Lowered Expectations

Bazuki Muhammad / REUTERS

Dissenting view: Malay Muslims attending a rally for the Islamist opposition party PAS

Bill Clinton came from a little town called Hope. Chairman Mao sprung from the chili-eating village of Shaoshan, a place whose entire economy now relies on promoting its native son. So it's instructive to think for a moment of the rural district of Kepala Batas, home to Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The locals of Kepala Batas, located in western Malaysia's Penang state, consider Abdullah, whose ruling National Front coalition is contesting the March 8 general elections, a kindly, avuncular presence. But their real respect appears to be reserved for his father and grandfather, both noted Islamic clerics....

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