About the Seminar
2016 was a watershed year for politics globally. Unexpected events, such as the Brexit referendum in the UK and the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections completely upended long-held certainties.
It has been argued that these episodes mean that populist and sectarian politics now have the ascendancy. However, this ignores the rise elsewhere of progressive politicians such as Bernie Sanders and other political figures. Moreover, these movements have a common undercurrent of profound disillusionment with the prevalent economic system.
Such trends matter for Malaysia because the continuous stoking of racial and religious sentiment by the UMNO-BN political establishment means that there is a real risk that extremist political stances and demagogues could eventually enjoy mainstream success, if not already. However, it can also be argued that tensions in Malaysia’s polity are fundamentally economic in nature. More Malaysians – of all races, but especially the Malays and Bumiputera that make up most the poor – are being left behind due to the ill-advised, serving policies of UMNO-BN. Young Malaysians are suffering the most, being hamstrung by poor education, crushing debt, increasingly scarce middle-class jobs and soaring housing prices. While the UMNO-BN administration becomes embroiled in more corruption scandals, the Opposition must be able to offer the Malaysian public radical alternatives that addresses these concerns to win power and ensure that the rise of authoritarian populism is stopped at Malaysia’s shores.
About the Speaker
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad is the People’s Justice Party (PKR) Youth Leader; Selangor State Minister for Education, Human Capital Development, Science, Technology and Innovation; and State Assemblyman for Seri Setia.
Previously, Nik Nazmi obtained his LLB (Hons) from King’s College London and worked as an executive at Malaysian government-linked investment corporation PNB and Private Secretary to PKR Leader Anwar Ibrahim. In 2008, at 26 years old, he was elected as the Selangor State Assemblyman and was the youngest candidate to win in the general elections. He was appointed as Political Secretary to Selangor Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim, then was appointed as PKR Communications Director. He defended his seat in the 2013 elections and was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly. He was elected as PKR Youth Leader in 2014. When Azmin Ali was appointed as the Selangor Chief Minister later that year, Nik Nazmi was assigned to the State Cabinet.
Nik Nazmi is presently the Chairman of the Universiti Selangor Board of Governors, a member of the Board of Directors of Universiti Selangor, Selangor Foundation and state-think tank Institut Darul Ehsan. He is also a founder and currently Patron of Mentari Project, a voluntary tuition project for the poor. Formerly he was Executive Director of the Open Dialogue Society and a member of the Cross Party Advisory Panel of the Center for Public Policy Studies-ASLI. He is an author of several books in Malay and English. At the moment Nik Nazmi has columns in the Edge Malaysia, Sinar Harian (Malay) and Oriental Daily News (Mandarin).
About the Seminar
Will the newly formed opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) be able to wrestle the Federal government from the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN)? Considering Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is now no longer in the opposition pact, will Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) – an offshoot of PAS – be able to fill the vacuum left by the first party to win the hearts and minds of the Malay-Muslim electorate? This is an important question to analyse, given that Islam is a key element in Malaysian politics. The success of any political pact in Malaysia hinges on its ability to articulate political ideas and public policies without upsetting the Malay-Muslim psyche.
AMANAH therefore has an important role to play in, at least, two aspects. First, AMANAH plays a role in challenging the narrative of political Islam as envisaged by the current leadership of PAS that calls for Malay-Muslim dominance in the political sphere. By offering an alternative narrative of political Islam grounded on the maqasid shariah (the higher objectives of the Shariah) and the notion of rahmatan lil ‘alamin (mercy to all), AMANAH is able to convince the Malay-Muslim electorate that Islam remains a significant aspect of Pakatan Harapan’s political agenda. Secondly, AMANAH has a role in promoting a version of political Islam that is capable of maintaining a just and democratic Malaysia.
