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Mr Muhammad Harris Zainul

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Dealing with anti-vax campaigns

Harris Zainul was quoted on The Star on 13 June 2021  By DINA... Read More

Malaysians cry foul as government points finger in COVID-19 blame game

Harris Zainul was quoted on Arab News on 06 June 2021  By Ushar... Read More

A framework towards addressing vaccine-related false information in Malaysia

Executive summary As we move forward with the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme... Read More

Government needs planned Covid-19 infodemic response

by Ragananthini Vethasalam / The Malaysian Insight / May 02, 2021 THE government... Read More

Covid-19 conspiracy theories and ways to address them

TO Michael Butter, author of the book The Nature of Conspiracy Theories, conspiracy... Read More

Social Media: Counter disinformation with digital literacy and more objective-based policies

Iriani Amirudin / The Edge Malaysia / March 22, 2021 Most of... Read More

The New Emergency Ordinance and the problems with fake news

by Harris Zainul and Ryan Chua MARCH 15 — Much has been... Read More

Malaysians turn to Clubhouse amid coronavirus lockdown, weighing its inequities vs practicality

Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Science minister Khairy... Read More

Proactive measures to combat fake news on Covid-19 vaccine

Harris Zainul was quoted in The Star By DINA MURAD Sunday, 31 Jan... Read More

Malaysian COVID-19 Cases Soar to Thousands per Day

Harris Zainul was quoted in VOA news online  Article by Ralph Jennings,  22 January... Read More

It is a shame if we learn nothing from 2020

This new year, rather than rejoicing in the promised Malaysia as visioned... Read More

Grassroots, machinery the biggest challenge for Pejuang, Muda in snap polls but analyst highlights another scenario

Harris Zainul was quoted by the Malay Mail By Milad Hassandarvish,  4 January... Read More

GE15: Issues on environment, education and gig economy to be main concerns of youth, says analyst

Harris Zainul was quoted by the Malay Mail By Milad Hassandarvish,  31 December... Read More

Consider This: COVID-19 - Addressing vaccine hesitancy

Harris Zainul was interviewed by Astro Awani in Consider This Will vaccine hesitancy-the... Read More

4 Ways South Korea Can Make A Difference in the Mekong

What are the available options that Seoul can consider to contribute in... Read More

4 strategies to counter Covid-19 anti-vaccination propaganda

Providing some optimism for an otherwise bleak year is the recent announcement... Read More

Countering COVID-19 anti-vaccination propaganda

Executive summary In preparation for a COVID-19 vaccine, the government needs to... Read More

Malaysia’s latest economic data offers hope but Covid-19 curbs could threaten recovery

Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Q3 GDP contracted... Read More

BFM PODCAST: How Do We Cure An Infodemic?

Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar In the midst of... Read More

The Covid infodemic: To err is human, to share is criminal?

By now, Covid-19 is a worrying fact of life. Also a fact... Read More

Invisible force: Can Undi 18 end Malaysia’s political dilemma in GE15? Analyst weighs in

Harris Zainul was quoted in Malay Mail Article by Milad Hassandarvish,  09 October 2020... Read More

Why Vietnam Is Asking Other Asian Countries to Help Squelch Fake News

Harris Zainul was quoted in VOA news online  Article by Ralph Jennings,  01 October... Read More

The COVID-19 Infodemic in Malaysia: Scale, scope and policy responses

By: Harris Zainul and Farlina Said Owing to the novelty of COVID-19,... Read More

In Malaysia's Covid "infodemic", crime is all too easy

A crackdown on the spreading of false information is unfair if people... Read More

Disinformation and xenophobia target Malaysia’s Rohingya

The Rohingya in Malaysia have become the target of increasing xenophobia and... Read More

More must be done to address Covid-19 infodemic

PARALLEL to the spread of Covid-19 is its infodemic. Coined by the... Read More

Campaign of Hate? Fake News and Anti-Refugee Rhetoric in Malaysia

Harris Zainul was quoted in New Naratif Article by Jules Rahman Ong,  20... Read More

Malaysia’s political crisis could worsen coronavirus and economic challenges

Harris Zainul was quoted in CNBC Malaysia’s parliament sat for the first time... Read More

Malaysia is beating coronavirus, so why should Muhyiddin be worried?

Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post The country, once... Read More

Mekong nations face growing threat to food security amid claims China’s dams exacerbate effects of drought

Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Drought, erratic water... Read More

Democracy in 'Malaysia Terbaru’

MAY 9 — Two years ago to this date, 12,299,514 Malaysians had... Read More

Points for policymakers when tackling a crisis

WITH Covid-19’s exponential spread threatening entire populations, the role of government during... Read More

Media freedom and fake news during the time of COVID-19

The likening of the fight against COVID-19 to a war should neither... Read More

Malaysia's Infodemic and Policy Response

The COVID-19 infodemic has shown that content needs to be regulated. The... Read More

Curing the COVID-19 Information Disorder

Due to COVID-19’s novelty and pandemic status, false information, which thrives on... Read More

If the new coronavirus doesn’t get you in Malaysia, fake, racist news about it might

Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Misinformation about the... Read More

Everywhere and Nowhere: Cybertroopers and the battle for democracy

The utilisation of propaganda often has been hand-in-hand with politics since time... Read More

Going beyond the ballot box

BY most measures, democracy is thriving in Malaysia. Nonetheless, triumphs in voter... Read More

Asean and the dammed Mekong

CONVERSATIONS on Asean in recent years have largely revolved around its community-... Read More

We need to talk, Malaysia

It is, once again, August 31. Like clockwork, the public and private... Read More

'1984' still holds sway

Seven decades ago, Eric Blair, or better known by his pseudonym George... Read More

Future Proofing Malaysia’s Democracy

JULY 3 — Malaysia is bucking global trends of retreating democracies and... Read More

Reality Check: The End of Identity Politics?

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is perceived to be more multiracial and... Read More

Race, religion and rhetoric ramp up in ‘New Malaysia’

After recouping the Semenyih state legislative assembly seat, it comes as little... Read More

How Asean think-tanks see the inter-Korea peace process

Southeast Asia is making global headlines this week with the second US-North... Read More

Tech threat to democracy

Perhaps the first truly global social media trend of 2019 is the... Read More

No Silver Bullet for Fake News in a New Malaysia

With the watershed May 9 general elections having swept into power the... Read More

Asean-South Korea Ties - Cooperation Peace, Prosperity

SOUTH Korea’s New Southern Policy (NSP) is based on the “3Ps” of... Read More

Trump, Kim Summit Ends with Signing of Joint Declaration

All eyes were on the Capella Hotel in Singapore, the location of... Read More

Peace for Korean Peninsula?

AT 9am tomorrow at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, United... Read More

Set Up Review Body

WHEN the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) was deregulated in 2009, oversight of... Read More

Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN International Affairs: Risk and Opportunity Multiplier

Summary: This study examines the implications of climate change for international affairs... Read More

Business is business

NETIZENS have taken to social media over the past weeks regarding the... Read More

Three Things to Expect from Tillerson’s Visit to Kuala Lumpur

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting the Philippines, Thailand and... Read More

A Common Regional Identity

IN the past five decades, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has... Read More

Social

Mr Muhammad Harris Zainul

Harris Zainul is an Analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia where he studies national trends and developments with the goal of translating these into public policy recommendations. His primary research areas include policy responses to mis- and dis-information; the consequences of mis- and dis-information on democracy and society; and Southeast Asian and Malaysian politics, human rights, and democratisation. His other research areas include China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), ASEAN-Korea relations, and the geopolitics of the Mekong River.

In his professional and personal capacity, he has briefed both domestic and regional stakeholders on his research outcomes, and has been published in the ISIS Focus, New Straits Times, Malay Mail, Malaysiakini, Channel News Asia, The Diplomat, Lowy Institute's The Interpreter, and the Australian National University's East Asia Forum. His commentary has been featured in BFM 89.9, CNBC, Voice of America, New Naratif, The Nation, the ASEAN Post, Arab News, ABC News, Arirang TV, Malaysiakini and the South China Morning Post.

