The following is the speech given by the former finance minister at the launch of the second edition of ‘No Cowardly Past’ by James Puthucheary.
James Puthucheary lived what is by any measure an extraordinary and eventful life. He was, among other things, a scholar, anti-colonial activist, poet, political economist and lawyer.
The thread running through these roles was his struggle for progressive politics in a multiracial society. His actions were informed by an acute sense of history and by a commitment to a more equitable and just Malaysia.
James was concerned about economic development in a way that was Malaysian in the best sense. His thinking was motivated by a concerned for socio-economic equity and for the banishment of communalism and ethnic chauvinism from our politics...