How long will Malaysia remain my 2nd Home?

As you will have noticed, I am back in my native country at the moment, enjoying life there..:-)  But looking forward already to be back in Malaysia, my 2nd home.

Quite often (Western) friends and family ask me about the political/religious situation in Malaysia. Is it still safe for you to live there?  I have to admit that the country under the present administration is becoming more and more authoritarian and (fundamentalist) Islamic. But I still feel very much at home…:-)

For how long? Honestly, I don’t know.

Today I have watched, spellbound,  an Australian documentary, released yesterday:   State of Fear: Murder and Money in Malaysia

It takes 45 minutes of your time. Please watch it!

Comments are welcome..:-)


Anwar & Saiful

On 10-2-2015  the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld the ruling by the Court of Appeal  that  Anwar Ibrahim was guilty of sodomising his aide Saiful Bukhari in 2008, and sentenced him to five years’ jail. Article 377B of the Malaysian Penal Code was applied.



The last few days I have received concerned questions from family and friends, if it was still safe for gay people to live in Malaysia. My answer is: don’t worry, this was a political process, a successful attempt by the powers that be, to eliminate the charismatic opposition leader.

Why then was I so shocked and depressed the last few days? Pity with Anwar? Not really, he has behaved as a typical alpha male, like Bill Clinton, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Chua Soi Lek, just to name a few. But I am worried about the future of Malaysia, my 2nd home.

In this blog I will give some background information, as I have noticed that there is a  lot of misunderstanding.

Let me start with the “infamous” article 377 of the Malaysian Penal Code. And not only of  the Malaysian one! It occurred in 42 (!) of the former British colonies. An archaic law, repealed by now in some of the more civilised ones.

Here are the relevant parts of article 377:

377A:  Any person who has sexual connection with another person by the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of the other person is said to commit carnal intercourse against the order of nature.

377B: Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping.

377C: Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature on another person without the consent, or against the will, of the other person, or by putting the other person in fear of death or hurt to the person or any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping.

I like to draw your attention to two points

  1. The definition in 377A mentions “another person”, NOT “another man” . So it covers anal/oral sex in heterosexual relationships as well.
  2. ONLY the man who puts his penis in the mouth or anus of “another person” commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature and will be punished. The other person goes free.

An archaic law. Here are results from a recent American sexual behaviour survey

Sexual Behaviour

Just an example: In the age group 30-39, an astonishing 59% of the women gave a man a blowjob. And mind you, although the woman is active, it is the man who is committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature. Sodomy? In the same age group, 22% of the women were sodomised!  The percentages for homosexual oral and anal sex are 6% and 3 %  “only”

Would the results for Malaysians be very different? If the law would be applied, the prisons would be flooded…:-) Actually the law is not applied often. According to the Human Rights Watch organisation, article 377 has been applied only 7 times since 1938! In recent memory, only two convictions, both concerning Anwar. By the way, note that in this article it is also mistakenly assumed that 377 is about LGBT!

Back to Anwar and Saiful. In 2008 Saiful started to work for Anwar as an aide. On 28 June 2008 he makes a police report alleging Anwar had sodomised him at a condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on 26 June 26 2008. Here is a timeline  published by the New Straits Times.A short resume: Anwar denies, claims that semen found in Saiful’s anus has been put there to incriminate him. In 2012 the High Court acquits and discharges him of sodomising Saiful. The prosecution appeals and in 2014 the court of Appeal sentences Anwar to 5 years. The Federal Court has upheld this verdict.

Here are the two main actors for the prosecution, the Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail and the Public Prosecutor Mohammad Shafee. Shafee may well become the next AG. Both men are long time adversaries of Anwar.



Time to give my own opinion!  Did Anwar and Saiful have sex?

