pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

PacNet #24A – PM Abdullah Badawi: A Kinder, Gentler Mahathir?

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is proving to be a kinder, gentler, but no less candid, thoughtful, and thought-provoking version of his mercurial predecessor. The soft-spoken devout Muslim leader has surprised critics and supporters alike by taking an exceptionally firm stand against corruption and extremism since replacing Dr. Mahathir Mohammed last October and especially since winning an unprecedentedly-large mandate in this March’s general elections. He has also delivered the type of pointed criticisms of both the west and the Islamic world for which his predecessor was noted, but without the deliberately racist, anti-Semitic invectives that served to largely overshadow Dr. Mahathir’s otherwise important message.