PhD, Victoria University of Wellington; BA (Hons), University of Sydney; BA, University of Adelaide

Professor James Chin is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Governance Studies at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University. He is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania. He is a leading commentator on Malaysian politics and has published extensively on Malaysia and the surrounding region. He is widely regarded as the leading scholar of contemporary Sabah and Sarawak.

He was previously Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore; and Professor of Political Science, Monash University, Malaysia campus.  Prior to an academic career, he worked as a journalist in Malaysia and Singapore. His most recent publication are; Malaysia Post Mahathir: A Decade of Change? (2015); 50 Years of Malaysia: Federalism Revisited (2014) and Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia (2013).  Prof Chin has published extensively in leading journals such as Asian Survey, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Journal of Political Science, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, The Round Table, Southeast Asian Affairs, Asian Politics & Policy, Journal of Democracy, Electoral Studies, Democratization and South East Asia Research. He has also written commentaries for leading publications such as The New York Times, The Diplomat, Australian Outlook, The Conversation, The Straits Times, East Asia Forum and New Mandala.


  • Inaugural Director of the Asia Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania
  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University

Member of the following professional organization:

  • Association for Asian Studies (AAS),
  • Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA),
  • Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA),
  • Life member of the Malaysian Social Sciences Association (MSSA)

Current Projects

Selected Publications

Academic Articles

  • James Chin. (2020). ‘Malaysia: the 2020 putsch for Malay Islam supremacy’. The Round Table, 109.3 (2020): 288-297.
  • James Chin. (2020). ‘L’Australia vista dal nord: le relazioni con l’Indonesia e la Malaysia’, RISE (Relazioni internazionali e International political economy del Sud-Est asiatico, International Relations and International Political Economy of Southeast Asia) 5.3 (July 2020).
  • James Chin. (2020). ‘The (re) making of Malaysia and its fabulous 1963 promise’, In Kean Wong (Ed.), Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, and Hope in New Malaysia (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Gerakbudaya, 2020).
  • James Chin. (2019). Sabah and Sarawak in the 14th General Election 2018 (GE14): Local Factors and State Nationalism, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs.
  • 14 March 2019: “New” Malaysia: Four Key Challenges in the Near Term, Lowy Institute
  • James Chin (2019) ‘The 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63): Sabah And Sarawak and the Politics of Historical Grievances’ in Minorities Matter: Malaysian Politics and People (Singapore: ISEAS- Yusuf Ishak Institute) pp. 75-92
  • James Chin & Anthony Milner (2019) ‘Malaysia: History’ in Far East and Australasia (51th Ed), Europa World (Routledge: London) pp. 526-537
  • James Chin (2019) ‘UMNO and the Myth of Invincibility’, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol 108: 1, pp 93-94
  • James Chin (2019) GE14 In East Malaysia: MA63 and Marching to a Different Drum, Southeast Asian Affairs 2019 (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing) pp 211-222.
  • James Chin & Taufiq Tanasaldy (2019) “The Ethnic Chinese In Indonesia And Malaysia: The Challenge of Political Islam”, Asian Survey: A Bimonthly Review of Contemporary Asian Affairs, Vol. 59: 6) pp.959-977
  • James Chin, “Sabah and Sarawak in the 14th General Election 2018“, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Special issue on The 2018 Malaysian General Election: The Return of Mahathir and the Exit of UMNO, Vol 37, No 3 (2018).

Selected Talks and Presentations

  • 28 Nov 2019: “East Malaysia’s Rising Role in Malaysian Politics and National Unity”, RSIS Seminar, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 26 Sept 2018: “Mahathir and the New Malaysia”, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Australia
  • 3 July 2018: “The 14th Malaysian General Elections: change or more of the same?”, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan
  • 28 Nov 2019: “East Malaysia’s Rising Role in Malaysian Politics and National Unity”, RSIS Seminar, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 26-27th September 2019: “Sabah & Sarawak: Historical Grievances and the future of the Malaysian Federation”, Keynote Address, 21st Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) Symposium  Monash University

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