Aliran Monthly 28: 5 editor’s note

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In our cover story, Khoo Boo Teik looks at how Anwar has come to personify many dissident, even conflicting tendencies. His two different images – that of a conquering political leader and frequently disabled politician – capture society’s current predicament. We have moved towards more open dissent; and yet we are unsure if we can really achieve a more open political system. This should be seen in the light of Anwar’s experience of earlier defeat and the different phases of his public life, as outlined in an earlier piece by Boo Teik. Anwar’s experience has given him a better inkling of the issues that concern the rakyat.

These rakyat are now suffering under the burden of neo-liberal ideology, which Wong Kok Keong says has done more harm than good. Look at Tenaga Nasional’s unjust and unfair tariff hike. Ong Eu Soon says that TNB’s huge recent profits suggest that the government is all out to protect the interest of big corporations.

We carry a report on the launch of a cartoon people’s history book, “Where Monsoons Meet”. History has never been so accessible and readable – and to think that the book was written by two engineers and an architect! Another book that grabs our attention is Syed Husin’s “The Malays: their problems and future”. We carry the author’s remarks at the launch in which he proposes that “ketuanan rakyat” should replace “ketuanan Melayu”.

The late activist, Toni Kassim, is honoured in a tribute by Yeoh Seng Guan. We also reproduce speeches marking the unveiling of a portrait of the Tunku, to be hung in Inner Temple, London.

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Finally, Johan Saravanamuttu discusses the “Badawied” political transition, during which neither Abdullah Badawi nor Mahathir realised that the rakyat have tired of racial politics.

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