Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia

Authors: Terence Gomez with Thirshalar Padmanabhan, Norfaryanti Kamaruddin, Sunil Bhalla and Fikri Fisal
New Pb286 pp.
Subjects: Law & Business, Malaysia
Condition: Good
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9789670960807
Price: RM45.00
 

This is a study of Malaysia’s new political economy, with a focus on ownership and control of the corporate sector. It offers a pioneering assessment of government-linked investment companies (GLICs), a type of state-owned institution that has long prevailed in the corporate sector but has not been analysed. Malaysia’s history of government-business ties is unique, while the nature of the nexuses between the state and the corporate sector has undergone major transitions. Corporate power has shifted from the hands of foreign firms to the state to the ruling party, and well-connected businessmen, and back to the state. Corporate wealth is now heavily situated in the leading publicly-listed government-linked companies (GLCs), controlled through block shareholdings by a mere seven GLICs under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance. To indicate why these GLICs are important actors in Corporate Malaysia, this study provides a deep assessment of their ownership and control of Bursa Malaysia’s top 100 publicly-listed enterprises.

‘By focusing on GLICs, Minister of Finance Incorporated ignites new debates around the role of the government in the Malaysian economy. Through excellent academic research, novel insights are provided about the old question of ownership and control of Corporate Malaysia. Terence Gomez, and his team, further the research on government-business ties, enhancing our knowledge of GLICs by mapping out their corporate influence. This highly thought-provoking book offers timely and considered analysis of the concentration of power in the office of the Minister of Finance.’

 Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux

Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (Paris), Rennes 2 University

 ‘Minister of Finance Incorporated is an authoritative and meticulous account of changes in ownership and control of Malaysian corporations. The study traces the receding role of politicians in publicly-listed companies and the remarkable concentration of economic power in the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and its holding company, MoF Inc., along with six other GLICs. Minister of Finance Incorporated’s scrupulously empirical X-ray of Corporate Malaysia is presented in a lucid, well-organized and fluent manner.’

Jan Nederveen Pieterse

University of California, Santa Barbara

Posted in Books, Economics, Politics

The Development of Malaysian Capitalism

Author: Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux
New Pb425 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Economics, Malaysia
Condition: Good
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9789670960555
Price: RM65.00

As Malaysia grappled with bitter ethnic and political tensions at the end of the 1960s, the government initiated growth-oriented economic reforms to promote cohesion in the young, multi-ethnic nation. The large scale and lasting effects of these policies forged the countries’ exceptional economic development: by 2020, Malaysia will likely enter the club of ‘high-income’ countries.

This volume comprehensively surveys Malaysia’s political economy, mapping the intersecting forces that inform it: economic growth, broader Asian development, the weight of colonial institutions, the influence of Islamic finance, and the sometimes ambiguous role of the state. It offers a discerning overview of Malaysian capitalism through readings of its history since 1874 – from the colonial economy through modernisation and accelerated development, up to its recent passage in global crises. The author details the causes and conditions of Malaysia’s economic success; the result is a compelling portrait of a young capitalist nation sitting at both the geographic centre of Southeast Asia and at the crossroads of sovereign development.
Posted in Economics, History, Politics

Electoral Dynamics in Sarawak: Contesting Developmentalism and Rights

Editors: Meredith L. Weiss and Arnold Puyok
Format: Paperback 120pp.
Subjects: History, Politics, Southeast Asia
Condition: Good
Publisher: SIRD & ISEAS
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9789670960562
Price: RM30.00

Based upon observation of the 2016 Sarawak state elections at a time of political turmoil for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, Electoral Dynamics in Sarawak offers four ethnographic accounts of grassroots electoral politics in diverse constituencies of Sarawak. Covering Ba’ Kelalan, the rural stronghold of Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) leader Baru Bian; Tupong, the urban Malay-majority stronghold of the PBB; Stakan, a mixed constituency in which postal votes proved decisive; and Repok and Meradong, rural Chinese majority constituencies caught between the Sarawak United People’s Party and the Democratic Action Party, this volume exposes the diversity and complexity of Sarawak’s electoral geography. Central to the analyses in this volume are not only the role of ethnicity and the urban/rural divide but also the longer term impact of the politics of developmentalism, the personality politics surrounding Chief Minister Adenan Satem and the emerging force of Sarawakian states’ rights enshrined in the Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) social movement.
 
Part of a comparative study of electoral dynamics across Southeast Asia, Electoral Dynamics in Sarawak seeks both to analyse the wider lessons to be learned from the 2016 Sarawak state elections as well as to deepen our knowledge and understanding of a state which is likely to play an especially important role in the political future of Malaysia.
 
“Covering the constituency level politics of five seats in Sarawak the authors provide rich data on how local factors and issues can largely decide the outcome of elections in a large state like Sarawak. It reminds us that Sarawak is somewhat unique in Malaysian elections and that national concerns are often non-issues when it comes to Sarawak elections.”
Professor James Chin
Director of the Asia Institute, University of Tasmania
 

 “It is becoming increasingly important within Malaysia to understand local political dynamics and the ways in which they impact upon the national distribution of power, especially now that the ruling coalition led by UMNO depends upon the support of Sarawakians to be returned to power. This publication is an important contribution to deepening our understanding of local political dynamics in a Malaysian state.”

Professor Jayum Jawan
Tun Abdul Razak Chair, Ohio University
Posted in Books, Politics

A Life Beyond Boundaries

Author: Benedict Anderson
Format: Paperback 205 pp.
Subject: History & Biography, Memoir, Politics, Southeast Asia 
ISBN: 9789670960432
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM35.00

An intellectual memoir by the author of the acclaimed Imagined Communities.

Born in China, Benedict Anderson spent his childhood in California and Ireland, was educated in England and finally found a home at Cornell University, where he immersed himself in the growing field of Southeast Asian studies. He was expelled from Suharto’s Indonesia after revealing the military to be behind the attempted coup of 1965, an event which prompted reprisals that killed up to a million communists and their supporters. Banned from the country for thirty-five years, he continued his research in Thailand and the Philippines, producing a very fine study of the Filipino novelist and patriot José Rizal in The Age of Globalization.

In A Life Beyond Boundaries, Anderson recounts a life spent open to the world. Here he reveals the joys of learning languages, the importance of fieldwork, the pleasures of translation, the influence of the New Left on global thinking, the satisfactions of teaching, and a love of world literature. He discusses the ideas and inspirations behind his best-known work, Imagined Communities (1983), whose complexities changed the study of nationalism.