Personally I am convinced they did. And I am sure it was consensual. I even would not be surprised if Saiful had started making avances. Does that mean Anwar and Saiful are gay? Anwar is a good husband and a grandfather. But he likes men too, so he is bisexual. About Saiful I am less sure. Apparently he is married now, but what does that mean.:-)? I understand that he has been fascinated by VIP’s. And from this wedding picture he has reached his goal…:-) Here the MB of Kedah is paying his respect. That is Mukhriz, by the way, the son of Mahathir. Another adversary of Anwar…:-). Coincidence?

Mukhriz & Saiful

Here is my reconstruction of the period before Saiful reported to the police on 28-6-2008. Bold by me

  1. Some time after Saiful started to work for Anwar, they get intimate. From a IPU reportMohd Saiful lodged a police report claiming that not only had Anwar sodomized him on the afternoon of Thursday 26 June 2008, but that he had been sexually assaulted some eight or nine times against his will by Anwar over the previous two months. Eight or nine times against his will! When it is remarked how a 61-year with a history of back pain can do that to a 23-year old, this part of the report is no longer mentioned. So the charge becomes 377B and not 377C
  2. On 24-6-2008 Saiful visits Najib. About a scholarship, but the topic of his “relationship” with Anwar is also discussed. Can that be true? He may also have met police officers. Why?
  3. On 26-6-2008 his last encounter with Anwar. He buys KY Jelly! From a Bernama report: Mohd Saiful, in his evidence, had spoken of his previous encounters he had had with Anwar, the unpleasant sensation of pain and the reason for bringing the KY Jelly lubricant.
  4. The next two days  Saiful doesn’t pass motion, and doesn’t rinse himself, “to keep the evidence intact”. Why wait two days?
  5. He then lodges the police report on 28-6 and next visits three hospitals to get his anus examined. Report by the Borneo Post

Looks like Anwar has been framed, don’t you think so?

I am not the only one thinking like that. Here is an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Caught in political sex trap, quoting Wikileaks info:

The cable that deals with Dr Anwar’s sodomy case, dated November 2008 and released exclusively to The Sun-Herald by WikiLeaks, states: ”The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligences services and [Singaporean elder statesman] Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted’.”

The document states the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment on the basis of ”technical intelligence”, which is likely to relate to intercepted communications.

The ONA is also recorded as saying that Dr Anwar’s political enemies engineered the circumstances from which the sodomy charges arose.

”ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, ‘it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway’,” the cable states.

Of course the publicity after Saiful lodged his report was enormous. Confronting the press he was accompanied by his “Uncle Pet”. Here he is, two pictures, one with Saiful’s lawyer, the other one giving an interview to Malaysiakini.

uncle pet


Here is the interview. Uncle Pet discusses Saiful’s visit to the several hospitals and voices his indignation about an article by RPK in Malaysia Today , suggesting that Saiful might have been sodomised by uncle Pet himself.

Although that was a preposterous comment by RPK, it is also clear that uncle Pet was not good for Saiful’s credibility, so not surprisingly he has “disappeared” and is never mentioned in the court proceedings.

The main argument for the Federal court to uphold Anwar’s sentence was that they considered Saiful a credible witness. Credible in his account of what happened between Anwar and him on 26-6-2008. That may be true. But if my reconstruction above is correct, it should not necessarily have come to a court case. Consensual “unnatural” sex between two adults. Illegal, true, but hundred thousands of Malaysian couples do the same. Why only select and punish Anwar?

Shafee acknowledges that it has been a (legal) conspiracy.  It was sodomy, he argues, and all legal means are allowed to punish the culprit. Well, he will have a huge job to punish all (straight and gay) sodomites, when he will become the AG.

Shame on him. It was a political conspiracy. Selective persecution. Aimed exclusively at Anwar. I feel sorry for Malaysia.

GE13 the Aftermath

It is now about three months ago that the 13th General Election was held in Malaysia. Time for some comments, primarily for my non-Malaysian followers, although there might also be something new for my Malaysian friends..:-)

As I wrote in my post GE13: the Results , the ruling BN coalition remained in power, although with a reduced majority (133 against 89  for the opposition), but they lost the popular vote.


