Feb 082007

Friends: A book I helped put together about the Mahathir-Abdullah conflict has recently been launched!! :D

It appears timely, as Tun appears to have gone back on the warpath a bit. We’ll follow the developments closely.

The book is a compilation of articles that try to cut through the sandiwara (playacting) of the vicious war of words, and see what really drove TDM to launch such a merciless attack on his handpicked successor, as well as analyze the factors influencing each turn this scandal-ridden battle took. It also includes letters from Malaysiakini readers – representing a truly wide spectrum of opinion, critical thought, and passionate support for both parties.

The book features a number of high-profile contributors, including Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, P. Gunasegaram, Tian Chua, Collin Abraham, M Bakri Musa, Steven Gan, P Ramasamy, James Wong, Kim Quek, Charles Hector, Khoo Kay Peng, and many more. The full table of contents is reproduced below :)

Note to Malaysiakini letter writers: do check out the tables below to see if your letter made it to the book!! :)

Also just wanted to say a big thank you to all the contributors! Special thanks too to those who have helped highlight the book since its launch – in the blogosphere (which I’ll continue to update), this includes contributors James Wong, Khoo Kay Peng, and Tian (thanks for the overly kind words wei, paiseh! :) and the ever-lovely politikus!

To be perfectly up front, I get a small cut from the sales, so your support is undoubtedly appreciated :) The book can be purchased online through Kinibooks or at most major bookstores (will try to get a list soon!) . Alternatively, esp if you’re in the Klang Valley, you can sponsor me even more and drop me an e-mail at nat[at]jelas.info, and I can see about putting one straight into your hands :D

So yeah, it was great experience getting to communicate with all those authors and going through all their views and analyses.. good stuff :) They’ve got a whole lotta incisve thoughts to share, so grab a copy! :)

(ps- If any of the contributors to the book listed below wish to help sell copies of the book, I do believe special arrangements can be made! :)

Table of Contents, Author Biographies and Quotes:


Author Profiles


Steven Gan

The Opening Landscape

Malaysian Mudslinging

Anwar Ibrahim

Betrayal in the dark corridors of power

Stanley Koh

PM’s – politicians or statesmen?

Sim Kwang Yang

Fuel for the Flames: Issues Behind the Spat

Stop nonsense over half-bridge

Kim Quek

Crooked bridge: don’t expect straight answers

Helen Ang

Engulfed in the sound of silence

P Ramasamy

Mahathir’s Legacy of Controversy

Dr M’s karmic cycle

RK Anand

Question time: 22 questions for Mahathir

P Gunasegaram

Mahathir the Changemaster

KJ John

Reappraising Mahathir’s legacy

Norman Fernandez

The Mahathir patronage

Josh Hong

Ten Minutes into a Football Match: Assessing Pak Lah[1]

Legacy of Lost Opportunity

M Bakri Musa

Two years later, Abdullah fails to impress

Khoo Kay Peng

Frogs: No more coconut shells

Charles Hector

Pak Lah or Pak Blah?

Dean Johns

Pak Bela!

Dean Johns

PM on the run

Lim Guan Eng

Pak Lah on the back foot again

James Wong Wing On

Hidden Truths? – Looking Behind the Scenes

Let ’em Slug it Out

Steven Gan

Behind the Mahathir confrontation

Dr. Collin Abraham

Mahathir-Abdullah Conflict Dissected

P Ramasamy

Neither half bridge nor Oxbridge will our issue be

Azly Rahman

The myth of Mahathir’s invincibility

P Gunasegaram

The Final Picture

Mahathir fades, but Mahathirism thrives

Kim Quek

Don’t write off Dr M just yet

James Wong Wing On

Mahathir: Decisively Defeated? Or Secretly Triumphant? (previously unpublished)