Benedict Anderson died in Java in December 2015, soon after he had finished correcting the proofs of this book. The tributes that poured in from Asia alone suggest that his work will continue to inspire and stimulate minds young and old.

‘Benedict Anderson transformed the study of nationalism … and was renowned not only for his theoretical contributions but also for his detailed examinations of language and power in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines’ New York Times.

‘Everything Anderson wrote was boldly original, challenging assumptions by uncovering a neglected or suppressed voice. He was never content to tell an audience what they wanted to hear’ Guardian.

Posted in Biography & Memoir, Books, History, Politics

Power Sharing in Divided Nation

Author: Johan Saravanamuttu
Format: Paperback 323 pp.
Subject: Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789814695435
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM70.00

This book argues that Malaysia’s electoral politics have historically been premised on a hybridized model of communalism and consociationalism. Beyond this it posits a newer idea of power sharing based on the dynamic and transformative practice of mediated communalism through six decades (1952-2016) of electoral politics.

The strategy of mediating communalism is critically explored throughout the book, serving to test its saliency as a distinct approach to power sharing in a social formation which is ethnically, religiously and regionally divided, yet has remained remarkably and tenuously integrated throughout Malaysia’s electoral history. The book delves into this question by narrating and theorizing the complexity of communal politics leading to the emergence of new politics which have attempted to put Malaysia on the track of further democratization. It is further implied that new politics has to work in tandem with mediated communalism to transcend the most deleterious effects of an ethnically divided society.

Posted in Books, Politics

The End of UMNO? ( Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party )

Author: Bridget Welsh, Clive S Kessler, James Chin, John Funston & Saifuddin Abdullah
Format: Paperback 290 pp.
Subject: Malaysia & Politics
ISBN: 9789670960463
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM55.00

What is the future of UMNO? Is UMNO’s 70th year, in fact, the beginning of the end?

The contributors in this collection study developments in Malaysia’s dominant party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), on the anniversary of its 70th year. The answers to its future lies in part with a better understanding of its past. Four international academics analyse the contemporary history of UMNO, with a particular focus on changes in the last two decades. They draw attention to issues of party identity, leadership, membership, governance, institutional change, party financing, internal divisions and its relations with different communities and the public at large. Not only does this book fill an important gap in the scholarly research on UMNO, this book offers different perspectives on the party’s contemporary challenges.

The contributors in this collection include prominent and established scholars studying Malaysian politics. They are all long-time observers of UMNO and each of the essays builds on their fieldwork and earlier scholarship. John Funston expands upon his seminal work on Malay politics, Malay Politics in Malaysia: A Study of UMNO and PAS. Clive Kessler draws from his rich anthropological work on Kelantanese and Malay society, as well as decades of analysis on Malaysian politics in his analysis of UMNO’s changing political identity. Leading political scientist and political commentator James Chin focuses on the changing perspectives on UMNO amongst the Malaysian Chinese, whilst Bridget Welsh draws from her fieldwork on elections and local party dynamics to examine how UMNO has struggled with reform, crises and an erosion of its political legitimacy.

To broaden the study, the book turns to a former insider to reflect upon UMNO. The foreword is written by former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and UMNO Supreme Council Member Saifuddin Abdullah. He left UMNO in October 2015 and has joined the opposition.

The question of UMNO’s future goes to the heart of Malaysia’s future. Having governed Malaysia for nearly six decades, whether (and how) UMNO can tackle reasons for the decay in its public standing will shape the path ahead for all Malaysians. Views of the party are deeply polarized. Many have given up on UMNO altogether. With its party leader, UMNO President, and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak embroiled in scandals, involving billions of ringgit, multiple legal jurisdictions and unanswered concerns about the use of funds and potential abuses of power, UMNO is facing one of the most serious crises in the party’s history. UMNO is indeed at a crossroads. This book aims to contribute to understanding, broaden public debate and stimulate further research on arguably Malaysia’s most important political institution.

Posted in Books, Politics

Kerajaan : Budaya Politik Melayu di Ambang Pemerintahan Kolonial

Author: Anthony Milner
Format: Paperback 274 pp.
Subject: History & Biography, Malaysia & Politics
ISBN: 9789670960265
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
First Published: 1982
Price: RM48.00

Sebuah kajian perintis dan provokatif tentang pemikiran politik Melayu di ambang pemerintahan kolonial – berdasarkan sumber-sumber Melayu dan Eropah, dan mengetengahkan isu-isu yang terus menjadi kritikal di Malaysia pada hari ini. Dengan memberi tumpuan kepada semenanjung Tanah Melayu dan Sumatra Utara, Kerajaan adalah buku yang bersifat inovatif pada pendekatannya – sebuah penyiasatan yang penuh dengan metodologi yang dibangunkan dalam bidang antropologi dan kritikan sastera. Buku ini menegaskan bahawa apa-apa analisis pemikiran sosial bukan-Barat adalah penting untuk mencapai sebuah sejarah yang benar-benar global, menyentuh kepelbagaian perspektif dan pengalaman manusia. Pada tahun 2003 Persatuan Pengajian Asia Amerika Syarikat mengangkat Kerajaan sebagai salah satu daripada 25 ‘karya-karya penting dalam kajian sejarah’ dan ‘paling kerap dirujuk dalam kesusasteraan’ bidang sejarah Asia Tenggara.

‘… sebuah karya klasik dalam kajian Malaysia oleh sebab penghuraian teori dan empirikal tentang keadaan dan kandungan kerajaan Melayu tradisional … Bagi sesiapa yang ingin mula memahami politik Melayu kontemporari, terutamanya peranan raja-raja Melayu dan akar sosio-sejarah mereka, buku Kerajaan karya Milner ini adalah sesuatu yang wajib dibaca.’ – Shamsul A.B.

‘Penerbitan semula buku Kerajaan… akan memberi dorongan kepada pengembangan radikal dalam kajian sejarah idea di Asia Tenggara.’ – Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

Milner ‘membuktikan bahawa adalah tidak mustahil untuk mempelajari sejarah melalui bahasa dan sastera tanpa mengasingkan pemikiran dan tindakan.’ – Tony Day

Posted in Biography & Memoir, Books, History, Malay Books, Politics

Kerajaan : Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule

Author: Anthony Milner
Format: Paperback 274 pp.
Subject: History & Biography, Malaysia & Politics
ISBN: 9789670960067
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
First Published: 1982
Price: RM48.00

A pioneering, provocative study of Malay political thought on the eve of colonial rule – based on both Malay and European source materials, and addressing issues that continue to be critical in Malaysia today. Focusing on both the Malay peninsula and North Sumatra, Kerajaan is innovative in approach – an historical investigation informed by methodologies developed in anthropology and literary criticism. The book argues that such close analyses of non-Western social thought are essential to achieve a genuinely global history, addressing the full variety of human perspectives and experience. In 2003 the US Association for Asian Studies selected Kerajaan as one of the 25 ‘works of major importance to historical studies’ and ‘most frequently cited in the literature’ in the field of Southeast Asian history.

