Arrested Reform: The Undoing of Abdullah Badawi
This is Ooi Kee Beng's third collection of commentaries on Abdullah Badawi's five years in power. The first (Era of Transition: Malaysia after Mahathir, 2006 ISEAS) described a hopeful period following Mahathir's retirement, while the second (Lost in Transition: Malaysia under Abdullah, 2008 ISEAS & SIRD) argued that Abdullah's administration had gone astray, and had lost contact with the aspirations of the common Malaysian.
The forty-odd opinion pieces included in this third volume were written between November 2007, when the Hindraf demonstration took place, and December 2008, when Abdullah pushed through his swan-song reform Bills. These commentaries do not only collectively illustrate the downfall of Abdullah Badawi, but demonstrate how voters punished the country's leaders for supposing that the fortune of the country did not extend beyond the fate and fortune of the dominant party, UMNO, and its allies.
After suffering its worst electoral results ever on March 8, 2008, the ruling coalition now has difficulty deciding the pace and the extent of political change in Malaysia.