Monday, December 27, 2010

Books on Malaysian Politics

Here are five recent titles on Malaysian politics:
  • Between Umno and a Hard Place: The Najib Razak Era Begins edited by Ooi Kee Beng. These 40 articles by Penang-born writer and commentator Ooi Kee Beng were published since Jan 2009 the end of the Abdullah Badawi era. The author offers thoughtful perspectives and sharp but constructive commentary on a selection of the persistent problems and contradictions which face Prime Minister Najib and have for so long bedevilled Malaysia's progress and body-politic.
  • The Road to Reform: Pakatan Rakyat In Selangor edited by Tricia Yeoh. These 20 papers by specialists with experience in many areas of government and social issues assess the work of the Pakatan Rakyat government of the State of Selangor since it was elected in March 2008 on a reformist agenda. The authors look at the sometimes considerable changes and reforms already achieved as well as the enduring difficulties faced by the Pakatan Rakyat government in the fields of politics, economics, society and culture. A remarkable 2? years. Index.
  • Privatization in Malaysia: Regulation, Rent-Seeking and Policy Failure by Jeff Tan. In recent years, privatisation has fallen out of favour in many countries because the underlying political factors have not been well understood. This book examines Malaysia's privatisation programme, focusing on how political constraints resulted in the failure of four major privatisations: the national sewerage company (IWK), Kuala Lumpur Light Rail Transit (LRT), national airline (MAS), and national car company (Proton). It considers why developing countries such as Malaysia might want to embark on privatisation, the factors that lead to policy failure, and what is needed to make it work. It shows clearly that political motives driving privatisation often dominate purely economic considerations, and thus it is necessary to analyse privatisation within the specific country context. It argues that failure in the Malaysian case was due to political considerations that compromised institutional design and regulatory enforcement, leading to problems associated with corruption. It concludes that privatisation does not necessarily improve incentives for efficiency or enhance the finance available for capital investment, and that successful privatisation depends on the state's institutional and political capacity to design and manage an appropriate set of subsidies.
  • March 8: Time For Real Change by Kee Thuan Chye. This second 2010 edition of the 2008 collection of essays on consequences of Malaysia's March 2008 General Election results includes eleven additional papers. Forty-two Malaysians offer considered critical perspectives on problems and opportunities facing the government shaken by the Opposition's gains. The last ten papers explore "Where do we go from here?" and look ahead, with some hope and considerable gloom. Insets offer informal observations by members of the public.

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