How Malaysia can move on from the turmoil of 2020 will be a focus of The Australian National University’s (ANU) upcoming Malaysia Update.
Presented by the ANU Malaysia Institute, this three-day virtual conference will bring together leading experts from Australia and Malaysia for discussions around the central theme of Alternative Visions for Malaysia.
ANU Malaysia Institute Director Dr Ross Tapsell said the update would discuss urgent issues facing Malaysia in this current time of political, economic and health crises.
"Alternative Visions for Malaysia is based around a theme that the country is changing rapidly, and speakers are asked to focus on what opportunities and challenges the current turmoil brings for a bold future for Malaysia," Dr Tapsell said.
The 2020 Malaysia Update comes at a time of crisis for a country that had high hopes for the turn of the decade.
ANU Malaysia Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Ying Xin Show said “2020 in Malaysia is almost surreal”.
“The dream of becoming a developed nation in line with ‘Vision 2020’ has not been achieved,” Dr Show said.
Vision 2020 is a long-term plan set out by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, in 1991. His goal was for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation by the year 2020.
Instead, the country has faced unprecedented challenges this year, with a shifting political landscape, sharp economic downturn and many people at risk of losing their lives or livelihoods.
The biennial Malaysia Update, usually held in Canberra, is one of the best known conferences on Malaysia outside of the country and builds on the University’s commitment to research in the field of Malaysian studies.
"ANU has long been an important centre for international scholarship on Malaysian politics and society since the founding of the university in 1946,” Dr Taspell said.
"For the first time, the update will be held virtually, and we have partnered with Malaysia's most respected media company, Malaysiakini, to broadcast quality scholarly presentations during the event.
“We are excited that anyone around the world can attend and be involved in the discussions and Q&A, and have fielded responses from scholars in the US, Europe and of course, Southeast Asia.”
The event will be held online from 21-23 October and include a political, economic and cultural update.
Dr Show said discussions will focus on the “often-overlooked aspects from the mainstream narratives, such as youth in politics, the plights of vulnerable groups and the role of arts during COVID-19”.
Registration details and more information about the 2020 Malaysia Update can be found on the ANU Malaysia Institute website.