Wong Chin Huat

Professor Wong is a resident political scientist at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute and the Jeffrey Sachs Center inquiring on how democracy and group competition may produce a sustainable future for humans. A Chevening scholar, he studied electoral system and party system at University of Essex. Convinced by Federalist Paper No 10, Wong sees division is inevitable to democracy as aging is to longevity. In collaboration with electoral reform lobby Bersih 2.0, he and his team at Penang Institute scrutinised the Election Commission’s constituency delimitation proposals in 2016-8, producing nine reports filed in courts by litigants including state governments. Wong now leads the cluster on electoral system and constituency delimitation in the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). Besides academic papers, he also writes commentaries in English, Chinese and Malay for New York Times, Project Syndicate, Malaysiakini and other media.

Kavitha Ambigabadi

As the Manager of Graduate Studies, Kavitha plans, organises and manages all matters related to the Jeffrey Cheah Institute and the Jeffrey Sachs Center’s academic programs, which include student admission, programme administration, learning management systems, marketing and promotion, academic quality management and student experience. Kavitha holds a Bachelor’s in Management from the University of Science Malaysia (USM) and an MBA (1st Class) from University Utara Malaysia (UUM). She also holds a Train the Trainer Certificate from the HRDF.

Hendry Ng

As the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Ng administers the academic programmes of the Jeffrey Cheah Institute and the Jeffrey Sachs Center in two main areas: office administration and academic quality management. The administration activities include student relations, teaching staff engagement, marketing & branding; while the academic quality management covers curriculum development and programme standards. Trained in Computer Science and Management Science, Dr Ng has 10 years’ experience in the IT industry, and 22 years in academia. For the last 15 years, has been involved in education of adult learners. This includes 10 years as the Director of Victoria University Postgraduate programmes at Sunway College.

Ho Yi Jian

Ho Yi Jian is a Research Associate with research areas in governance, international relations and comparative politics. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Australian National University under the Hedley Bull Scholarship and a bachelors in Political Science from the National University of Singapore as an ASEAN Scholar. He has experience in advocacy and think tank work, with selective publications in Malaysian socio-economics, migration, electoral politics, energy, and South China Sea security.

Gopalasamy Reuben Clements

Associate Professor Gopalasamy Reuben Clements is a conservation scientist by training and a Research Fellow at the Jeffrey Sachs Center (JSC). He received his PhD in conservation science from James Cook University and obtained his MSc and BSc in biology from the National University of Singapore. Reuben’s research focuses on forest and biodiversity conservation and has published over 60 articles in international journals that include Nature, and his work has been featured in the BBC, New York Times and National Geographic. He also co-founded a local non-profit research organization known as Rimba, which conducts applied research on the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia. Reuben’s team is currently collaborating with the Terengganu state government to manage 30,000 hectares of forests protected as a state park. He also collaborates with the Federal government on tiger and large carnivore monitoring, wildlife law enforcement and policy improvement, land use and conservation planning (using GIS and remote sensing), sustainable forest management and wildlife corridor design and management. Reuben’s current project at JSC aims to make more economic arguments for forest and biodiversity conservation through the development and implementation of novel biofinancing mechanisms.


Kong Phui Yi

Phui Yi coordinates the center’s Master in Sustainable Development Management programme. A graduate of Bowdoin College, USA, Phui Yi holds an interdisciplinary degree in English and Theater, and a minor in Religion. In 2015, Phui Yi received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to pursue an year-long independent project on a global scale in Civic Mindedness and the Physical Arts. Prior to joining JSC, Phui Yi worked as a high school teacher in Malaysia, teaching English, theatre and social studies.

Chen Jit Ern

Dr. Chen Jit Ern is a Research Fellow at the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development and a Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Sunway University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Plant Sciences. His primary research interest is in the development and utilization of genetic engineering techniques and molecular tools on various microalgae, to study the underlying mechanisms for physiological traits such as lipid accumulation and heat tolerance. His previous Post-Doctoral position was in KAUST, Saudi Arabia, studying the potential for increased heat-tolerance in Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium microadriaticum), the photosynthetic coral endosymbiont, native to the Red Sea. His current project in Sunway University is a continuation of this work, with a particular emphasis on the study of heat-activated Zooxanthellae retrotransposons.


Lee Chooi Yee

Chooi Yee plays a key role in the event planning, staff training, coordinates and implements new operation procedures for the Jeffrey Cheah Institute (JCI) and the Jeffrey Sachs Center (JSC). She oversees the operations, communications, event planning, website and database management. She has over 10 years of experience in administration, and expertise in event planning, project coordination and database management. Prior to joining the JCI-JSC, she was a tax consultant at Ernst & Young and senior research analyst at CEIC, ISI-Emerging Markets Group. She is a two-time winner of the Monash University Malaysia PVC’S Award to an outstanding administrative professional. Chooi Yee graduated with first class honours from University of Malaya in Economics (Honours) majoring in Applied Statistics.

Yeah Kim Leng

Professor Yeah is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Economic Studies Programme at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics. His research interests span development economics, monetary economics, capital markets and industry studies. These topics reflect his previous experiences as an economic analyst at a national policy think-tank, a chief economist at a credit rating agency and a lead consultant at an economics consultancy services subsidiary. His current project at the Jeffrey Sachs Center focuses on tax systems and structures and their effects on fiscal sustainability, economic growth and income inequality. He is an external member of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.

Shandre Mugan Thangavelu

Professor Shandre is the Vice President of the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University. Before his appointment, he was a Regional Director at Centre for International Economic Studies at the Institute of International Trade in the University of Adelaide and the Director of the Asia Growth Research Centre at the university. He is an active researcher on human capital development, technology transfer, foreign direct investment, trade, government infrastructure investment, productivity and economic growth. He has written extensively on ASEAN integration, FDI, human capital development, technology transfer and economic growth and has published his research in major international journals. He has written several books on trade, investment, integration and outsourcing in Asia. He has also worked on several international projects commissioned by UNDP, World Bank, ASEAN Secretariat, APEC, and Asian Productivity Organization (APO).

Interview with Professor Shandre: