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Thread: A Selection Of Essential Reading

  1. #1

    A Selection Of Essential Reading

    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 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

  2. #2

    Re: A Selection Of Essential Reading

    .. continued from previous list

    Book Titles

    • Fritz, Nicole & Flaherty, Martin; Unjust Order: Malaysia's Internal Security Act; New York: The Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights, Fordham Law School (2003); ISBN 0-9742487-0-3, ISBN-13 978-0-9742487-0-7

      This Report represents the culmination of a year-long project undertaken by the Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights to examine the use and impact of the Malaysian Internal Security Act (ISA) in light of international law obligations. The ISA permits indefinite detention without trial: the first sixty days of this detention are typically at the initiation of police authorities (under Section 73), and subsequent two-year periods occur at the authorization and renewal of the Minister of Home Affairs (under Section . The law has existed almost as long as Malaysian independence and has been used to delegitimize generations of political opposition and silence those considered "deviant" or "subversive" by the government.
    • Tan, Nathaniel & Lee, John; Religion Under Siege? Lina Joy, The Islamic State and Freedom of Faith; Kuala Lumpur: Kinibooks (200; ISBN 983-40922-4-5, ISBN-13 978-983-40922-4-5

      Malaysia's diversity of religion is both a treasured element of its nationhood and a powder keg. This book addresses the balance of religious relations in Malaysia by tracing recent events that have been lightning rods for contention over the question of freedom of religion. It deals with the conversion of Lina Joy/Azlina Jailani and the question of whether Malaysia is an Islamic state, as well as issues such as the Moorthy burial and the demolition of places of worship. A full spectrum of opinion and passions with regard to religion in Malaysia are expressed in this book, bookended by the voices of religious fundamentalists and liberalists, and the middle ground represented by the majority of Malaysians. The picture that they paint together reflects the true breadth of feelings surrounding the relationship between Malaysians, their faiths, and the faiths of their neighbours.
    • Verma, Vidhu; Malaysia: State & Civil Society in Transition; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (2004); ISBN 1-58826-091-7, ISBN-13 978-1-58826-091-8

      Malaysia's diversity of religion is both a treasured element of its nationhood and a powder keg. This book addresses the balance of religious relations in Malaysia by tracing recent events that have been lightning rods for contention over the question of freedom of religion. It deals with the conversion of Lina Joy/Azlina Jailani and the question of whether Malaysia is an Islamic state, as well as issues such as the Moorthy burial and the demolition of places of worship. A full spectrum of opinion and passions with regard to religion in Malaysia are expressed in this book, bookended by the voices of religious fundamentalists and liberalists, and the middle ground represented by the majority of Malaysians. The picture that they paint together reflects the true breadth of feelings surrounding the relationship between Malaysians, their faiths, and the faiths of their neighbours.
    • El-Affendi, Abdelwahab; Who Needs An Islamic State?; London: Malaysia Think Tank (200; ISBN 1-84426-481-5, ISBN-13 978-1-84426-481-0

      A critique of modern Islamic political thought on the 'state', this book takes the form of a three-part dialogue with the West, with Islamic tradition and with 20th-century Muslim thinkers. The author discusses the divide between Islamic values and the basic principles which guide Western political thought. He traces the development of Muslim constitutional practice and considers the current debate on the nature of and desirability for an 'Islamic state'. He separates the problems that are internally derived from the by-products of Western culture. Dr El-Affendi argues that if Islamic values were brought to bear internationally, the entrenched dogmas of Western political thought as much as both the tradition-bound and modernist trends of Muslim thinking would have to be revised. A must-read for those interested in the theory of the Islamic State. This second edition contains a foreword by Professor Ziauddin Sardar, a new introduction by the author, and two new sections as appendices.
    • Norani Othman, Puthucheary, Mavis C. & Kessler, Clive S.; Sharing The Nation: Faith, Difference and the State 50 Years After Merdeka; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (200; ISBN 983- 3782-43-4, ISBN-13 978-983-3782-43-7

      These five separately referenced essays explore issues which are urgently relevant to the second fifty years of Malaysia's development i.e. the constitutional position of Islam and the relevance and force of the so-called "social contract" associated with the 1957 consitution. The origins of the "social contract" concept, its usage and largely unadmitted refashioning in Malaysian politics, education and legal process, are discussed. Events which are giving rise to anxiety for concern inside and outside the country are reviewed.
    • Kua, Kia Soong; May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969; Petaling Jaya: SUARAM (2007); ISBN 983-41367-6-5, ISBN-13 978-983-41367-6-5

      This is the first credible account of the May 13, 1969 racial riots in Malaysia, using documents recently declassified at the Public Records Office, London, after the lapse of the 30-year secrecy rule. These documents provide the only available confidential observations and
      memoranda by British and other foreign embassy operatives based on their intelligence and contacts with local officials and politicians. They include dispatches by correspondents which were then banned in Malaysia. A social scientist, Kua Kia Soong provides a fresh political analysis of this "May 13 incident". In his view, the riots were by no means a spontaneous outburst of violence between Malays and Chinese but rather a planned coup d'etat by the ascendant state capitalist class against the Tunku-led aristocracy. He discusses the contradictions of the post-Independencec Alliance racial formula and traces the rise of this new Malay capitalist class which has ruled Malaysia since 1969. These documents clearly show who were responsible for the violence and pose the question why the security forces allowed the violence to go on. With this publication, it is hoped that the frequently raised "spectre of May 13" by the Barisan Nasional government will be forever put to rest.
    • Kua, Kia Soong; The Malaysian Civil Rights Movement; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (2005); ISBN 983-2535-52-2, ISBN-13 978-983-2535-52-2

