As a liberal, Egypt offers horrible options. I am glad I am just a lay observer from across the continent where I am unlikely need to make such choices any time in the foreseeable future. On one side, there is the democratically elected Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood with Mohamed Morsi as the former President. While […]

Life in Kuala Lumpur in the past few weeks has been a constant reminder of our flawed democracy. If you are in the city, look all around you. You will see banners and posters of political parties almost everywhere. Superficially, the colorful show of political flags is a sign of democracy. Now, look closer at […]

I have a fundamental objection to the Sulu and the Philippine claims of Sabah. Calling it the claim of Sabah is somewhat inaccurate because if the Philippine claim is wholly based on the Sulu claim, then by right the claim only covers roughly the eastern half of Sabah. Nevertheless, the objection that I have is […]

I find it hard to take the masses seriously sometimes. Here is a story why that is so. I attended a Pakatan Rakyat-organized forum a few weeks ago. The organizers were promoting the coalition’s proposed federal budget. There is nothing wrong with that. My problem is with the audience. Since the proposal is a plan for public finance at […]

It is quite understandable why Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wants to impress King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an important country to Malaysia. It is the largest oil exporter in the world. It is the leader of the Muslim world by default, for better or for worse. But when the Prime Minister decided […]

While having a quiet dinner in Montmartre in Paris, I overheard the waiter talking in French to a group sitting at a table. The waiter answered, I assumed to an English equivalent of the question where are you from, “Tunisie. Révolution!” He further said, this time in English, “Now, I can go home”. The whole […]

An interesting parallel appears here between economics and exit, on the one hand, and politics and voice, on the other. Just as in economics it had long been thought that the more elastic demand is (that is, the more rapidly exit ensues whenever deterioration occurs) the better for the functioning of the economic system, so […]

What a wonderful piece of news. That aptly describes my reaction upon learning the request of the Penang state government to the Election Commission to organize two local elections in the Pearl of the Orient this year. Selangor’s decision to follow suit makes it an all the more brilliant development. There are obstacles to overcome and […]

Just weeks ago, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad contrasted the development of China and India. As reported, he praised the single-mindedness of the Chinese government in developing the country and ridiculed the Indian government for being far too democratic and not focusing enough on development. He went on to state that freedom hurts the economy.[1] […]

Trivia: How does Southeast Asia treat its first and only winner of the Nobel Prize? Answer: The home country throws her into prison (okay, it was commuted to home arrest…) and others in the region do nothing. BANGKOK — Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, was sentenced Tuesday to three years of hard […]

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