Essential if you want to have a comprehensive overview of Malaysian current affairs (hat tip to P. Sakthivel for helping compile this):

This is the first part ..

Book Titles

  • Fernando, Joseph M.; The Making of the Malayan Constitution (JMBRAS Monograph No. 31); Kuala Lumpur: MBRAS (2002); ISBN 967-9948-22-6, ISBN-13 978-967-9948-22-6

    In Making of the Malayan Constitution, Joseph M. Fernando describes the events in the 1950's which led to the creation of the Alliance, and moves towards Merdeka. He relates the somewhat ad-hoc way in which the Reid Commission was formed, and gives full details of their deliberations, together with the negotiations between the different parties in the Alliance. This led to the Malayan constitution as adopted at Merdeka in 1957. The book is an essential reading for anyone wishing to follow the development of the Malayan Constitution.
  • Koh, Swee Yong; Malaysia: 45 Years Under The Internal Security Act - Detention Without Trial; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (2004); ISBN 983-2535-44-1, ISBN-13 978-983-2535-44-7

    The greatest value of this book is to reveal the truth of our history. This book is a collection of events depicting how the ISA has been abused and misused over the last 45 years. It helps us to understand how the government has so unjustly used the ISA (Internal Security Act) to suppress dissidents and oppositionists inside the country for the last 45 years. This book symbolises another effort by civil society to oppose the ISA and documents small and big events which took place right back to 1960 when the ISA was first promulgated. The author was himself a nine year ISA detainee from 1976 to 1985.
  • Gatsiounis, Ioannis; Beyond The Veneer: Malaysia’s Struggle for Dignity and Direction; Singapore: Monsoon Books (200; ISBN 981-08-0657-4, ISBN-13 978-981-08-0657-6

    This book is a comprehensive and timely account of how Malaysia reached this pivotal turning point in the nation’s history, and what the future holds for the country, its leaders and its people. In it Kuala Lumpur-based journalist Ioannis Gatsiounis presents a collection of his published articles from a range of publications, including Asia Times, Newsweek, The Washington Times, and Al Jazeera, offering readers a fascinating look at current socio-political events in Malaysia. This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand this promising nation at the crossroads and the key issues that will shape its future.
  • Sufian Shamsuddin; RESET: Rethinking the Malaysian Political Paradigm; Petaling Jaya: ZI Publications Sdn Bhd (200; ISBN 983-43521-3-1, ISBN-13 978-983-43521-3-4

    Many would blame Malaysia’s current political upheaval on decades of ineptitude, abuse, and race-based politics. Although the electoral “tsunami” suggests a rejection of past methods, an alignment on the way forward remains in doubt. RESET examines the fundamentals of Malaysia’s socio-political fabric and delivers an uncompromising analysis of the underlying causes of the nation’s current political crisis. It reveals our collective complicity and explains how, together, we might break the impasse. RESET is meant for all Malaysians (no matter their political allegiance) who are courageous, willing to call a spade a spade, and want true effective and lasting change, in the name of their children, and those of their fellow countrymen.
  • Barnard, Timothy P.; Contesting Malayness: Malay Identity Across Boundaries; Singapore: Singapore Universiy Press (2004); ISBN 9971-69-279-1, ISBN-13 978-9971-69-279-7

    People who call themselves Malay -- Melayu -- are found in many countries, united by a notional shared identity but separated by political boundaries, divergent histories, variant dialects, and peculiarities of local experience. The term 'Malay', widely used and readily understood in the region, turns out to be remarkably difficult to define or explain. This book assembles research on the theme of how Malays have identified themselves in time and place, developed by a wide range of scholars. The list includes Malaysian anthropologist Shamsul A. B, Indonesian poet Tenas Effendy, and linguists and historians based in Singapore, America, the Netherlands and Australia.

