Faces of
Malaysia
Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru is the state capital of the state of Johor and the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. Most tourists don't stop here and just pass through the city on their way to or out of Singapore. JB is a major local transportation hub however. Since it is just across the causeway from Singapore, some travellers use it as a hub to visit Singapore from here (lower accommodation prices) or to board the train, bus or airplane.

Pulau Kapas

Pulau Kapas is a small island located only about 6km off Marang in the east coast state of Terengganu (about 1h north of Kuala Terengganu). It has quite and relaxed atmosphere because it is bypassed by the majority of the backpacker circuit looking for a more remote place like the Perhentian Islands. Pulau Kapas only get fairly busy on the weekends when locals come to island. There are a few good snorkeling spots around the island. All accommodations and beach are on the west coast facing the mainland. The west coast is the weather side has no sand beach, only rocks - it can be reached after a short walk through the jungle. Pulau Kapas shuts down during the monsoon season between November and February.

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Factory in Cameron Highlands

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