The Malayan Communist Party As Recorded in the Comintern Files

Author: Fujio Hara
Format: Paperback 164 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Malaysia
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
ISBN: 9789670960531
Price: RM30.00

Comintern (Communist International, 1919-1943) files kept in a Russian Archive were opened to the public in 1991. Various documents relating to the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) were contained therein. Relying on these documents, this research reveals many important and hitherto unknown facts. Consulting with previous works done by C.F. Yong, Cheah Boon Kheng and others, we can identify the extent to which the British colonial Special Branch intercepted them.

The inaugural congress of the MCP, which initially depended heavily on the Comintern’s instructions, was held on 22-23 April and 21 May 1930. Consistent pivotal points of the instructions were to refrain from armed insurgency and to make every effort to obtain the support of Malays and Indians. Although instructions were stopped after 1935, the MCP continued sending reports until the Pacific War started. These reports depict its internal disputes between the left wing and the right wing, which is supposed to have been headed by Lai Teck. Without instructions from the Comintern, the MCP further strengthened its influence among the people through labour as well as anti-Japanese movements.

About the Author

Fujio Hara (Hara Fujio in Japanese order) earned his PhD from the University of Tokyo. After working at the Institute of Developing Economies from 1967-99, he became a Professor at Nanzan University (1999-2012). He has at various times been attached to Universiti Sains Malaysia, the University of Malaya, Xiamen University, and the Yusof Ishak Institute-ISEAS. His main works include The Japanese in British Malaya (1986) and Malayan Chinese and China (1997)

Posted in English Books, History

Death of the Dragon God Lake

Author: Isabel Crabtree Parker, Jonathan Crabtree Parker, Miranda Crabtree Parker & Sara Ashencaen Crabtree
Format: Paperback 269 pp.
Subject: Environment & Ecology, Ethnic Studies, Malaysia
ISBN:  9789670960241
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM35.00

Death of the Dragon God Lake is a family ethnography focusing on the Jakun of Tasik Chini, Malaysia, and their contemporary struggles. The Orang Asli West Malaysia’s indigenous people – comprise only 0.6 percent of the country’s total population, and within this group, the Jakun of Tasik Chini number around 500. While recent decades have seen efforts to ‘modernise’ them, this official spin cloaks the denial of Orang Asli self-determination and the concurrent damage being done to their traditional land. As part of their condensed ethnography, the authors conducted interviews and field discussion groups, observed the adults and children living around Tasik Chini, and gathered information about their lives today and how they compare with the recent past. The lake is polluted, the children unable to swim in it as their parents did, and the natural beauty of the surroundings has been eroded, having an impact on tourism as well. With awareness of their positionality as foreign anthropologists, the authors examine the contradiction between the authorities’ and indigenous narratives, and reveal the efforts made by Tasik Chini community members to improve their situation on their own terms.

Posted in Books, English Books, Environment

Second Thoughts: On Malaysia, Globalisation, Society and Self

Author: Julian C H Lee
Format: Paperback 196 pp.
Subjects: Arts & Culture, Malaysia, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630977
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM30.00

First impressions can be deceptive, as Julian Lee notes in the introduction to this book, and that’s why he sees merit in second thoughts. In this engaging collection of essays and reviews, he gives us a whirlwind tour of topics as diverse as Gangnam Style and the Harlem Shake; the peculiarities of human interaction; cultural variations in emoticons; the art of the car sale; histories of fruit; the merits of pessimism; and why you think your phone is vibrating when it isn’t. Not only this, but he can draw a line from Mars Attacks! to Edward Said in one breath, and explain what the plot of Transformers has to say about gender inequalities.

With engaging illustrations by Jun Kit that astutely distill the essence of each chapter with humour and insight, Second Thoughts promises to inform and delight in equal measure.

With illustrations by Jun Kit

With illustrations by Jun Kit

Posted in Arts & Culture, English Books, Social Studies

An Alternative Vision for Malaysia

Author: Jeyakumar Devaraj
Format: Paperback, 135 pp.
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630540
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM25.00


“Whether one is a capitalist, socialist or just interested in good governance, there is real benefit in reading this collection of speeches and essays by Dr Jeyakumar, one of the most principled politicians I know.

True to form, every word in these writings is weighed and considered carefully and responsibly. The result is a collection that challenges us into rethinking the benefits of our current systems to bring them in line with a ‘people first’ philosophy, in the true sense of those words.

The ‘vow of poverty’ that you will read about, exhorts political leaders to live simply, declare their assets and to behave with dignity. How refreshing! But the true power of Dr Jeyakumar’s words lies in the fact that he does not just write or speak them. It’s that he lives by them.”

    — Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan


Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a medical doctor who, after completion of 18 years in government service, took on the then MIC President Dato Seri Samyvellu in the 1999 general elections. Jeyakumar lost in 1999 and again in 2004, but managed to displace Samyvellu in 2008, and retained the Sg Siput parliamentary seat in 2013.

A social activist since his university days, he is a founder member of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and is currently a PSM central committee member. He has been the secretary of the Coalition Against Privatization of Health Care since its formation in 2004.
Jeyakumar has been arrested about a dozen times for participating in gatherings and protests deemed illegal by the Police. His longest detention so far was for about a month in July 2011, when he and 5 other PSM members were held under the Emergency Ordinance on charges of treason. A strong protest from the Malaysian public secured the release of the ‘EO 6’ and they went on to sue the Inspector General of Police for wrongful detention. The case was settled via a consent agreement with the government paying RM 200,000 to PSM. 
Jeyakumar has authored several books including Sucked Oranges (Insan 1989), Logging Against the Natives (Insan 1989), The Marginalised Society (Alaigal 1993 – in Tamil), Speaking Truth to Power (Alaigal 2002), Malaysia at the Crossroads (Parsosma 2009) and Maaf Tuan Speaker (Parsosma 2011 – in Malay).
He is married to Mohanarani Rasiah, a social activist, and they have a son.

