Seminar on “Malaysia Baru and the Changing Nature of Politics – Navigating the Uncertainty”

 

In this seminar, former Johor Chief Minister Khaled Nordin expounds on the changing nature of Malaysian politics and ways of navigating the current uncertainties.

 

 

Seminar on Transformation of Malaysia-China Relations: Drivers, Motives and Possible Impact

 

The Malaysia Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute has invited Dato’ Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan to deliver a public talk entitled “Transformation of Malaysia-China Relations: Drivers, Motives and Possible Impact”.

 

 

Seminar: Navigating a Highly Protected Market: China’s Chery Automobile in Malaysia

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR

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.

About the Speaker

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.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 9 October 2017.

 

Seminar: Malaysia in a Constitutional Democracy

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

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.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 4 September 2017.

 

POSTPONED: Seminar: Meeting the Challenge and Realizing the Promise of Multicultural Malaysia

 

POSTPONEMENT OF SEMINAR

Meeting the Challenge and Realizing the

Promise of Multicultural Malaysia

By

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.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 10 August 2017.

 

Seminar: The Government’s Business: Politics, Policies and the Corporate Sector in Malaysia

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

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).

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 15 August 2017.

 

Seminar: Malaysian GE-14 Election Scenarios: Old and New Terrain

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

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.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 7 August 2017.

 

Seminar: Recent Political Developments in Malaysia and Implications for PRU 14

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar 

While the 13th Parliament of Malaysia will automatically dissolve on 24 June 2018, it is most probable that Prime Minister Najib Razak will call the next general elections (GE14) earlier. Many analysts expect the GE14 to be held in October 2017 soon after the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur (19-30 August), the double celebration of the 60th Merdeka Day on 31 August and Malaysia Day on 16 September, and the expected Budget 2018 goodies.

There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the BN government, even in the Malay heartland including among Felda settlers, traditionally UNMO’s fixed deposit of votes, due to the Felda Global Ventures debacle. But, however, the serious and seemingly unsurmountable divisions within the opposition parties will make it very difficult for the opposition to wrest control of Putra Jaya. In fact, the opposition’s fractious divisions may help the BN, despite being fairly unpopular, to regain its 2/3 parliamentary majority. I will draw on polling results in PRU 13 as well as in some of the
by-elections to substantiate my arguments.

 

About the Speaker

Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a medical doctor who, after completion of 18 years in government service, took on the then MIC President Samy Vellu in the 1999 general elections. Jeyakumar lost in 1999 and again in 2004, but managed to displace Samy Vellu in 2008, and retained the Sungei Siput parliamentary seat in 2013.A social activist since his university days, he is a founder member of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and is currently a PSM central committee member. He has been the secretary of the Coalition Against Privatization of Health Care since its formation in 2004.

Jeyakumar has authored several books including Sucked Oranges (Insan 1989), Logging Against the Natives (Insan 1989), The Marginalised Society (Alaigal 1993 – in Tamil), Speaking Truth to Power (Alaigal 2002), Malaysia at the Crossroads (Parsosma 2009) and Maaf Tuan Speaker (Parsosma 2011 – in Malay).

 

Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 15 June 2017.

 

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

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

 

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.

Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 14 June 2017.

 

Seminar: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia: A Game Changer or a Non-Starter?

 

MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

As the newest political party in Malaysia, Bersatu has been making waves in the increasingly volatile local political scene. Seen as a splinter group from UMNO by some, and as a legitimate challenger to UMNO’s dominance by others, Bersatu is having an impact on how the Rakyat – especially Malays – see the future of the country. While the opposition coalition has won the popular vote, it is still not enough to form a new government under Malaysia’s first-past-the-post parliamentary system. Hence, Bersatu is a game-changer that could galvanise support from Malays who would otherwise be staunch supporters of UMNO – particularly in rural areas long-known to be UMNO strongholds.

With this as a context, this seminar aims to address these questions: Will Pakatan Harapan with Bersatu as a new member succeed in winning the 14th General Elections? How will PAS factor in the elections and the way people choose to vote? Will Barisan Nasional be able to win if there were three-cornered fights? Have the Rakyat had enough of kleptocracy and its impact on the cost of living, or are they feeling safe in their comfort zones and unable to make tough decisions? Is the ground fertile for change ushering the dawn of a new era for Malaysia post-GE14?

About the Speaker

Mukhriz Mahathir is a Malaysian politician and Deputy President of Parti Pribumi Bersatu, a party he founded along with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and many more former UMNO members.

Up until early 2016, Mukhriz was a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. Following the 13th General Election, he was State Assemblyman for the seat of Ayer Hitam and Chief Minister of the country’s northern state of Kedah, as well as the state UMNO Liaison Chairman and member of the party’s Supreme Council. In January 2016, UMNO Kedah leaders led by Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah declared the loss of confidence towards Mukhriz due to what they claimed as “his inability to maintain a united party leadership”. The move is widely believed to have been orchestrated by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mukhriz Mahathir studied Business Administration at Sophia University, Tokyo. He later received a Bachelor’s degree in marketing after graduating from Boston University, Massachusetts in 1989. He has held various posts in several business firms, including Opcom Holdings Berhad, Bioven Sdn Bhd and Reliance Pacific Berhad, and has also been active in NGOs such as MRSM Alumni (ANSARA), Malaysian Franchise Association, Peace Malaysia as well as Perdana Global Peace Foundation.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 29 May 2017.