Moderators & Speakers



Ambassador Ong Keng Yong is Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Concurrently, he is Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, non-resident High Commissioner to Pakistan and non-resident Ambassador to Iran. Mr Ong also serves as Chairman of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF). Mr Ong was High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia from 2011 to 2014. He served as Secretary-General of ASEAN, based in Jakarta, Indonesia from January 2003 to January 2008. Mr Ong started his diplomatic career in 1979 and was posted to the Singapore Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the United States of America. He was Singapore's High Commissioner to India and concurrently Ambassador to Nepal from 1996 to 1998. From September 1998 to December 2002, he was Press Secretary to the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong. At the same time, Mr Ong held senior appointments in the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, and the People's Association in Singapore. From 2008 to 2011, he served as Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Mr Ong graduated from the then University of Singapore with a LLB (Hons) and Georgetown University (Washington DC, USA) with a MA in Arab Studies.

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Dr Michael Jonathan Green is Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and chair in modern and contemporary Japanese politics and foreign policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He served on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) from 2001 through 2005. Before joining the NSC staff, he was a senior fellow for East Asian security at the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center and the Foreign Policy Institute and an assistant professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, and senior adviser on Asia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also worked in Japan on the staff of a member of the National Diet. Dr Green is also currently a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a distinguished scholar at the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation in Tokyo. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, the America Australia Leadership Dialogue, the advisory board of the Center for a New American Security, and the editorial boards of the Washington Quarterly and the Journal of Unification Studies in Korea. Dr Green has authored numerous books and articles on East Asian security, including most recently By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from SAIS and did additional postgraduate research at Tokyo University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Professor Jin Canrong is Associate Dean with the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China. He was also a visiting professor at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, in 2003 and 2007, and the “Weilun” Chair Professor at Tsinghua University in 2006. Prof Jin received a BA from Fudan University in political science, a MA from the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and a PhD from the School of International Studies at Peking University. Before joining Renmin University, he worked for the Institute of American Studies at CASS from 1987 to 2002. His other positions have included the following: Vice President of China National Association of International Studies; Vice President of the Pacific Society of China; Senior fellow of China International Institute for Strategic Society; Standing Councillor of China Reform Forum, Adviser for the United Front Department of the Communist Party of China, Chair Professor of the Forum of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Adviser for the State Oceanic Administration, and Adviser for the Department of Human Resources and Social Security. His research focuses on American politics, American foreign policy, Sino-US relations and China’s foreign policy, and his publications include over 100 academic papers, over 600 articles for mass media, 7 books and 5 translated books. As the first columnist in international politics in mainland China, Prof Jin wrote for the column of “Focusing on America” on World Affairs (a half-monthly), from 1995 to 1998.

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Professor Euston Quah is Head, Division of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and an Adjunct Principal Research Fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He was formerly Chair, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at NTU; Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Deputy Director of the Public Policy Programme (now the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy); and headed the economics department at NUS. A prolific writer, Prof Quah had published over 100 papers in major internationally refereed journals and opinion pieces. His work on Cost-Benefit Analysis (with E.J. Mishan) was recommended for reference by the US White House, Office of Management and Budget for use by Government Agencies applying for project grants. He was co-author of an Asian Edition of the bestselling Principles of Economics text with Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University. Prof Quah advises the Singapore Government in various Ministries and was a Member of the recent Prime Minister’s Economic Strategies Sub-Committee on Energy and the Environment. He has served on the Boards of Energy Market Authority, Fare Review Mechanism Committee of the Ministry of Transport, and presently sits on the Boards of the Energy Studies Institute at NUS, and the Energy Market Company. In 2016, Prof Quah was appointed a Member of the Social Sciences Research Council of Singapore. He is also a Review Panel Member for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project hosted by the Overseas Development Institute, London; and in 2015 was inducted as a Fellow Member of the prestigious learned society, European Academy of Science and Arts. Prof Quah is Editor of the Singapore Economic Review since 2002, and President of the Economic Society of Singapore since 2009. He has been invited by Stanford University, Princeton University, the USA Inter-Pacific Bar Association, the WWF for Asia, UNESCAP, Earth Institute of Columbia University (Asian Meetings), ADBI and ADB to speak at their functions and conferences. Prof Quah is one of the most highly cited and influential university economists in Singapore.

