PhD, University of Essex; Master of Arts, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; Bachelor of Economics, Universiti Malaya
Professor Wong is a political scientist at both Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development (JSC) and Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia (JCI) at Sunway University. Trained as a comparativist in University of Essex, UK, he specialises in electoral system and party system. A long-term advocate for electoral reform in Malaysia through the civil society-based Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), he now leads the clusters on electoral system and constituency delimitation in the Malaysian Government’s Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). Beyond political institutions, Wong also studies identity politics and leads an annual survey on Malay-Muslims in Malaysia, Nadi Melayu-Muslim, funded by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Wong’s political insights are featured in international and domestic media in English, Chinese and Malay, including New York Times, Project Syndicate, Aljazeera, Malaysiakini, Astro and The Initium (Hong Kong). He has also published books on Malaysian politics in English and Chinese.
Profile (long version):
Professor Wong is a political scientist at both Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development (JSC) and Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia (JCI) at Sunway University. A Chewening scholar, he obtained his doctorate at University of Essex, UK, on a thesis on electoral system and party system in West Malaysia using quantitative and qualitative data. A founding member of the civil society-based Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), he now heads the clusters on electoral system and constituency delimitation in the Malaysian Government’s Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). During the 2016-2018 constituency delimitation for West Malaysia, as many as nine reports by him and/or his team in Penang Institute were submitted to courts by state governments and voters that challenge the exercise. Before joining Sunway University, he taught journalism at Monash University Malaysia (2007-2012) and led the Political and Social Analysis section at a state government think tank, Penang Institute (2012-2019).
A product of both his multicultural neighbourhood and Chinese education in the provincial town of Kampar, Perak, Wong moves across different linguistic communities, seeing striking similarities between ethno-religious categories and substantive differences within each category. Realising that modern democracy is premised on division and division is inevitable in modern societies, Wong is curious to learn how inter-group differences and conflicts may be made productive. Besides advocating for institutional reforms, he is leading an annual survey on Malay-Muslims in Malaysia, Nadi Melayu-Muslim, funded by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).
Wong’s political insights are featured in international and domestic media in English, Chinese and Malay, including New York Times, Project Syndicate, Malaysiakini, Astro, The Star and The Initium (Hong Kong). He has published books on Malaysian politics in English and Chinese.
- Head, Clusters on Electoral System and Constituency Delimitation, Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia
- Resource person, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), Malaysia
- Nadi Melayu-Muslim (The Malay-Muslim Pulse), an opinion poll surveying 2,400 Malay-Muslims nationwide
- Wong, Chin-Huat (2021). How to deter party hopping in Malaysia? An exploration of remedies, Bersih 2.0 Report, (Malaysia: The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0)).
- Wong, Chin-Huat (2020).’Parliament as Prime Minister’s electoral college: the defection game in Malaysia’s democratic backsliding’, The Round Table, 109.5 (2020): 586-607.
- Wong, Chin-Huat (2020). ‘Sabah State Election 2020: Did the Electorate Vote for Change?’ Platform – A Journal of Management and Humanities, 3.2 (2020), 2-15.
- Wong, Chin-Huat. (2020). “Malaysia’s First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) Electoral System: Malpractices and Mismatch”, in Meredith L. Weiss and Faisal H. Haziz (editors), Towards a New Malaysia? The 2018 Election and Its Aftermath. Singapore: NUS Press.
- Wong, Chin Huat. (2019). “Malaysia’s Evolving Party System” in Semaul C. Y. Ku, Wen-Pin Lin and Kai Leong Ho (eds) Southeast Asia: Transition and Transformation, Kaohsiung: Wenzao Ursuline University Press.
- Wong, Chin Huat. (2018). “Which God? Whose Country? – Freedom of Religion and Belief in Malaysia”, the Commonwealth Lawyer, December 2018, pp 6-17.
- Wong, Chin-Huat (黄进发). (2018) “共业: 我们能否摆脱被巫统统治的宿命？” (Collective Karma: Can we escape the fate of being ruled by UMNO?) Kuala Lumpur: Mentor Publishing (大将).
- Wong, Chin-Huat. (2018) “Introduction: How Did Malaysia End UMNO’s 61 Years of One-Party Rule? What’s Next?”, Round Table – The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 107 No. 6, pp 661-667.
