Malaysia’s political landscape became infinitely more interesting after the election of March 2008. For the first time since independence, the emergence of two coalitions offered the prospect for genuine contestation over the future direction of society and politics. Since then, the Barisan Nasional government has gone into overdrive in making far-reaching promises to the people, framed by the twin discourses of ‘1Malaysia’ and ‘transformation’. The essays collected here by Zaharom Nain – covering issues of politics, education, media and religion – present a timely and incisive critique of these strident new claims. Written in an unflinching and accessible style, Rhetoric and Realities offers a challenge: that informed citizens should take the lead in reforming the rotten state of Malaysian politics. Zaharom Nain is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). He was the founding director of the university's Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture (CSCC) until he was recently appointed the Director of Research for UNMC’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. A regular columnist for the web news portal, Malaysiakini, he is also proud to be closely-linked to two NGOs, the Penang-based Aliran and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).