Tian Chua and Nathaniel Tan

Letters from Malaysiakini Readers

Be accountable and transparent Mr PM
Charles Hector

Dr M leading the way forward
Steve Oh

‘I must obey’ Pak Lah – he didn’t
M SahajaDr M very good but at a price

Pak Lah a ‘social leader’
Harban Singh

Dr M kept man-in-street happy
Wong Kam
Dr M exploited taxpayers
Senior Citizen

Dr M, here are 17 more (questions)
Norman Fernandez

High noon at Putrajaya Corral
Abdullah Junid

Pak Lah should put down Dr M’s insurgence
Kim Quek

Dr M, Pak Lah both adults
Chris Joibi

Pak Lah not Boy Scout or triad boss
Chua Chin Leng

Dr M was ‘considerate’ about ISA

Dr M’s quit call amusing

Open letter of sympathy to Dr M
Martin Jalleh

Open letter to PM on Scomi
Sulaiman Rejab
In defence of Scomi
Harmy Yusoff

Mahathir, please bring back our dignity
Giving us dignity was the last thing on Dr M’s mind
After Dr M, time to move forward
Counting our nation’s blessings
Not all followed Dr M’s drumbeat
Not So Rosy

Mahathir’s turn to accept decisions now
SH Huang
Put right kind of pressure on Pak Lah

Dr M most qualified to criticise
Syed Azni

Superson and Superson-in-law, do the noble thing
Syed Azni

Don’t blame leaders, vote intelligently
M Singh

Kubang Pasu not Dr M’s last requiem

Dr M, help us heal our wounds

Johari shoots Umno in the foot
Ibnu Hakeem

Ku Li started money politics?
Martin Jalleh

Umno must make public its Kubang Pasu probe
Sulaiman Rejab


Author Profiles

Dr COLLIN ABRAHAM holds a doctorate degree in race relations from Oxford. He was initially a civil servant attached to the Welfare Ministry as well as undertook research projects with the Ministry of Rural Development and Economic Planning Unit. He was subsequently seconded to Universiti Sains Malaysia where he was associate professor in sociology, and more recently visiting fellow. He is currently pro-tem president, Malaysian Association of Social Impact Assessors.

RK ANAND is a member of the Malaysiakini team.

HELEN ANG used to write and draw cartoons for Malaysia‘s mainstream print media. Before becoming its columnist, she contributed features and analyses to Malaysiakini as Z Sunday. She loves dogs and cats and supports the ethical treatment of animals.

ANWAR IBRAHIM, a former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Dr AZLY RAHMAN is a transcultural philosopher rooted in the tradition of Critical and Chaos Theory. Born in Singapore, raised in Johor Baru, he was a child of Malaysia‘s experiment in humanistic education: Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kuantan. He has taught in Malaysia and the United States in a multitude of settings and in diverse fields such as Politics/International Relations, Education, American Studies, Philosophy/ Humanities/Cultural Studies, and History/Foundations of Civilizations.

M BAKRI MUSA is a surgeon in Silicon Valley, California and the author of The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia. His views on Malaysia can be stated thus: Ours is a diverse nation; we can accept and celebrate this reality or by default, it becomes a liability.

TIAN CHUA is the Information Chief for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)

NORMAN FERNANDEZ is a practising lawyer and vice-chairman of DAP Johor.

STEVEN GAN is editor-in-chief of Malaysiakini

P. GUNASEGARAM is group executive editor at The Edge.

CHARLES HECTOR is a human rights activist and a lawyer.

JOSH HONG acquired the peculiar habit of reading too much into news as early as when he was a teen. Constantly alarmed by the unofficial divide-and-rule policy of the major dailies in Malaysia, he hopes to bridge the gaps between different ethnic groups the best he can. He appreciates the existence of various races as a most gracious gift of God, and thanks Samuel P Huntington for strengthening his will to fight against hegemony of all kinds.

KJ JOHN served in public service for 30 years and took optional retirement to work in his own consulting group. He hopes to see transparent and open, new governance practiced in Malaysia some day.

DEAN JOHNS is an Australian freelance journalist now living in Kuala Lumpur and a former occasional columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

KHOO KAY PENG is an independent political analyst and a business strategy consultant.

STANLEY KOH is a Buddhist monk and works for a local think-tank.

LIM GUAN ENG is the Ssecretary-General of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

KIM QUEK is a retired accountant

Professor P RAMASAMY is a former professor political economy Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Presently, he is writing two books on Malaysian politics, one regarding the power struggle in Umno and other about ethnic relations.