‘… a classic in Malaysian studies because of its theoretical and empirical elaboration of the state and content of traditional kerajaan Melayu.… For anyone who wants to begin to make sense of contemporary Malay politics, especially the role of the Malay royalties and their socio-historical roots, Milner’s Kerajaan is a must read.’ – Shamsul A.B.

The ‘republication of Kerajaan … will provide the impetus for a radical expansion of the study of the history of ideas in Southeast Asia.’ –Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

Milner ‘shows that it is possible to study history through language and literature in a way which does not separate thought from action.’ –Tony Day

Posted in Biography & Memoir, Books, History, Politics

Punk, Penentangan dan Politik Transnasionalisme

Editors: Muhamad Takiyuddin Ismail
Muhammad Febriansyah
Sharifah Nursyahidah Syed Annuar
Format: Paperback 194 pp.
Subjects: Arts & Culture, Social Studies, Southeast Asia
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
ISBN: 9789670960500
Price: RM28.00

Punk seringkali dipandang negatif dan dilemparkan dengan tuduhan-tuduhan seperti sampah masyarakat, tidak berguna, tidak berakhlak dan sebagainya. Realitinya, wujud komuniti-komuniti punk lain yang melakukan bermacam-macam aktiviti dengan maksud untuk menyumbang sesuatu kepada masyarakat.

Buku ini cuba untuk menampilkan sesuatu yang berbeza, iaitu tindakan politik dan aksi langsung yang telah dilakukan oleh komuniti punk seperti Rumah Api di Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia dan Komunitas Taring Babi di Jakarta, Indonesia. Buku ini juga menonjolkan nilai-nilai penentangan, pemberontakan dan kemandirian punk yang boleh dilihat melalui pelbagai prinsip seperti kerja bertukang sendiri (do-it-yourself).

Oleh yang demikian, buku ini berkeyakinan bahawa punk harus dilihat dalam lensa sub-budaya, ketidakakuran, penentangan dan transnasional bagi membolehkan mana-mana individu atau komuniti punk dapat difahami dengan lebih dekat sebagaimana Rumah Api dan Komunitas Taring Babi.

“Kajian tentang perlawanan politik di luar gelanggang rasmi seperti pemilihan umum dan parlimen masih sedikit. Justeru, buku ini menawarkan sebuah penerokaan budaya penentangan yang sungguh menarik. Ia memberikan penjelasan mengenai kedudukan khas seni dalam budaya penentangan tersebut dan keterbatasan dalam budaya tersebut bila berhadapan dengan konsumerisme. Proses ini mencerahkan dinamika budaya, sosial, dan politik yang tidak jelas kelihatan tetapi tetap membawa kepada perubahan masyarakat.”

Dr Sumit K. Mandal

Profesor Madya (Kajian Budaya dan Sejarah Sosial)
University of Nottingham, Malaysia

Posted in Arts & Culture, Politics

The Malaysian Islamic Party PAS 1951-2013: Islamism in a Mottled Nation

Author/Editor: Farish A Noor
Format: Paperback Pb260 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Malaysia, Politics, Religion
ISBN: 9789670960173
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM40.00

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) happens to be one of the oldest and biggest political parties in Malaysia today, though not as well-known as the Jamaat-e Islami of Pakistan or the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. This is a work that recounts the constructed nature of PAS, as a party that has undergone several transformations − from a left-leaning anti-colonial party in the 1950s and 1960s, to a right-leaning communitarian party in the 1970s, to a party inspired by the Iranian revolution in the 1980s, to its present avatar as a pro-democracy party. It shows how PAS has evolved along a non-linear path, and was shaped by a host of internal and external variable factors that impacted upon Malaysia and its complex society.

Farish A. Noor is Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, and the head of its Contemporary Religion in Southeast Asia Program.

This masterful work on how ‘political Islam’ has transformed Malaysian politics is now one of the essential books about contemporary Islamist politics.

— Clive Kessler, The University of New South Wales

This book should top any required reading list on Islamist politics and social activism among students, decision-makers, and the general public alike.

— Joseph Chinyong Liow, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and Nanyang Technological University

This is the best study of PAS that has appeared to date, and Farish’s richly documented work relate the shifts in PAS’s counter-hegemonic discourse and practice to the wider political context, both national and international.

— Prof Martin van Bruinessen, Utrecht University

Posted in History, Politics

Anything but the Law: Essays on Politics and Economics

 
Author: Tommy Thomas
Format: Paperback 340 pp.
Subjects: Economics, Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789670960074
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM50
 
“With legal acumen and moral vision, Tommy Thomas presents a compelling narrative for a version of statehood that is inclusive and accountable …  
 Thomas offers a riveting chronicle and judicious analysis of two contentious political issues – the bifurcation of Islamic state vs secularism and the social contract …
 The author laments that his foray into economics is with much trepidation; but he seems to be an advertent economist in his essays on unbridled US market capitalism and financial crisis. This might turn him into a ‘public enemy’ of the ‘robber barons’ …
 The book is the erudition of a public intellectual, who passionately argues for a just and equitable society.”
Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister & Former Leader of the Opposition
 
“It is an intellectual joy to read in print, Tommy Thomas’s distinctive and irrepressible wit as he takes on a myriad of issues that have affected our beloved country … Readers would be awakened to the horrific realization that what Malaysia is today has, in more ways than one, sharply deviated from the visions of our founding fathers. Hopefully this will wake them up to rescue our country from spiralling downwards to despair.”
Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister of Penang
 
“A fine collection of essays on political and constitutional affairs by one of the sharpest legal minds in Malaysia. A must read for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the issues facing us as a nation and people.”
Ho Kay Tat
Malaysian Insider & Edge
Posted in Economics, Politics

Abuse of Power: Selected Works on the Law and Constitution

Author: Tommy Thomas
Format: Paperback 298 pp.
Subjects: Law & Business, Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789670960081
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM50

 

