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Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah a voice for a moderate Malaysia

Saifuddin Abdullah, who left Umno in 2015, played leading role in PH coalition's election victory

Malaysia's newly-minted Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah believes that with Umno out of government, the country has a chance to become moderate again.
Malaysia's newly-minted Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah believes that with Umno out of government, the country has a chance to become moderate again.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

When a centrist's party begins moving to the right, he suddenly becomes a "reformist" and "progressive" or even "liberal", a term that has become derogatory among conservatives the world over, especially in Malaysia's once long-ruling party Umno.

That fate befell Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who eventually left the country's largest Malay party in 2015 to play a leading role in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which succeeded in delivering Malaysia's first-ever change of government in May.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2018, with the headline 'Minister a voice for a moderate Malaysia '. Subscribe