Syed Hussein Alatas’ last position was Professor and Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of the Malay World and Civilization, National University of Malaysia. He obtained his PhD in the political and social sciences from the University of Amsterdam in 1963. He served as Professor and Head of the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore from 1967 until he took up the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya from 1988 to 1991.
He authored several books during his illustrious career, including The Myth of the Lazy Native (London: Frank Cass, 1977), Intellectuals in Developing Societies (London: Frank Cass, 1977), Corruption: Its Nature, Causes and Functions (Aldershot: Gower, 1990), and Corruption and the Destiny of Asia (Petaling Jaya: Prentice Hall, 1999), in addition to numerous articles in scientific journals. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson International Center fellowship in Washington D.C. in 1982-1983. Professor Alatas passed away on January 23rd 2007 at his home in Kuala Lumpur.