 “Amongst the select group of constitutional law advocates in Malaysia, Tommy Thomas ranks among the best – fearless, dedicated, committed and vocal in his decades-old pursuit to entrench respect for fundamental rights and liberties for the ordinary Malaysian. He brings to his writings the same passionate advocacy as a constitutionalist as he has done in the numerous cases argued by him in our courts of law – without fear or favour, and with a conviction borne out by a deep-seated belief in the sanctity of the Constitution, despite numerous setbacks over the many years of litigating in court over constitutional issues …
 This timely collection of essays should be read by lawyers and non-lawyers alike for its valuable insights into important constitutional issues, and for the thinking jurist, it will serve as a beacon of conscience into what is right, correct and proper under the Constitution. … 
 It will be a disservice to the advancement of constitutional law in Malaysia to dismiss the views of a constitutional thinker like Thomas without deliberate and conscious reflection – be it in court or elsewhere.”
Dato’ Mohamad Ariff Yusof
Retired Judge of the Court of Appeal
 
 
“In endorsing this book, I feel greatly privileged because I have known the author for many years. When I was on the bench, he used to appear before me as a young lawyer and I found him to be very good and alert on his feet. Equally, this book shows that he is even better in his writing …
 When I was under siege during the 1988 Judicial Crisis episode, Tommy Thomas, was one of the lawyers in a team headed by the late Raja Aziz bin Addruse trying to save the judiciary.”
Tun Salleh Abas
Former Lord President
Posted in Law, Politics

Peranan Intelektual

Authors: Usman Awang, Prameodya Ananta Toer, Ahmat Adam, Rustam A. Sani, Syed Husin Ali
Format: Paperback 139 pp.
ISBN: 9789670960104
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM18.00
 
Buku ini mengadungi lima buah karangan, oleh lima orang tokoh terkenal yang bersyarah tentang golongan intelektual dan peranannya. Mereka ialah: Usman Awang, seorang sasterawan Malaysia ternama yang lebih dikenali apabila membaca sajak-sajaknya yang mudah, indah akan tetapi sangat berisi; Pramoedya Ananta Toer, pejuang dan novelis agung Indonesia yang pernah ditahan selama 10 tahun di Pulau Buru tanpa bicara; Rustam A Sani, ahli akademik serta pengkritik sosial yang pernah diiktiraf sebagai intelek awam penting di Malaysia;  Ahmat Adam, juga seorang ahli akademik, yang mengkhusus dalam bidang sejarah; dan Syed Husin Ali, seorang ahli akademik dan ahli politik yang dihormati umum. 
 
Buku ini juga mengadungi beberapa sajak berkaitan oleh Usman Awang dan Otto Rene Castillo, seorang penyair Amerika Latin yang terkorban di tanahairnya dalam perjuangan menentang pemerintahan kukubesi yang didukung oleh limperialisma Amerika Syarikat.
Posted in Politics

Remembering Socialist China, 1949-1976

Authors/Editors:   Dongping Han, Hao Qi, Mobo Gao
Format: Paperback 94 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Politics
ISBN: 9789670960005
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM12
 
The entire period of Mao Zedong’s leadership is now portrayed as a disaster, one long killing-spree, and any scrupulous efforts at questioning this version of events have been largely ignored by the international mass media.
 
What is interesting is that the efforts of death toll-inflating academics and media appear to have had little impact on the working people of China. Indeed anti-Communists find the resilience of Mao’s popularity baffling and frustrating. The common people are simply ruled out as rational actors. Media accounts do occasionally quote the views of ordinary Chinese, but these, of course, are not cited as evidence of consciousness of their class interests. Rather, they are portrayed as confused moral nostalgia for ‘simpler days’, a fetishistic mania for Mao memorabilia, a morbid religious reverence for his embalmed body, and so on.
 
Swimming against the current of the academic industry and the international mass media, the contributors to this book have begun the task of recording the views and experiences of the common Chinese people regarding the period of socialist China, as a vital source of historical truth.
Posted in History, Politics

One Malaysia, Under God, Bipolar: Essays on Society, Schooling, and Salvation

Author: Azly Rahman
Format: Paperback 160pp.
Subjects: Politics, Religion, Education
ISBN: 9789670630878
Publisher: SIRD & WORLD WISE BOOK
Published: 2015
Price: RM25
 
In this fine collection of opinion pieces, the respected and sagacious public intellectual Azly Rahman reflects on the political machinations and cultural politics in Malaysia. 
The book is a smorgasbord of commentaries on the poetics and politics of cultural life in a nation that is struggling to transcend its racialized structure to forge a cohesive and harmonious future. The word ‘smorgasbord’ may give the impression that what is presented in this book is simply a variety of ‘dishes’, hot and cold, familiar and exotic, all separate and distinct treats laid out on a buffet table. It is a smorgasbord with a difference: all the ‘culinary delights’ (read: commentaries) are laid out in an orderly manner with a story line that threads through the whole text. Organised around three main themes—society, schooling, and salvation—the commentaries offer rich food for thought and reflection and satisfy the intellectual and political appetite of anyone interested in Malaysian affairs and cultural politics in general….
Azly Rahman avers that ‘Political change needs social imagination and critical sensibility founded upon a very strong ethical system drawn and designed as a national philosophy; a transcultural system inspired by the strength and universality of all religious and non-religious philosophies – not just based on Islam that has its limitations and cultural biases, albeit insisted upon and imposed onto many as a complete and all-encompassing, all-hegemonising political, social and existential philosophy.’ I could not agree more.  
Guided by such a principled philosophy, Azly Rahman makes a sound plea to Malaysians (and others): ‘Let us work together on a common ground—for the common good’. It is a clarion call to Malaysians to get out of their comfort zone and apathy and to join the movement for a better Malaysia where bigotry, racism and religious extremism are kept in check and where peace, harmony, intercultural understanding are reinstated and reinforced as part and parcel of everyday life. 
There is much offered in this book that can constitute what I would boldly label as the ‘Malaysian Manifesto’. 
 
Alberto Gomes, Ph.D
Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University, Melbourne
Global Director, Dialogue, Empathic Engagement and Peacebuilding (DEEP) Network.
Posted in Books, Education, Politics, Religion

A New Malaysia: Beyond Race, Politics and Religion

Author: Joaquim Huang
Format: Paperback 129 pp.
Subjects: Politics, Religion
ISBN: 9789670630960
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM25.00
 
Do you want a new and better Malaysia? 
 
Vicious politics turning democracy into gladiatorial combat, heightened distrust polarising ethnic groups, competing supremacist claims intensifying religious disharmony – we are roller-coastering into an uncertain future.
 
