Overcoming Pandemic and Politics: Malaysians’ State of Well-being under Covid-19


About the Webinar

Malaysia seems to be on a back foot in its battle against Covid-19. Not only has the pandemic resulted in severe physical strain on frontliners and those who have been infected; the impacts of steadily rising daily new infections and death rates have had an emotional and mental toll on everyone. The financial fallout from more than 1.5 years of various forms of movement control restrictions, including the closure of the Johor-Singapore border, has had severe impacts on those in the lower economic percentiles. This has been especially hard on those who used to commute daily or weekly to work in Singapore. F&B, tourism and the services sectors have suffered numerous business closures, unemployment has risen and remaining wages have fallen. With families separated by national and state border closures, mounting debts and depleted savings, suicide rates have soared to an average of 3 a day in the first few months of 2021. Compounding this desperation is the constant political insecurity and instability in the background, and a general view that the pandemic has been poorly managed by the government in power. This seminar will examine the state of Malaysia’s battle with Covid-19 under political uncertainty through a well-being lens, and will offer some insight into the harsh realities of the average Malaysian on the ground.

About the Speakers

Ms Zaharah Raishan Mohd Yassin, better known as Rai, is a part-time lecturer and a full-time social activist. Working under the name Freemarket Johor, she and other like-minded individuals banded together to serve where it matters most; the wellbeing of the urban poor. They were rewarded for their long-standing effort with the Iskandar Malaysia Social Heroes Award for Poverty and Hunger in 2019. Ms Zahara Raishan and her team are now exploring new operational approaches to enable the distribution of more assistance in terms of food and other necessities to the ever-increasing people in need in these Covid-afflicted times.

Dr Serina Rahman is a Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, where she examines issues of (un)sustainable development, rural politics and political ecology. Trained as a conservation scientist, her practice is in community empowerment, citizen science and environmental education for coastal habitat conservation and marine artisanal fisheries resources management. Dr Serina is also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, NUS where she teaches Environmental Politics. She is an Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Award Winner for Environmental Protection (2014) and has numerous academic, institutional and other publications under her varied fields of research.


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. Click on the unique link in your email.

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


Sep 30 2021


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm