Dec 19, 2009

Mahathir book ‘stuck at Customs’


The Customs Department have been holding up delivery of 800 copies of an authoritative new biography of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for the past three weeks in Port Klang. The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain, is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — The Malaysian Customs Department has been holding up delivery of 800 copies of a new biography of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for three weeks, a news analysis website says.

The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), is written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain.

The 363-page book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.

Foreign-published books air-freighted into Malaysia often go through Customs unchecked, or with only a cursory check at the airport, the Asia Sentinel website reported two days ago

But books sent by ship or by land from Singapore are often stopped for inspection, which can mean Customs officers spending weeks reading them, it added.

“The book will probably turn up on bookshelves eventually,” one Malaysian source told the Asia Sentinel.

“There are lots of books on the shelves that are critical of Dr Mahathir. It might be some of his allies that stopped it. But everybody knows about it.”

Wain, 65, credits Dr Mahathir with engineering Malaysia’s economic growth. But with fast-paced growth came problems such as huge investment losses.

It was also under his leadership that the ruling Umno evolved from a political party to one with huge stakes in business.

Dr Mahathir has yet to comment on the book.

The Customs Department could not be contacted yesterday because of a public holiday in the country. — The Straits Times


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