It’s time for a new alliance – between science and spirituality – to lead the way beyond communal exclusivism. With penetrating insight, A New Malaysia busts the nation’s oversized racial balloons and dispels theocratic notions that secular laws are fundamentally inferior to divine law. The noblest secular laws are also divine, arising from the same source as sacred law: the Federal Constitution (Part 2 Clauses 6 and 8) is an outstanding example. If our politicians can only see divine law and secular law in conflict, then they are gladiators unfit to rule.  
 
A New Malaysia calls for inclusive governance through establishment of non-partisan senates at state level and invigoration of the existing Dewan Negara or national senate. Our senators must initiate broad reforms to rid society of frozen paradigms, especially belligerent worldviews that pitch religions against one another in a devastating conflict of civilisations.
 
The emerging partnership of science and spirituality reveals a tapestry of unbroken wholeness and fundamental unity that contains the solution to all our Malaysian dilemmas.
 
This is a ‘must read’ book for anyone with an interest in the direction and future of Malaysia.
 
Posted in Politics, Religion

Suara Bicara: Fragmen Memoir Said Zahari

Editor: Abdul Rahman Embong
Format: Paperback 249 pp.
Subjects: Memoir, Politics, Singapore
ISBN: 9789670630809
Publisher: SIRD & Pusat Sejarah Rakyat
Published: 2015
Price: RM40.00
 

Suara Bicara: Fragmen Memoir Said Zahari ialah buku ketiga dan terakhir dalam trilogi memoir Said Zahari. 

 
Buku ini merupakan fragmen memoir yang mengandungi karya beliau serta wawancara dengannya; ia juga sekaligus sebuah festschrift atau karya penghormatan untuk beliau daripada kawan-kawan termasuk anak-anaknya. Seperti dua buah memoir Pak Said sebelum ini, apa yang terpancar dalam buku ini ialah watak beliau yang penuh optimisme, tidak boleh ditundukkan oleh penjara, seksaan dan penghinaan, juga tidak boleh ditundukkan oleh penyakit dan usia. 
 
Beliau berdiri sebaris dengan sejumlah tahanan politik lain yang hebat di Malaysia dan Singapura, bahkan di dunia, yang telah mengorbankan masa paling berharga mereka dalam penjara dan mengobarkan semangat juang yang tidak boleh ditundukkan. Walaupun diri mereka pernah dipenjara, jiwa mereka bebas memeluk pertiwi manakala pemikiran menjangkau luas di persada dunia. 
 
Pak Said dan rakan-rakannya telah memahatkan nama dalam sejarah perjuangan kebebasan manusia sejagat yang kekal abadi. 
 
Buku ini meraikan sejarah hidup dan sumbangan besar Pak Said kepada perjuangan kemerdekaan, kebebasan dan keadilan, serta sebagai lambang nurani kebebasan umat manusia. Ia harus dibaca oleh semua pihak yang ingin mengetahui dan menghayati kisah-kisah hidupnya dan anak-anaknya, serta mereka yang cintakan kebebasan, demokrasi, keadilan, perpaduan kaum  serta kemanusiaan sejagat.
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Malay Books, Politics

Comet in Our Sky : Lim Chin Siong in History (New Edition)

Author/Editor: Poh Soo Kai
Format: Paperback 210 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Politics, Singapore
ISBN: 9789670630816
Publisher: SIRD & Pusat Sejarah Rakyat
Published: 2015
Price: RM40.00
 
Lim Chin Siong was the most prominent left-wing leader in Singapore for a decade until he was eliminated from the political scene by the infamous Operation Coldstore on February 2, 1963. This book is an account of Lim’s significance in Singapore’s political developments in the decade preceding. It also contains tributes by his friends and colleagues in Singapore and Malaysia. This new edition features an essay by Dr Poh Soo Kai and an extract from Lim’s posthumous manuscripts. It will redefine the debate on the post-war history of both countries and the legacy of continuing political repression in them.
 
“The entire Singapore Special Branch file of evidence against Lim, including the transcription of Lim’s ‘Pah Mata’ speech, has been unearthed from files recently declassified by the National Archives of the UK. The Special Branch files show they had no evidence on which they could convict Lim of any crime. In order to justify his detention without trial in 1956, the government deliberately misrepresented Lim Chin Siong’s speech. After the PAP came into power, it did not provide the opportunity for Lim to clear his name either. It remains an open question if any of the detentions over the last sixty years were justified. The Internal Security Act remains in operation today. To ensure that this Act has been used appropriately and responsibly, an open Commission of Enquiry into the detentions of Singapore’s political detainees is needed to set the facts straight once and for all. Only by learning the truth of our own collective past can we learn and grow as a nation.”
 
– Dr Thum Ping Tjin (2014) 
Posted in History, Politics

Brave New World

Author: Azmi Sharom
Format: Paperback 272 pp.
Subjects: Education, Law & Business, Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789670630892
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM38.00
 
Azmi Sharom may be best known for his law expertise and his intimate acquaintance with the Sedition Act, but as this collection shows, he has a lot more to talk about: faith, fear-mongering, football, and Flight of the Hamsters, for example.
 
Drawn from selected newspaper columns published between 2007 and 2015, these essays cover Merdeka, mob rule, and the path from one to the other. Azmi clears up the question of whether Malaysia is a secular or Islamic state, explains the role of the monarchy as determined by the Constitution, and outlines (perhaps a little wearily) how the introduction of simple concepts such as academic freedom and an independent police commission might actually be beneficial to everybody. Along the way, we’re invited to consider how history is taught to our youth, who’s responsible for landslides, and why we can’t all just unite against our common enemy, the Aedes mosquito.
 
The state of Malaysia today ensures that he’s never short of material, and he’s often scathing, frequently hilarious and consistently fair in his assessment of it.

The book comes with a free CD of two original songs by Azmi.

 
Azmi Sharom is an Associate Professor in a public university. He teaches Human Rights and Environmental Law. He has been writing articles for newspapers and magazines for many years, starting with comic reviews in the 90s and moving onto current affairs on an ad hoc basis from 2001 and then regularly from 2007. Currently he has regular columns in The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh.
Posted in Law, Politics

Perjuangan Kaum Pekerja Ladang Asahan

Author: Teo Cheng Hai
Format: Paperback 261 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Malaysia, Politics, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630663
Publisher: SIRD & Pusat Sejarah Rakyat
Published: 2015
Price: RM30.00
 
Buku Perjuangan Kaum Pekerja Ladang Asahan memaparkan kisah penderitaan dan perjuangan para pekerja berbilang kaum dari ladang getah Bukit Asahan, Melaka menentang penindasan. Mereka telah bangkit menuntut hak mereka dengan menganjurkan perarakan bersejarah bermula dari Bukit Asahan, Melaka  pada  14 April 1967 hingga tiba di Kuala Lumpur. Sejumlah pemimpin mereka ditangkap dan dimasukkan ke dalam penjara di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA). 
 