In the weeks following Election Day, numerous protest demonstrations were held, all over the country. Aric attended the biggest one, in Kelana Jaya and came home, deep in the night, full of enthusiasm: “There were people from all races and all ages. I really felt that I was a Malaysian“. He took this picture:

Kelana Jaya protest

Prime Minister Najib’s  first reaction was about a Chinese Tsunami. Newly-appointed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysians who are unhappy with the country’s political system should leave the country. But it was not a Chinese tsunami, it was a result of the urban-rural divide.

There were more intelligent responses. Nazri, now minister of Tourism, in an interview with the Malay Mail, about the reduced support for BN: This is the tragedy of education. You keep them stupid, so they will keep you in government or you educate them and risk having them go against you. To be fair to him, he added: I will still choose the latter.

I will now try analyse the election results a bit. Let me recapitulate what I explained in my earlier post GE13. Malaysia uses a District System for the elections, instead of Proportional Representation. Two “dangers” in a District System are gerrymandering and malapportionment. Districts (constituencies) should have more or less the same size, if that is not the case, there is malapportionment. Even when they have the same size, you can still have gerrymandering. I found this very clear example of gerrymandering on the Internet. It shows four districts, equal in size, with two parties, Green and Purple. Counting the dots (voters), you will find 36 Green and 28 Purple. So Green would have a majority in a PR system.

In a District System the outcome depends strongly on the boundaries of the districts.

GerrymanderingLower left: in all four districts Green wins

Upper left: three Green districts, one Purple,

Upper right: two Green, two Purple,

Lower right: one Green, three Purple, so Green even looses!!

The delineation makes all the difference!

I have no idea how much gerrymandering is taking place in Malaysia, but the malapportionment is very obvious and in the rest of this blog I will concentrate on it.


Last week Malaysiakini published an article about malapportionment. In a list of 25 countries that use the District system, Malaysia takes a shameful 21st place, between Uganda and Kenya.

The reason is clear. In most countries there are rules for the relative size of districts. For example in the UK there can be no more than 5% difference with the national quota, where the national quota is defined as the number of voters divided by the number of MP’s

Malaysia had these rules too, but they were relaxed and finally completely abolished by the BN government.As a result in the last election, in the state of Selangor the Kapar district had 144159 voters and the Sabak Bernam district 37318. The national quota in the GE13 was 48927, so Kapar is ~ 195% more and Sabak Bernam ~ 25% less

Almost unbelievable!

In discussions with my Malaysian friends often even more extreme examples are given, for example the Igan district in Sarawak with 17771 voters or, the most extreme, Putrajaya Federal Territory with 14345 voters, TEN times less than Kapar.

Here is a graph of all 222 constituencies ordered by size. Notice the huge difference in size, but especially that the constituencies where the Government (BN) won are on average a lot smaller than those where the Opposition (PR) won!


A far cry from the One Man, One Vote principle! Of course after the election many people calculated how the result would have been if all votes would have had equal weight. Here is the result, taking Malaysia as a whole, if there would have been Proportional Representation. Not a majority for BN, but a clear win for the Opposition. The “real” election results are given for comparison, in orange.

Total voters Seats Quota BN BN seats PR PR seats
Malaysia 10861683 222 48927 5237699 107|133 5623984 115|89

Understandable that there was a lot of unrest and protest after the election, as many people felt that BN had no moral right to form a new government. However, the calculations given above are NOT correct, as I will explain now.

We have to go back to 1963, when Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak were considering/asked to join the newly (1957) formed Federation of Malaya. They were worried that they would be overwhelmed by the Peninsular states. As a safeguard it was agreed in the negotiations that the the three states would get 1/3 of the seats in Parliament, so for constitutional changes their consent would be needed. In 1963 the Federation of Malaysia was formed and the Parliament had 159 seats, 104 for Malaysia and 55 for the new states. A few years later Singapore decided to leave the Federation. And later the Federal Territories were created, first Kuala Lumpur (1974), then Labuan 1984) and finally Putrajaya (2001). In the present Parliament, Peninsular Malaysia has 153 seats, East Malaysia 56 and the three Federal Territories 13. Therefore East Malaysia has only ~ 25% of the seats in Parliament, less than 1/3, and many Sarawakians and Sabahans are unhappy with that!

