Politicians and statesmen invoke words and phrases in front of their (simultaneously multiple) audiences to convey certain ideological aspirations. But to what extent, and how, did Tunku Abdul Rahman’s use of “liberty and justice” at the Proclamation of Independence and on Malaysia Day – as well as other references to democracy and freedom in his speeches and writings – resonate with his Malayan and Malaysian audiences? Is (or was) there a shared Malaysian democratic mindset rooted in or inspired by widely-consumed writings and actions of the past? If not, could there be?

In this short lecture, Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin will consider these questions with references to several well-known and oft-quoted words and phrases over the centuries.

Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin is Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs; a Trustee of Yayasan Chow Kit, Yayasan Munarah, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation and the Genovasi Foundation; an Independent Non-Executive Director of two public listed companies; an advisor or patron to numerous educational and cultural organisations; a committee member of several societies; and a columnist in three newspapers.

He was educated at Marlborough College & LSE, and has worked for the World Bank. He is a Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS Singapore. He has also been an Eisenhower Fellow.

The talk is open to the public at no charge. All MBRAS and BWM members are warmly invited to attend. As places may be limited, please confirm your attendance by telephone to MBRAS at +603-22835345 or BWM at +603-21449273 or Email to us at

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