08 Apr 2015 — Maahad Tahfiz is a school where students learn to read and memorise the Quran, alongside Islamic subjects such as Hadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). At the end of their study, students are required to know by heart all 6,236 verses of the Quran spread across 114 chapters. The modern Maahad also has Mathematics and English language as part of the syllabus. The Malaysian Insider's Nazir Sufari visits one such school, Maahad Tahfiz al-Quran At-Taqwa, in Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
23 Mar 2015 — Penang is known as a food paradise and this reputation rests largely on its street food. Locals and foreigners alike descend on the island to savour its many temptations. As melting pot, Penang offers a variety of cuisine which reflects the influence of the Chinese, Nyonya, Malays and Indians. The Malaysian Insider Penang-based photographer Hasnoor Hussain snaps some of the best hawker fare in town.
16 Mar 2015 — Kampung Pendas, Gelang Patah, Johor, is known for its fishing industry. Raft houses or ‘rumah rakit’ are a unique part of the fishing village’s identity, as they are used as 'cages' to breed fish and serve as living quarters. However, the area recently made the news after reports of mass fish death, which fishermen blame on development, erosion and ships criss-crossing the Johor Strait. The Malaysian Insider's Seth Akmal takes a peek at a soon-to-be vanishing lifestyle in the southern part of the peninsula.
26 Feb 2015 — Mah Meri is a subgroup of the Orang Asli tribe, Senoi, and live along the coast of Selangor, particularly from Sungai Pelek to Pulau Carey. Every year for many centuries, a small Mah Meri village in Pulau Carey takes part in a ritual called "Puja Pantai" to appease the spirits of the seas which provide them much of their economy. The Malaysian Insider photographer, Muhkriz Hazim, visited and recorded this year's events.
18 Feb 2015 — Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, marks the start of the Chinese calendar. Each Chinese New Year is named after one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and for 2015, it is Year of the Wooden Sheep (or sometimes also known as Year of Ram or Goat). Many astrologers predict Year of the Wood Sheep to herald a more favourable period. All the chaos in the past years will finally wrap up and things will start to brighten up. The Chinese New Year is a major celebration for the Chinese and is celebrated all over the world, including Malaysia.
10 Feb 2015 — The Federal Court has rejected opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against a sodomy conviction and prison sentence imposed last year. The former deputy prime minister's legal battle in the Sodomy II case began in August 7, 2008, when he was charged with sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in an apartment in Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. The High Court had in January 2012, acquitted Anwar, but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal in March last year. The first sodomy case against Anwar was in 1998, after he was sacked from the government. He was then accused of sodomising his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's former driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, but was acquitted in a 2-1 majority ruling by the Federal Court in 2004.
03 Feb 2015 — Thaipusam celebrates the victory of Lord Muruga over the Surapadman devil. Lord Muruga is seen as the granter of favours and if a wish is granted, devotees are required to repay Him through offerings such as kavadis. Thaipusam is also a thanksgiving festival dedicated to Lord Muruga for answering prayers. Devotees prepare themselves for Thaipusam spiritually by fasting and praying before performing acts of penance or thanksgiving like carrying kavadis and paal kudam (pots filled with milk) up the stairs leading to the temple to make or fulfil their vows. Many also pierce their bodies with sharp metal objects. Thaipusam has been celebrated in Batu Caves since 1891, making this year the 125th anniversary of Thaipusam in Batu Caves. More than a million people visited the Batu Caves temple for this year's Thaipusam.
27 Jan 2015 — In 2013, there were 35 million people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) worldwide and since then, 1.5 million have died from the disease. The first cases of HIV were reported in 1981. Since then, 78 million have become affected and about 39 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In Malaysia, some 85,000 adults are HIV-positive with 3,393 new cases of the infection reported in 2013. A majority of cases today are those infected through heterosexual sex, including housewives, while the number of injecting drug users infected with HIV has been on the decline. However, a majority of those with HIV do lead productive lives due to advancements in medical technology.
12 Jan 2015 — Scenes of devastation in the flood-ravaged east coast state of Kelantan greeted those who travelled there with aid convoys, leaving many in shock and disbelief at the scale of the disaster. Likening what they saw to a war zone, Malaysians are trying to help their fellow citizens rebuild their lives. The Malaysian Insider photographer Afif Abd Halim travelled to flood-ravaged villages to witness and record the aftermath of one of worst floods in the nation's history.
03 Jan 2015 — In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, there is a tiny house. Wood and boxes are used to patch up the dirty house. There is no water and electricity. The house is dubbed a ‘Rumah Tampal’. It may not be a home for many of us but it serves as a shelter for junkies, ex-junkies and a disabled person. And among its inhabitants is a little girl, who is the subject of The Malaysian Insider photographer Nazir Sufari’s photo essay. Nurchinta Ilyasya Roslan is also known as ‘Caca’. Her parents, who were homeless, are in jail for drug trafficking. Caca was left alone and brought to Rumah Tampal by a family friend. ‘Caca’ is now temporarily under the care of Yayasan Salam Malaysia.