Clarification on Pak Lah's 'Awakening'

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A brief clarification, if I may be permitted, concerning Terence Netto's column 'Pah Lah book to reignite embers of feud with Dr M' (Aug 7).

Not uniquely - indeed, it seems already to be a very widely held view - Terence Netto seems to be under the impression that this is a book by Pak Lah, and that the former prime minister has now suddenly chosen to break his "elegant" silence.

That is not the case.

Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia ' is a collection of commentaries and essays by some 35 writers and observers.

It is of the same overall conception and character as the volume entitled ‘Reflections' that was produced as a composite retrospective view of the long Mahathir Mohamad premiership shortly after Mahathir's official retirement.

This book has been "in the works" for some considerable time.

It is not a book by Pak Lah, although it apparently includes a very significant interview with him by the book's editors.

Long in production, the book might well have been ready for release earlier this year.

But, as I have been given to understand the matter, it was the explicit preference of Pak Lah himself that the book should not be published during the "run-up" period leading to the recent national elections.

It was his fastidious and dignified preference that the book and its contents should not play any role, or become implicated in any way, in the campaign process.

So, its release has been a little delayed.

Its appearance has been held back until after the elections and until after the fasting month, when life will again return to "normal" - whatever that term may mean these days in troubled and torn Malaysia.

CLIVE S KESSLER is Emeritus Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Australia.


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