The Belt and Road Initiative: Myths and Misconceptions of China’s Motives and Involvement

10 June 2019, Monday, 3.00 to 5.00pm; Lecture Theatre 5, Sunway University Building.

What are the motivations behind China’s push for the Belt-and-Road Initiative? This talk examines domestic political economy drivers of China’s grand plans to invest in infrastructure projects and expand investment overseas. It highlights domestic interest groups and political constraints that are often neglected in popular discourse. It also examines whether concerns such as the “debt trap diplomacy” is justified.

Speaker: Associate Professor Lynette Ong

Lynette Ong is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, crossly appointed at Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She teaches authoritarian politics, political economy of development and Chinese politics. She is the author or “Prosper or Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China” (Cornell University Press, 2012). Her publications have appeared in a wide range of Political Science and Asian Studies journals, including Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, International Political Science Review, China Quarterly, China Journal, and Journal of Contemporary Asia, etc. Her opinion pieces and research have been featured in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, New Yorker, Economist, New York Times, South China Morning Post, East Asia Forum, etc.

Can Electoral Systems Encourage Politics of Moderation?

29 May 2019, 2.30pm – 4.00pm, Hall 3 Graduate Center Sunway University.

“Electoral systems influence both politicians and voters, and also shape the development of political parties and party systems.  Sunway University proudly presents an intellectually engaging and politically relevant conversation between Prof Benjamin Reilly, an international electoral system expert who advocates encouraging political moderation through electoral system design – and Dr Wong Chin Huat, Sunway’s own electoral system expert who also serves on the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). They will lead present ideas on what may be done to improve our electoral system and move Malaysian politics away from race and religion.”


  1. Dr Wong Chin Huat, Senior Fellow, Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development
  2. Professor Benjamin Reilly, Professor, The University of Western Australia.

Moderated by Dr Lyana Khairuddin


March 2019 Asian Economic Panel

The March 2019 Asian Economic Panel is a by-invitation only event.


The Asian Economic Panel invites about forty leading economists from all over the world to each meeting to discuss the subjects of that particular meeting. Holding its first meeting in April of 2001, The Asian Economic Panel meets three times a year in different parts of the world to discuss economic issues that pertain either to sub-regions of Asia or to particular Asian countries. Prominent scholars from the Asia Pacific as well as further afield have participated in the Panel.

A carefully selected subset of the papers presented at each meeting is published in Asian Economic Papers (AEP) three times per year. The AEP articles focus on rigorous, objective analysis of key economic issues of a particular Asian economy or of the broader Asian region, and offer creative solutions to these Asian economic issues. The topics cover macroeconomics, trade relations, currencies, financial markets, fiscal and industrial policy, development and human capital. More pressing current issues are discussed as well, such as the US-China Trade War, the Global Financial Crisis, rising inequality and changes in the global trade environment.

The AEP both selects articles from open submissions and solicits articles from the top experts in the fields that are of high contemporary interest. Membership of the Asian Economic Panel is by invitation only.

The International Trade System in Disarray

JCI is hosting The March 2019 Asian Economic Panel, which will discuss the fragile and volatile global trade environment we are currently facing. More specifically, this session will discuss the below themes and topics for individual country papers:

  1. The direct & indirect impact of the US-China trade war;
  2. Assessments of post-2000 changes in global trade pattern, the WTO system and in regional trade arrangements;
  3. Likely outcomes to emerge from the US-China trade war and consequences for individual countries; and,
  4. Reforms to WTO system and regional trade pacts that individual countries would like to see.

This Asian Economic Panel meeting will contribute to the publication of Asian Economic Papers, Vol. 18 No. 2, with a special Issue on: The Global Trade System in Disarray: Fixing Design Flaws and Adjusting to a Multi-Polar War.

More Information

For more on the Asian Economic Papers, visit the journal’s official website here.
For details on the AEP, please contact Jeremy Lim at jeremyl{at}

The European Economy and Monetary Policy In and Out of the Crisis

After years of double-dip recession, the Euro area began to grow since 2013. But that growth is now experiencing both external and internal headwinds. Dr Tuomas Välimäki of the Bank of Finland will present his views of the current situation in the European economy, arguing that despite the above, we can expect an acceleration of growth towards the end of this year and into 2020. Nevertheless, there remains more to be done in strengthening the European banking sector.

Dr. Tuomas Välimäki has been a member of the Board of the Bank of Finland, the central monetary authority of Finland, since July 2018. He is responsible for investment of the Bank of Finland’s financial assets, monetary policy implementation and market operations as well as academic research and research on transition economies. He also bears the responsibility for central bank services related to digitalisation and IT issues together with information management. His newest book, co-authored with Francesco Papadia, Central Banking in Turbulent Times (2018) examines fundamental questions about the central banking system, asking whether the model of an independent central bank devoted to price stability is the final resting point of a complex development that started centuries ago.

28 March 2019, Thursday
JC3, Level 1, Sunway University Building


To Register here.