These are exciting times for Malaysia. Following the political tsunami, many analysts have discussed the new political landscape in the country. One crucial area, however, has not received enough attention: the changing dynamics of federal-state relations.
Francis Loh addresses this deficit with a cover story that traces the factors that have contributed towards Malaysia’s centralised federal system. This system is now under pressure with the new march towards decentralisation and good governance.
The increasing cooperation among the five Pakatan Rakyat-led states could facilitate this shift as these state governments act as checks on the excesses of the federal government.
Another source of checks could come from civil society. Activists in Penang have handed over the Penang Declaration to the Penang Chief Minister, outlining their hopes for more consultation and greater space for their activities.
Ong Eu Soon, meanwhile, urges the PR state governments to look at alternative options for solid waste management that build on public participation.
Aliran mourns the passing of one of its members, Rustam Sani, widely regarded as the country’s leading public intellectual. Recognising his lifelong contribution to truth and justice, we carry a series of tributes from Clive Kessler, Francis Loh and Rustam’s children Azrani and Ariani during the posthumous launch of two of his books.
Finally, three refugees tell us their side of the story: heart-rending tales of tragedy, persecution and exploitation both in their own countries and in Malaysia.
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