Perjuangan ini melambangkan perpaduan dan setiakawan para pekerja berbilang kaum yang bersatu padu dalam perjuangan membela nasib bersama. Penerbitan buku ini ialah salah satu daripada projek Pusat Sejarah Rakyat untuk menghasilkan karya-karya yang bertolak daripada ‘pandangan dari bawah’, yakni daripada perspektif rakyat yang terlibat dalam pelbagai perjuangan dalam sejarah tanah air kita. 
 
Buku ini pertama kali diterbitkan dalam bahasa Tionghua pada tahun 2013 dan mendapat sambutan baik para pembaca khususnya mereka yang terlibat dalam perjuangan dahulu. Kini edisi bahasa Melayu dapat diterbitkan agar para pembaca yang lebih ramai khususnya mereka yang berbahasa Melayu dapat turut mengetahui dan menghayati sejarah perjuangan ini serta memperoleh ilham dan pengajaran daripadanya.
 
About the Author
 
Teo Cheng Hai lahir di Pontian Kecil, Johor pada tahun 1941. Setelah menamatkan pelajaran menengah rendahnya di Sekolah Menengah Pei Chun Pontian Kecil pada tahun 1957, beliau melanjutkan pelajaran menengah tingginya di Sekolah Menengah Yee Yin, Singapura. Pada tahun 1961, beliau menjawat sebagai Setiausaha Kerja Persatuan Penduduk Desa Singapura. Pada tahun 1963, beliau menyambung pelajaran di Universiti Nanyang, Singapura. 
 
Pada tahun 1964, beliau terpaksa pulang ke Malaysia setelah pengajiannya diberhentikan oleh pihak universiti akibat kegiatan politik. Beliau kemudian bekerja di Projek Hidroeletrik Voltan Tinggi Cameron Highlands yang diusahakan oleh sebuah syarikat Jerman. Beliau giat dalam gerakan buruh, menyertai UMEWU pada tahun 1965 dan menjadi Setiausaha Pentadbiran UMEWU. 
Posted in History, Malay Books, Politics

Merdeka For The Mind: Essays on Malaysian Struggles in the 21st Century

Author: Ooi Kee Beng
Format: Paperback 137 PP.
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630854
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM28.00
 
This selection of articles written over the last three years by Ooi Kee Beng, and which were published in The Edge Malaysia, The Edge Review and in Penang Monthly, is a succinct expression, not only of trends that the region and the world are experiencing, but more specifically of stubborn issues immediately affecting Malaysia.
 
In essence, Malaysia has reached a crossroads. The bankruptcy of racialist politics maintained for too long by race-based parties through racially-justified policies has become too obvious to deny. On the one hand, this has generated strong opposition from the depths of Malaysian society—from Malaysians who had customarily been evasive of conflicts, who now sense that serious political transformation can be postponed only at great peril to the country’s inter-ethnic cohesion and to its economy. And on the other hand, as a direct response to this challenge to the old order, we witness a disheartening rise in incoherent racism and Islamist zealotry.
 
But Malaysia’s problems are not all that unique. What is needed is for Malaysia to discard its sense of exceptionalism and fatalism, if the country is to fulfil the promise that the attainment of Merdeka once held.
 
 
About the author
 
Ooi Kee Beng is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. He is editor of Trends in Southeast Asia (ISEAS); and also founder-editor of Penang Monthly, ISEAS Monitor, and ISEAS Perspective.
 
He writes extensively on Malaysian politics and history, and on Asian nation building. His The Reluctant Politician – Tun Dr Ismail and His Time (2006) won the “Award of Excellence for Best Writing Published in Book Form on Any Aspect of Asia (Non-Fiction)” at the Asian Publishing Convention Awards 2008, while Continent, Coast, Ocean: Dynamics of Regionalism in Eastern Asia (co-edited with Ding Choo Ming), was named “Top Academic Work” in 2008 by the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA).
 
His noted studies of Singapore include In Lieu of Ideology: An Intellectual Biography of Goh Keng Swee (2010).
 
Other major works include The Eurasian Core and Its Edges – Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (2015); Lim Kit Siang – Defying the Odds (2015); Young and Malay: Growing Up in Multicultural Malaysia (2015); Malaya’s First Year at the United Nations (2009); March 8: Eclipsing May 13 (2008); and Lost in Transition: Malaysia Under Abdullah (2008). 
Posted in Politics, Uncategorized

Bangsa Melayu: Malay Concepts of Democracy and Community, 1945–1950 (Second Edition)

Author: Ariffin Omar
Format: Paperback 324 PP.
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630786
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM45.00
 
The years immediately after the Second World War were critical in the remaking of Southeast Asian societies. Bangsa Melayu is an innovative study of political ideology in two related but distinct Malay communities in peninsular Malaya and East Sumatra at this time of tremendous political ferment. Prior to this period the kerajaan – monarchies headed by the sultans – had been central to Malay political culture and identity. With the rise of nationalism, contestation over nationality and the emergence of nation states in the making, new alternatives became available to the Malays. In peninsular Malaya bangsa Melayu (Malay ethnic identity) appeared as a focus of loyalty and community, taking precedence over kerajaan. Meanwhile, in Sumatra the advent of an all-embracing Indonesian republic led to the complete destruction of the monarchical system. In this new edition of a classic book, Ariffin Omar focuses on the basic differences in thinking, temperament and attitude between the two groups of Malays which led to markedly different political outcomes. It will be of enormous appeal to all those interested in the history of ideas and the politics of ethnicity.
 
About the Author
 
Ariffin Omar was born in 1949 and had his secondary education at St Xavier’s Institution, Penang. He obtained his PhD at the Australian National University in 1990, taught at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia and the National Defence University of Malaysia, and was a visiting Fulbright Fellow at the University of Utah, USA in 1998. He was also a founding member of Aliran Kesedaran Negara, a reform movement dedicated to justice, freedom and solidarity. He is the author of Revolusi Indonesia dan Bangsa Melayu (1999) and edited a volume on The Bumiputra Policy: Dynamics and Dilemmas (2004). Now based at the Penang Institute, his research focuses on nation, nationalism, ethnic relations and religious freedom. He is currently a senator representing Penang in the Malaysian parliament.
 