- Wong, Chin-Huat. (2018) “The Rise, Resilience and Demise of Malaysia’s Dominant Coalition”, Round Table – The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 107 No. 6, pp 755-769.
- Wong, Chin-Huat. (2018) “Constituency Delimitation and Electoral Authoritarianism in Malaysia”, Round Table – The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 107 No. 1, pp 67-80.
- Wong, Chin-Huat (黄进发). (2015) “公民可否相异而平等？” (Can citizens be different yet equal?), 思想杂志 (Reflexion), No. 28, pp 131-150.
- Wong, Chin-Huat. (2015) “Malaysia: cross-communal coalition building to denounce political violence“, in N. Ganesan and Colin Dürkop (editors), State-society relations and democracy in Southeast Asia and Turkey, Ankara: KAS. p96-128
- Wong, Chin Huat and Soon, Li Tsin (editors). (2012) Democracy at Stake: Examining 16 By-election in Malaysia 2008-11. Petaling Jaya: SIRD.
- Wong, Chin Huat and James Chin. (2011) “Malaysia: Centralized Federalism in an Electoral One-Party State” in: Rekha Saxena (editor), Varieties of Federal Governance: Major Contemporary Models. Delhi: Cambridge University Press India. pp. 208-231
- Wong, Chin Huat, James Chin and Norani Othman. (2010). “Malaysia – towards a typology of Electoral One Party State” Democratization, Vol. 17, No. 5, October 2010. Pp 920-949.
Selected Talks and Presentations
- 5-7 Dec 2019: SEASIA Biennial Conference 2019, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
- 12-17 Nov 2019: Workshop on “Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and Constituency Delimitation: Experiences of Germany and New Zealand for Malaysia’s Reference”, by the Electoral Reform Committee, Bersih 2.0 and ENGAGE, at Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
- 27 Sep 2019: The Centennial Commemorative International Seminar on Yin Hai-Kuang, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
- 27 Aug-1 Dec 2019: Crash Courses for Citizens on “Multiparty Democracy and Electoral System”, for Civil Society Group Engage, in seven cities and towns in Malaysia.
- 13-14 May 2019: “May 13, 1969: An International Symposium on Post-513 Malaysian Literatures and Cultural Articulations”, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
- 6 May 2019: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Seminar on “Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan: One Year On”, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.
- 2 May 2019: Seminar on “GE14 and the Year Since: Analyses and Perspectives”, by Electoral Studies Research Unit, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), at IIUM, Kuala Lumpur.
- 21-24 Mar 2019: The 2019 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Denver, United States.
- 9 -10 Mar 2019: The 20th Annual International Conference of Cultural Studies (Taiwan), National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
- 21 Feb-15 Oct 2019: Public Engagement Programme, by the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), in 13 cities and towns in Malaysia.
- 9 Jan 2019: The 2019 Regional Outlook Conference, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, at Singapore.
- 30 Nov – 1 Dec 2018: Organiser and speaker, ‘Malaysia’s Electoral Reform Roundtable’, by Kofi Anan Foundation, Bersih 2.0, International IDEA, IFES and Global Bersih, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office and the Election Commission, at the Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- 25-27 Oct 2018: The 2018 Wenzao International Conference on Southeast Asian Studies, at Wenzao University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
- 15 June 2018: Seminar on “Malaysia’s Party Alternation, Sino-Malaysian Relations, China Factor”, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
- 17-18 Apr 2018, Forum on Freedom of Religion and Belief, by Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Lambeth Palace, Lambeth Palace, London, UK.
News & Op/Eds
JSC and Prof Wong Chin Huat hosts a range of speakers, inclusive of Malaysian Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, to discuss professionalising the duties of members of parliament.
Prof Wong Chin Huat believes Warisan’s preference to partner with PBS has nothing to do with PBS being a local party and UMNO not being local.
Prof Wong Chin Huat said even the proposed prime minister-level youth advisory group, will do little to quell unhappiness over the government’s performance.
Prof Wong Chin Huat said corrections to the electoral distribution would see 19 more parliamentary seats added to Selangor, four more for Kelantan and five for Terengganu.
Prof Wong Chin Huat said an Umno-DAP tie-up must be based on reforms as any cooperation without a common issue would invite backlash from their grassroots.
Prof Wong Chin Huat weighs in on increasing the number and the role of female representatives in Malaysia's Parliament.