Despite the challenges – AMANAH is optimistic that it has a bright future in Malaysian politics. There is a steady stream of new membership applications nationwide, the majority of which – surprisingly – come from states considered as PAS strongholds such as Kelantan, Kedah and Selangor. Thus far, AMANAH has managed to establish party branches in 160 out of 222 parliamentary constituencies across Malaysia.
About the Speaker
Salahuddin Ayub was a former member of the federal parliament for two consecutive terms (2004-2013). Until 2015, he was a member of Parti Islam
Se-Malaysia (PAS). Over more than 30 years, he was elected to various positions in the party, such as the Youth Wing Head and, prior to his departure, Party
In 2015, together with other former leaders of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), Salahuddin founded Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH), and he is currently the Party’s Deputy President.
About the Seminar
Since the Reformasi Movement of 1998, political developments in Malaysia have taken several striking twists and turns. The 1999, 2004 and 2008 general elections witnessed major swings in voting patterns; in 1999, Malay voters abandoned UMNO and voted for PAS in large numbers; in 2004, BN-UMNO achieved an all-time high in voter support across all ethnic groups; and in 2008, the Opposition garnered a majority of the urban and Chinese votes. Then came the 2013 “urban + Chinese tsunami” where the Najib-led BN experienced its worst-ever electoral performance where it even lost the popular vote.
After the 2013 “Urban + Chinese Tsunami”, there has been a rise in ethnic antagonism and religious radicalism, culminating in Hadi Awang’s attempt to amend the Penal code to make it more “Shariah compliant”. Hadi’s aggressive move to advance the Islamic State agenda split not only his own party but also Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition. A PAS breakaway faction formed Amanah which then went on to establish the new opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan together with PKR and DAP, and which was later joined by the new party Pribumi, formed by an UMNO splinter group led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed and Muhyiddin Yassin. On the other side, political expediency led to a growing cooperation between UMNO and PAS, ostentatiously in the name of serving Islam.
What are the implications of the new party political alliance of Pakatan Harapan (DAP-PKR-AMANAH-PRIBUMI), and its convenient PAS ally in Selangor State Government, and the UMNO-PAS cooperation in the name of Islam? Are the recent developments merely political expediency or do they signify a fundamental shift in Malaysian politics. Is the two-party system a reality or myth? Will political reforms and the reform agenda wither away? More generally, how will the highly volatile contestation affect the “secular” character of Malaysia’s polity. Is the Federation in danger of breaking up?
About the Speaker
Gan Ping Sieu is the co-president of CENBET, a civil society NGO promoting moderation and good governance. A legal practitioner by profession, he is a senior partner of M/S GAN & ZUL, Advocates and Solicitors. Mr Gan has been an active politician, both in local and national level. A current Parliamentary Division chairman of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) in Johor, he held the Vice President post of MCA from 2010 to 2013.
Mr Gan served as a Senator and Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Youth and Sports from June 2010 to May 2013. His other public sector services include serving as a municipal councilor, member of statutory board and an elected State Assemblyman. He is currently a member of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing chaired by Datuk Minister Paul Low of the Prime Minister Department. A known critic of the ruling BN government policies, Mr Gan has been vocal in his political views, not least during his tenure as a State Assemblyman and a Deputy Minister of the ruling BN Government.
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME
Black Swans in Malaysian Politics
About the Seminar
Will Prime Minister Najib Razak win the upcoming Malaysian general election, ensuring an uninterrupted Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule since Independence? Or will the election expected later this year be a black swan jolt for the ruling coalition?
Since the last general election in May 2013, Najib’s standing has taken a beating as a result of multiple financial scandals and unpopular economic decisions such as the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), and cuts in subsidies to essential items. While Najib’s vulnerability may have been obvious, the Opposition has also had a hard time, suffering major splits and realignments.
Ever since the political tsunami in 2008 and especially after the 2013 election, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has been pursuing a Malay-centric strategy, including forming a de facto relationship with its erstwhile arch-rival the Islamist party Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), to appeal to the insecurity and fears of the Malay majority.
