together with Kedah and Kelatan, the heartland of Malay culture. KT is a good stop for one or 2 days before moving on along the east coast or towards the National Park / Tasik Kenyir.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia. Being a young city (founded only in 1857) it developed fast into a bustling metropolis of 1.5 million people (6 million including the satellite cities in the Klang Valley). Kuala Lumpur, or simply KL (as it is it called by Malaysians), literally means “muddy estuary” in Bahasa Malaysia. With good and cheap accommodation, great shopping and even better food in this multi-cultural melting pot, increasing numbers of travellers are discovering this little gem of a city.
Having been in the shadow of other big cities in the region like Bangkok and Singapore, KL was put back on the map for good with the opening the Petronas Twin Towers in 1997, until 2004 the highest and still one of the most impressive buildings in the world. Though, the sights are not what makes this city unique, it’s KL itself and it’s mixture of people and visitors.

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Malay Women on Motorbike

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