Malaysian Trolls: Internet-based Political Trolling as the New Normal in Malaysian Politics

In the Malaysian context, social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter (and increasingly, YouTube), were weaponized to further the cause of the former Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional-constituted government. The previous government accessed state’s resources to hire big data consultants (i.e. Cambridge Analytica/SCL) and marshal paid trolls (cybertroopers) to disrupt their opponents campaigns, and enacted Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Bill prior to GE14 as a pre-emptive strike against their political opponents. Manipulation of newsfeeds on social media would not have taken place without these enterprises taking advantage of new technical affordances which were adapted from targeted advertising and ‘disruption’. This JCI Forum will address different forms of internet political trolling triggered by pre and post GE14 events.

As we edge towards Web 3.0, what goes on ‘under the hood’ of a digital platform is inseparable from the social hacks and exploits performed by the users of the platforms (regardless of the latter’s technical sophistication), this JCI Forum will consider the different kinds of political trolling that had taken place in Malaysia’s cyberspace during the period before and after GE14.

Forum details:

Lecture Theatre 3, Level UG, Sunway University
10 December 2019, Tuesday
3.00pm – 4.30pm
Public by Registration


Register for the JCI Forum here.

Youth Defence Summit 2019

As a consequence of 30 years of peace since the end of the Communist Insurgency, the Malaysian public at large has developed a serious disconnect with the Malaysian Armed Forces. This, in turn, has created a considerable barrier to having effective and meaningful public discourse regarding national defense policy and military reforms.

In order to restart this conversation, this conference aims to achieve the following:

  • Foster an understanding of the role of the military and civilian population in upholding national defence and security.
  • Provide a basic framework for youths to understand the national defense and national security policy.
  • Provide a platform for young military officers and young civilians to network and experience problem-solving activities together, thereby bridging the gap between them.
  • Explain the importance of youth involvement and the possible avenues for participation in defending the country.

Conference details:

Sunway University
7 December 2019, Saturday
8.30am – 6.00pm
Open to Malaysians aged 18-30

This conference is organized by #Undi18 and supported by the office of the Deputy Defence Minister, YB Liew Chin Tong and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia

Social Media and New Politics in Malaysia


It is obvious that social media will be setting the agenda for the next general elections. In fact, there is little doubt that social media will decide whether Pakatan Harapan will last its full term in power. What does it mean for Malaysia now that the political class in Malaysia is held hostage by social media? Does the Malaysian social media landscape reflect the ‘will’ of the people or organised groups with the resources to manipulate social media? Given the omnipresence of religious and ethnic tensions, will social media be the space for hate speech and right-wing groups? What role will online news play in this space?

This event is held in conjunction with the launch of the book Malaysian Politics in the New Media Age: Implications on the Political Communication Process, by Dr Pauline Leong. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of the Internet on Malaysian politics and how it has played a pivotal role in influencing the country’s political climate. It investigates the interplay between traditional and new media on politics in Malaysia.

Book Launch details:

JC 2, Sunway University
4 December 2019, Wednesday
3.00pm – 4.30pm
Public by Registration


Register for the panel and book launch here.


Master in Public Policy Preview


The Master in Public Policy at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia prepares students to develop practical solutions to real-world policy problems in the region through a multi-disciplinary focus in economics, quantitative analysis and public policy management. Applications for our inaugural March 2020 intake are now open.

Want to find out more?

Come for the course preview this Saturday:

Date: 2nd November 2019
Time: 11.00AM – 12.00PM
Venue: LT 6, Level 1, Sunway University

Register here.

Beyond 2020: Fresh Views, New Visions

19 August 2019, Monday, 12.00 to 2.00pm; JC2, Sunway University Building.

In 1991, the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed ‘Vision 2020’, where he espoused his aim of Malaysia becoming a fully developed nation by 2020. As we inch closer to the year 2020, where does Malaysia stand today? Dr Mahathir is once again at the helm of the country, but does his ‘shared prosperity’ agenda for 2030 offer us a new vision for the future, or do we need different perspectives altogether to chart the nation’s direction? Join us as we discuss these pressing questions and more.


Liew Chin Tong (Deputy Defence Minister of Malaysia),
Nurul Izzah Anwar (Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh),
Khairy Jamaluddin (Member of Parliament for Rembau)

The Dragon Amongst Tigers: China and Cross-Border Trade Shocks in Asia

9 August 2019, Friday, 3.00-5.00pm, Lecture Theatre 2, Level UG, Sunway University.

Abstract: The importance of NIE-4 and ASEAN-4 economies is rapidly increasing in the global economy. These economies have experienced rapid economic growth, regional integration, diverse responses to global economic turmoil as well as changing trade structure. They display considerable trade interdependence with dramatic increases since the 1997 Asian crisis. Of the four main driver regions/economies examined for Asian countries, China has displaced the EU and Japan as the most dominant connection, although the US remains the most important.

In this presentation, Dr Mala Raghavan will consider specifically the time-varying nature of trade patterns in transmitting shocks to and from ASEAN-4 and NIE-4 economies and the G4 (US, EU, Japan and China). Her study identifies the significance of trade interdependencies over time in the dissemination of trade shocks, and highlights the challenges and opportunities for economies with complex trade links within the Asian region.


Dr Mala Raghavan is Lecturer of Economics at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania, an associate with the Asia Institute of Tasmania and a Visiting Research Fellow to Bank Negara. Her research interests are in the areas of Macroeconomic Policies, Monetary Economics, International Economics and Asian Economies. Dr Raghavan specialises in building prediction systems that can pinpoint moments of financial instability around the world.