    The essays describe some of the historical and cultural patterns that make up the Malay world, but taken as a whole they demonstrate the impossibility of offering a definition or even a description of 'Melayu' that is not rife with omissions and contradictions. The term remains evasive and open to varying interpretations, despite efforts to contain it within distinct boundaries. The authors show 'Malayness' as an identity or nationality that can be subverted and questioned, one of the most challenging and confusing in the multiethnic world of Southeast Asia.
  • Hooker, Virginia & Noraini Othman; Malaysia: Islam, Society and Politics; Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (2003); ISBN 981-230-161-5, ISBN-13 978-981-230-161-1

    This collection of essays has been prepared as a tribute to Clive S. Kessler, Professor of Sociology at the University of New South Wales and a significant contributor to Malay and Malaysian studies. The book opens with a touching series of reflections on Kessler’s past written by his sister, Naomi Kronenberg. The collection remains faithful to Kessler’s explorations and analysis, engaging mostly in a number of issues pertaining to the politicization of Islam in Malaysia.

    The authors, most of whom are established scholars in the field of Malay and Malaysian studies, develop their ideas from particular segments of Kessler’s fascinating work. The book is divided into parts on Islam, society, and politics, themes that are brought together in most of the chapters as well. The authors write largely about current political issues, with the rivalry between the ruling party UMNO and the country’s major opposition party PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) serving as a main focus. A range of topics is covered: from religious ritual, popular culture, women’s issues, and the role of intellectuals in identity formation to current legal and constitutional concerns
  • Saeed, Abdullah & Saeed, Hassan; Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam; Aldershot (England): Ashgate Publishing (2004); ISBN 0-7546-3083-8, ISBN-13 978-0-7546-3083-8

    Debate on freedom of religion as a human right takes place not only in the Western world but also in Muslim communities throughout the world. For Muslims concerned for this freedom, one of the major difficulties is the 'punishment for apostasy' - death for those who desert Islam.

    This book argues that the law of apostasy and its punishment by death in Islamic law is untenable in the modern period. Apostasy conflicts with a variety of foundation texts of Islam and with the current ethos of human rights, in particular the freedom to choose one's religion. Demonstrating the early development of the law of apostasy as largely a religio-political tool, the authors show the diversity of opinion among early Muslims on the punishment, highlighting the substantial ambiguities about what constitutes apostasy, the problematic nature of some of the key textual evidence on which the punishment of apostasy is based, and the neglect of a vast amount of clear Qur'anic texts in favour of freedom of religion in the construction of the law of apostasy.

    Examining the significant challenges the punishment of apostasy faces in the modern period inside and outside Muslim communities - exploring in particular how apostasy and its punishment is dealt with in a multi-religious Muslim majority country, Malaysia, and the challenges and difficulties it faces there - the authors discuss arguments by prominent Muslims today for an absolute freedom of religion and for discarding the punishment of apostasy.
  • Muzaffar, Chandra; Rights, Religion and Reform: Enhancing Human Dignity Through Spiritual and Moral Transformation; London: RoutledgeCurzon (2002); ISBN 0-7007-1648-3, ISBN-13 978-0-7007-1648-7

    This book discusses issues concerning human rights and religion. Is a more integrated approach to human rights desirable - an approach that transcends the individual-centred orientation of civil and political liberties of the dominant centres of power in the West? How can religious thought contribute to an integrated notion of human rights and human dignity? What sort of transformation should religion itself undergo in order to enable it to come to grips with contemporary challenges? Related to this is a larger question: How can universal spiritual and moral values help to shape politics, the economy and society as a whole?
  • Ahmad, Salbiah; Critical Thoughts on Islam, Rights and Freedom in Malaysia; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (2007); ISBN 983-3782-07-8, ISBN-13 978-983-3782-07-9

    In this collection of insightful essays, Salbiah Ahmad – lawyer, activist, writer – explores and analyses the various dynamics in Malaysia which surround and affect contemporary issues involving religion, democracy, politics, the law, human and civil rights and gender relations. The articles contained within are a compilation of what she has authored for her column ‘Malaya!’ which has appeared in malaysiakini.com since 2001. ‘Malaya!” as the column name comes from Tagalog in which it means ‘freedom’. In producing these articles, Salbiah Ahmad skilfully combines the analytical skills of the lawyer and the experience of the seasoned activist to tackle complex ideas making them both understandable and empowering