Posted in English Books, Politics

The Korean Wave in Southeast Asia: Consumption and Cultural Production

Editors: Joanne B.Y. Lim & Mary J. Ainslie
Format: Paperback, 200 pp.
Subjects: Arts & Culture, Southeast Asia
ISBN: 9789670630472
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM35.00

The Korean Wave in Southeast Asia offers fresh details and new perspectives on the globalization of Korean popular culture, better known as ‘Hallyu’. Focusing on the dissemination, localization, consumption and fandom of Korean TV dramas, films, pop music and other forms of youth culture within the cultural geography of Southeast Asia, the chapters in the book offer a compelling analysis of the globalization of Hallyu and detail the various social and cultural mechanisms involved.

Deeply accomplished, this book will be a valuable resource for scholars interested in cultural and social change in Southeast Asia, as well as for graduate and undergraduate students learning about popular culture in Asia.

   — Nissim Otmazgin, Chair of the Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author, Regionalizing Culture: The political economy of Japanese popular culture in Asia (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013).

This book proves to be an important addition to the growing scholarship on the Korean Wave and the resulting new pop culture trends in Southeast Asia. In addition to introducing new concepts for further comparative research, the roster of case studies on Hallyu consumption and production in the region (informed by interdisciplinary expertise) offer readers fresh analyses and diverse experiences of the phenomenon.

The publication of this collection is timely for our new course elective focusing on the ‘Korean Wave’, in which this book will certainly be a required reading.

   — Sarah Domingo Lipura, Associate Director, Ateneo Initiative for Korean Studies, Ateneo De Manila University (Philippines)

Posted in Arts & Culture, English Books

Early Child Care and Education in Malaysia: Towards Professionalisation

Authors: Lydia Foong, Palanisamy K. Veloo and Mogana Dhamotharan
Format: Paperback, 110 pages
Subjects: Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630472
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM35.00

Malaysia is the home of close to thirty million people in the 2013 population census, of whom more than 9.5 million are children under the age of 18. There are approximately 2.5 million children who are four years old and below, and 2.5 million children between ages five to nine.

More than a quarter of our children are below five years of age; they are often taken care of by caregivers other than their parents. The number of young children from infant to four years of age enrolled at childcare centres is expected to grow four or five fold; and preschool children’s enrollment is expected to increase to 97 percent by 2020.

Despite childcare centres being regulated by the Department of Social Welfare, only two out of ten childcare providers in each centre have a basic childcare training certificate. Private preschools regulated by the Ministry of Education have less than 10% of their teachers qualified with the Diploma in early childhood education.

This phenomenon is raising a number of serious questions on the quality standard of services offered by private ECCE centres in Malaysia, in particular the teaching and learning processes, the overall status of professionalism and the structure that supports it, and how the transition to primary schools can be managed effectively.

Will the private ECCE workforce be ready for the transformation that is taking place in the services for young children? How will training of childcare providers and preschool teachers be ramped Up to reach the aspired outcomes?

This book reviews the status and work conditions of the ECCE workforce in the private sector in Malaysia in the hope to put into perspective environmental factors in the workplace that cause people to either have a positive or negative attitude towards their job. The authors through this study provide recommendation for ECCE stakeholders to realise their obligations to recognise the potential of staff members and help them fulfil their needs for self-actualization.

Posted in Education, English Books, Social Studies

Politics of the Temporary: An Ethnography of Migrant Life in Urban Malaysia

Author: Parthiban Muniandy
Format: Paperback, 184 pp.
Subject: Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630489
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM25.00

For more than three decades Malaysia’s economic growth has been driven in part by the skills and sweat of large numbers of migrant workers. The country has become the temporary home for more than two million documented migrants. Many more than that are undocumented, living precarious lives on the margins of society.

In cities like Kuala Lumpur and George Town, workers from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, the Philippines, Vietnam and China contribute in seen and unseen ways to the lives of others. They are the servers and cooks in restaurants, maids and nannies in homes, street cleaners, construction workers, social escorts, sex workers and micro-entrepreneurs.

But very little is known or understood about their everyday lives. Their voices have been silent. For the first time, Politics of the Temporary details the rich, complex and often difficult realities of the lives of migrants in Malaysia – experiences that are for the most part hidden from public consciousness and awareness.

Through a series of reflective and critical ethnographic notes – and told in the words of migrants themselves – Parthiban Muniandy provides an intimate examination of the many ways that migrants adapt to life in the city, their innovative strategies for coping with pressures of work and discrimination, and their capacity to forge new networks and build informal communities.

This book should be read by all those interested in the harsh realities of contemporary labour migration and social inequalities in a developing economy.

About the Author

Parthiban Muniandy is a doctoral student at the Department of Sociology, University of Illinois, USA. He has conducted fieldwork for the past seven years on the politics of temporary migration in Malaysia. He has published on religious movements and democratic politics in Malaysia, global migration, development discourses and US media portrayals of Muslim societies. He is an advocate of critical pedagogy and social justice, an active organiser for graduate employees and low-wage campus workers, and a former youth campaigner for Amnesty International.

