Aliran Monthly 30: 2 editor’s note

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Aliran Monthly 2010 No 2Mahathir Mohamad is back in the spotlight again; notably, he was the special guest at the right wing group Perkasa’s inaugural AGM in March. The man is obviously not one to fade way into the sunset and has once again re-invented himself to suit the era.

Is he a maverick, machiavellian or merely mainstream? That’s the question Maznah Mohamad poses in her review of Barry Wain’s book ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’’. The book, which is still held back from distribution in Malaysia, is a sobering testament that Malaysians almost always do not get the government they deserve.

The poor especially often get a raw deal. As Francis Loh observes, they can be found within every ethnic group. Thus, he says, efforts to eradicate poverty should cater for all.

Rani Rasiah takes up the theme by looking at the hypocrisy of the ‘people first’ slogan in a system which squeezes low-income workers on all fronts. Low wages without proper retrenchment compensation only results in poverty, she asserts.

Will political change result in radical transformation? Anil Netto reports on Penang Forum 2, which discussed to what extent the state has experienced change since the watershed 2008 general election. Participants at the forum were encouraged to brainstorm and give their views on participatory local democracy and sustainable development. Their views can be found in an accompanying piece.

But before change can take place, a sense of deja vu has hit us with Anwar once again back in court. We reproduce a chilling statutory declaration from 1998 by Dr Munawar Ahmad Anees, who wassubjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

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