Back to the elections. It will now be clear that the calculation of a national quota does not make sense in Malaysia, as it consists of three separate entities. For each of them we have to calculate the quota, and then we can for each of them calculate what the result of proportional representation would be! The results are given in this table:

Total voters Seats Quota BN BN seats PR PR seats
Peninsular Mal. 8690785 153 56803 4084928 72|82 4605857 81|71
East Mal. 1484784 56 26514 902866 34|47 581918 22|9
Federal Terr. 686114 13 53180 249905 5|4 581918 8|9
Malaysia 10861683 222 5237699 111|133 5623984 111|89

The three quota are in yellow. The quota for Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territories are in the same range, the quota for East Malaysia is much smaller, reflecting the special position of Sabah and Sarawak. For all three the number of seats is calculated according to proportional representation (light-blue) with the actual results in orange for comparison.

It is clear that in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territories the opposition wins convincingly. But it is also clear that in East Malaysia BN wins convincingly, even with proportional representation! And because of the different weight factors, we come to a surprising final result: BN and PR would hold each other in balance, a hung Parliament, LOL.

Congratulations if you have been following this blog until here..:-) It has taken me many days to get a clear view of the situation.

A few concluding remarks

1. The numbers have been taken from this very accessible and detailed website: Malaysia Election Data

2. In many states a relatively small number of votes has been given to Independents etc. In total about 1.74%. None of these candidates got a seat. Also in proportional representation none of these candidates would get a seat. Therefore in the above calculations I have neglected those votes.

3. When you compare sizes of constituencies to show malapportionment, you must do that within each of the three entities. It makes no sense to compare Kapar and Putrajaya.

4. It is clear that the battle between government and opposition has to be fought in East Malaysia. East Malaysia is still the “fixed deposit” of the BN government.

5. The Election Commission will start a Delineation Exercise soon. For changing the number of seats a 2/3 majority is needed, for just delineation a simple majority is enough. The EC should be completely independent of the government, but the communis opinio in Malaysia is that EC and the government (BN) work hand in hand.

6. My bet is that the EC will propose to increase the number of seats for East-Malaysia, and as compensation for the opposition, split a few of the large constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia.

An Interesting painting

A few days ago, a friend sent me an email with a picture of an interesting painting.


The painting is a political allegory, for an explanation see below. But first more about the painting and the painter.

The painting is named Beijing 2008 and was created in 2005 by the Chinese-Canadian painter Lui Liu. He was born in 1957 in North China and is now living in Toronto. This painting was sold at an auction last year for more than 3 million US$.

Here is another painting by Lui Liu, “Towards de Future” (2008)

Towards the future

Personally I find his style of painting an interesting mixture of Magic Realism and Surrealism, similar to the paintings of Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), one of my favourite painters. See my Virtual Museum

Here is a painting by Delvaux: The Entrance to the City (1940)

The Entrance of the City

About the allegory, the title refers to the Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008. But in this painting another game is played, Mahjong. Here is the explanation as given in the email.

The woman with the tattoos on her back is China. On the left, focused intensely on the game, is Japan. The one with the shirt and head cocked to the side is America. Lying provocatively on the floor is Russia. And the little girl standing to the side is Taiwan.

China’s visible set of tiles “East Wind” has a dual meaning. First, it signifies China’s revival as a world power. Second, it signifies the military might and weaponry that China possesses has already been placed on the table. On one hand, China appears to be in a good position, but we cannot see the rest of her hand. Additionally, she is also handling some hidden tiles below the table.

America looks confident, but is glancing at Taiwan, trying to read something off of Taiwan’s expression, and at the same time seems to be hinting something at Taiwan.

Russia appears to be disinterested in the game, but this is far from the truth. One foot hooks coyly at America, while her hand passes a hidden tile to China, both countries can be said to be exchanging benefits in secret. Japan is all seriousness while staring at her own set of tiles, and is oblivious to the actions of the others in her self-focused state.

