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Asiaweek: Putting a price on Mahathirabilia
By Maria Cheng
10/9/2001 1:27 am Mon
Putting a price on Mahathirabilia
Rest easy, eBay. Vintage Macintosh computers and other gems from the
dawn of the personal computer regularly attract record bids at
auctions these days.
But when computer equipment used in the early 90s by Malaysian Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad was put on the block last week by auction
site www.lelong.com.my, it didn't exactly create a buying frenzy.
Items up for grabs included two desktop PCs, a Toshiba laptop and an
Apple Laser Writer printer, as well as 10 autographed copies of books
written by Mahathir during the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis. Although
no records were broken, 22 bids - the highest being $6,579 - had been
received for a decade-old Apple computer by the time the auction ended
on Sept. 5. In total, over $25,000 was raised to fund a scholarship at
the country's two-year-old Multimedia University.
Not bad, especially since the offer had a couple of big catches: The
website warned that though the equipment was used by Asia's
longest-serving ruler for less than five years, it isn't operational,
and is intended "only for display." Also, Lelong spokesman Ling Tau
Chuin says that "all potentially sensitive information has been
erased." Bids might also have been higher had Mahathir's high-tech
transformation plans made more progress.