Friday, March 1, 2013

Books on Malaysian Politics and Economics

This is a selection of titles on Malaysian politics and economics: 

Democracy at Stake? Examining 16 By-Elections in Malaysia, 2008-2011 by Wong Chin Huat and Soon Li Tsin. Draws together information from 16 by-elections that took place in Malaysia since the 12th General Elections in 2008, in an important assessment of the current health of Malaysia's electoral system. The chapters have been written by journalists, activists and researchers. This volume documents the by-election process and claims to have identified some significant flaws in the electoral system, particularly in relation to issues of legitimacy.

The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: Affirmative Action, Ethnic Inequalities and Social Justice edited by Edmund Terence Gomez and  Johan Saravanamuttu. For more than 40 years, the New Economic Policy and its successor programs have shaped Malaysia's socioeconomic development and the allocation of political power. The policy's core tenet was affirmative action on behalf of the Bumiputera community. Drawing on a wealth of statistical and documentary evidence, this major new book provides a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the NEP. The contributors show that there have been some positive outcomes, among them a considerable reduction of poverty, greater interethnic equity parity and the emergence of a resourceful Bumiputera middle class. But these partial successes have to be weighed against persistent complaints associated with increasing intraethnic Bumiputera income disparities; the emergence of a small, politically powerful and disproportionately wealthy Bumiputera elite; a serious brain drain; and weak human capital. This volume offers a timely and fresh perspective, suggesting that the long-term implementation of racially-targeted policies reinforces stereotypical ethnic identities and hinders the creation of a more inclusive society.

Teresa Kok: Partner in Democracy by Jason Roshan. Here are extensively illustrated details of the life and political aims and achievements of Teresa Kok Suh Sim (b. 1964) since 2008 at Pakatan Rakyat MP for Seputeh, Selangor and elected member for Kinrara of the State Government of Selangor. Teresa's very varied activities in the interest of people of all backgrounds in her constituencies and on national issues are described and her long-term aims set out. With photographs and accompanying DVD.

The Audacity to Think: An Invitation to Rethink Politics by Steven Sim. In this short softback a young political scientist and Penang Municipal Councillor looks thoughtfully at Malaysia's political arena. In concise terms he discusses the urgent need for younger Malaysians to participate in the country's political life - a dimension too important to be left to politicians. Among the immediate relevant issues raised are: neutrality and ideology; categorisation of people; language issues; and democratic power.

States of Reform: Governing Selangor and Penang by Tricia Yeoh. These 28 articles by a researcher/economist have appeared in the Penang Economic Monthly since the 2008 elections which put the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in control of the State governments in Penang and Selangor. Matters of relevance to voters in the 2012 forthcoming General Election are explored. Eight articles look at federal-state relations and tensions, at local-level democracy and transparency. Eleven articles are on policies and practices concerning public services and their financing; and then financial management, budgeting, and federal-state financial relations are the subjects of seven contributions.

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