Taiwan wears a traditional red slip, symbolizing that she is the true heir of Chinese culture and civilization. In one hand she has a bowl of fruit, and in the other, a paring knife. Her expression as she stares at China is full of anger, sadness, and hatred, but to no avail; unless she enters the game, no matter who ends up as the victor, she is doomed to a fate of serving fruit.

Outside the riverbank is darkened by storm clouds, suggesting the high tension between the two nations is dangerously explosive. The painting hanging on the wall is also very meaningful; Mao’s face, but with Chiang Kai Shek’s bald head, and Sun Yat-Sen’s mustache.

At first glance, America appears to be most composed and seems to be the best position, as all the others are in various states of nakedness. However, while America may look radiant, her vulnerability has already been exposed. China and Russia may look naked, yet their key private parts remain hidden.

If the stakes of this game is that the loser strips off a piece of clothing, then if China loses, she will be in the same state as Russia (similar to when the USSR dissolved). If America loses, she also ends up in the same state as Russia. If Russia loses, she loses all. Japan has already lost everything.

Russia seems to be a mere “filler” player, but in fact is exchanging tiles with China. The real “filler” player is Japan, for Japan has nothing more to lose, and if she loses just once more she is immediately out of the game.

America may look like she is in the best position, but in fact is in a lot of danger, if she loses this round, she will give up her position as a world power. Russia is the most sinister, playing along with both sides, much like when China was de-occupied, she leaned towards the USSR and then towards America; as she did not have the ability to survive on her own, she had to weave between both sides in order to survive and develop.

There are too many of China’s tiles that we cannot see. Perhaps suggesting that China has several hidden aces? Additionally China is also exchanging tiles with Russia, while America can only guess from Taiwan’s expression of what actions have transpired between Russia and China. Japan on the other hand is completely oblivious, still focused solely on her own set of tiles.

Taiwan stares coldly at the game from aside. She sees everything that the players at the table are doing, she understands everything that is going on. But she doesn’t have the means or permission to join the game, she isn’t even given the right to speak. Even if she has a dearth of complaints, she cannot voice it to anyone, all she can do is to be a good page girl, and bring fresh fruit to the victor.

The final victor lies between China and America, this much is apparent. But look closely; while America is capable, they are playing Chinese Mahjong, not Western Poker. Playing by the rules of China, how much chance at victory does America really have?

GE13: the results

Just a short post.

It was an exciting day, yesterday, with a slightly disappointing outcome: BN will remain in power, although with a reduced majority. Here are the results of the GE13 election, together with the results of the 2004 and 2008 elections

Results GE13

In my last post I explained the malapportionment and the gerrymandering, resulting in an unbalance between the percentage of votes and the percentage of seats in Parliament. In G13 this has led to a dramatic result. BN still has a majority in seats, but, for the first time in many decades, it has lost in the popular vote! The government received 48.7 % of the votes, the opposition 51.3%  (Data taken from the Malaysian Insider)

I joined Aric’s family to the polling station. Of course we first had a nice breakfast (dim sum).

Dim sum breakfast

The voting takes place in schools, same as  in the Netherlands. It was well organised, with different queues for the various age groups. I was not allowed to enter the school grounds, but I did not have to wait  long, before the family came out again.For the first time “indelible” ink was used to make it impossible to vote twice! Of course everybody tried to test how indelible the ink was. Not very, it seems, just use toothpaste or grass or chlorox..:-)

Indelible inkalmost Malaysian

So, what will happen now? Opposition leader Anwar is protesting that there have been many irregularities. Yesterday, many video clips were circulating on the Internet about “foreign” voters, who had supposedly been given IC cards by BN. A good thing is that there have hardly been any clashes after the results came out, yesterday evening.

