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Malaysia's new premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been in the news over the past weeks. After decades of knowing only the larger-than-life Dr Mahathir Mohamad, many Malaysians are now coping with the experience of having a new premier. There is a genuine hunger for information about him.

One of the many stories told about Abdullah, is his great family tradition in Islam and politics. Thanks to the media, the names of his grandfather Sheikh Abdullah Fahim, after whom Abdullah was named, and his father Ahmad Badawi, are familiar to us now.

Sheikh Abdullah Fahim (Fahim is an abbreviation for Ibrahim) was born in Mecca in 1869 and settled in Malaya with his family, including his son Ahmad Badawi, in 1910.

(All Malaysian prime ministers have had foreign blood. Tunku Abdul Rahman's mother was Siamese. Tun Razak had some Bugis lineage. Hussien Onn some Turkish blood from his legendary grandmother. Mahathir had Indian blood. And, Pak Lah claims Arabic ancestry)

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