The current political twist for Malaysia is that the discontent among Malays is at its highest since Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking in September 1998, and the man who sacked Anwar, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad, is playing a major role in this scenario, as one of the Opposition’s leaders.
Johor, where the speaker represents the parliamentary constituency of Kluang, will be a major electoral battleground in the months to come.
About the Speaker
Liew Chin Tong was elected Member of the Parliament for Kluang in May 2013. He was previously the Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera (2008-2013). Since 1999, Chin Tong has served DAP in various capacities and is now a Member of its Central Executive Committee, and the party’s Political Education Director. He graduated with a degree in Political Science and an honours degree in Asian Studies from the Australian National University, and holds an International Masters in Regional Integration from the Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya.
He was the Executive Director of Penang Institute (previously Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute, SERI, 2009-2012) and Research for Social Advancement (REFSA, 2007-2011), and was formerly a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.
About the Seminar
Religious interaction is one of the significant elements in Malaysia-Saudi Arabia relations. There are two important features in Malaysia’s religious interaction with Saudi Arabia. The first feature is on the implementation of Islamic teachings, Islamic jurisprudence in particular, for both countries. Malaysia is traditionally associated with the teaching of the Shafiite school from as early as the 15th century, whereas the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia largely practices the Hanbalite-Wahhabism school. In religiously interacting with Saudi Arabia, Malaysia is certainly dealing with the Kingdom’s Wahhabism ideology which arguably inspired some Islamic movements during the 19th and early 20th centuries ago in the Malay Archipelago. Malaysia, however, to this date, is less receptive of the Wahhabism ideology due to the dominance of the Shafiite school, the government’s ‘guarded’ religious policies and the own-styled of local da’wah movements which differ with Wahhabism approaches. The second feature is, despite differences in the implementation of Islamic teachings, Malaysia has received a number of capital donations from the Kingdom to financially assist the development of socio-economic projects and religious activities. Until today, the interaction between the two countries has been steadily growing stronger and more collaborative projects have been launched to enhance the scope of their bilateral relations in the future.
About the Speaker
Associate Professor Dr Asmady Idris is an International Relations lecturer at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Malaysia. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations from University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Dr Idris has published numerous articles on the Middle East-Asia Pacific relations, such as “Impact of Mutual Interaction between Civil Society and Conditionality by an External Actor on Democratization: Cases of Turkey and Malaysia (co-authored with Irem Askar Karakir, 2016)”, Malaysia’s Contemporary Political and Economic Relations with Iran (co-authored with Remali Yusoff, 2015), “Malaysian
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Humanitarian Issues in Gaza, Palestine (2012), “Early Development of Malaysia’s Relations With Saudi Arabia (2003)”, and others. His latest book is Malaysia’s Relations with Saudi Arabia, 1957-2003, published by University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Press in 2015.
About the Seminar
While Singapore, the US, and Japan have traditionally been Malaysia’s main trading partners, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been the country’s most important trading partner since 2012. Beyond trade in finished products, commerce between the two countries is based on inputs and parts being sent within production networks operating between the two countries. This same trend is visible in investment flows. From a minor investor, China has now become a significant player in the Malaysian economy, investing RM 11.6 billion in manufacturing projects in 2012-15 – behind only Japan, Singapore and the United States.
Beyond setting up manufacturing operations, Chinese government-linked corporations and private consortiums have been active in the real estate sector. Government-linked corporations have stakes in the Malaysia-Kuantan Industrial Park as well as Bandar Malaysia, which will be the main terminus of the planned High Speed Rail. Large-scale private sector concerns such as Country Garden, R&F, and Greenland have a significant presence in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur.
With regard to infrastructure, government-linked corporations have won contracts for the RM 55 bn East Coast Rail Link, the RM 9 bn Gemas-Johor Bahru dual tracking project, as well as provisions of rolling stock. A consortium of government-linked corporations is positioning itself for the High-Speed Rail project, slated to go to tender later this year. There are also large-scale port projects being planned with PRC involvement, two on the Peninsula’s west coast and another on the east coast.
Looking forward, the PRC presence in the Malaysian economy looks set to increase. In December last year, Prime Minister Najib returned from his visit to China, where he and his counterparts signed 14 agreements totaling RM 144 billion, which represents 12 percent of Malaysia’s GDP. However, this trend has not gone unnoticed by Malaysia’s electorate, with polls indicating a growing sense of unease at the rapid increase in PRC presence in the economy as well as foreign ownership of strategic assets.
This seminar will analyze the trends in PRC investment into Malaysia, particularly in the real estate and construction sectors, as well as key aspects of infrastructure such as railways and ports. From there it will examine trends in public opinion regarding the level and different types of PRC investments in the country.
About the Speakers
Topic: PRC Investment in the Real Estate and Construction Sectors in Malaysia
Loong Chee Wei joined Affin Hwang Capital in April 2015 as the Senior Associate Director covering the construction/infrastructure, property and building material sector. He has been covering Malaysian equities since 1997 (including strategy, banking, construction/infrastructure, property, gaming, oil & gas), and formerly worked for CLSA, Nomura, BNP Paribas, AmInvestment Bank and Hwang-DBS Securities. Mr Loong has been a qualified Chartered Financial Analyst since 1999.
Topic: PRC Investment in the Rail and Port Sectors in Malaysia
G Naidu was, prior to his retirement, a professor in transport economics at the University of Malaya and is currently an independent consultant. His main areas of interest have been in transport, logistics and infrastructure. He has worked as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Ministry of Transport and number Malaysian port authorities. He recently served as a subject matter expert for the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC).
Topic: Evolving Public Opinion Regarding PRC Investment in Malaysia
Ibrahim Suffian is Co-founder and Program Director of Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, a leading public opinion polling and political surveys organization in Malaysia. He presently manages Merdeka Center’s portfolio of clients ranging from political parties, government departments as well as local and international institutions of higher learning. Through Merdeka Center,
Mr Suffian has been organizing surveys in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore and Myanmar. Prior to his role in the Merdeka Center,
Mr Suffian worked as a project finance specialist in a Malaysian investment bank and was project manager in an international development agency.
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME
About the Book
Recent census statistics indicate that ethnic Indians comprise a mere 7.4 per cent of Malaysia’s total population, with Hindus constituting a 84.1 per cent of that figure. However, the Hindu festival of Thaipusam at Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur has become the largest single gathering of any religious festival in Malaysia, and is believed to be the most significant Hindu festival to be held outside India.
Thaipusam has attracted the attention of a number of scholars, but with notable exceptions, most observers of this festival have viewed Thaipusam in Malaysia as a sui generis, and have tended to regard the more dramatic and allegedly confrontational elements of the festival as a cultural aberration. Failure to contextualise Thaipusam in terms of the wider Tamil diaspora or to closely examine the inner dynamics of this complex festival in terms of Tamil Hindu traditions have often resulted in interpretations which are both misleading and/or skewed.
This approach will examine Thaipusam in terms of long established cultural and religious traditions, in the particular those of divine kingship and the rituals of Hindu pilgrimage. it will argue that far from being a merely Malaysian phenomenon, Thaipusam is a feature of the wider Tamil diaspora, and is constructed from condensed coded or Tamil history and culture. However, within the Malaysian context, Thaipusam is not only a continuing political and social assertion of Hindu identity, but as a festival sends a variety of signals, some agonistic, to a range of audiences both within Malaysia and beyond.