      This is the first published account of the Malaysian civil rights movement (now Suaram) which emerged spontaneously in the 1980s. It is by Dr Kua Kia Soong, educationalist and sociologist, former MP and political detainee from 1987-1980. Civil rights issues explored include: minority rights under the National Culture Policy; the future and usage of Melaka's Bukit Cina; the 1987 crackdown on activists; plantation workers' rights in East and West Malaysia; the dumping of radioactive waste in Perak; and the impact of logging on indigenous people in Sarawak.
    • Abraham, Collin; Speaking Out Loud for National Unity: Social Change and Nation-building in Contemporary Malaysia; Petaling Jaya: Gerakbudaya (200; ISBN 983-42440-4-5, ISBN-13 978-983-42440-4-0

      This book is a welcome compilation of short but thoughtful pieces penned by a prominent sociologist, Dr Collin Abraham, over the years. Although the compilation itself as a whole does not represent an attempt at social scientific grand theorizing on the state of the Malaysian society and nation, but each and everyone of the pieces, separately and as a whole, to me constitutes a clear indication of the writer’s concerns over issues of everyday manifestations of social life in Malaysia-covering diverse subjects ranging from business and economic structures to the hardship of ordinary working men such as the poor Malaysian Indian estate workers.

      What I find to be most moving and intellectually satisfying from reading pieces is not simply the fact that they emanate from the genuine concerns of a well-meaning social observer but the fact that they are rooted in the empathic observations of a true concerned social scientist who has gone through the rigorous “training” of a social welfare officer and as an academic social activist. In this compilation the reader can expect to benefit not only from the keen empirical observations of a methodologically rigorous professional social scientist, but also one who presents his explanation elegantly in a format informed by what the American sociologist C. Wright Mills has described as “the sociological imagination”-an ingredient one sometimes misses in similar genre overly dominated methodological and scientific rigour these days.
    • Kirk, J. Andrew; The Meaning of Freedom: A Study of Secular, Muslim and Christian Views; Carlisle: Paternoster Press (199; ISBN 0-85364-844-1; ISBN-13 978-0-85364-844-4

      Although freedom is much talked about, in many places, taken for granted, its actual significance and effect in social and personal relationships is hotly disputed. A certain set of beliefs about the given nature of freedom may be accepted by many people, yet, in ordinary life, the reality may be substantially different from what people imagine they are able to enjoy. This book explores the concept of freedom in the West, its historical roots and current usage in diverse contexts. The author considers the different meanings of freedom as held in western societies. In a balanced and even-handed way he investigates some main consequences, both positive and negative, of this view of freedom in social institutions and individual lives. Finally Muslim views are examined before an alternative Christian vision that addresses present dilemmas and contradictions is presented.
    • Kahn, Joel S.; Other Malays: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in the Modern Malay World; Singapore: Singapore University Press (2006); ISBN 9971-69-334-8, ISBN-13 978-9971-69-334-3

      This book on the constructions of ethnicity in Malaysia and Singapore makes an important contribution to understanding the powerful linkages between ethnicity, religious reform, identity and nationalism in multi-ethnic Southeast Asia. The narrative of Malay identity devised by Malay nationals, writers and filmakers in the late colonial period associated Malayness with the village or kampung, envisaged as static, ethnically homogenous, classless, indigenous, subsistence-orientated, rural, embedded in family and community, and loyal to a royal court.

      This book challenges the "kampung" version of Malayness, arguing that it ignores the immigration of Malays from outside the peninsula to participate trade and commercial agriculture, the substantial Malay population in towns and cities, and the reformist Muslims who argued for a common bond in Islam. Owing to a rising dissatisfaction with the established order and new modernist sensitivities, especially among the younger generation, the author argues that it is time to revisit the alternative, more cosmopolitan narrative of Malayness.
    • Ooi, Kee Beng; Era of Transition: Malaysia after Mahathir; Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (2006); ISBN 981-230-379-0, ISBN-13 978-981-230-379-0

      This is a collection of opinion pieces written by Ooi Kee Beng and published in the mass media after Abdullah Badawi became Malaysia's Prime Minister in October 2004. The articles analyse the many difficult aspects of leadership that have been facing Abdullah Badawi over the last two years. The book discusses the country's underlying problems, the dilemma involved in succeeding Mahathir Mohamad, and draws conclusions about nation building in general. The leading party and its many weaknesses and strengths, the role of Malaysian Islam and the growing importance of regionalism and globalisation are also discussed.
    • Kua, Kia Soong (Ed.); People Before Profits: The Rights of Malaysian Communities in Development; Petaling Jaya: SIRD (2001); ISBN 983-40322-7-7, ISBN-13 978-983-40322-7-2

      This publication is a unique achievement, which brings together the struggle of Malaysian communities from diverse ethnic groups, both urban and rural, who have been victims of unfettered capitalism and non-accountable privatisation projects by the Mahathir Administration. It is a compilation of papers they presented at the National Conference on People before Profits in November 2000.
    • Malaysia Human Rights Report; Petaling Jaya: SUARAM (Various)

      This report is published annually with the latest edition being the 2007 report. The 2008 report is expected in early 2009.

  3. #3

    Re: A Selection Of Essential Reading

    .. final part of this series

    Where To Get These Books

    Online Sources



    (with low-cost shipping)

    Brick and Mortar Sources

    • Popular Bookstores
    • MPH
    • Kinokuniya
    • Borders

    Attached is the original PDF version of the posts above
    Attached Files Attached Files

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: A Selection Of Essential Reading


    This is a little bit too heavy for me. I think I will stick to gold and The Rat Race.

  5. #5

    Re: A Selection Of Essential Reading

    Oh yeah .. they probably are available from the public library system as well.

    You can try the following Online Public Access Catalogues (OPAC):

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    I just ashamed about the Collections of book share here... really nice one <3

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