SIM KWANG YANG was DAP MP for Bandar Kuching in Sarawak 1982-1995. Since retiring in 1995, he has become a freelance writer in the Chinese-language press, and taught philosophy in a local college for three years.

NATHANIEL TAN runs www.jelas.info and www.bangkit.net.

JAMES WONG WING ON is an analyst with Malaysiakini

[1] This is in reference to Abdullah’s claim that assessing his performance at such an early juncture is like judging a football player only ten minutes into a match.



“For Malaysians who are watching this contest with morbid interest, it is hard to back either one of them – not Mahathir, for what he had done and not Abdullah, for what he has not done.

This fight, if it persists, will undoubtedly pry open a can of worms. Both parties stand to lose much. At stake for Mahathir is whatever left of his legacy. Abdullah – and his ministers – will find their own fingerprints on every decision they blame on their ex-boss.

Truth must be told no matter which sides it comes from. Let everything hang out, warts and all.”
– Steven Gan

“The recent spat between former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is farcical to say the least. Dr. Mahathir has been whining like a wounded lion as he sees some of his policies reversed. But the irony is that Mr. Abdullah’s actions have so far been too weak and indecisive to constitute any serious challenge to his predecessor’s legacy.

Ordinary Malaysians can see only too clearly the hypocrisy of Dr. Mahathir’s behaviour. When he complains of being muzzled by the media, Malaysians remember how his opponents repeatedly suffered the same fate during his more than two decades in power. His grumbling about being threatened with the Official Secrets Act sound strange coming from a man who presided over a period when this act was repeatedly invoked against his critics.”
– Anwar Ibrahim

“Essentially, the conflict represents an intra-Malay/Umno conflict over the access to resources, business opportunities and power.

Similarly, the conflict between Mahathir and Abdullah is about forces aligned to these two leaders competing for scarce resources and power. The conflict has become bitter and acrimonious because the side aligned with Mahathir seems to have lost out in access to material wealth by way of contracts, business opportunities and favouritism.”
– P Ramasamy

“It is not difficult to see that in his tussle with Abdullah, Mahathir made the fatal error of treading on the most sensitive spot of the Umno hierarchy – corruption. His threat to reveal evidence of corruption – one at a time – must have unnerved and angered his former colleagues. After all, who among them could lay claim to a clean slate, right up to the very top? Mahathir’s misstep must have been an important contributing factor that tipped the balance.”
– Kim Quek

“It was the Dollah administration’s approach to economic matters that truly threatened to unravel some of the most important policies Mahathir had struggled so hard to propagate in his two decades of power. The word ‘struggle’ is not used lightly. One of Mahathir’s single most lasting legacies was to violently uproot the dominance of the feudal and civil service cultures that Dollah was raised in within Umno and replace it with capitalist/industrialist ones.

By the end of Mahathir’s reign however, he had not succeeded in his goal of transforming Umno into a party of corporate entrepreneurs; instead, being unable to truly come to grips with diligent entrepreneurship, Umno largely become a party of rent-seeking contractors.”

– Tian Chua & Nathaniel Tan

  7 Responses to “Launched!! Mahathir vs. Abdullah: Covert Wars and Challenged Legacies”

  1. i bet the letter writers now wish they used their real names eh?

    anyway, i’m excited for you too! congrats! :)

  2. Darn – missed your launch! What lar never tell us?
    Congratulations much! :)

  3. thanks eli! :D heh, actually, got no ‘physical event’ launch yet. will be sure to beep if got :)

  4. hallo.
    why never tell also?
    congrats koko (reserved for special occasions).
    got acknowledge and thank numerous proofreaders? hehe.

  5. credit is certainly due!! :D

    Huge and special thanks to Mom, Bel, Cheryl, Dyan and Jac for proofreading help!

    Beyond a shadow of doubt, deepest deepest gratitude goes to politikus as always :) :)

  6. […] He runs http://www.jelas.info as well as http://www.bangkit.net, and is the editor of the recently published book Mahathir vs. Abdullah: Covert Wars and Challenged Legacies. Buy it, and he may yet be able to continue […]

  7. You cheeky monkey no tell us about these endeavours! Must find out through BLOG!! sigh.

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