Malaysian Universities Must Change

The education industry is one of the world’s oldest industries and has played its role in advancing civilization and the general well-being of human society. Having said that, it is also an industry that has undergone little change or transformation over many centuries and has remained ‘traditional’…

The Many Shades of Islamism and Islamists in Malaysia

Islamism, referring to a political ideology that valorizes the erection of an Islamic state as the ultimate goal of the Islamic struggle, emerged in Malaysia since the 1960s. The onset of Islamic resurgence in the 1970s injected vigor into Islamist initiatives, which by the 1980s had been adopted by the Malaysian state…

The Malaysian Federation: Views From East Malaysia

The Malaysia Agreement and the process of establishing the Malaysian Federation in 1963, are increasing being debated by Sarawakians and Sabahans.  This has led to the rise of state nationalism in both states. Putrajaya responded by appointing more East Malaysians to the cabinet, creating a committee to deal with ‘devolution of powers’…

JCI-MEA Economic Seminar Series

Launched in 2010, the NEM laid out an ambitious reform agenda for the Malaysian economy to break free from the middle income trap. The National Economic Advisory Council’s clear and forthright diagnosis led to wide-ranging proposals over the course of this decade. A 2020 target for high-income status and abounding blueprints set things in motion.

Come mid-2017 and viewed through the lens of the NEM – what is the overall state of the Malaysian economy? Headways and achievements have rightly been lauded. Applying the same constructive rigour, where has progress stagnated, fallen behind or gone off track? Relative to well performing Asian economies, how can Malaysia’s catching-up process be accelerated? For more effective root and branch reforms, where should the will and wherewithal of key actors be directed to? Are new crossroad emerging as the Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) rubric gets underway?

The Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University (JCI) and the Malaysian Economic Association (MEA) are co-organizing four seminars to shed more light on these and other questions.Thought leaders will discuss and share their reflections and insights on Malaysia’s economic journey since 2010 and its policy imperatives going forward, including the agenda for dynamic sustainable development. The reform experiences of other countries will add insightful perspectives to the discourse.

Details of the seminar series:

Theme: Revisiting the New Economic Model- Lags and Prospects


Kuala Lumpur Penang


The Malaysian Economy- Where are We?

Date: 1 Aug 2017 (Tues)

Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: JC2, Level 1, Sunway University


Reform Experiences of Other Countries- Lessons for Malaysia

Date: 25 Aug 2017 (Fri)

Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: Conference Hall 2, Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, KL

Date: 26 Aug 2017 (Sat)

Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: Multi-Purpose Hall, Bangunan U.A.B., Penang


Policy Imperatives to Drive Future Growth

Date: 7 Sept 2017 (Thurs)

Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: Conference Hall 2, Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, KL

Date: 9 Sept 2017 (Sat)

Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: Multi-Purpose Hall, Bangunan U.A.B., Penang


The Reform Program for Dynamic Sustainable Development

Date: 31 Oct 2017 (Tues)

Time: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Venue: Sunway University

For more details on the program, kindly download the e-leaflet.

Free Admission. Limited Seats Available.

Register here

Materially Poor, Morally Rich: The Orang Asli, Malaysia’s First Peoples


The Orang Asli are typically perceived to be ‘backward’ or ‘primitive’. On the basis of this impression which Professor Alberto Gomes shall dispel to be false or misconceived, they have been subjected to state-sponsored projects of economic development and social engineering which have rarely benefited them and mostly left them worse off. Corporations and unscrupulous capitalists have encroached into Orang Asli homelands regularly and extensively, often unchecked and insidious, displacing and dispossessing the people and/or degrading their environments and sources of livelihood. Consequently, Orang Asli mostly live in abject poverty and fare poorly in almost every social, political and economic indicator relative to the national average.

A few years ago Professor Gomes shifted his attention to the question of what can we in our ‘modern’ or ‘hyper-modern’ world learn from the Orang Asli and their fellow first peoples. While the Orang Asli are unquestionably poor in material terms, Professor Gomes has come to appreciate the richness of their cultural, moral, ecological principles, philosophies and practices that he contended has much to offer as lessons or paradigmatic models for resolving the myriad global challenges such as climate change, environmental problems and the rising tide of violent conflict, racism, bigotry and xenophobia.

