Showing posts from November, 2022

Anywhere but Putrajaya – Outsider Thoughts from the Malay Heartland

 Prelude I recently went to Johor – the core of the largest distinctly Malay polity in history: the Sultanate of Johor-Riau; the home of the modern Malay language, the heartland of the grand old party of Malayan and now Malaysian politics, UMNO – at the invitation of a dear old friend of mine. We have known each other for perhaps twenty years now, since we were small boys in khaki shorts. He is a riotous laugh, an insightful thinker, and a talented musician.   He also happens to be an UMNO princeling: his father was a minister and – up until the last election – an MP holding the family seat that his grandfather had held since its conception. His grandfather in turn was a titanic figure in the party and in national politics at large during the Hussein Onn and first Mahathir administrations, a minister whose remit stretched far beyond Putrajaya into the everyday lives of citizens around the country. Whilst the differences in our assumed politics might be an expanse, this has never