Zairil Khir Johari

Zairil Khir Johari is a chocolate purveyor-turned-politician. He finds both experiences bittersweet.

Islam, freedom and salvation

Islam and freedom are two inseparable concepts, though one may not arrive at this conclusion based on the behaviour of many Muslims worldwide,... READ MORE

Black times ahead

“If this law is passed, it will be a black day in Malaysia.” Standing two rows in front of me, N. Surendran, the Member of Parliament for... READ MORE

Addressing inequality: Towards needs-based affirmative action

The most basic form of democratic decision-making is the exercise of majority rule, a binary concept whereby the option that gains more than half... READ MORE

Agenda kemerdekaan yang belum terselesai

Selama 56 tahun, rakyat Malaysia tanpa gagal menyambut satu perayaan yang cukup besar maknanya. Perayaan yang mengingatkan kita betapa... READ MORE

Of sectarianism, secularism and power politics

A climate of fear and tension appears to be gripping the Muslim world today – not only in the ever-conflicted Middle East, but even here in... READ MORE

Tragedi media Melayu

29 MEI ― Jika perkembangan media Melayu mutakhir ini diperhatikan, sifat-sifat kewarasan, keberkecualian dan kesusilaan sudah jelas tidak... READ MORE

It doesn’t matter anymore

APRIL 3 ― If the prime minister’s strategy is to wear everyone down by keeping the whole country in constant anticipation of an election “around... READ MORE

Protesting hegemony: The search for true islah

JAN 30 ― “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.” ~ Muhammad Abduh Not too long... READ MORE

The dog of freedom

DEC 28 ― The diminutive old man waved his arms energetically as he explained his favourite recipe. “After neutralising the chicken with ginger, I... READ MORE

The case for decentralisation

DEC 5 ― The official name of our country ― the Federation of Malaysia ― denotes that we are a federation, a political entity that is... READ MORE

What’s in a title?

Nov 13 ― I have to admit that I am not really big on titles and honorifics, though I certainly have appreciation for the traditions and... READ MORE

Governing Malaysia

OCT 12 — A favourite line of attack adopted by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government these days is the accusation that the opposition is only... READ MORE

The missing Malaysian narrative

AUG 31 — Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to notice the obvious, even when it has always been staring us right in the face. My moment of epiphany came... READ MORE

The question of housing (Part 2): Towards a sustainable solution

JULY 17 — I have previously written about the housing situation in Penang, in which there is a stark mismatch between supply and demand. This... READ MORE

The question of housing (Part 1): Understanding the problem

JULY 16 — As far as Penang is concerned, housing has become a hot button issue. Critics are aplenty and everyone, from the locals at the kopitiams... READ MORE

1 Malaysia, 2 BNs, 3 agendas

JUNE 20 — As Malaysians begin to grow weary of the guessing game that is the election date, a more amusing charade is beginning to develop in the... READ MORE

Sun setting on Penang’s factories?

MAY 30 — With the general election closing in, the Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership is certainly not short on promises. Having recently... READ MORE

The legitimacy of law

MAY 4 — I don’t know if the government actually noticed, but more than 100,000 people broke the law last Saturday. They did so not only... READ MORE

Is DAP the New Labour? Why not?

APRIL 11 — One particular political commentator has been on a writing binge lately, revealing in the process an inexplicable fixation with what I... READ MORE

Just another election prediction

MARCH 2 — The art of prediction is such that one can only really predict things after they have happened. So goes a wise saying by the... READ MORE

The story of a prime minister

FEB 17 — This is the story of a man who became prime minister not very long ago. This man had not, however, been elected into the premiership, and... READ MORE

For whom the roads toll

FEB 11 — At the heart of the debate over highway toll concessions is the ideological question of whether roads are a corporate asset or a public... READ MORE

Renungan di angkasa

27 JAN — Sebaik sahaja enjin pesawat mula bergema tandanya bakal berlepas, saya terus memejamkan mata merenung perbualan di lapangan terbang... READ MORE

Kalau-kalau rakyat dihina, akibatnya kerajaan binasa

19 JAN — Tahun 2011 bakal dipahatkan sebagai salah satu tahun yang terpenting dalam sejarah pembangunan tamadun manusia. Perkembangan pada tahun... READ MORE

Solidariti ekonomi penawar kemelut

15 JAN — Sempena Persidangan Kebangsaan DAP 2012 tempoh hari, Jawatankuasa Tertinggi Pusat telah membentangkan “Deklarasi Shah Alam” sebagai juadah... READ MORE

109: The day we must move on

JAN 5 —  Three-and-a-half years ago, in line with the fad of reviving old TV drama serials such as “90210” and “Hawaii-5-O”, Malaysians were... READ MORE

It’s a mad, mad world

NOV 18 — Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. So goes the ancient phrase that has, throughout the millennia, remained an... READ MORE

A philosophical comparison of the budgets

OCT 11 — And so it has come to this. The last push. With the general election expected soon, both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional are preparing... READ MORE

Is it history or his-story?

SEPT 4 — I was a little apprehensive as I entered the small tutorial room. It was my first day attending class in England. In the centre of the... READ MORE

Dilema raksasa berkepala dua

15 OGOS — Pada suatu ketika dahulu, mengikut mitos dan lagenda Yunani, terdapat seekor raksasa berkepala dua yang dipanggil Orthrus. Ia dikatakan... READ MORE

284 reasons why Bersih 2.0 must be remembered

JULY 9 — A few generations from now, budding Malaysian historians will no doubt expound and deliberate over whether July 9, 2011 was the beginning... READ MORE

Of songkoks, uniforms and managing expectations

JULY 1 — I must admit to feeling a tad slighted when I read the recent reports of my friends and fellow comrades turning up on the first day of the... READ MORE

When the Joneses get too far ahead

JUNE 15 — “What do you think?” asked the elderly taxi driver as he slapped his steering wheel in frustration. “Look at this jam. Even though the... READ MORE

To call or not to call, that is the question

MAY 25 — The Malaysian political scene is living on frayed nerves right now. Every plan, strategy or decision has to take into account the... READ MORE

The rise of pop-litical culture

MAY 12 — Midway through the Sarawak campaign I received a text message from an unfamiliar number. The sender turned out to be a woman in Kuching,... READ MORE

When wolves cry ‘wolf’

APRIL 25 — When a known liar accuses someone else of lying, whom do you trust? In a nutshell, that is the predicament faced by the proverbial boy... READ MORE

The last 10 days

APRIL 16 — It is now late at night on the final day of the Sarawak campaign. I am exhausted, as is everyone else on both sides of the divide.  It... READ MORE

Somewhere out there, shampoo is needed

APRIL 4 — These are busy and exciting times. I have less than two days to pack for a two-week adventure in a land full of charm and mystique.... READ MORE

A race with no winners

FEB 16 — I recently read about a family who had returned to Malaysia after many years abroad. Their six-year-old was enrolled into a local... READ MORE

Missing the ocean for the ships

FEB 10 — Our government recently announced that it has decided to set aside RM6 billion for the purchase of six offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for... READ MORE