Established in 1998 Gerakbudaya is a publisher and distributor of books that embody social awareness, critical & alternative perspectives, and the hidden histories of Malaysia, Southeast Asia & the wider world we live in.
Gerakbudaya is dedicated to the circulation of timely and important books, to breaking down artificial barriers between writers/thinkers and between institutions and the outside world, and generating informed discussions on important issues in Malaysian life by providing different views and fresh insights.
As a publisher Gerakbudaya, alongside its academic imprint Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD), is committed to publishing original and thought provoking books which produce a critical awareness of Malaysian politics, history, culture and society. Through our Gerakbudaya imprint we publish accessible non-fiction works and a range of fiction titles with political and social themes. Through our SIRD imprint we publish academic works outside of the confines of the university.
In recent years under our Gerakbudaya imprint we have been proud to publish a variety of important and timely titles. Rich Malaysia, Poor Malaysians by Anas Alam Faizli, now in its seventh print, has made economic analysis of Malaysia’s current predicament accessible. Other important titles have mediated upon issues of identity, gender, sexuality, mental health and discrimination, from Young and Malay edited by Ooi Kee Beng and Wan Hamidi Hamid and (now translated as Muda dan Melayu) to Mata Hati Kita, edited by Angela Kuga Thas and Jac sm Kee and GILA by Hanna Alkaf. On a more comical note, but by no means lacking in seriousness, Kee Thuan Chye in Unbelievably Stupid! and Unbelievably Stupid Too! has brought to light the ridiculous side of Malaysia’s political class. Whilst we have also been proud to publish a range of innovative fiction, from Julian Jayaseela’s The Prime Minister’s Secret which blends a truly Malaysian political saga with a compelling love story, to The SEA is Ours a collection of Southeast Asian steampunk writing.
Under our SIRD imprint we have a history of publishing important titles which make a difference. Bestselling titles include Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia, which garnered a lot of attention for its analyses of the rise and fall of ‘the sleeping Prime Minister’, and Once a Jolly Hangman which caused a storm in Singapore with its detailed account of the reality of Singapore’s death penalty system and Syed Husin Ali’s Ethnic Relations in Malaysia (now translated into Malay and Chinese). We were also proud to publish Social Science and Knowledge in a Globalising World, a unique volume bringing together scholars from around the region to highlight alternative and non-Western perspectives on discourse of globalization. SIRD is also the proud republisher of Where Monsoons Meet, a remarkable and highly engaging people’s history of Malaya.
We have also published histories which change how we look at Malaysia such as Donna Amoroso’s Traditionalism and the Ascendency of the Malay Ruling Class in Colonial Malaya, Ariffin Omar’s Bangsa Melayu: Malay Concepts of Democracy and Community, 1945–1950 and a second edition of Anthony Milner’s acclaimed work Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule, as well as Ahmat Adam’s popular Antara Serjarah dan Mitos: Sejarah Melayu & Hang Tuah dalam Historiographi Malaysia. As well as biographies of alternative heroes of Malaysia such as Shamsiah Fakeh Abdullah C.D., M.K. Rajakumar and Fong Chong Pik.
Alongisde this we publish political analysis which reflects on issues of contemporary Malaysian politics. From Sophie Lemiere’s edited volume Misplaced Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People, Meredith Weiss’ Electoral Dynamics in Malaysia and more recently, co-edited with Arnold Puyok, Electoral Dynamics in Sarawak and Johan Saravanamuttu’s analysis of Power Sharing in a Divided Nation. With Farish Noor’s The Malaysian Islamic Party PAS 1951-2013 we have been proud to publish an important analysis of the history of Malaysia’s foremost Islamist party PAS, whilst The End of UMNO?, edited by Bridget Welsh, is a critical look at the party at the forefront of Malaysian politics since independence.
Finally SIRD was proud in 2016 to publish the memoirs of a leading Southeast Asian scholar and the foremost writer on nationalism, Benedict Anderson, A Life Beyond Boundaries. Themed on the proverb of the frog under the coconut shell popular in Southeast Asia, in Malay seperti katak di bawah tempurung, its theme is in keeping with the ethos behind Gerakbudaya and SIRD, encouraging people to come from under their coconut shell and explore the world around them with open eyes.
To find out more about publishing with Gerakbudaya or SIRD, click here.
Our PJ based bookshop is a one-stop shop for those interested in politics, history, arts and culture both in Malaysia and in the wider world. We stock an extensive range of local titles, offering a large collection of social science or humanities books, and an extensive collection of local fiction and poetry. With English, Malay and Chinese titles we offer a unique variety of books, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in Malaysia.
As a bookstore we are also committed to breaking down the borders between Malaysia and the wider region. Thus we stock a variety of great books from independent publishers in Singapore including Ethos Books, Function 8 and Epigram Books, whilst we also import from Indonesia a wide selection of radical and important titles in Bahasa Indonesia, including Bahasa Indonesian translations of many important thinkers, philosophers and leftists, the complete works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer and many important histories of Indonesia. In addition to this we stock a variety of great books on other Southeast Asian nations.
In keeping with our international outlook we also stock a variety of titles which inform our customers about global issues, current affairs and world history. In particular we stock international radical presses such as Verso, Zed Books, Monthly Review Press. We also stock some great titles from across the Indian Ocean, offering books from Left Word Books, Navayana, Zubaan, Tulika Press and recently great Tamil fiction from Blaft.
So please drop by and explore what we have to offer.
Through our distribution arm we distribute not only our Gerakbudaya and SIRD books but also the works of local and regional publishers and self-published authors with the aim of promoting a culture of reading and critical thought to the widest audience possible.
To find out more about our distribution click here.
Gerakbudaya has been proud to recently open a new space in its bookstore. Named Caravanserai, it mirrors the Caravanserai found along the ancient Silk route which spanned from East Asia to Western Europe. The Caravanserai were spaces in which individuals from a variety of places and cultures came together to rest and interact with one another and were key in the passage of news, information, ideas and religious practices from East to West and West to East.
In the same way, Gerakbudaya’s Caravanserai opens up a space in our bookstore where individuals can come together and meet and discuss, offering refreshments and work spaces for study.
We also rent out our event spaces for the use of other organizations. To find out more, click here.
More than just a publisher or distributor Gerakbudaya is also a space in which academics, students, civil society groups, NGOs and others can come together and discuss and debate new ideas and important political, social and cultural issues. Gerakbudaya regularly holds book launches for our latest titles with interesting panel discussions and lots of audience participation.
Once a month, we also host our Mimbar Gerakbudaya in which figures from the fields of politics, academia, media and culture enter into discussions on important topics. Whilst we also regularly host public lectures by public intellectuals and academics wishing to present cutting edge research.