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Abdullah Badawi


In Islamic society, there is no class differences. Indeed, there are the rich and the poor, but there is no class differentiation. Muslims generally treasure family ties, including distant relatives. The Muslim family is not limited to just nuclear families like the West. Instead, family ties hold everyone together from grandparents to grandchildren. In such big families, there would be disparity in terms of social standing. There will be the rich and the poor in any extended family, but they are still in one family. This is one tie that cannot be severed by economic class differences. The physical world is transient. One dies and physical riches cannot be brought to the grave. In the Pharoah period, an attempt was made to bring riches to the nether world, but this is merely a fantasy that has no place in Islam. The Islamic stand on this issue is clear that physical riches are merely for the physical world only. At the end, what gives happiness is worship and belief in God, and what the riches are used for.


Competition exists in all fields. Although there is unity among the Malay and UMNO members, it will come to nought if there is no willingness and ability to compete in all areas. In fact, political power that stems from strong unity can facilitate competition in this context. Nonetheless, political power is not the absolute factor in determining victory. What proves to be absolute power is our competency and willingness to face obstacles and pressure of all nature.

One popular saying which never fails to elicit support is, "the poor becomes poorer, and the rich, richer". In the process of proving this slogan, the truth is sidelined as unimportant. If a poor man earns more income, his achievement is belittled on the basis that the currency has been devalued. The question is whether our assessment system on development can encompass all the new desires and ambitions of the people. Will the past, current and future national development efforts be able to fulfill the people's desires? Will development bring about the expected benefits as soon as possible? Will these benefits filter down to the poor and those still living in misery even though the nation has progressed?


Not all records are in agreement with Dr Mahathir Mohammad's interpretation of historical events or recent events in Malaysia and Singapore. Indeed, due to its controversial nature, the author will see fit to defend his thoughts and statements. In fact, he will be faced with questions on the accuracy of the historical and biological facts. This is obviously not an objective study.

Nonetheless, this book is published for its contents which expose the way of thinking and the beliefs of a Malay race that is modern, educated and progressive. It consists of the author's reactions to existing problems, addressing those that are most critical. This is based on his understanding of the past, as a Malay with political inclinations, while taking pains to explain the behaviour of his own race and that of the immigrants, and using that as a guide to the future.

In the past, it has been difficult to learn of the Malay thought process. As indicated by Dr Mahathir, the Malay has a tendency to protect friends and even enemies from embarrassment, and in doing so, hide their real way of thinking.

Now, for the first time, a Malay has studied and analysed the characteristics of his fellow Malay, and their origin, way of life and religion. He exposes it all, believing that this is necessary not only to encourage the Malay to get to know themselves, but also to allow the non-Malay to obtain a deeper understanding of the Malay reaction towards existing problems.


Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister, is known for his original ideas and incisive plain speaking. Both traits are grippingly evident in The Challenge, where he takes a hard look at certain ways of thinking and living that are vying for supremacy in the modern world in general, and Malaysia's Malay community in particular. With characteristic directness, he explodes fallacies and exposes distortions concerning Islam, communism, freedom and discipline, and the concerns of this world and the next.

The Challenge is as thought-provoking as Dr. Mahathir's earlier and highly controversial book The Malay Dilemma (Dilema Melayu) - both of special interest today as the author is at the head of a nation striving for racial balance and religious sanity.

1989 - REGIONALISM, GLOBALISM AND SPHERES OF INFLUENCE: ASEAN and the Challenge of Change into the 21st Century

Published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, this book documents Dr. Mahathir Mohammad's presentation on the topic above.


Combating Poverty features a collection of speeches of the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad during the celebrations of the National Farmer and Fisherman Day, as well as other related events. It touches on the issues of poverty and agricultural development.


A simple handbook for the novice, The Malaysian System of Government covers an introduction to the government system in Malaysia and the political system in the context of the multi racial composition of the country. Also features topics like the Malaysian value system and freedom and democracy.


Resolute economic advance coupled with a firm sense of social order have, over the past several decades, transformed East Asia. A new assertiveness characterises opinion from Singapore and Malaysia, China and Japan.

In The Voice of Asia, two of the most outspoken proponents of an Asian model of capitalism challenge Western domination and celebrate the renaissance of the region's ancient civilisations.

A provocative dialogue, transcribed from meetings and written exchanges between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad and Japanese politician-author Shintaro Ishihara, The Voice of Asia gives unprecedented insight into what Ishirara calls "the paramount reality of the mid-1990s - the retreat of the West and the increasing dynamism of Asia".

The book finds the pair in fundamental agreement. Dr Mahathir claims that Japan provided the model for Malaysia's development; Ishihara urges his country to leave off deferring to the United States and return to the Asian fold. Can the West take up this challenge, or is the Asian era really at hand?

Here is a world-view as foreign to the Western reader as most Western values are to Asians. But as the balance of economic power slips inexorably toward the East, there is a greater need than ever to come to grips with the emerging Asian ethos. The Voice of Asia is the best briefing available.


When Malaysia achieved independence in 1957, many people predicted that the country, with its unique racial mix, could never be stable or prosper economically. Forty years later, Malaysia, one of the tiger economies of South East Asia, has made enviable economic progress, bringing in its wake a degree of racial harmony that has confounded the skeptics.