Posted in English Books, Politics, Social Studies

Controlled Chaos: Essays on Malaysia’s New Politics Beyond Mahathirism and the Multimedia Super Corridor

Author: Azly Rahman
Format: Paperback, 191 pages
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630496
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM25.00
Through this collection of essays on Malaysia’s ‘new politics’, Azly Rahman once again provides a superb insight into contemporary Malaysian political narratives. Throughout this collection of articles, Azly has continually posed a series of questions to the reader to think critically about issues concerning Obama-ism, Hudud, censorship and the institutionalization of Islam in an effort to break through the current shallow paradigms. Through this, Azly seeks the reader to see something better for Malaysia, beyond the current intellectual malaise the country’s opinion leaders have pushed the nation into.
Azly’s collection of articles is mandatory for anybody who is concerned about the future of Malaysia.
Professor Murray Hunter, International Advisor to the 4th Media, Beijing, China; International Advisor to Diplomatic Insight, Islamabad, Pakistan; and Associate Professor, University Malaysia Perlis
There is a subtle message running through the essays, if read thoughtfully: there is an evident call to arms to Malaysians, to dislodge a political system that alienates and divides its citizens, that disrupts social harmony, and that fosters gross new inequities. As Azly argues, we, Malaysians, need to be the agents of change to bring about the ‘new politics’ that this country so badly needs. This is not a hopelessly naive plea; after all, the results of the 2008 and 2013 general elections indicate that Malaysians are angry and unmistakably aware of the problems with Malaysia’s unfair and unfree political system.…  
This is imperative as the overriding idea that comes through from reading his essays – the need for a ‘new politics’ – is urgent as there have been a series of most unfortunate events occurring in Malaysia in recent times relating to issues that can be detrimental to the well-being of our country. Azly’s call to us is to condition ourselves to reject the constant divisive and conservative discourses propagated by the government which can do us irreparable harm. We must heed his call.
– Professor Edmund Terence Gomez, Professor of Political-Economy, University of Malaya, Malaysia
In this fine collection of reflective essays, Azly Rahman demonstrates why he is indeed one of Malaysia’s key public intellectuals. 
Presented in Azly Rahman’s typically candid and courageous style, the book touches on a range of themes from the visit of the United States president to Malaysia, to a political biographical treatise of Malaysia’s former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to the dangers of religious extremism, and the rot in Malaysia’s educational system. There is no topic of significance to Malaysia’s political and social situation that has escaped Azly Rahman’s critical eye. 
With its wealth and breadth of penetrating insights disrupting conventional discourses and offering a ‘new politics’, this is a book that no Malaysian or non-Malaysian interested in Malaysia, can or should ignore.
– Professor Alberto Gomes, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Center for Dialogue, LaTrobe University, Australia
Posted in English Books, Politics

Ethnic Relations in Malaysia: Harmony & Conflict (New edition)

Author: Syed Husin Ali
Format: Paperback, 213 pages
Subject: Ethnic Studies
ISBN: 9789670630458
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM32.00

With Malaysia in the throes of sweeping political change, academic turned political activist Dr Syed Husin Ali traces how ethnicity has been manipulated, since Independence, by Malaysian politicians for their own gain to the detriment of the masses.

In articles spanning more than three decades, collected for the first time here, he dissects the origins, fallacies and destructive nature of ethnic politics in Malaysia and examines the issue of class versus ethnicity or race. It is time, he argues, for an end to race or ethnic-based politics. In this new edition, the author has updated the book in terms of facts and events, and included two more articles.

Posted in English Books, Ethnic Studies

Affirmative Action or Discrimination? A Comparative Study of Higher Education in the US and Malaysia

Author: Kong Wee Cheng
Format: Paperback, 102 pages
Subjects: Education, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630304
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM23.00

Preferential treatment policy has been in place in the United States and Malaysia for over a few decades. What are the consequences of preferential treatment in higher education in Malaysia and the United States? Have this preferential policy achieved its initial goals? How do members of the beneficiary and non-beneficiary groups respond to it? Does preferential treatment policy resulted in ethnic polarisation?

This book addresses the origins including the political implications of preferential policy in Malaysia and the United States. It seeks an in-depth understanding of the consequences of the policy.

Posted in Education, English Books, Social Studies

The Peaceful People: The Penan and their Fight for the Forest

Author: Paul Malone
Format: Paperback, 285 pages
Subjects: Ethnic Studies, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630366
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM48.00

The Peaceful People is the story of the Penan, the jungle nomads of Sarawak, who for decades have fought for possession and preservation of their traditional forest lands. Drawing on extensive first-hand interviews, as well as the diaries and journals of explorers, botanists and colonial administrators, and the observations of missionaries, the book provides the most comprehensive account of the dynamics of Penan society to date. Written in a compelling and accessible style, the narrative tells the shocking history of the Penan, exposing massacres and murders, while recounting the nomads’ uniquely shy and peaceful way of life. In particular, the analysis focuses on the Penan’s consistently non-violent modern-day protests against rampant logging which attracted world attention in the 1980s and 1990s. The Peaceful People is essential reading for those interested in the history and culture of Borneo, the politics of logging and development, and the lives of indigenous peoples who seek new ways to survive in a hostile world.

About the author

Paul Malone is an Australian journalist with thirty years’ experience, having worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Canberra Times. He currently writes a weekly column for The Canberra Times. He first visited Borneo in 1974, and started work on this book in 2007 when he wrote a series of articles on Eastern Penan’s logging road blockades.

Posted in English Books, Ethnic Studies, Social Studies

Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey

Author: Hannah Yeoh
Format: Paperback, 111 pages
Subjects: Biography & Memoir, Politics
ISBN: 9789670630342
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM25.00

“Outlined here is clarity, simplicity, commitment and sacrifice of an exemplary Malaysian, a Christian who seeks to fight with her deep faith, impeccable character and profound courage to secure, by God’s strength and with much prayer, a better future for all Malaysians. There is great hope for Malaysia if many more Hannahs could be replicated in politics.”