Anthony Milner is the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia; Adjunct Professor at the University of Malaya; and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule (1982), The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya (1995, 2002) and The Malays (2008, 2012).
Posted in Politics

Bangsa Melayu: Konsep Bangsa Melayu Dalam Demokrasi dan Komuniti 1945–1950

Author: Ariffin Omar
Format: Paperback 318 pp.
Subject: Politics
ISBN: 9789670630441
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM38.00
 
Tempoh selepas Perang Dunia Kedua amat kritikal dalam pembinaan semula masyarakat Asia Tenggara. Bangsa Melayu merupakan kajian baru berkenaan ideologi politik dalam dua masyarakat Melayu yang berkongsi persamaan dan perbezaan sewaktu mengalami pergolakan politik ini, iaitu di Tanah Melayu dan Sumatera Timur. 
 
Sebelum ini, kerajaan – monarki yang diketuai sultan-sultan – memegang kuasa utama dari segi budaya politik dan identiti Melayu. Dengan perkembangan nasionalisme, persoalan terhadap kewarganegaraan dan kemunculan negara-bangsa, jalan alternatif baru mula tersedia bagi masyarakat Melayu. 
 
Di Tanah Melayu, bangsa Melayu timbul sebagai tumpuan kesetiaan dan kemasyarakatan yang mula diutamakan lebih daripada kerajaan. Sementara itu, kedatangan satu republik Indonesia yang lengkap telah menyebabkan kejatuhan sistem monarki di Sumatera Timur. 
 
Dalam edisi baru buku klasik ini, Ariffin Omar menumpukan perhatian kepada perbezaan asas dalam pemikiran dan sikap antara kedua-dua kumpulan Melayu yang telah membawa kepada hasil politik yang amat berbeza. Buku ini akan menarik para peminat sejarah idea dan politik perkauman.
 
Tentang Penulis
 
Ariffin Omar lahir pada tahun 1949 dan menerima pendidikan sekolah menengah di St Xavier’s Institution, Pulau Pinang. Beliau menerima Doktor Falsafah di Australian National University pada tahun 1990, mengajar di Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia dan National Defence University of Malaysia, dan pernah menjadi pelawat Fulbright Fellow di University of Utah, USA pada tahun 1998. Beliau juga merupakan salah seorang daripada ahli-ahli pengasas Aliran Kesedaran Negara, satu gerakan reformasi yang berbakti kepada nilai-nilai keadilan, kemerdekaan dan perpaduan. Beliau adalah penulis buku Revolusi Indonesia dan Bangsa Melayu (1999) dan penyunting satu jilid The Bumiputra Policy: Dynamics and Dilemmas (2004). Beliau sekarang berpusat di Penang Institute dan kajian penyelidikan beliau menumpukan negara, nasionalisme, perhubungan kaum dan kebebasan agama. Pada masa yang sama, beliau adalah seorang ahli senat yang mewakili Pulau Pinang di parlimen Malaysia (2012–2015).

 

Posted in Politics

Coalitions in Collision: Malaysia’s 13th General Elections

Editors: Johan Savaranamuttu, Lee Hock Guan & Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman
Format: Paperback 309 pp.
Subjects: Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789670630557
Publisher: SIRD & ISEAS
Published: 2015
Price: RM40.00
 
After the watershed 2008 election when the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost its customary two-thirds control of parliamentary seats, there was the not unreasonable expectation that BN would slip even further in the much-anticipated Thirteenth General Election of 2013, which is the subject of this book. 

 
In the event, the BN lost the popular vote to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but still retained the reins of government. In this book, prominent Malaysian specialists and experts will provide the reader with fresh insights into the evolving character of electoral politics by delving into its failing model of ‘consociationalism’, the extent of malapportionment in the electoral system and its effects on outcomes, how ‘new politics’ continue to meet the resistance of old modes of political behaviour, the path-dependence analysis of twin-coalition politics, the significance of the FELDA vote bank, the issues animating electoral politics in Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Johor, why the PR continues to command urban support, the role of the biased mainstream media, and details of the campaign strategies of both coalitions. 
 
In this new study of Malaysia’s electoral politics, it is evident that the ruling coalition has lost its first-mover advantage and is only able to hold on to power due to the first-past-the-post (FPTP) single member plurality electoral system. This sort of system has given rise, in the parlance of electoral studies, to ‘manufactured majorities’, that is, electoral outcomes that confer a majority of seats (simple or large) to a single party or a coalition of parties without commanding a majority of the popular vote.  
 
Malaysia’s FPTP system, imbued as it is with a generous proportion of ‘rural weightage’, continues to favour the BN, oftentimes generating large manufactured parliamentary majorities. While some may argue that electoral politics have reached an impasse, after two general elections, Malaysia’s twin-coalition system seems to have gained some traction and, thanks to its federalism, with the PR having considerable control of state governments in the Malay heartland and of the more urbanized states of Selangor and Penang.
Posted in Politics

Alamak! All in God’s name

Authors/Editors: Azmi Sharom, KJ John, Marina Mahathir, Tunku’ Abidin Muhriz, Zainah Anwar
Format: Paperback 201 pp.
Subjects: Politics, Religion
Condition: Good
ISBN: 9789670630564
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2015
Price: RM35.00
 
Since the onset of the reformasi movement in the late 1990s, Malaysia has had a lively alternative media – one that exposes the evident injustices, wrongdoing and, above all, the abuse of power in the country. As one of the most prominent voices in the media, K.J. John has selected forty articles he has written for Malaysiakini over the past decade that cut through the facade of official silence to reveal important and disturbing truths. 
 
The collection features many of the critical events, scandals and struggles that have beset Malaysia – offering personal insights and philosophical reflections in finding answers to urgent questions. At its heart lies the debate over the use of the word ‘Allah’ that illuminates the clash between a reactionary constellation of forces pitted against those who support a more tolerant, open and civil society. Supported by contributions from four leading social activists – Zainah Anwar, Marina Mahathir, Tunku ’Abidin Muhriz and Azmi Sharom – this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand what is at stake in the making of Malaysia’s future. 
 
‘KJ says what we all want to say or, at the very least, what we think. He argues valiantly on the part of truth and holds our leaders to account. The value in such essays is that they … show us that we must not be afraid to question our leaders. They remind us that we are supposed to be a democracy.’ (Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan)
 
K.J. John retired from Malaysia’s public service after 32 years of policy work in 2004. He served in the Prime Minister’s Department, the National Institute of Public Administration and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. He was seconded to Mimos Berhad and retired as executive director of the National Information Technology Council. He holds a PhD in organisation and management theory from George Washington University, USA. After retirement he co-founded the Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute. He is also the director of the Malaysian Institute of Development and Asian Studies (MiDAS@Universities). 
 
