Malaysia’s Political Upheavals and the COVID-19 Crisis


About the Webinar 

Malaysia’s political upheavals of February-March 2020 have given way to Covid-19 crisis response. However, while Malaysia’s headlines project a general calm, after six weeks of movement control order (MCO), might the Malay adage air tenang jangan disangka tiada buaya describe the state of affairs? Rolled into Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s announcement of stimulus packages was an acknowledgement that his Perikatan Nasional administration lacks an electoral mandate. The MCO appears to have mitigated Covid-19 infection, and along with income relief for workers and households, are well received by the public. However, spectres of job loss and strains on businesses, especially SMEs, are heightening – along with discontent that the government’s provisions have been inadequate. While the federal government needs to take decisive action, some Perikatan decisions, including an early attempted by-pass of the elected leaders of Pakatan-governed states, denial of constituency funding to Pakatan MPs, and refusal to convene parliament, suggest a political opportunism even in these circumstances.

To provide insight on Malaysia’s fluid political and economic developments, our distinguished panellists will engage in lively discussion, starting with the following questions:

  • What political considerations are affecting the decisions and effectiveness of Perikatan’s Covid-19 response?
  • How is Pakatan Harapan responding as federal opposition? What additional actions would you like to see the Perikatan Nasional administration take?
  • What role can state governments play at this juncture, and which states have played a constructive role? Is Malaysia’s federal system serving the country or holding it back?
  • What significant personnel and policy changes do you see being taken by Perikatan Nasional now that are not Covid-19 related, and what do they tell us about the direction this new administration will take in the coming months?
  • What will it take for Malaysia to pull through these multiple crises?


About the Speakers 

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chairman, Malaysia’s Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) and Visiting Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.

Wong Chen, Member of Parliament for Subang and Chairman, Select Committee on International Relations and Trade, Parliament of Malaysia.

Tricia Yeoh, Fellow, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and PhD Candidate, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.


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.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Set up a Zoom account, using the following link:
3. Click on the unique link in your email.

For the best experience, please mute your microphone. If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session


Apr 28 2020


10:00 am - 11:30 am