– Dr. Daniel Ho
Senior Pastor, DUMC, Petaling Jaya

“Hannah’s story grips you with its refreshing honesty. From finding God to rediscovering her confidence, to the miracle of her marriage proposal and her amazing journey into politics, it speaks about God. It fired me to pray for such a generation to rise up and rebuild our land! It will inspire you to always seek God’s best in the face of many “good” options; for it is in surrender to Him that the best will be given to us.”

– Dr. Philip Lyn
Senior Pastor, Skyline SIB, Kota Kinabalu

“Hannah’s story is not only about politics. It is about a spiritual journey of self-discovery. It is also about the role of values and faith in public office. Hannah’s Christian convictions show us how faith is a prime mover for righteousness, justice and good governance in the state and the nation. She truly believes that politics needs more good people if positive change is to happen, and because of her faith, has shown that she is willing to walk the talk.”

– Saari Sungib
Selangor State Assemblyman, Hulu Kelang

“Life often doesn’t pan out the way we plan it. But when an unexpected opportunity fell into her lap, Hannah seized the day and the rest is history. This book tells of how she leads by example, and, more importantly, how she holds steadfast to her values. Incorruptible and with a strong sense of justice and fairness, Hannah is a true-blue Malaysian. I have no doubt that she will lead and inspire a new generation of young Malaysians to play their parts in securing a brighter future for this country we love.”

– Tony Pua
Member of Parliament, Petaling Jaya Utara

“My friendship with Hannah transcends shared political beliefs. We are both products of strict religious upbringing (albeit in different settings) which have shaped our firm belief in fairness and justice. Hannah epitomises the new generation of Malaysians who see things from a perspective free from the bias of race and prejudice. Her story will inspire Malaysians to claim their stake under the Malaysian sun.”

– Rafizi Ramli
Member of Parliament, Pandan

About the Author

Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan is the Speaker of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly and State Assemblyman for Subang Jaya, Selangor. Hannah won the N31 state seat in the General Elections 2008 as a DAP candidate at the age of 29. She was elected as the Speaker at the age of 34, making her the first woman and youngest Speaker in Malaysia. She obtained her Bachelor of Laws from University of Tasmania. She is married to Ramachandran M, an IT entrepreneur. They are now proud parents of two baby girls Shay Adora Ram and Kayleigh Imani Ram. The couple is passionate about nation-building and seeks to inspire Malaysians to play their respective parts in establishing a righteous nation free from corruption and racial discrimination.

Posted in Biography & Memoir, English Books, Politics

Concept of a Hero in Malay Society

Author: Shaharuddin Maaruf
Format: Paperback, 146 pages
Subject: Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630298
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM23.00
“Yet another constant response had been to place the burden of anointing heroes on the book, grudging it for its criticisms of socially or popularly acknowledged heroes. The writer is often chided ‘who do you think then should be Malay heroes?’.  Such retort always impressed me how the process of social evaluation remain closed to many, hence their lack of self-introspection. They feel it is a question of finding and installing heroes in a detach manner, little realizing their values, ideals and humanity is very much bound with the process.

“The author of this book attempts to study the Malay conception of the hero as projected by the ruling class…The readers would benefit greatly from the book. They would attain a better understanding of Malay politics and cultural life. This is the first attempt made to study the conception of the hero in Malay society…the way the author tackles the problem makes interesting reading. Anyone aspiring to have a better understanding of Malay society cannot afford to neglect the book” – Foreword by Syed Hussein Alatas.

“This book is not so much on heroes as on hero worshippers. It studies heroes to the extent they reflect the values and ideals of their worshippers themselves. It is not really addressed towards resolving the debate which personality should be heralded as Malay heroes, be it Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat or anybody else for that matter. The interest of the book remains primarily an examination of Malay values and ideals, the sense of cultural identity. The book examines the social-historical forces that had shaped those values and ideals, as reflected in group dynamics and ideologies, as well as the vested interests involved” – Preface by Shaharuddin Maaroof.

Posted in English Books, History, Social Studies

Malay Ideas on Development: From Feudal Lord to Capitalist

Author: Shaharuddin Maaruf
Format: Paperback, 204 pages
Subjects: Economics, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630281
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM30.00

“…Formally speaking, the New Economy Policy had been replaced by the New Economic Order, which had been promulgated in the name of liberalism. Thus it may seem that the issues and concerns addressed by the book had been rendered irrelevant by the shift in policy. Against such proposition, I must say that my book addresses itself to the question of ideas, principles and weltanschaaung beyond mere policies and formality. It is therefore too early in the day to conclude that the new liberalism has definitively replaced the New Economic Policy (NEP) as an era and ethos, throwing into question the relevance of this book. It may well turn out to be that the issues and concerns of the book transcend superficial policy changes in a more fundamental way.”

– Shaharuddin Maaruf
University of Malaya

“The sweep through the history of Malay political ideas which is to be encountered in Malay Ideas on Development from Feudal Lord to Capitalist – a sweep achieved with analytic skill and clarity – will stimulate new readers to seek more detailed examination of one targeted writer or another. Creating such desire is an indication of the book’s effectiveness. Juxtaposing one thinker with another, setting modern debate in the context of traditional political thought, proposing categories or streams of political thinking – ‘capitalistic nationalism’, ‘traditionalistic nationalism’ and so forth – is the best possible way of promoting a greater interest in the history of Malay political thinking, and not just as an academic enterprise. Shaharuddin Maaruf is one of a small handful of scholarly pioneers whose work has the capacity to enrich the quality of political debate in Malaysia.”

