Eena Houzyama,The Malay Mail, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

YOU might imagine that your opinion is vital and powerful and it could change minds, and that others could use it in making decisions, but if you do not know what you’re talking about, it’s wiser to just keep your mouth shut.

However, if you happen to be Tunku ‘Abidin who has gained experience working at vari­ous London-based think tanks and the House of Parliament, before moving to Washington DC to join the World Bank as a Public Sector Consultant, then most probably what you have to say would carry a whole lot of weight.

Tunku Abidin is also the President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). He is a writer, public policy wonk and a clas­sical liberal who is inspired by Ibn Khaldun and John Locke. He recently published Abid­ing Times, a book that com­piles articles selected mainly from the author’s column in a local news­paper, as well as those written with Tengku Zatashah Idris, Syed Haizam Jamalullail, Sharyn Shufiyan and Quek Sue Yian.

The book covers a broad range of topics and is written in a style easy for readers to grasp and under­stand. However, be prepared, some words written may just be “too hot” to handle as the au­thor does have a wry sense of humour.

The book was launched last week during a fundraising event or­ganised by The Institute of De­mocracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).At the launch, Tunku Abidin said that IDEAS is an independent think tank that he co-founded to promote the values of Almarhum Tunku Ab­dul Rahman Putra, especially the former premier’s love for freedom and liberty.

“There are many other concepts that are not given due recognition. That is what IDEAS is trying to do – reminding Malaysians that there is an indigenous narrative of freedom and de­mocracy. The classical liberal principles of individual liberty, rule of law, limited govern­ment and free markets are not merely virtues that any coun­try should aspire to, but they are also rooted in our own history,” shared Tunku Abidin. IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan commented that the book outlines many of Tunku Abidin’s thoughts and vision for the country.

“He is not afraid to voice his opin­ion in a frank and honest man­ner, which makes the book a really enjoyable read,” Wan added.

One of Tunku Abidin’s recent entries focused on In­ternational Women’s Day, and his provocative thoughts on how issues involving women are dealt with here in Malay­sia might just spark some new emotions with readers.

Just by reading this entry, one would be able to gauge his style of writing as he explores ideas that many might just keep to themselves. Tunku Abidin is surely one writer who believes in thinking wisely, while exploring ideas freely and lib­erally.

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