So probably no Ubah this time…:-(

It will be interesting to see if these GE13 results will weaken the position of PM Najib. The former PM, Badawi, resigned after the disastrous results of the 2008 election. The expectation was that Najib would at least win back some of the losses. But the results of these elections are worse for BN! Ok, the opposition lost Kedah, but strengthened its position in Penang and Selangor.


In my last post I mentioned that tomorrow the 13th General Elections will be held in Malasysia. Some of my Dutch friends asked me for more information about these elections and why everybody here is so excited/anxious/worried about the outcome.

So this post is meant primarily for my non-Malaysian followers, but of course I hope that my Malaysian friends will also read it. It is now Election’s Eve, so I must publish it fast, hopefully without mistakes…:-)

The present government is formed by BN (Barisan Nasional = National Front). BN is a racially based coalition of basically three parties, UMNO (Malay), MCA (Chinese) and MIC (Indian). BN (and its predecessor Alliance) has been in power from the Independence of Malaysia in 1957. That is more than 55 year and almost all the time they had absolute power ( more then 2/3 majority).

Well, as you know: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

About the corruption and the cronyism in BN, I will not elaborate in this post. Do a Google search for Altantuyaa, Teoh Beng Hock, Rosmah, Taib, Khir Toyo, etc if you are interested.

Was there no opposition? Yes, there was. But Malaysia doesn’t have proportional representation, like we have in the Netherlands (and in many European countries). The country has (at this time) 222 parliamentary seats and is divided in 222 constituencies. In each constituency the winner takes all. So, if in each constituency the opposition gets 40% of the votes, at the end of the day they will not be represented in Parliament at all!

Before the 2004 election, the opposition parties formed an alternative coalition, Barisan Alternatif. Basically consisting of three parties: Keadilan (multiracial, progressive), DAP (Chinese, progressive) and PAS (Malay, conservative). At first not very successful, quite a lot of distrust between the component parties. But under the charismatic leadership of Anwar, they managed to cooperate better in the 2008 election. With a shocking result!

For the first time in decades BN lost its 2/3 majority!

Elections stats

Now, when you study the statistics in this table, you will notice something strange. In these last election the opposition got 47.8 % of the votes, but only 37% of the seats! And in 2004 it was  even much worse, 36% of the votes against not even 10% of the seats!

How can that happen? The answer is: by Malapportionment and Gerrymandering

About Mal-apportionment: If you have an election system with constituencies, each of them voting for one MP, then each constituency should have about the same number of voters, right? In Malaysia that would result in about 49.000 voters for each constituency.

The real situation is stunningly different! Here is a graph of the constituencies in the 2008 election. As you see, there is a huge difference in size between the constituencies. The largest one, Kapar, has more than 100.000 voters, the smallest one, Putrajaya (center of the government!) not even 7000.

constituency size

Most countries with a constituency system (like the UK) have (constitutional?) election rules about which differences in size are allowed between constituencies (for example + or – 15%). Malaysia had those rules, but first they were relaxed and later replaced in 1973 by a vague “a measure of weightage”. Yes! With all due respect to my 2nd home, politically Malaysia is still a banana republic…:-(

But this is not all. In the graph the results of the 2008 elections are represented. Blue for a BN win, red for a win by the opposition. Do I have to explain in more detail? The constituencies with a small number of voters are dominantly BN, the larger ones vote for the opposition! Accidentally? No way. This is gerrymandering, choosing the boundaries of the constituencies in such a way,  that it favours the ruling powers. I find it really unbelievable that this is accepted by the Malaysian population.

Ok, back to tomorrow’s elections.  It will be a battle between a (weakened) BN and Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance), the successor of Barisan Alernatif. The elections are already named the dirtiest in the history of Malaysia. BN is doing its utmost best to remain in power, by any means. They have been flooding the country with flags and banners, rumours are that they are flying in phantom voters from Sarawak and Sabah while I am writing this. But there is a kind of vibrant feeling in the air, that a Malaysian spring might occur this time.

Ubah! Ini Kali lah    =  Change! This it the time

Here are a few pics taken the last few days.