Zainah Anwar writes the column ‘Sharing the Nation’ in the Sunday Star. She is a founding member of Sisters in Islam and founding director of Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. 
 
Marina Mahathir has been writing her column ‘Musings’ in The Star for more than 20 years. Additionally, she is a board member of Sisters in Islam and speaks and writes on many current issues especially relating to gender, religion and education.
 
Tunku ’Abidin Muhriz now writes in the Malay Mail, Borneo Post and Oriental Daily. He is founding president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and is involved as a trustee, adviser or director in several charitable, educational and cultural organisations.
 
Azmi Sharom teaches, researches and publishes in environmental and human rights law at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. He is currently the coordinator of the Faculty’s Human Rights Research Group. He is a columnist with The Star, Rakyat Times and Sin Chew Jit Poh.
Posted in Politics

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

Misplaced Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People

Editor: Sophie Lemière
Format: Paperback 372 pp
ISBN: 9789670630175

Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM55.00

At the time of writing this introduction the Black 505 movement has not ceased its efforts to denounce the alleged electoral fraud and demand for the resignation of the top officials of the election Commission (EC). Tents are being planted in Padang Merbok, in Kuala Lumpur, by a group of approximately 200 students, as a symbol of resistance. The government has not yet shown any sign of moving towards the demands of the people and there has not been any further investigation regarding the alleged fraud that was denied by the EC.

The time for illusion has gone, eliminated by political awareness and the strengthening of the public sphere: the media, the NGOs and individual citizens’ actions. It seems that Malaysians want to re-orient the flow of history that has been going in favour of the ruling party since the country’s independence; but today the wave of people marching in the streets of Kuala Lumpur showed that Malaysians are fully aware of the meaning of democracy. Malaysia is marching towards a change that has yet to be determined.

This project is the fruit of a three-year collaboration between academics who have chosen Malaysia as their speciality. The richness of our team mirrors the diversity of the Malaysian people. The quality and credibility of this intellectual initiative resides in its inter-disciplinarity: urban studies, political economy, international relation, political sociology and anthropology, film studies, literature, law, strategic studies, etc. Fifteen researchers from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, France and the United Kingdom whose interest in Malaysia goes beyond passion – but always with reason – have come together to take readers on an intellectual quest to identify the contemporary nature of Malaysia in order to presage where the country and its people may be heading.

We hear a lot these days about the need for ‘alternative narratives’ and dissenting viewpoints. Where the official, dominant view is implacably emphatic, as in Malaysia, the need is great for alternative readings that are lively, even surprising, and compellingly argued.

That is what this spirited collection assembled by Sophie Lemière provides. If you want to be, or stay, bored by Malaysian politics, this is decidedly not the book for you!

— Clive Kessler,
The University of New South Wales

Political sociologist Sophie Lemiere has assembled a solid collection of essays by a strong-minded, eagle-eyed and critical team of 14 international researchers providing some illuminating and intriguing insights into current Malaysian society and politics.

— Cheah Boon Kheng,
Retired Professor of History at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

Posted in Politics

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

Ringkasan Sejarah Tentera Anti-Jepun Rakyat Malaya

Translator: Indrajaya Abdullah
Format: Paperback, 186 pages
Subject: History
ISBN: 9789670630403
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM28.00

Buku Ringkasan Sejarah Tentera Anti-Jepun Rakyat Malaya ini adalah buku yang perlu dibaca oleh setiap orang yang benar-benar ingin mengetahui sejarah tanah air kita khususnya sejarah tentang perlawanan rakyat di negara kita dalam periode penjajahan Jepun di masa Perang Dunia Kedua. Medan perang Malaya, adalah salah satu bahagian daripada medan Perang Anti-fasis Sedunia dalam Perang Dunia Kedua. Dalam perang itu, rakyat Malaya di bawah pimpinan Parti Komunis Malaya, telah memberikan sumbangannya dengan gagah berani. Ia telah menunjukkan semangat rakyat kita yang dengan tegas tidak berganjak menentang kaum penjajah apapun, baik penjajah barat mahupun penjajah timur dan sebagainya.

— Abdullah CD

*Buku ini adalah terjemahan dengan adaptasi daripada buku “马来亚人民抗日军”, diterbit di Hong Kong pada 1992 oleh The Witness Publish Company of Hong Kong

Posted in Malay Books, Politics

Konsep Wira Dalam Masyarakat Melayu: Membelai Romantisme Dekaden (Edisi Baru)

Author: Shaharuddin Maaruf
Format: Paperback, 153 pages
Subject: Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630434
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM20.00

Persoalan kepimpinan sesungguhnya asasi bagi kemajuan sesebuah masyarakat. Justeru, konsepsinya apa itu keperwiraan atau heroic adalah signifikan, dalam pengertian ia mencoraki sebahagiannya pola motivasi mereka yang terlibat. Pengarang buku ini berusaha mengkaji konsepsi wira sebagai yang dipamirkan golongan pemerintah. Ia menjejaki hubungannya dengan berbagai peristiwa penting dalam sejarah Melayu buat menunjukkan kepentingan temanya…Mereka yang kurang bersetuju dengan beberapa kenyataan dalam buku ini seharusnya sanggup menolaknya secara logik dan tersusun. Namun apa jua sambutannya, yang pasti, cara pengarang mengolah persoalan menyajikan satu pembacaan yang menarik. Setiap orang yang berhasrat mendalami lagi pengertiannya tentang masyarakat Melayu tidak mampu mengabaikan buku ini.

Buku ini sebenarnya adalah lebih tentang pemuja wira dari tentang wira. Ia mengkaji tokoh-tokoh hanya sekadar mereka itu mencerminkan nilai-nilai dan idealisme pemuja-pemuja mereka sendiri. Tumpuan buku bukanlah untuk meleraikan perbahasan tokoh-tokoh mana yang sepatutnya dinobatkan sebagai wira-wira Melayu, baik Hang Tuah atau pun Hang Jebat sekali pun. Persoalan bagi buku ini tetap terutamanya tertumpu kepada pengamatan nilai-nilai dan idealisme Melayu, kesedaran jati diri dan budaya. Buku menyelidik kuasa-kuasa sosial yang telah membina dan mencoraki nilai-nilai dan idealisme tersebut, seperti tercermin dalam dinamika dan ideologi kumpulan, jua kepentingan-kepentingan terpendam mereka yang terlibat.

(Dari Prakata pengarang)

Posted in Malay Books, Politics, Social Studies