In November 2003, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi succeeded Mahathir Mohamad as Malaysia’s Prime Minister. This transition in leadership, an extended exercise scheduled 16 months earlier, gave rise to different expectations of the new administration, not least wide expectations that the ‘Mahathir’s long shadow’ - as some observers called it - would no longer be cast over Malaysia. Moreover, when Abdullah led the ruling Barisan Nasional to a landslide electoral victory on 21 March 2004, it seemed that he had stamped his personal imprint. Or, as various journalists put it, being ‘no Mahathir’ had worked for Abdullah and his tendency to ‘think small’ would keep Malaysia ‘in better hands’. Now, two years after the 2004 general election, this seminar explores what those expectations of Abdullah were, what they have come to, and whether ‘better governance’, seemingly his forte, is all that the first post-Mahathir administration needs to grapple with current issues of Malaysian politics.