A New Security Mindset for Malaysia in the 2020s


About the Webinar

Malaysia’s security mindset needs a far-reaching reset. At present, it is still shaped by events in the country’s past and needs to evolve in line with its new domestic political realities and regional context.

With regard to domestic political realities, the legacy of fighting the communist insurgency until 1989 still determines the structure of the country’s armed forces. Thus, the Army is given more prominence than the Navy and Air Force, and the Police is highly centralized – which is unusual for a federation. In addition, Barisan Nasional’s unbroken hegemony up until 2018 meant little political space for the exploration of new nation-building narratives, democratic oversight of the security sector, and alternative policy frameworks.

As regards to Malaysia’s surrounding region, it has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity from the fall of the Berlin Wall until very recently. However, the country’s lack of attention and capabilities to respond to challenges in the maritime domain is increasingly glaring. Given that Malaysia is located in the middle of the world’s most contentious waters – the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea – other than improving the capabilities across the Armed Forces, could it be time for a properly funded and equipped Coast Guard?

This presentation will draw on the core ideas espoused in the first-ever Defence White Paper, which conceptualizes Malaysia as a maritime nation with continental roots and was presented to Parliament in December 2019. This presentation will also take a fresh look at the set-up of other security agencies and their funding. With this as a backdrop, the Presentation sets out how a new security mindset can underpin a new political order for Malaysia going forward.

About the Speaker

Liew Chin Tong is a writer, politician and former Deputy Defence Minister of Malaysia. He was a Member of Malaysia’s Lower House (Dewan Rakyat) from 2008 to 2018 and a Member of the Upper House (Dewan Negara) from 2018 to 2021. He is the National Political Education Director of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Jan 17 2022


10:00 am - 11:15 am