About the Author & Speaker
Carl Vadivella Belle obtained a BA at the Australian National University, Canberra, and a PhD at Deakin University in 2004. Between 1976 and 1979 served in the Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur. He has maintained a long term interest in Malaysian social, political, religious and political issues, especially Hinduism in Malaysia and the histories and traditions of Malaysia’s Indian community. He has also acted as principal consultant to several television and radio productions focusing on the festival of Thaipusam as it is practiced at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. Dr Belle was appointed Inaugural Hindu Chaplain at the Flinders University of South Australia in 2005. He has lectured extensively on both Malaysian politics and society, and on south Indian Hindu traditions, as well as wider religious issues, and has published numerous papers on these topics. His most recent work, Tragic Orphans: Indians in Malaysia, published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, constitutes a comprehensive general history of the modern Indian presence in Malaysia.
About the Seminar
UMNO today is very different from what it was before, and is not suited for the future. In the past, the party’s grassroot leaders were ordinary folks and Malay teachers who were very committed and call themselves ‘Orang UMNO’ (UMNO people) rather than ‘Ahli UMNO’ (UMNO members). Today, they are replaced by businessmen, staff of the Ministry of Rural Development and people looking for opportunities. Volunteerism in UMNO has declined while patronage or money politics, which emerged in 1980s, has deepened further. The 1MDB scandal shows how money politics has corrupted the party to the core. The scandal has badly hurt UMNO and the whole country in terms of leadership, corruption, freedom, rule of law and the economy. The original UMNO is ‘UMNO Berjuang’ (the fighting UMNO). Today, it is ‘UMNO Berwang’ (UMNO with money).
But, why is UMNO (and BN) still in power? Because of four major factors, i.e. unfair election system (e.g. malapportionment and gerrymandering), politics of race (plus religion), patronage and culture of fear. Can these four factors continue to help UMNO/BN win the 14th General Election (GE)? How have the various financial scandals and intra-party conflict in UMNO affected the young, middle class and urban Malays’ support? Will the Felda Global Ventures’ scandal erode UMNO’s staunch support from the Felda settlers? After denying UMNO/BN the two third majority in Parliament in the 12th General Election (GE) in 2008 and 13th GE in 2013, and UMNO/BN lost the popular vote in the 13th GE, can Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) win the 14th GE expected to be held in 2017?
About the Speaker
Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah is Chief Secretary of Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) – Malaysia’s biggest opposition coalition, and Director (Strategic and Social Development) of Institut Darul Ehsan. Previously, he was Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Member of Parliament for Temerloh and Member of UMNO Supreme Council. In October 2015, he left UMNO, mainly because of the 1MDB scandal, to join Keadilan.
He is a progressive politician who advocates the idea of New Politics, youth empowerment and social economy. When he was Deputy Minister of Higher Education, he re-launched the Speakers Corner and amended the University and University College Act to allow students to be actively involved in politics – both items banned since 1975; and was critical of the government’s suppressive ways on freedom, human rights and racism.
Before joining politics, Saifuddin was President of the Malaysian Youth Council, Member of the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Youth Employment and a student activist. He has published seven books, including New Politics/Politik Baru (bi-lingual) (2008) and ASEAN Peoples’ Agenda (2015); and is columnist at Sinar Harian, The Edge Malaysia and Sin Chew Daily.
About the Seminar
The original scheme of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution was to provide for constitutional supremacy in Article 4(1). Islam was given an exalted position in Article 3(1) by declaring it to be the official religion of the Federation. However it was also provided in Article 3(4) that nothing in Article 3(1) derogates from any other provision of the Constitution. This meant that despite Islam’s special position, the shariah was not the litmus test of validity for any laws.
The Constitution divided powers over Islamic law between Federal and State authorities. The States were not given a monopoly over the whole field of Islamic law. The Constitution assigned legislative and administrative powers to the States on only some residual, enumerated areas of Islamic law, mostly of Islamic family law. Shariah courts exercised jurisdiction only in areas permitted by the supreme Constitution. However since the 80s the States are enacting legislation in areas which are outside their jurisdiction. The federal government is a silent spectator. The courts are reluctant to strike down unconstitutional laws by the States. A constitutional amendment bars civil courts from interfering in any matter within the jurisdiction of the shariah courts.