The principal architect of Malaysia's transformation is the country's fourth prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammad. In the five essays that comprise The Way Forward, he reflects on the successes and failures of the New Economic Policy (1971-1990), the central element in governmental policy since the racial troubles of May 1969. The troubles laid bare the economic disparities between the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, the main ethnic groups in Malaysia.

The New Economic Policy, adopting a programme of affirmative action, sought to effect a fundamental redistribution of the nation's wealth by bringing the Malays and other bumiputera, the indigenous people of the country, into the mainstream of economic life.

This was achieved not just by economic means, but also by radically changing the culture and outlook of the bumiputera, in the process of giving them a new and vibrant self-confidence. The intention was not to bring about this redistribution through the expropriation of wealth belonging to the other communities, but by means of economic growth, and, during these years, Malaysia enjoyed an average growth rate of some seven per cent, bringing stability and prosperity to all.


A New Deal For Asia looks at whether Asia can reinvent itself for the new millennium after the chaos and turmoil of the Asian crisis. According to Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, now is not the time for recriminations, but to reexamine the way the global economic system functions. Now is also the time to look ahead, move on and try to focus on the future.

None of the above, however can be done in isolation. The lesson the world must learn from the crisis is that we all share a common fate, and that there must now be a willingness to challenge some of the most fundamental tenets of global capitalism. This book also reflects on the major themes in Dr. Mahathir's political agenda. As the architect and strategist of modern Malaysia's phenomenal growth and development over the last decade, the Malaysian Prime Minister seems to thrive on unfashionable ideas, controversial policies and a contentious diplomacy - an enigma baffling to both his detractors and supporters alike. A New Deal For Asia is as thought-provoking as Dr Mahathir's highly controversial The Malay Dilemma, The Challenge and The Way Forward, all of special interest today as he is at the helm of a nation striving for racial balance and religious sanity.


"For ten consecutive years, Malaysia, a multiracial country country which had always believed in free market, grew by 8 percent plus annually. It had always been politically stable and economically resilient. Its currency was strong and its international debts were well within accepted limits. Indeed, it was able to prepay loans repeatedly. It eas certainly not a candidate for severe recession. A slowdown in growth perhaps, but not economic and financial turmoil."

"Yet in July 1997, its currency began to devalue rapidly and its stock market plunged to extremely low levels. The pundits aver that this sudden downturn was due to bad governance and the contagion effect of the fall of the Thai baht. The fall in the value of the ringgit and stock-market capitalisation looked likely to be continuous and could not be arrested. Malaysians are bewildered as they found themselves suddenly impoverished."

"The country and the government were completely unprepared to deal with the seriously deteriorating economy."

But government leaders quickly identified currency traders and short-term investors as the culprits responsible for the turmoil was not enough. It was necessary to understand how they operated and how to counter their attacks on the Malaysian economy. "It is my sincere hope that in detailing the country's experience in handling the economic and financial turmoil, Malaysians will understand the very serious difficulty the country was in and appreciate the measures taken by the government to overcome the turmoil. It is also hoped that Malaysia's experience will provide invaluable lessons to other countries which might face similar situations."


In MALAYS FORGET EASILY, Dr Mahathir Mohammad speaks his mind by imploring the Malays to overcome their weaknesses, defy stereotyping and never ever forget the history of their struggle.

In one of his bluntest wake-up calls to the Malays, Dr Mahathir drives home the fact that the Malay mindset must change to enable them to face up to the tough challenges that lie ahead. They must make an effort to be hardworking, strive hard to seek knowledge and other essential skills, and to hold on to good values in their conduct. They must never take their special rights for granted. They must discard the belief that they will always be safe and to start thinking they may no longer be protected by their special rights and privileges.


There is now a worldwide public backlash against the effects of globalisation, which had once been thought of as an inevitable and universally good force. In this book, Dr Mahathir Mohammad provides an incisive critique of the main aspects of globalisation and explanation for this changing tide of opinion against the concept of globalisation.

Globalisation, deregulation and liberalization in a borderless world must be handled with care as they are means to an end-not ends in themselves. Globalisation must result in a better life for all. Thought the mobility of capital flows across borders is an efficient way of allocating resources globally and channeling them to developing countries, such mobility volatility and provides an opportunity for speculative attacks against currencies that threatens the economic stability of less developed countries.

Dr Mahathir has been warning the warning the world of the inequities and dangers of globalisation years before it was fashionable to criticize this concept. His lack of inhibition I speaking his mind-even when his opinions go against conventional wisdom-is now well documented. He pulls no punches when he describes the events of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the mechanics of currency speculation and the effects of the volatile inflows and outflows of foreign funds, as well as the measures Malaysia took to counter the crisis.

Policymakers, researchers and those who want to know about the current trends in globalisation-and about its pitfalls-will find this timely and compelling reading.


A Speech by Dr Mahathir Mohammad at the World Economic Forum Special Session in New York on February 3, 2002


Selected speeches of Dr Mahathir Mohammad. Managing the Malaysian Economy Politics, Democracy and The New Asia Globalisation, Smart Partnership and Goverment Islam and the Muslim Umah Regional Cooperation and the Digital Economy.