Launch of Abdullah book postponed due to politicisation: Editors

Former prime minister of Malaysia Abdullah Badawi is seen here during a visit to Singapore in 2005.

PETALING JAYA - The official launch of 'Awakening: The Abdullah Years In Malaysia' has been postponed until further notice due to the politicisation of it in recent media reports, said Prof James U.H. Chin.

Mr Chin, who edited the book along with fellow political analyst Bridget Welsh said the delay of the launch, initially set for Aug 16, was to avoid further misunderstanding.

"Media outlets have mistakenly labelled the book 'Pak Lah's book'. This is not correct. It is a collection of multiple views, many of them quite critical of the period of his tenure. Others are less so," they said in a joint statement.

Mr Chin and Ms Welsh said the media response to Awakening had been unexpected, with the focus being on "sensationalising parts of the book", particularly the interview they conducted with Mr Abdullah.

"The media dynamic has taken on a life of its own, with nasty unjustified attacks on individuals, including some of the contributors and editors. These are not in the spirit of the season, or do they reflect the substance or the intention of the collection itself," they said.

They also stressed that they were never asked to delay the book's release, before or after any elections.

"The sole responsibility of this delay lies with the editors, as we navigated multiple publishers, galleys and conflicting professional demands," said the statement, adding that the galleys had only been finalised in early June this year.

They said they had ensured the book was available in bookstores before the launch, as they were worried about sales, in part due to the delay of the book.

"We hope to hold a panel discussion about the book, with multiple perspectives from different speakers, in Singapore and elsewhere after the official KL launch. The book has been released and should be available in bookstores," they said.

They called upon the media and blogging community to act responsibly and read the book before making assessments.

"We worked to have a balanced collection and part of the balancing was to give space to Pak Lah himself to put himself on record on his tenure," they said, thanking Abdullah for granting them the exclusive interview despite knowing that the book would contain critical views of him.