-Anthony Milner
Basham Professor for Asian History,
Australian National University

Posted in Economics, English Books, History, Social Studies

Cultural Mapping: A Guide to Understanding Place, Community And Continuity

Author: Janet Pillai
Format: Paperback, 106 pages
Subject: Social Studies
ISBN: 9789675832826
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM38.00


“This manual on cultural mapping provides an invaluable resource for everyone interested in having a deeper understanding of the unique character and identity of a historic place and its community. The simple step by step procedures outlining the processes, tools and techniques for collecting and assessing the cultural assets and resources of any community provide the user with a clear methodology to unravel the complex and significant elements which wake up any human settlement. This has been further demonstrated with the illustration from a case study of cultural mapping within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, Penang. The manual is a remarkable resource which advocates that cultural mapping becomes the basis for all future urban planning studies to ensure that sensitive and appropriate decisions are made in the management and development of historic sites and communities. A must-use for policy makers, planners, cultural advocates and community leaders.”

Ar. Laurence Loh
Deputy President, the Heritage of Malaysia Trust
(Badan Warisan Malaysia)

Posted in English Books, Social Studies

Dark Spring: Essays on The Ideological Roots Of Malaysia’s GE-13

Author: Azly Rahman
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789675832888
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM38.00


“Azly Rahman’s Dark Spring is a book about evolution. He has strived to take us out of the shadows of Plato’s cave, into the freedom of an emancipated Malaysian society free of hegemony, repression, and suppression. However, as Azly has eluded, there is so much to do in Malaysia if the country is going to re-vegetate the barren lands that have been stripped for decades, and regenerate the Malaysian mind to face the emerging national and global challenges ahead.

Malaysia must move from a rent-seeking ‘feudal-cracy’ benefitting the few, to a modern and progressive society where sustainability and adaptation rather than corruption and the rape of wealth from the premise behind public policy and administration, by people who are truly altruistic and patriotic to the land we know as Malaysia.

This Malaysian reckoning is avant-garde, but at the same time it is proudly very traditional, deeply attached to rewritten historical narratives of shared heritage.

This is one of the most insightful contributions to the sociology of Malaysian society and should be read by all who have a stake in the country’s future.”

– Murray Hunter

Posted in English Books, Politics

MALAYSIA@50: Economic Development, Distribution, Disparities

Authors: Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Wee Chong Hui
Format: Paperback, 198 pages
Subject: Economics
ISBN: 9789675832963
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM40.00

Malaysia has grown and changed a great deal since it was formed on 16 September 1963. It was then seen as an unlikely nation hastily put together as a federation of British controlled territories in the region. Brunei’s refusal to join at the eleventh hour and Singapore’s secession before its second birthday only seemed to confirm such doubts.

Yet, it has not only survived, but even thrived, often cited as a developing country worthy of emulation. Ruled by the same ruling coalition since the mid-1950s, it has been tempting to emphasize continuities, and there certainly have been many.

Looking back at its last half century, this volume first considers changes in development policy in response to national as well as international developments. The remaining three parts consider how public policy has been influenced by and has, in turn, influenced economic distribution, public finance and economic federalism.

Besides the familiar focus on ethnic disparities, regional and other distribution issues are considered. The following discussion of government taxation as well as spending also focuses on distribution implications. Although constitutionally a federation, Malaysia has been more centralized than most federal states.

The way forward requires greater sensitivity to the complex political economy of Malaysia’s unlikely, but nonetheless resilient federation and ruling coalition.

Posted in Economics, English Books

Malaysia’s Quest for Innovation: Progress and Lessons Learned

Authors: K. Thiruchelvam, Ng Boon-Kwee, VGR Chandran and Wong Chan-Yuan
Format: Paperback, 75 pages
Subject: Economics
ISBN: 9789675832833
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM20.00
“Malaysia’s macroeconomic story since independence in 1957 is truly remarkable. From an economy that was entirely dependent on primary commodities, it has successfully navigated over the course of its brief history to become a multi-sector economy with manufacturing and services propelling its growth to its current emphasis on innovation.  It has achieved robust economic growth for most parts of its history but is finding itself dogged by weak technological dynamism due to structural features of the economy.  
This book provides an excellent overview on Malaysia’s science, technology and innovation. It details the country’s present STI landscape and sketches some of the key challenges the country will have to address in its ambition of becoming an innovation-driven economy by the end of the decade. I am pleased to see that the research that was commissioned for the OECD Review of Innovation in Southeast Asia is brought out through this publication, and I warmly commend the authors for their efforts in disseminating this important work.”

– Dr. Gang Zhang
Principal Administrator and Senior Economist
OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry


“The successful latecomers of Japan, Korea and Taiwan targeted science, technology and innovation (STI) infrastructure as the springboard to drive economic growth. This book takes a leaf out of these successful developers to examine Malaysia’s prospects of graduating into a developed nation by 2020. While acknowledging the significant progress achieved since the 1990s in which massive investments were made into creating high technology organizations, physical infrastructure and incentives and grants to support technological upgrading, the book presents the stark reality facing the country, that is, a STI infrastructure that has continued to lag behind the successful latecomers. The book provides a lucid introduction for those who may not be familiar with Malaysia’s STI infrastructure. It presents the country’s achievements, the deficiencies, and what needs to be done to free it from the middle income trap. This is indeed a commendable piece of research.”

– Prof. Dr Rajah Rasiah
Khazanah Nasional Chair on Regulatory Studies
University of Malaya Centre of Regulatory Studies

Posted in Economics, English Books

Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society

Author: Maziar Mozaffari Falarti
Format: Paperback, 225 pages
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630090
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM40.00

Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society probes and examines traditional sources of royal power and control, as well as indigenous socio-political systems in the Malay world. It focuses on the north-western Malaysian Sultanate of Kedah, which is acknowledged as the oldest unbroken independent kingship line in the Malay and Islamic world with one thousand years of history.