2013-05-04 10.35.49 BN Opposition

Ini Kali Lah

Are people worried? Well, after the 1969 elections, race riots exploded, which are still remembered vividly by everybody staying in Malaysia at that time. Many people died, there was a curfew for several days. However, times have changed.

Will update you soon…:-)

Journal 1-5-2013

The last week we had some unusually heavy downpours, sometimes with strong winds. On my daily walks in Bukit Kiara I encountered several uprooted trees. I also noticed these uncommon flowers, stemming directly from the tree trunk. Beautiful.

Bukit KiaraKiara flower

When I had my breakfast in IKEA, there was this big group of Malay ladies, probably on an outing, having a jolly good time. I asked permission to take their picture, no problem, and after that of course I had to be in the picture too.


Sunday May 5, the 13th General Election will be held in Malaysia. It will be a battle between Barisan Nasional, in power since the Independence of Malaysia and tainted with cronyism and corruption, and Pakatan Rakyat, a loose coalition of opposition parties. BN has spent a lot of (taxpayers?) money on flags and banners, many streets are colored blue. In Bangsar and also my neighbourhood the last few days, many small flags have appeared in bright colors, symbolising the “Malaysian Spring” which will hopefully begin this weekend.


In my native country on the 30st of April, the coronation took place of the new Dutch king, Willem Alexander, the first male Dutch monarch in more than 100 years. The Dutch population in Malaysia had received an invitation from the ambassador for a Coronation Party at his residence. Although basically more of a Republican than a Royalist I decided to attend the event.  It was actually quite a nice happening, there was a large crowd, more than 400 people. Large TV screens with streaming video, so we could follow the ceremony live.  After the speech by the ambassador,  I even joined in the singing of the National Anthem! Good that the staff had distributed the text, because to be honest, I only know the first lines of the first verse….:-)

Dutch embassyNational anthem


There was Heineken beer, herring, “bitterballen”, probably not only for me an important reason to attend the event…:-)

Herring and beerBitterballen


Here is the official photo taken after the coronation, with some of the royal guests. It is a tradition that ruling monarchs will not attend the coronation ceremony, only crown princes, so that after the coronation the new king is automatically the highest in rank! And an interesting detail: for Charles, the Prince of Wales, this is the second time that he attends a Dutch coronation ceremony, as he was already the crown prince when Beatrix became queen, 33 years ago..:-)


Election results

The preliminary results of the Dutch elections were known already the same evening of Wednesday, September 12, but the final results (including postal votes) took a few days longer.

The good news is that the populist party PVV of islamophobic and anti-Europe Geert Wilders lost dramatically. The leftist and anti-Europe SP also lost.Big winners are the conservative-liberal VVD and the socialist PvdA. Together they have now 79 seats in the House of Representatives (150 seats), a majority.

However, their programs are quite different, so it will not be easy to form a coalition between the two.

Here is a map of the Netherlands with the 2012 election results.

The map shows the biggest party in each town/village, just to give an impression about the local support for a party. We don’t have a district system, but proportional representation, so votes for other parties are not lost.

For comparison, here is the map for the 2010 elections

Quite a big change! The grey color is the Wilders party. The most dramatic change is the almost complete secularisation of the country. The Christian parties have been decimated in this last election. That’s another piece of good news for a secular humanist like me…:-)

Parliamentary elections in the Netherlands

Today is election day in my motherland. We had a cabinet crisis a few months ago, when the populist, islamophobic, anti-European PVV party of Geert Wilders withdrew its support for the coalition government.

After this crisis the popularity of this party increased and for a while it looked like it might become the biggest party..:-(. Fortunately the electorate has come to its senses. The polls now indicate that it will be a fight between the Labour Party (PvdA) and the Conservative Party (VVD).

For the first time in my life I am now a postal voter! Because my residence is no longer in Amsterdam. I had to register myself in the Hague, and received my voting form two weeks ago. I had to send it back to the Dutch embassy in KL, before 3pm today.Here I am voting, in my living-room..:-)

Tomorrow we will know the result. I will keep you updated.