Aliran Monthly 26: 9 editor’s note

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am cover 26:9In our cover story, Francis Loh looks at the silly season in Malaysia that is full of odd events such as the Mahathir-Abdullah spat, the Zakaria mansion fiasco and the SMS rumours in Ipoh. Looking at the larger picture, he discovers that we are stuck between the old world and the new, with contrasting forces tugging in opposite directions. There are other contradictions at work. Mustafa K Anuar explores how justice itself is being held hostage in Malaysia, violating the very Islamic values that the present government seems to be promoting.

Talking about contradictions, Mahathir’s accusation that Malaysia is a ‘police state’ must take the cake. After all, as Farish Noor points out, it was Mahathir himself who laid the foundations to the ‘police state’ he bemoans today.

And while we project ourselves as a ‘caring society’, a hidden war is being silently unleashed against defenceless undocumented migrant workers. Romany and Amy Alexander expose the unsavoury role played by Rela in a hidden crackdown.   

These are dark days indeed, literally speaking. Wong Soak Koon pines for the days not-so-long ago that were not so crazy and hazy. Further north, a cloud of uncertainty has descended on Thailand after a military coup put an end to the crazy, gung-ho days of Thaksin. But Francis Loh warns that Thais may lose patience if the military overstays its welcome.  

Meanwhile, the US-Malaysia negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement have hit some turbulence as differences emerge in various areas. Anil Netto argues that Malaysians have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

Finally, Koon Yew Yin takes a look at the NEP and points out that Malaysia was once on par with countries such as Singapore and South Korea. What has gone wrong since then?

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