Little scholarly attention has been paid to its premodern history, society, religion, system of government, and unique geographic situation, potentially controlling both land and sea lines of communication into the remainder of Southeast Asia. This book will thus provide the first comprehensive treatment on Kedah’s premodern and nineteenth-century historiography and can provide a foundation for comparative studies of the various Malay states, which is presently lacking.

Maziar Mozaffari Falarti also sheds much-needed light on a range of important topics in Malay history: Kedah and the northern Melaka Straits history, colonial expansion and rivalry, Southeast Asian history and politics, inter-regional migration and the influence of the sea peoples or orang laut, traditional Malay sociopolitical and economic life, Islamic influences, and the course of Thai-Malay relations.

This book attempts to offer a new understanding, not only of Kedah, but of the political and cultural development of the entire Malay world and of its relationships with the broader forces in both its continental and maritime settings. It argues that Kedah does not seem to follow, and in fact, often seems to contradict what has been commonly been accepted as the “typical model” of the traditional Malay state.

Thus it concludes that the ruling dynasty has historically exploited a wide range of unique environmental conditions, local traditions, global spiritual trends, and economic forces to preserve and strengthen its political position. 

Posted in English Books, History, Politics

Educational Issues in Multiethnic Malaysia

Authors: R. Santhiram and Tan Yao Sua
Format: Paperback, 230 pages
Subjects: Education, Ethnic Studies
ISBN: 9789670630076
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM30.00


Education in multiethnic societies is a subject of considerable debates in almost all parts of the world. These debates have invoked strongly-felt positions between competing ethnic groups over a host of issues that have a profound impact on the nation building process.

Apart from deep-seated issues arising from contrasting internal demands over educational rights and equality, emerging issues arising from external influences such as the global spread of English as a result of globalisation have also impacted the nation building process of multiethnic societies.

It is against this context that educational issues in multiethnic societies merit our attention. In the case of Malaysia, discourses over these issues are particularly intense and hotly contested by the different ethnic groups.

This is primarily because of the extreme difficulties in mediating these complicated issues which are impinged by competing socio-cultural, economic and political interests.

This book explores the contested terrains of education in multiethnic Malaysia. It comprises seven chapters that cover three crucial areas of educational provisions and delivery, namely education of ethnic minorities, education and national integration, and educational language policy.

These three crucial areas are often the prime concerns of policy makers in multiethnic societies who have to tread a thin line in resolving these issues which are underpinned by intense coterminous interests and inter-ethnic competition, and having the potential to generate conflicts, contestation and power struggle.

As far as the Malaysian policy makers are concerned, their efforts in resolving these issues have not been overly successful. It is most unfortunate that their policy decisions are at times influenced by competing political and ethnic interests rather than guided by sound theoretical underpinnings that could put the educational development of the country on a stronger platform and a clearer trajectory.

Posted in Education, English Books, Ethnic Studies

Contemporary Islamic Discourse in the Malay–Indonesian World: Critical Perspectives

Author: Azhar Ibrahim
Format: Paperback, 315 pages
Subjects: Religion, Southeast Asia
ISBN: 9789675832970
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM50.00


While many books have probed the role of Islam in political and social change in Southeast Asia over the past three decades, few have focused on the power of the religious discourse itself in shaping this transformation.

Contemporary Islamic Discourse in the Malay–Indonesian World captures the interplay between religion and social thought in comparative case studies from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Drawing on a critical sociology of knowledge and a profound understanding of historical contexts, the central focus is on Muslim intellectuals who have grappled with the impact of modernity in these societies, between those seeking to reform Islam’s role and those who take a hardline defensive stance.

The discussion deals successively with the role of religious traditionalism, the upsurge of dakwah revivalism and the public sphere, attitudes towards democracy and pluralism, and finally the ideas advanced by liberal Islam and its opponents. Above all, Azhar Ibrahim offers the reader a creative way of understanding the modern Islamic discourse and its relationship to the remaking of society at large.

“Azhar Ibrahim’s book cuts through the noise of much discourse on Islam and puts perspective to a vast amount of materials, effectively constructing their actual social and historical meaning. It should be read by all those seeking an in-depth understanding of contemporary Southeast Asia, even beyond the particular issues of Islam and Muslims.”

    — Shaharuddin Maaruf
       Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya

“This book is a must read for all those interested in a critical evaluation of the force and implications of religious traditionalism, conservatism and revivalism on the development of plural and democratic Muslim societies in Southeast Asia, and the challenges they pose to critical voices struggling for the relevance of ethical and humanist traditions of Islam.”

     — Noor Aisha binte Abdul Rahman
       Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore

Posted in English Books, Religion

Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia

Editor: Bridget Welsh
Format: Paperback, 620 pages
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789675832789
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM75.00


Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi served as Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2003 to 2009. Better known as Pak Lah, he came into office with a huge mandate. In the 2004 General Elections, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) won its best performance since 1969. Five years later in the 2008 GE, the BN won only 140 of 222 seats, a net loss of 58 seats. More importantly it meant the BN lost its customary two-thirds majority in parliament.

More than thirty authors, Malaysians and non-Malaysians, give an assessment of the one-term Abdullah administration. The central theme of the book is the question: how did Tun Abdullah change the Malaysian political landscape? This volume offers a comprehensive glimpse of the Abdullah administration from both inside and outside the administration.

“He assumed office as PM on a vast sea of optimism and he could have accomplished more. Indeed his motto when assuming office was “work with him, not for him”. He should have taken the opportunities of making sweeping changes in the cabinet, the civil service, judiciary and other organs of power and governance.”

– Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah


Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah; Dato’ Seri Abdul Azim Zabidi; Datuk Zaid Ibrahim; Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khir Bin Toyo; Datuk Denison Jayasooria; Datuk Ramesh Chander; YB Liew Chin Tong; Edmund T. S. Bon; William Case; Chua Sue-Ann; Mohd. Faisal Syam Bin Abdol Hazis; Farish A. Noor; Edmund Terence Gomez; Wan Hamidi Hamid; Gerhard Hoffstaedter; K. Kabilan; Clive Kessler; Khadijah Khalid; Khaw Veon Szu; Kuik Cheng-Chwee; Lee Kam Hing; Joseph Chin Yong Liow; Lim Teck Ghee; Maria Chin Abdullah; Anil Netto; Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad; Ooi Kee Beng; Oon Yeoh; Arnold Puyok; Rita Sim; Jason Tan; Andrew Willford and Zulkifli Bin Sulong

Book Content:

Acknowledgements ix

About the Contributors xi

Foreword xx

Introduction xxii 

Abdullah Badawi and Transformations

  1. Tun Abdullah Badawi

‘Doing the Invisible’: A Conversation with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

  1. Farish A. Noor

The Discursive Construction of the Image of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi as the ‘Sleeping PM’

  1. Ooi Kee Beng

Managing Mahathir’s Mess

  1. Clive Kessler

The Abdullah Badawi Premiership: Interlude or End-Game?

  1. Mohamed Khir Toyo

‘Shadow Mahathir’: Interview with Dato Seri Dr Mohamad Khir bin Toyo

  1. Zaid Ibrahim

‘Nice Guys Finish Last – Sometimes’: Interview with Dato’ Mohd Zaid Ibrahim 

Domestic Arenas of Transformation

  1. Abdul Azim Zabidi

‘Before Malaysia’s Time’: An Interview with Dato Seri Abdul Azim Zabidi

  1. Nik Nazmi

Nik Ahmad The Coming of Age of the Reformasi Generation

  1. Wan Hamidi Hamid

Failure to Manage Fear: Abdullah and the Malays

  1. Zulkifli Sulong

‘A Special Relationship’: PAS and Abdullah Badawi

  1. James U.H. Chin

It Had to Happen: The Chinese Backlash in the 2008 General Elections

  1. Rita Sim

Engaging ‘Many’ Malaysian Chinese

  1. K. Kabilan

The Indian Dilemma: Sucked Up & Spat Out

  1. Andrew Willford

Every Indian is Burning Inside

  1. Arnold Puyok

Sabah’s Rise to National Prominence and Deepening UMNO Dominance

  1. Mohd. Faisal Syam bin Abdol Hazis

Sarawak’s Political Dynamics

  1. Anil Netto

Great Expectations, Unrealised Dreams: Human Rights and Abdullah Badawi

  1. Bridget Welsh

Enabling and Empowering Malaysians

  1. Liew Chin Tong

‘An Opposition’s Transformation’: Interview with Liew Chin Tong

  1. Chua Sue-Ann

The Quiet PM and a Generation’s Coming of Age

  1. Bridget Welsh

Abdullah Badawi’s Quiet Revolution in Political Institutions

  1. William Case

Corruption Unplugged under Abdullah

  1. Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Islam Hadhari: Making Moderate, Modern Muslims

  1. Khaw Veon Szu

‘The Dream that Wasn’t’: Ethnic Relations under Abdullah

  1. Edmund Bon Tai Soon

‘An Accidental Footnote’: Pak Lah’s Administration and the Judiciary

  1. Oon Yeoh

Pak Lah: Friend or Foe of New Media?

  1. Maria Chin Abdullah

Promises, Promises – Failed Justice

  1. Jason Tan

Malaysian Culture under Abdullah

Socio-Economic Dynamics and Obstacles

  1. Ramesh Chander

Abdullah Badawi’s Economic Policies: Between Promise and Delivery

  1. Edmund Terence Gomez

Promoting Entrepreneurial SME’s: Policies, Institutions and Incentives

  1. Lim Teck Ghee

Abdullah Badawi, the NECC and the Corporate Equity Issue: View from a Personal Connection

  1. Lee Kam Hing

Challenges amidst Diversity: Malaysian Chinese Business under the Abdullah Badawi Administration

  1. Denison Jayasooria

Abdullah’s Socio-Economic Agenda: Reflections on the Relevance & Impact on the Indian Community 

Foreign Policy and Outreach

  1. Khadijah Khalid

Malaysian Foreign Relations and Diplomacy under Abdullah Badawi

  1. Joseph Chin Yong Liow

Mending Fences: Malaysia-Singapore Relations during the Abdullah Badawi Administration

  1. Bridget Welsh

Smiles and Storms: Abdullah Badawi’s Navigation of US Waters

  1. Kuik Cheng-Chwee

Malaysia’s China Policy under Abdullah: More Continuity than Change?


