About the Seminar
While the economies of Malaysia and China are becoming increasingly integrated through trading and investment linkages, this study targeted at one aspect of this relationship. By analyzing Chinese car maker Chery’s internationalisation strategy and localisation efforts in Malaysia, it is found that Chery has adapted its business strategy by forging a business alliance with domestic partners and government-backed companies to overcome national protectionist and institutional constraints in Malaysia. However, the little interaction between Chery with local suppliers and national research and development facilities has limited collective learning processes and production collaboration. Chery’s experience in Malaysia suggests that, while Chinese multinational companies have to be careful in making strategic decisions to relocate operations abroad, the Malaysian government will have to consider easing protectionist restrictions to encourage stronger foreign participation in the automotive sector. Such a policy change may be required for the Malaysian automobile industry, facing with rising international competition, to survive and grow beyond its own borders.
Dr Zhang Miao is Research Fellow at Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya. She obtained her PhD. in Economics from University of Malaya in 2014. She has been studying China-Malaysia trade and investment, urban studies and institutional economics. Her research spectrum also extends to the fields of industrial policy and technology innovation. Her research has been published in such as Journal of Contemporary Asia, Habitat International, Cities, Journal of Asia Pacific Economy, International Journal of China Studies, Institutions and Economies and Asia Pacific Business Review. She has undertaken consultancies for international agencies, including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan-ASEAN Center and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). Dr Zhang has frequently contributed commentaries to Financial Times, Sin Chew Daily and Oriental Daily.
About the Seminar
Malaysia’s economy is doing relatively well despite external challenges, and there are encouraging signs that the recovery momentum is getting stronger. However on issues such as human and political rights, progress has been quite limited. There must be well-balanced growth on all fronts – economic, social and political – to achieve the government’s objective of making Malaysia a developed country.
As a constitutional democracy, Malaysia is no different from other countries in terms of the basic rights of its citizens and the system of checks and balances against abuse of power by any one branch of government. There is another aspect of the Malaysian constitution, however, which makes it unique among countries in this region – the special position of Islam as the official religion of the Federation. The administration of Islam has raised concerns about the impact on the rights and freedoms of Muslims, and the implications on the rule of law are also making non-Muslims worry about the future direction of Malaysia as a secular, multiracial country. On top of this, the country is also beset with issues such as the breakdown of governance as well as the decreasing independence of regulatory agencies and institutions of justice in enforcing regulations and implementing laws. The issues of law, governance and religious tolerance can have a major impact on the peace and stability of the country, and if they are not addressed at the political level in a timely manner, investor confidence on Malaysia will be adversely affected.
In the light of these concerns over the future of the country a group of Malays called G25 – comprising retired civil servants and diplomats – has emerged as a voice for change and reform. The talk will highlight the reform agenda that G25 has been involved with.
About the Speaker
Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim is a Malaysian former senior civil servant, whose career spanned 1963-1994. His position upon retirement was the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Finance. He subsequently was Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, from 1994-2003. Tan Sri Sheriff is currently Director and non-executive Chairman of PLUS, a public sector-owned toll highway company. He is also non-executive Chairman of Scientex Berhad, a listed private sector company active in the manufacturing and property sectors. Tan Sri Sheriff is an active member of G-25. He has degrees from the Universities of Malaya, Oxford, and Vanderbilt, and was a long-serving President of the Malaysian Economic Association.
POSTPONEMENT OF SEMINAR
Meeting the Challenge and Realizing the
Promise of Multicultural Malaysia
Dr Ananthi Al Ramiah
ISEAS regrets that due to unforeseen circumstances, the above seminar (scheduled for Friday, 11 August 2017 at 3.00 pm) has been postponed until further notice.
We look forward to your continuing participation at ISEAS events.
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME
About the Seminar
In this talk, Dr Al Ramiah will present a range of findings on the state of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in Malaysia. The findings are based on a representative survey conducted in Peninsular Malaysia (N = 1503) and from interviews conducted with employees at a large multicultural corporation in Malaysia, both in 2016. The survey findings span a range of topics such as inter-ethnic contact experiences and attitudes, ethnic, religious and national identity, differential responses to integration efforts based on majority/minority status, the impact of neighbourhood diversity, and views of the government’s economic and social policies. The interview findings uncover various challenges of working in a multicultural environment, and the culture and policies that can serve to undermine or promote integration. The talk concludes with a discussion of possible interventions on the basis of the findings and recommendations to policy makers and corporations. Major insights from this research were recently published in Malaysia’s leading English daily The Star. This article series is accessible online (www.thestar.com.my), entitled “Re-stitching Malaysia’s social fabric”, “On being and becoming Malaysian”, and “Freedom to flourish and stay engaged”.