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Associate Professor Razeen Sally serves on the Faculty of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Dr Sally is also Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, the main economic-policy think tank in his native Sri Lanka, and Economic Advisor to Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance. He is also a member of the Legatum Institute’s Special Trade Commission, which advises the British government on Brexit trade strategy. Previously he taught at the London School of Economics, where he received his PhD. He has been Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a global-economy think tank in Brussels. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at Institut D’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, the Australian National University, the University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, and Dartmouth College in the USA. He was also Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness. He is an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and on the advisory boards of the Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) and the Centre for Independent Studies (Australia). He is also member of the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society. Dr Sally’s research and teaching focuses on global trade policy and Asia in the world economy. He has written on the WTO, FTAs, and on different aspects of trade policy in Asia. Dr Sally has also written on the history of economic ideas, especially the theory of commercial policy. His new book on Sri Lanka will be published in 2018.

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Mr Manu Bhaskaran is Partner of the Centennial Group, a strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington DC and, as Founding CEO of its Singapore subsidiary Centennial Asia Advisors, he co-ordinates the Asian business of the Group which provides in-depth analysis of Asian macro trends for investment institutions, government agencies and companies with interests in Asia, leveraging off his more than 30 years of studying Asia. Mr Bhaskaran is also Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore where he analyses macro-economic policy frameworks in Singapore. He was recently appointed as a Member of the Regional Advisory Board for Asia of the International Monetary Fund. Prior to Centennial, Mr Bhaskaran held senior positions at Societe Generale’s Asian investment banking division where he supervised Asian economic and investment strategy analysis and was a member of the Executive Committee, in charge of Asian equity research. In 12 years with the firm, Mr Bhaskaran helped to establish its business presence in Southeast Asia and in South Asia while also helping to develop the firm’s highly-rated equity and economic research. Prior to that, Mr Bhaskaran worked for the Singapore government, supervising a team that prepared strategic political and economic assessments of Asia for senior Singapore government officials. Mr Bhaskaran holds a range of other positions. He is a Trustee of the Asia Foundation in Asia, Member of the Competition Appeals Board, Singapore; Member of the Board of Advisors, School of Economics, Singapore Management University; Council Member, Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA); and Vice-President, Economics Society of Singapore. Mr Bhaskaran also serves on the board of several companies. In terms of public service, Mr Bhaskaran served as Chairman of a high-level government committee reviewing the regulation of moneylenders in Singapore. Mr Bhaskaran was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Based in Singapore, he is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna is Head of Policy Studies, as well as Coordinator of the National Security Studies Programme, in the Office of the Executive Deputy Chairman, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), in Nanyang Technological University. He was previously the Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at RSIS from 2006 to 2015. A historian by background, Dr Ramakrishna has been a frequent speaker on counter-terrorism before local and international audiences, a regular media commentator on counter-terrorism, and has published in numerous internationally refereed journals. His first book, Emergency Propaganda: The Winning of Malayan Hearts and Minds 1948-1958 was described by the International History Review as “required reading for historians of Malaya, and for those whose task is to counter insurgents, guerrillas, and terrorists”. His second book, Radical Pathways: Understanding Muslim Radicalisation in Indonesia, was featured as one of the top 150 books on terrorism and counterterrorism in the respected journal Perspectives on Terrorism, which identified Dr Ramakrishna as “one of Southeast Asia’s leading counterterrorism experts”. His most recent books are Islamist Terrorism and Militancy in Indonesia: The Power of the Manichean Mindset; Original Sin? Revising the Revisionist Critique of the 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore; and Singapore Chronicles: Emergency.

