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2018 Malaysia Update - Regime change in Malaysia: how, why and the future

ANU Malaysia Institute Event


Weston Theatre, JG Crawford Building (132), Lennox Crossing, ANU


Thursday, 11 October, 2018 - 13:30 to Friday, 12 October, 2018 - 17:50

The ANU Malaysia Institute will hold the 2018 Malaysia Update conference on Thursday 11 October, and Friday 12 October. The conference provides an opportunity to examine the recent momentous changes in Malaysia, including the first regime change since independence in 1957, attempts to establish a new democratic nation, and its regional impact.

The conference will feature world-class expertise from leading academics of Malaysian Studies. Attendees will include academics within the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, as well as government representatives and policymakers, diplomats, students, and the general public.  The aim of the conference is to providing fresh thinking about the ways forward for the study of Malaysian society in scholarship as well as reflect on recent changes in Malaysia’s politics, economics and society which may reflect policy-making decisions.

The conference features keynote address by Malaysia's Deputy Defence Minister, Liew Chin Tong, and welcome remarks by Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and Julie Heckscher, First Assistant Secretary, Southeast Asia Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Speakers include:
  • Terence Gomez, University of Malaya
  • Meredith Weiss, State University of New York
  • Amanda Whiting, The University of Melbourne
  • Vilashini Somiah, IMAN Research
  • Hew Wai Weng, Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Serina Rahman, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
  • Sophie Lemiere, Harvard University
  • James Chin, University of Tasmania
  • Bridget Welsh, John Cabot University
  • Sumit Mandal, University of Nottingham Malaysia
  • Zainah Anwar, Musawah, Malaysia
  • Wan Saiful, former Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), and special advisor to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik

Conference program

Day 1: Thursday 11 October 2018 


1.30-2.15pm State of the field – The future of Malaysian Studies, moderated by the ANU Malaysia Institute


2.15-3pm Coffee/tea and book launches

Featuring launch of the revised edition of The End of UMNO? Edited by Bridget Welsh

3-5pm Keynote panel – What are the prospects for political reform? 

Zainah Anwar (Musawah, Malaysia) and Wan Saiful Wan Jan (special advisor to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, Malaysia), moderated by Kean Wong (New Mandala, ANU)

5-5.30pm Break


5.30-6.30pm Keynote address – Liew Chin Tong: Game changers in Pakatan Harapan’s victory

Welcome remarks – Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, and Julie Heckscher, First Assistant Secretary, Southeast Asia Division, DFAT


7pm Conference dinner (Invited guests only)


Day 2: Friday 12 October 2018 


9-10.30am Panel 1 Patronage politics – Past and future

Chaired by Clive Kessler (University of New South Wales)
  • Meredith Weiss (State University of New York): Has patronage lost its punch in Malaysia?
  • Terence Gomez (University of Malaya): Politics, intervention and patronage: government-linked companies in Malaysia
  • Serina Rahman (ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore): Many moons since GE14: what are the views of the rural Malay voters?

10.30-11am Morning tea


11am-12.30pm Panel 2  Driving change: charismatic leaders and social media

Chaired by Professor Shamsul AB (National University of Malaysia)
  • Bridget Welsh (John Cabot University): Savior politics in new Malaysia
  • Sophie Lemiere (Harvard University): One Malaysia, two Messiahs: charisma, politics and power in Malaysia
  • Ross Tapsell (ANU): The smartphone as ‘weapon of the weak’ in GE14

12.30-2.30pm Lunch and prayers


2.30-4pm Panel 3 State (negeri) and social alignments

Chaired by Nur Diana Anuar (ANU Malaysia Institute)
  • Sumit Mandal (University of Nottingham Malaysia): Traversing the social landscapes of Malaysia: faultlines and solidarities
  • James Chin (University of Tasmania): MA63: the rise of state nationalism in Sarawak
  • Vilashini Somiah (IMAN Research): Tanyak Kami Bah (Just ask us): conversations on Sabah politics, identity and agency post GE14

4-4.30pm Afternoon tea


4.30-5.30pm Panel 4  Communal and human rights issues in new Malaysia 

Chaired by Virginia Hooker (ANU)
  • Hew Wai Weng (Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia) : Spectrums of political Islam in urban Malaysia
  • Amanda Whiting (The University of Melbourne) : Human rights prospects under Pakatan Harapan

5.30pm Closing remarks by John Funston (ANU)


5.45pm Drinks (Weton Theatre Foyer)


6.30pm Buffet dinner (Canberry Room, Crawford School)

Registration is free but essential via Eventbrite

Image by Maher Najm on Flickr. 



Yanhong Ouyang


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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team