Malaysia’s Wasted Decade 2004 – 2014 – The Toxic Triad of Abdullah, Najib, and UMNO Leadership

By M. Bakri Musa
April 3, 2015

Library of Congress Catalog No: 2014914568
ISBN 13 978 1500776305 Indexed 308 pp; US $14.95
Now available on online stores like

Back Cover:

The tragedy of state-owned Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 that disappeared amidst mystery and without trace over the South China Sea on March 2014 exposed to the world the gross incompetence and lackadaisical attitude of Malaysian officials, from senior ministers dismissive of pleas from victims’ families to radar operators uncurious of strange intruding beeps on their screens. Malaysians have long endured these; their surprise was that the world was surprised.

These essays chronicle the continued erosion of Malaysia’s once reliable institutions, the corrosion of its economy through endemic corruption and crony capitalism, and the polarization of its citizens along race, region and religion. These are the crippling consequences of the toxic leadership of the triad of the vacuous Abdullah Badawi, rudderless Najib Razak, and the sclerotic ruling party, UMNO. Not an auspicious beginning as Malaysia enters the new millennium.

Malaysia’s flagship airline MAS is an apt metaphor. Formerly blue chip, it is now a penny stock; likewise the nation. As with the mystery of Flight MH370, Malaysia’s myriad problems remain unattended.


Introduction 9
Part I: The Vacuous Abdullah Badawi 18
Part II: The Rudderless Najib Razak 94
Part III: The Labu and Labi Team of Najib and Muhyiddin 220
Part IV: The Dinosaur That Is UMNO 246
The Future – Blue Chip To Penny Stock 293
Acknowledgments 301
Index 303
About the Author 308

About the Author:

Bakri Musa is a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. Malaysian-born and Canadian-trained, he left his native country in 1963. He keeps a close track of the social and political developments in Malaysia, including a 30-month stint as a surgeon there from 1976-78.

He has given presentations on Malaysian affairs at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, The University of Buffalo, and Rochester Institute of Technology. Apart from scientific articles in scholarly journals, his lay commentaries have appeared in mainstream Malaysian papers The New Straits Times and The Sun Daily. He was a long-time columnist for the on-line portal Malaysiakini (Malaysia Now) and a regular contributor to Malaysia Today and The Malaysian Insider.

Beyond Malaysia, his Op-Ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and The Far Eastern Economic Review. He has also appeared on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace.” All eight of his previous books have been on Malaysian socio-political affairs, the latest, Liberating The Malay Mind, was released in 2013.

He is now completing his memoir, Cast From The Herd. Memories of Matriarchal Malaysia, chronicling growing up there. He maintains a blog that also serves as a repository of his essays at, and as well as on Facebook.

Next Week: Excerpt #1. Introduction

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