Details of the public lecture:

Topic: Materially Poor, Morally Rich: The Orang Asli, Malaysia’s First Peoples

Date: 14th July 2017  (Friday)

Time: 3 pm -5 pm   

Venue: Lecture Theatre 7, Level 1, Sunway University

For more details on the program, kindly download the e-leaflet. and register here.

Transformation of Malaysian University Models for Sustainability


Over the last 20 years, since the establishment of Malaysia’s first private university i.e. Multimedia University, there has been a rapid increase of public and private universities in Malaysia. The private universities included not only those that grew from local colleges but also foreign universities setting up campuses in Malaysia and running courses out of the parent institutions. During that time, the Malaysian government pushed strongly for the creation of national, regional and global education hubs in order to take Malaysian tertiary education to a higher level.Many of these hubs became the catalysts for economic growth in the regions where they are located. Parallel to this, institutional evolution has taken many forms, both locally and through international collaboration.

This seminar will focus on some of these evolutions, as well as the necessary strategic moves that some have taken in response to the fast changing higher education landscape brought about by technology, economic and geo-political challenge.

Details of the seminar:

Date: 11 July 2017 (Tuesday)

Time: 9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Venue: LT5, Level 1, University Building, Sunway University

For more details on the program, kindly download the e-leaflet.

ASEAN Ministers Workshop 2017


The AMW aims to be a regional platform for the nations of Southeast Asia to share and improve national strategies, and to formulate a regional mechanism to implement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Workshop will enable ASEAN members to improve their development plans and reorder their implementation priorities. Topics discussed will include economic development strategies, programs for inclusive social progress, innovation and research policy, sustainable resource planning and energy management.

Details of the AMW Workshop:

Date: 25 – 26 April 2017 (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Time: 8.45 am – 7.00 pm (on Tuesday) and 9.00 am to 12.30 pm (on Wednesday)

Venue: JC1, Level 1, Sunway University

As all RSVPs for the AMW Workshop are managed electronically, kindly respond through this link by 19 April 2017, 1pm.

For more details on the program, kindly download the e-leaflet.



Globalisation Enters a New Phase: How is Southeast Asia to Adapt?

The political upheavals in 2016 in the West heralded a new period in global politics and economics. Not only is the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, the United States under President Donald Trump is backtracking on the decades-long process of trade liberalization. TPP is dead, and severe damage has been done to America’s reputation as the champion of free trade. And President Xi Jinping of China has stepped forward in Davos in January 2017 to unite the rest of the world to protect free trade.

While the rise of China has been a ubiquitous topic for pundits for two decades, how a multi-polar world would actually come into being, and how exactly the new and the old big powers would renegotiate their positions vis-à-vis each other, were never quite clear. Moreover, how the old power would act to fortify its necessarily narrower areas of influence was seldom considered until the election of Donald Trump. Trump acts defensively and treats former foes as friends and former allies as enemies. While most may expect this chaotic condition to end, there is no telling when things would settle down.

The focus of Trump’s reorientation of American foreign policy and economic relations does not seem to be on Southeast Asia at all, despite some comments on the South China Sea. With China establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launching the One Belt One Road Initiative, and countries such as the Philippines and Malaysia becoming fast friends of Beijing very quickly, the future of ASEAN comes into question. What will be the new geo-strategic game in the region? How will ASEAN economies and societies fare in 2017 from the interaction between their internal dislocations and the large external shocks?


Date:     20 March 2017 (Monday)

Venue:  Auditorium JC 2, Level 1, Sunway University

Time:     5.30 pm – 7.00 pm


  • Dr Ooi Kee Beng – Deputy Director of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
  • Prof Woo Wing Thye – President, Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia


  • Ambassador (R) Dato’ M. Redzuan Kushairi – Deputy Chairman, Foreign Policy Study Group

Kindly download the e-leaflet and register here.