... is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power. It is certain to become an essential study for scholars seeking to understand the onetime premier's reign and its consequences. But maybe not in Malaysia itself unless the locals buy through Barns & Noble (available Jan. 10) or Amazon (Jan. 5) for US$60.75.And the piece gives a lovely insight into how a book can be prevented from reading its audience without ever actually being banned by time time honoured practice of foot-dragging :
Foreign published books air-freighted into Malaysia often go through customs without being checked, or with only a cursory check at the airport. Books sent by ship or by land from Singapore are often stopped for inspection, however, which can mean customs officers spending weeks reading the material. Sometimes they just sit on the book, leaving the publisher with little option but to withdraw it or be faced with being hit with storage charges, leaving the book effectively banned without the government having to face criticism for formally banning it.Aliran says that this is
... nothing short of crude and reckless censorship, although indirect, the effect is the same. It very undemocratically denies Malaysians reading material that should be made freely available to all and sundry. This book is of particular interest to citizens who are appalled by the disclosure that under Mahathir RM100 billion could have been squandered. They have been waiting anxiously to find out how this atrocity involving a mammoth, mind-boggling amount could have happened without anybody commenting on this extravagance.(One silly silly line at the end of the piece :
But for readers who buy Kindle or another electronic reader, it's easy to get.because of course there isn't a single e-reader for the Malaysian market as yet !)
More about the book on Anak Bangsa Malaysia's blog.
Update 27/12 :
This from The Star :
The book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times is not being put through any additional scrutiny by the Home Ministry.
It has been withheld to undergo the normal process for any foreign publication, said ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Fuad Abdul Aziz.“Studying the content is the usual process for any publication from abroad and the book written by Barry Wain is no exception,” Ahmad Fuad said in a statement yesterday.He said this was to ensure the publication’s contents would not jeopardise national security and public safety.He said the ministry had 60 days from the time it was submitted to decide if the book should be allowed to be distributed in the country.