The Constitution expressly forbade the subjection of non-Muslims to the jurisdiction of shariah authorities. But in the milieu of increasing “Islamisation”, some shariah authorities are emboldened to break free of this limitation. The superior, civil courts are increasingly reluctant to review the actions of shariah authorities or the constitutionality of laws made in the name of Islam. The imposition of power by the ecclesiastical authorities of one religion over the adherents of another religion is tearing society apart. Conflicts between civil and shariah courts over jurisdictional issues is leaving helpless people with no remedies. Inter-communal relations are frayed.
A silent rewriting of the Constitution is taking place. Article 3 (on Islam) and List II of the 9th Schedule (on state powers over Islam) have overridden constitutional supremacy, the chapter on fundamental rights and the federal-state division of powers. We seem to be heading towards a “one country two systems” model.
On another plane, the country is also moving steadily towards more and more religious authoritarianism in the disguise of Islamisation. The imposition of a very conservative, rigid, literal interpretation of the shariah is having an adverse impact on Muslim intellectuals. There are attempts to impose thought-control. Muslims cannot have a discourse on Islam without the written authority of a tauliah. Muslims cannot criticise a fatwa, and if they do that is a criminal offence! Electoral democracy is being undermined because unelected religious bureaucrats are issuing binding fatwas having the force of law. The fatwas are backed by criminal sanctions against anyone who challenges them. The Arabisation and Salafisation of Malay society is in progress.
Malaysia’s system of constitutional supremacy, electoral democracy, rule of law and separation of powers is under stress. At the political level, moderation, accommodation and inter-communal cooperation are under siege.
About the Speaker
Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi is the holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair in law at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He is an Emeritus Professor at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam and an Adjunct Professor at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Terengganu. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England, Australia. He has authored books in various fields including Media Law; Islam, Democracy and Development; and on Malaysia’s Federal Constitution. He is a columnist with Malaysia’s leading English daily, The Star.
About the Seminar
The Merdeka Center for Opinion Research recently conducted a survey in Sabah and Sarawak to assess public opinion on the performance of local leaders and of the state and federal governments, as well as potential election issues that concern them the most. These include the relationship between Putrajaya and Kuching/Kota Kinabalu as well as attitudes towards state autonomy, and question of Islamization and Islamic state. The choice of surveying voter sentiments in Sabah and Sarawak forms a critical component towards building a body of knowledge about the electorate there considering how the ruling Barisan Nasional has continuously relied upon voters’ there for support.
The relative weakness of the central government at Putrajaya has spurred political leadership in Sabah and Sarawak to push towards the devolution of power in their favour.
Interesting findings from the survey include: Sarawakians and Sabahans expressed mixed views about the direction the country is heading; Sarawakians were more satisfied with their state government and then chief minister, while Sabahans, on the other hand, held more split views on those institutions; most East Malaysians acknowledge that their respective states were better off being a part of Malaysia rather than without; a large majority of Sarawakians and Sabahans also report that they did not really understand the contents of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement or the 18 and 20 point terms set during the formation of the Malaysian Federation; and a plurality of East Malaysians held warm views towards Singapore although a sizable minority of one in five Sabahans held some negative feelings about the island state leaving the federation in 1965.
About the Speaker
Ibrahim Suffian is a co-founder and programs director of Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, a leading public opinion polling and political surveys organization in Malaysia. Besides undertaking research assignments, Ibrahim is actively involved in briefings for the diplomatic and the financial community about political developments in Malaysia. He presently manages Merdeka Center’s portfolio of clients ranging from political parties, government departments as well as local and international institutions of higher learning. Through Merdeka Center, Ibrahim has been involved in organizing surveys in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore and Myanmar.
Prior to his role in Merdeka Center, Ibrahim worked as a project finance specialist in a Malaysian investment bank and a project manager in an international development agency.
Ibrahim received education from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and obtained an MBA from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. Ibrahim was a World Fellow at Yale University in 2011.