On top of his research roles, he is also experienced in conducting stakeholder mapping and engagement, conference and event management, and is responsible for ISIS Malaysia’s social media and public-facing digital strategies.

Formerly, he had served as a Minister-appointed member of the National Youth Consultative Council, a Ministry-appointed member of the Youth Task Force on Foreign Policy, an elected member of the Malaysian Youth Parliament, and the Special Officer and Perdana Fellow to the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He holds a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LL.B) from the University of Liverpool.


Published Articles

Dealing with anti-vax campaigns

13 June 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted on The Star on 13 June 2021  By DINA MURAD EVERY afternoon, we are faced with a distressing new set of Covid-19 case numbers – this past week alone a surge of 5, 000 to 7, 000 new infections have been reported daily. Dedicated intensive care units across the country meanwhile are…

Malaysians cry foul as government points finger in COVID-19 blame game

08 June 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted on Arab News on 06 June 2021  By Ushar Daniele Accuse authorities of ‘incompetence’ after public blamed for flouting strict lockdown rules, leading to a surge in cases KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians came to each other’s defense on Saturday, days after being blamed for a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections across the country,…

A framework towards addressing vaccine-related false information in Malaysia

06 May 2021
Executive summary As we move forward with the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP), the “infodemic”, as coined by the World Health Organization (WHO), shows no signs of abating. While the infodemic remains constant, the types of false information on COVID-19 circulating today have changed to mirror the developments of the pandemic. Today, this means an…

Government needs planned Covid-19 infodemic response

02 May 2021
by Ragananthini Vethasalam / The Malaysian Insight / May 02, 2021 THE government needs carefully planned strategies to deal with the Covid-19 infodemic, or risk worsening vaccine hesitancy or even outright rejection of steps to achieve herd immunity, an analyst with the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) Malaysia said. An infodemic is an overabundance of information,…

Covid-19 conspiracy theories and ways to address them

01 April 2021
TO Michael Butter, author of the book The Nature of Conspiracy Theories, conspiracy theories seek to explain events happening in the world as planned, with little room for coincidences or accidents. Through this prism, someone or a secret cabal of people are orchestrating world events, including Covid-19, for some insidious benefit. Conspiracy theories are not unique…

Social Media: Counter disinformation with digital literacy and more objective-based policies

22 March 2021
Iriani Amirudin / The Edge Malaysia / March 22, 2021 Most of us have come across conspiracy theories and anti-science rhetoric on popular platforms such as WhatsApp. Some of these theories are so unbelievable, they are dismissed outright. But why are such theories ultimately harmful? Disinformation is harmful for many reasons but it is not…

The New Emergency Ordinance and the problems with fake news

15 March 2021
by Harris Zainul and Ryan Chua MARCH 15 — Much has been and will be said about the introduction of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 (hereinafter referred to as “EO2”). To be clear, there are many potential problems involving EO2, especially concerning its probable impacts on civil liberties.  That said, this article…

Malaysians turn to Clubhouse amid coronavirus lockdown, weighing its inequities vs practicality

21 February 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Science minister Khairy Jamaluddin, actress Maya Karin and disgraced ex-premier Najib Razak have all used the audio-chat app to reach out to audiences Describing it as ‘talk radio where anything goes’, one analyst said Clubhouse could end up being overrun by misinformation, including on Covid-19 vaccines…

Proactive measures to combat fake news on Covid-19 vaccine

31 January 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted in The Star By DINA MURAD Sunday, 31 Jan 2021 ONE of the best ways to tackle misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine and to overcome this pandemic is to ensure that the public gets access to enough accurate and verified information. While all the necessary information about the Covid-19 vaccine is out…

Malaysian COVID-19 Cases Soar to Thousands per Day

22 January 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted in VOA news online  Article by Ralph Jennings,  22 January 2021 TAIPEI - Malaysia has gone back into a tough new lockdown as COVID-19 caseloads have spiked this month after a relatively calm 2020, and the government’s image is beginning to take a hit among people who are confused about what to do.…

It is a shame if we learn nothing from 2020

15 January 2021
This new year, rather than rejoicing in the promised Malaysia as visioned three decades ago — we face devastating floods, an unrelenting pandemic, and just recently, a declaration of an Emergency. And to these, add how experts are warning that worse is yet to come as the planet continues to warm, and human activity continues…