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Ms Amina Rasul-Bernardo is President of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID). She is a member of the Board of Regents of the Mindanao State University (MSU). In addition to serving as a member of the Steering Committee of the Southeast Asian network of Civil Society Organizations against violent extremism, she also serves as Trustee of The Magbassa Kita Foundation, the National Movement for Free Elections, the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation, and a member of the Friends of Peace headed by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo. Ms Bernardo was formerly a member of the Philippine Cabinet under former President Fidel V. Ramos, as Presidential Advisor on Youth Affairs, appointed concurrently as the first Chair of the National Youth Commission. She has served as Commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women representing Muslims, Director of the Board of the Philippine National Oil Corporation, the Development Bank of the Philippines, Founding Director of the Local Government Guarantee Corporation, and most recently, as Board Member of the Mindanao Development Authority. Ms Rasul-Bernardo has written and edited several books on the Mindanao conflict, Islam and democracy. Ms Rasul-Bernardo was a Senior Fellow of the United States Institute for Peace in Washington D.C., and was a Visiting Professor at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Ms Rasul-Bernardo earned a Master’s degree in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where she was a Mason Fellow. In recognition of her work to strengthen democracy, she was awarded “Muslim Democrat of the Year 2007” by the Center for Study of Islam and Democracy and cited as one of the World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims, 2017 by the Jordan Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

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Ms Sidney Jones is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, based in Jakarta. From 2002 to 2013, Ms Jones worked with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia Project Director, then from 2007 as Senior Adviser to its Asia programme. Ms Jones has work experiences with the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and New York (1977-84), Amnesty International in London as the Indonesia-Philippines-Pacific researcher (1985-88), and Human Rights Watch in New York as the Asia Director (1989-2002). Ms Jones is an expert on conflict in Southeast Asia, human rights in Asia, and violent extremism, with a special focus on Indonesia. She lived in Shiraz, Iran for one year as a university student, 1971-72, and studied Arabic in Cairo and Tunisia. Ms Jones holds a BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and received an honorary doctorate in 2006 from The New School in New York. She is a noted expert and prolific writer on extremism and terrorism in Southeast Asia. Ms Jones has been a regular commentator on both the regional and international media outlets.

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Dr Malcolm Cook is a Senior Fellow of the Regional Strategic and Political Studies, and Regional Economic Studies programmes at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. Dr Cook is the co-editor of the ISEAS publication Southeast Asian Affairs, an annual review of significant trends and developments in the Southeast Asian region. His research interests include the political economy of inter-regional trade agreements and foreign direct investment flows into Southeast Asia, regional security, regional organisations, major power interests in Southeast Asia, and the political and economic developments in the Philippines. He is a prolific writer, having contributed numerous opinion pieces to the media as an expert in current Southeast Asian affairs. From 2003 to 2010, Dr Cook was the inaugural East Asia Program Director at the Lowy Institute in Sydney and then the inaugural Dean of the School of International Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide. Before that, he was a lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dr Cook has worked in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Singapore. Dr Cook was educated in McGill University in Canada where he received his Bachelor’s degree, the International University of Japan where he received a Master’s degree in International Relations, and the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at Australian National University where he received his doctorate.

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Mr Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, better known as Dimas, is President Director of Antara news agency (LKBN Antara) in Indonesia. LKBN Antara is not only one of the main arms of the government’s public communications with a network of over 34 bureaus across the archipelago, but also the largest content distributor of news content in the country to over 250 media and other government and private offices in Indonesia and abroad. Mr Suryodiningrat has previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post for about six years. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of PT IMQ Multimedia Utama and PT ANPA International. With a background and experience in journalism spanning more than two decades, Mr Suryodiningrat continues to write op-ed pieces, columns and essays on a wide range of subjects related to socio-political affairs and foreign policy of Indonesia. He has also worked for two-years outside of journalism as an analyst for a Jakarta-based strategic consulting firm which engages in government and community relations. Mr Suryodiningrat was a former research fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He received a Bachelor’s degree (majoring in Political Science and History) from Carleton University in Ottawa, and attended graduate school at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

