KUA KIA SOONG’S LATEST BOOK:
‘MODERATES & EXTREMISTS IN MALAYSIA’, SUARAM 2016, 180 pages, RM28
“Any work by perhaps Malaysia’s most prolific public intellectual is a welcome addition to our very small corpus of contemporary scholarship… Kua Kia Soong has done a remarkable job on many diverse subjects… I have no hesitation in recommending his latest book, and hope that his prolific pen continues to write bravely and frequently.”
– Tommy Thomas, Senior lawyer in the Malaysian Bar
“For more than forty years Kua Kia Soong has been writing – with both wit and wisdom – about what ails Malaysia. His latest collection of essays takes off from the premise that the country is mired in religious and sectarian bigotry, deeply institutionalised racism, ‘national security’ as a cloak for authoritarianism and ravenous corruption. Malaysia needs audacious voices that speak without fear. In asking the right questions, his provocations open up the possibility of another kind of society, standing firmly on the side of rationality, truth, justice, democracy and human rights.”
– Gareth Richards, Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Penang
The rise of the far-right and the religious bigots in Malaysia has in turn given rise to a ‘Movement of Moderates’. In the body politic, espousing “moderation” becomes imprecise since it is an example of the kind of language that is also used by the powers-that-be to deal with those who uphold truth, justice and human rights. Malaysian society is fast becoming an Orwellian dystopia in which labels such as “moderates”, “extremists”, “national security”, “national harmony” and other fluffy terms have become relative and imprecise, depending on how they are defined by the state and the judiciary.
In this collection of provocative essays, Dr Kua Kia Soong analyses the glaring issues as they have arisen in the current Malaysian political sphere. In his characteristic straight-talking and non-partisan approach, he takes to task the ruling Barisan Nasional and the alternative Pakatan Rakyat coalitions on these national and international issues. He calls for far-reaching reforms that recognize all citizens as equal and promote healthy ethnic relations, while dealing effectively with racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance in our society.
Dr Kua Kia Soong is director of the Malaysian human rights organization SUARAM. He was principal of the community-funded New Era College (2000-2008); Opposition MP for Petaling Jaya (1990-95); director of the Malaysian Chinese Research Centre (1985-90); political detainee under the ISA (1987-89); lecturer in Sociology at National University of Singapore (1978-79).