Posted in English Books, Politics

A People’s Politics

Author: Goh Keat Peng
Format: Paperback, 107  pages
Subjects: Politics, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789675832734
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013

Price: RM20.00

“A People’s Politics tells a story of a Malaysia where the best shall never lose sight of their convictions. It is a Malaysia that celebrates its diversity, protects its integrity, and is guided by a moral compass that sheds light in times of darkness.”
Foreword by Nurul Izzah Anwar

Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai


“I trust you will be blessed and refreshed by the chapters of this book. By the time you complete reading the book, I hope you will be just as hopeful as me, a young Malaysian who is convinced that the best is yet to come for this land”.
Foreword by Hannah Yeoh
State Assembly member for Subang Jaya


“An excellent contribution, written by a true patriot, to the rich and evolving narrative on being Malaysian. The author succinctly expounds the meaning of nationhood, democracy, good governance, and the ubiquity of politics. A veritable guide to all citizens on their rights and responsibilities and the steps needed to take ownership of our beloved Nation.
Notwithstanding the somewhat partisan call to change, a timely reminder to all politicians and the new government post GE13, never to forget that the Rakyat will always be the Boss. In essence, this is Mr. Goh’s clarion call to all Anak Bangsa Malaysia to put the shoulder to the plough for the good of our collective life as a nation in the 21st Century.”
A. Jayanath
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia


“Adoption of the election process alone does not mean that a country is democratic. Rather, democracy begins with the institutional respect for all aspects of human rights and the freedom of involvement by the people in the formation of accountable and people-centred governance. This book is a call for a more just and democratic Malaysia.”
Peter Kallang
Orang Ulu and Kenyah community leader who is experienced in trade unionism and church leadership;

currently Chairman of Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network


“As Malaysia matures into a functioning democracy we deserve better governance, renewal of our institutions and more choices. This work is a clarion call for critical conversation and engagement which we cannot abdicate from.”
Philip TN Koh
Corporate governance lawyer


“The ordinary peace loving Malaysians, politicians and non-politicians, will find this book refreshing and interesting because it is authored by someone who is not a politician. I can sense that the author is not pro-government, not pro-opposition, only pro-good governance. He is just being sincere and honest.”
Simon Sipaun
PSM, Founding Chairman of the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights,
former Sabah State Secretary, former Chairman of the Sabah State Public Service Commission and former Vice-Chairman of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM)
Posted in English Books, Politics, Social Studies


Author: Dean Johns
Subjects: Politics, Social Studies
Condition: Good
ISBN: 9789675832314
Publisher: SIRD
Price: RM25.00

Some comments on this and previous books of Dean Johns’ weekly columns for

“.. a style of writing that – trust us – will make you smile, laugh, sigh, curse or roll your eyes up as you go along. This is a book to be read once and taken out again at regular intervals by all those who wish to reminiscence, regret, rejoice and celebrate together with that curious species known as Malaysians. – S. Vicknesan, former Opinions/Features Editor,

“In years to come, scholars researching the tumultuous cultural, social and political transformations distinguishing the period leading up tp and immediately after Malaysia’s 12th general election will discover within these pages a rich lode of scintillating insights, along with a treasure trove of belly laughs.” – Antares,

“..a great value-for-money package of excellent socio-political commentaries written in a witty fashion for the enjoyment of readers, with the funny yet useful bonus of an object lesson in lexical facility and verbal gymnastics for students of the English language.” – Ktemoc,

Posted in English Books, Politics, Social Studies

Malaysia Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020

Author: Koon Yew Yin
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789675832437
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2012
Price: RM50.00

“Mr. Koon writes with perceptiveness and candour as well as with the voice of experience – qualities that are often missing in the writings of many political analysts that are provided with space in the mainstream media.  This process of empowerment and simultaneous rejection of leaders who regard power and authority not as positions of trust and responsibility but to serve personal interest or as an opportunity for personal enrichment will be necessary if  Malaysia is to prosper and move ahead to join the modern and progressive nations of the world.”

– Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Finance

“Mr Koon has chosen to galvanise his years of experience in business and to reduce them into well written and well researched articles that will benefit all Malaysians. The articles are forthright and brutally honest in many instances and speak to the problems Malaysia faces and Malaysians must face up to. It is a must read for all those who believe that our children deserve a better Malaysia  and who believe, as clearly the author does, that it is our responsibility to ensure we leave them a legacy they can be proud of.”

– Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, Former President of the Malaysian Bar Council & Chairperson of Bersih 2.0

Posted in English Books, Politics

Kaleidoscope: The Memoirs of P.G. Lim

Author: P.G. Lim
Format: Paperback, 397 pages
Subjects: Biography & Memoir, Politics
ISBN: 9789675832390
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2012
Price: RM70.00

“Tan Sri P.G. Lim has led a remarkable and eventful life at the heart of Malaysian affairs, as personal friend and confidante of all of independent Malaysia’s prime ministers. This memoir starts with vivid images of her childhood in Penang during the years after the First World War, leading to three years at Cambridge University in the 1930s.

The years of the Japanese Occupation were spent with her family in Penang, and after the war she qualified for the Bar. She found herself first thrust into the limelight when in 1953 she undertook the defence of a young communist woman who had acted as a messenger for the Communist Party. As a young lawyer she confronted the full British judicial establishment and made her name by saving the woman’s life.

Thereafter, P.G. plunged into an active life of politics mixed with her legal activities, often involving cases in which she acted for trades unions. Her life then took an unexpected turn as she became involved as a diplomat, serving successively as Malaysia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yugoslavia and Austria, and Brussels and the European Economic Community.

On her return, though well beyond normal retirement age, she accepted an appointment to head the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, which she developed, burnishing its reputation internationally over the next seventeen years before her retirement in 2000.

Her memoirs, which are generously illustrated with previously unpublished photos, will be essential reading for those interested in Malaysia’s development since Independence.”

— Dato’ Henry S. Barlow
Honorary Treasurer, Malaysian Branch of The Royal Asiatic Society

“This much-awaited autobiography has finally arrived! Not only was P.G. Lim a member of an important Penang family with illustrious children who figured prominently in the early history of Malaysia, she herself played key roles as ambassador to a row of European countries and as a top lawyer. Needless to say, this wonderful book contains much that is of interest to all Malaysians or Malaysianists.”

— Ooi Kee Beng
Deputy Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

Posted in Biography & Memoir, English Books, Politics