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Professor Julio C. Teehankee serves as a Research Fellow at the Department of International Studies at De La Salle University, Manila. From May 2013 to August 2017, he served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Prof Teehankee is currently the President of the Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) and Executive Secretary of the Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA). He specializes in the comparative politics and development of East and Southeast Asia. He has written and published extensively on elections, party politics, clientelism, and political dynasties in the Philippines. He has also conducted research on the politics, government, and foreign policy of Japan under a number of fellowship grants. His current research includes presidentialism in Asia, comparative constitutional dynamics in East and Southeast Asia, and the rise of strongman populism in the region. Prof Teehankee completed his postdoctoral studies at the Graduate Schools of Law and Politics of the University of Tokyo under a Japan Foundation Fellowship, and obtained his PhD in Development Studies from De La Salle University. A noted political scientist in the Philippines, Prof Teehankee has appeared regularly on both the domestic and international media as a political analyst.

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Professor Joseph Chinyong Liow is Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He held the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, where he was also a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program. His research interests encompass Muslim politics and social movements in Southeast Asia and the international politics of the Asia-Pacific region. Prof Liow is the author, co-author, or editor of 14 books. His recent single-authored books are Ambivalent Engagement: The United States and Regional Security in Southeast Asia after the Cold War, Religion and Nationalism in Southeast Asia, and Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia, fourth edition. His commentaries on international affairs have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest, New York Times, Nikkei Asian Review, and the Wall Street Journal, and he has testified at the United States Congress. Joseph has also consulted for a wide range of MNCs including Shell, BHP Billiton, Chevron, and Statoil. He sits on the board of several peer-reviewed academic and policy journals and the expert panel of the Social Science Research Council (Singapore), and is Singapore’s representative on the advisory board of the ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation formed under the auspices of the ASEAN Charter. Prof Liow holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), an MSc in Strategic Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, and a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Madison-Wisconsin in the United States.

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Dr Thant Myint-U is Founding Partner of the Myanmar-based Ava Advisory Group, and an award-winning writer and historian. Dr Thant is a former Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he taught modern history, and is the author of four books, including the best-selling The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma and Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia. Dr Thant is a veteran of three UN peacekeeping operations in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia (1992-5) and was the Chief of Policy Planning in the UN's Department of Political Affairs (2003-7). He was the UN's Principal Officer in charge of the Secretary-General's landmark 2003 Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change and the 2005 World Summit. From 2011-2015 he was a Member of the President of Myanmar's National Economic and Social Advisory Council and Special Advisor to the government on the peace process. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, the Chairman of U Thant House, and has written extensively for publications including the New York Times, the Financial Times, Time Magazine and the London Review of Books. Dr Thant was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine's ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ in 2013 and Prospect Magazine's ‘50 World Thinkers’ in 2014. He was educated at Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge.

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Dr Wong Yit Fan is the Co-Founder of Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs-Myanmar, an incubator for start-ups. Dr Wong has 25 years of combining macroeconomic perspectives and operational roles on-the-ground, especially in risk management and investments. His geographic focus is Southeast Asia, especially the frontier Indochina economies. As an economist, Dr Wong worked with the Monetary Authority of Singapore early in his career, before he took on the role of the Chief Economist for Southeast Asia/Indochina for Standard Chartered Bank for a decade. His other previous roles included being the MD for Country Risk for DBS Bank, the CEO of DBS Vietnam, and the Chief Financial & Investment Officer for a royal family fund in the UAE. In Myanmar, Dr Wong was the Chief Representative of the Jardine Matheson Group, before he started working with start-up companies on his own. Dr Wong is currently Chairman of the Board for the Conservation International office in Singapore, a global organization for environment protection, and sits on the board of a microfinance company for rural women in East Timor. He also sits on the Board of Oway Inc. and other Myanmar companies. Dr Wong holds a PhD in Economics and an MBA (Honours) from the University of Hawaii.

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Dr Thitinan Pongsudhirak is Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies and teaches at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. He has authored a wide range of articles, books and book chapters on Thailand’s politics, political economy, and foreign policy, as well as ASEAN and East Asian geopolitics and geo-economics. He is frequently quoted and his many op-eds have appeared in international and local media, including a regular column in The Bangkok Post and The Straits Times. He currently serves on the editorial boards of International Relations of Southeast Asia, South East Asia Research, Asian Politics & Policy, and Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs. Dr Thitinan has held visiting positions at Victoria University in New Zealand, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Stanford University in the United States, Yangon University in Myanmar, and Tubingen University in Germany, having lectured at many local and overseas universities. In June 2015, he received an award for excellence in opinion writing from the Society of Publishers in Asia. Dr Thitinan received his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, MA from SAIS, and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where his doctoral thesis was awarded the United Kingdom’s Best Dissertation Prize.

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Dr Francis E Hutchinson is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Regional Economic Studies and Malaysia Studies Programmes at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also Managing Editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies – a SCOPUS-indexed journal. Dr Hutchinson has carried out applied research on state capacity, decentralisation, state-level industrial policy, anti-corruption, and social policy. He has recently authored a publication titled Mirror Images in Different Frames? Johor, the Riau Islands, and Competition for Investment from Singapore (ISEAS 2015), and co-edited a book titled Asia and the Middle Income Trap (Routledge 2016). Dr Hutchinson has also published in a number of academic journals including GeoForum, GeoJournal, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Asian Journal of Political Science, Economic and Political Weekly, and Southeast Asian Affairs. A political scientist by training, Dr Hutchinson holds an MA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from the Australian National University.

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Dato' Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan is Chairman of the ECM Libra Financial Group Berhad and a Director of UPP Limited, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Dato’ Seri Kalimullah began his career in journalism and served in various international news organizations such as Reuters and Singapore Press Holdings, before becoming a businessman in 1995. He also served on various Government agencies and boards, including as Chairman of the National News Agency (Bernama), and later as Group Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Chairman of Malaysia’s largest newspaper group, the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd. He has also served as member of the National Unity Advisory Panel, the Multimedia Development Corporation, and the National Information Technology Council. Dato’ Seri Kalimullah was also press secretary to former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba. He was also one of the original investors and co-founders of AirAsia X. In 2009, he resigned from most of his positions to focus on charity works undertaken by the ECM Libra Foundation. The Foundation provides scholarships for poor students from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to pursue tertiary education in Malaysia and in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Foundation also provides scholarships for qualified, but poor, Malaysians. Dato’ Seri Kalimullah is also member of the Board of Governors of his alma mater, the Methodist Boys School in Penang. Dato’ Seri Kalimullah recently published a book titled The Malaysia That Could Be in 2016.

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Datuk Seri Azman Ujang is Chairman of Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama). Starting as a cadet reporter with Bernama, he rose through the ranks in the rough and tumble world of journalism. His career in journalism spans about 46 years, all the time with Bernama. Datuk Seri Azman became the first ever to have held the top three posts of chairman, general manager and editor-in-chief in the history of Bernama. Among many others, Datuk Seri Azman also serves as an Independent Non-Executive of Berjaya Media Berhad, a Council Member of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and a Board Member of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad of Malaysia. Being a veteran journalist, Datuk Seri Azman has been a regular speaker on media and current issues at the seminars organised by the Government and Non-Governmental Organisations. He has also regularly appeared on television to talk on the same issues. Quite recently, Datuk Seri Azman interviewed the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong on Malaysia-Singapore relations in November 2016.

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