Geoffrey K Pakiam

Dr Geoffrey K Pakiam
Associate Fellow
  • 0Temasek History Research Centre0
Research Interest

Researcher’s Profile

Dr Geoffrey K. Pakiam graduated with a BA (Hons) in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in History from SOAS, University of London. He is currently Associate Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Dr Pakiam is also the Principal Investigator for “Culinary Biographies: Charting Singapore’s History Through Cooking and Consumption”, a research project supported by the National Heritage Board’s Heritage Research Grant (NHB-HRG-024) between 2018-2020.


Current Research

  • The political economy of Malaysia, with special emphasis on food security and agriculture
  • The governance of nutrition in Southeast Asia, especially sugar.
  • Food systems and environmental change in Southeast Asia.
  • Singapore’s food history from the late 13th century to the present day.
  • The Malay Peninsula’s modern agricultural and environmental history, with particular reference to Johor since the mid-19th century.


Selected Publications

  • ‘”Not the Oil of the Country”: Smallholders and British Malaya’s Oil Palm Industry, 1929-1941’, Agricultural History 95, no. 1 (Winter 2021), 69-103.
  • ‘Smallholder Involvement in Tree Crops in Malaya, with Special Reference to Oil and Coconut Palms in Johor, 1862–1963’, Australian Economic History Review 60, no. 2 (July 2020), 268-275.
  • ‘Milk for Everyone? The Limits of Colonial Malaya’s Transformation’, Indonesia and the Malay World 48, no. 141 (July 2020), 225-46.
  • ‘Why Don’t Some Cuisines Travel? Charting Palm Oil’s Journey from West African Staple to Malayan Chemical’, Journal of Global History 15, no. 1 (March 2020), 39-60.
  • ‘The Making and Breaking of Malaysia’s FELDA Vote Bank’ in Francis E. Hutchinson and Lee Hwok Aun, eds., The Defeat of Barisan Nasional: Missed Signs or Late Surge? (Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2020), 199-234.
  • ‘Malaysia in 2018: The Year of Voting Dangerously’ in Daljit Singh and Malcolm Cook, eds., Southeast Asian Affairs 2019 (Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2019), 195-210.
  • ‘Agriculture in Johor: What’s Left?’ Trends in Southeast Asia 19/2018, Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2018.