Seminar: Johor’s Forest City: Challenges, Mitigation and Sustainability



About the Seminar

Forest City is a multi-million dollar mixed development project rising out of the Tebrau Straits between southwest Malaysia and Singapore. Positioned as a model future city, it is often cited as one of the catalysts for the evolution of Johor from the ‘backwaters of Singapore’ to a modern metropolis. However, the development project has been plagued with controversy since its inception. From environmental concerns to questions of sovereignty, the project and its developers constantly battle allegations arising from political posturing, business rivalry and misinformation.

This seminar will provide the background and context to the Forest City project and discuss its controversies and challenges. The economic, environmental and social impacts of the project will be examined, as well as the developers’ attempts to mitigate its impacts and compensate the surrounding community. The economic viability of the development and its long-term sustainability in light of the recent enforcement of capital controls will also be discussed. The success of the Forest City project and its proponents’ ability to match hype with action will determine if it is indeed a model of inclusive sustainable development.

About the Speaker


Serina Rahman is currently a Visiting Fellow under the Malaysia Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research interests lie in marine communities; human, floral and faunal; as well as their interaction and preservation. Her expertise is in inclusive sustainable development; community empowerment; and environmental education.

After graduating with a Business Marketing degree from NTU, Serina trained as an English teacher at the National Institute of Education (NIE). She then took up a Masters in Applied Linguistics at the University of Wales, Cardiff, specialising in Orientalism in Colonial Imagery. Serina left the teaching profession to work as a Content Programmer for Discovery Travel & Adventure (Discovery Networks, Asia), then moved to Malaysia in 2004 to work in coastal habitat conservation, community education and empowerment. This then became the subject of her PhD in Science, during which she began to live in the village that surrounds the Forest City project. Since then, she has also been the Director of UMCares – The Community & Sustainability Centre of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, before returning to NTU to work as a Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

To register, please fill in this form and email to by 14 June 2017.


Jun 15 2017


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2