About the Speaker
Dr Ananthi Al Ramiah is a social psychologist working on questions of identity, multiculturalism and ethnoreligious diversity. She has a DPhil is Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She currently works as an independent scholar and academic consultant based in Kuala Lumpur, and was formerly an Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. Her work has appeared in publications such as the American Psychologist, The Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, British Journal of Social Psychology and The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology.
About the Seminar
In 2008, when a global financial crisis erupted and brought the world to the brink of economic collapse, a strong critique of poorly regulated capitalism emerged, bringing to the fore debates about models of development that involve the use of government-linked companies (GLCs) to generate growth. Malaysia provides an interesting case of state intervention in the economy to drive economic growth and redistribute wealth equitably. GLCs, which serve as investment funds and savings-based institutions that vary significantly in terms of their size and objectives, have emerged as Malaysia’s leading enterprises with ownership and control of a huge number of companies through complex pyramid-type organizational structures. The government, under different Prime Ministers, has employed these GLCs in the economy and in the corporate sector in different ways.
This lecture provides an historical review of government-business relations in Malaysia, tracing how this nexus shaped the mode of the state’s intervention in the economy and the nature of its politics and policies. Particular attention will be paid to critical historical junctures, when crises precipitated change in models of development and the relationship between management control and public governance of GLCs.
About the Speaker
Edmund Terence Gomez is Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya. He specializes in state-market relations and the linkages between politics, policies and enterprise development. He has held appointments at the University of Leeds (UK) and Murdoch University (Australia) and served as Visiting Professor at Kobe University, Japan and at the Universities of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and California (San Diego). Between 2005 and 2008, he served as Research Coordinator at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), in Geneva, Switzerland. Other academic appointments include Visiting Fellowships at the Australian National University, Canberra and at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Denmark.
His international book publications include Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics, Patronage and Profits (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Chinese Business in Malaysia: Accumulation, Ascendance, Accommodation (University of Hawaii Press, 1999); Political Business in East Asia (Routledge, 2002); The State of Malaysia: Ethnicity, Equity and Reform (Routledge, 2004); The State, Development and Identity in Multi-ethnic Countries: Ethnicity, Equity and the Nation (Routledge, 2008); The Politics of Resource Extraction: Indigenous Peoples, Multinational Corporations and the State (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012); The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: Affirmative Action, Horizontal Inequalities and Social Justice (National University of Singapore Press, 2013); and Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017).
About the Seminar
Prime Minister Najib Razak must hold the next Malaysian elections by August 2018. The country has started to enter election mode, with the opposition Pakatan Harapan declaring recently its leadership line-up. What are the chances of the respective contenders? What will influence the outcome? This seminar draws on voting behaviour data in earlier elections and field interviews to lay out the different factors that will potentially shape Malaysia’s GE-14 results. While previous elections have revolved around the 3-Ms – media, machinery, and money – this upcoming election will centre on the 3-Ds – deals, data and delivery. Leadership and political parties are being similarly tested in new ways, as electoral system engineering has evolved in a highly contested dynamic. The key socio-political divides are no longer just along ethnic lines, but involve other social cleavages such as age, region and class, and the political rhetoric is taking on more confrontational tones in what remains a deeply polarized political environment. Trends point to a fundamentally different contest, but given the unprecedented mobilization of state resources and levers of power on the part of the incumbent leadership, it remains to be seen whether the result will differ from the past.
About the Speaker
Bridget Welsh is a Visiting Professor of Political Science at John Cabot University in Rome, where she will join the faculty full-time this August. She specializes in Southeast Asian politics, with particular focus on Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. She has edited/written numerous books including, Reflections: The Mahathir Years, Legacy of Engagement in Southeast Asia, Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years, Democracy Takeoff? The B.J. Habibie Period, Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years (a Malay edition Bangkit was published in 2014) and The End of UMNO? Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party and over fifty chapters and academic articles. Her research reflects a keen interest in democracy and governance in East Asia, especially Southeast Asia. She is a member of the Asian Barometer Survey Southeast Asia team, and is currently directing the survey projects in Malaysia and Myanmar. From 2015-2016 she was a professor of political science at Ipek University in Turkey. Prior to joining Ipek, she taught at Singapore Management University, the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC and Hofstra University in New York. She received her doctorate in political science from Columbia University, her language training at Cornell University (FALCON) and bachelor’s degree from Colgate University. She is also a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center, a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University, a Senior Advisor for Freedom House and a member of the International Research Council of the National Endowment for Democracy.