Grassroots, machinery the biggest challenge for Pejuang, Muda in snap polls but analyst highlights another scenario

04 January 2021
Harris Zainul was quoted by the Malay Mail By Milad Hassandarvish,  4 January 2021 KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — The seemingly endless political turmoil in the country has caused severance among political leaders and parties over the past few months. The downfall of the 22-months-old Pakatan Harapan coalition in March last year led to the formation…

GE15: Issues on environment, education and gig economy to be main concerns of youth, says analyst

31 December 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted by the Malay Mail By Milad Hassandarvish,  31 December 2020 KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 ― A lowered voting age and the ongoing political turmoil in the country has stimulated youth involvement in politics more than ever before. This has strongly been evident over the past year ever since lawmakers made a historic…

Consider This: COVID-19 - Addressing vaccine hesitancy

11 December 2020
Harris Zainul was interviewed by Astro Awani in Consider This Will vaccine hesitancy-the reluctance to accept immunisation-threaten to derail our fight against the pandemic? Tonight on #ConsiderThis, Sharaad Kuttan & Melisa Idris ask misinformation researcher Harris Zainul & UN consultant Dr Nurul Haq Shahrir if it’s possible to convince the sceptics. Consider This with Sharaad Kuttan &…

4 Ways South Korea Can Make A Difference in the Mekong

16 November 2020
What are the available options that Seoul can consider to contribute in the resolution of environmental, economic and political challenges that have haunted the Mekong subregion? BY HARRIS ZAINUL In 2019, the Republic of Korea’s (ROK, hereafter South Korea) diplomatic relations with the Mekong states of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam were elevated when…

4 strategies to counter Covid-19 anti-vaccination propaganda

13 November 2020
Providing some optimism for an otherwise bleak year is the recent announcement on Pfizer and BioNTech. Perhaps now, with the promise of a potential vaccine, some of us might even allow ourselves to dream when this nightmare of a pandemic will end.  But until dreams turn into reality, we cannot afford to let our guard…

Countering COVID-19 anti-vaccination propaganda

13 November 2020
Executive summary In preparation for a COVID-19 vaccine, the government needs to be proactive in laying the groundwork towards the twin goals of simultaneously increasing the public’s awareness on the need to vaccinate; while reducing the potential implications of anti-vaccine propaganda.  While we do not yet know the exact impact of anti-vaccine propaganda on the…

Malaysia’s latest economic data offers hope but Covid-19 curbs could threaten recovery

13 November 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Q3 GDP contracted 2.7 per cent from the same period in 2019, less severe than the 3.2 per cent forecast Experts warned that a sustained rebound in 2021 will require ongoing containment of the coronavirus By Tashny Sukumaran,  13 November 2020 Malaysia’s economy contracted less than expected…

BFM PODCAST: How Do We Cure An Infodemic?

19 October 2020
Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are also battling what’s being called an infodemic, which the World Health Organization defines as an overabundance of information that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance on the virus. To get a better…

The Covid infodemic: To err is human, to share is criminal?

14 October 2020
By now, Covid-19 is a worrying fact of life. Also a fact of life is how the onset of the pandemic has brought about a sense of nervousness, anxiety and concern among the general public. At times like these, the public craves information they feel would allow them to stay safe and healthy. Taking this…

Invisible force: Can Undi 18 end Malaysia’s political dilemma in GE15? Analyst weighs in

09 October 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted in Malay Mail Article by Milad Hassandarvish,  09 October 2020 KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — This year has been a roller coaster ride for Malaysians — from the Covid-19 pandemic to the political uncertainties with almost no end in sight. With PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s surprising claim that he has obtained…

Why Vietnam Is Asking Other Asian Countries to Help Squelch Fake News

01 October 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted in VOA news online  Article by Ralph Jennings,  01 October 2020 TAIPEI, TAIWAN - A surge in fake news around Southeast Asia, particularly bogus COVID-19 information, has prompted leaders to explore a regional crackdown after a suggestion from a Vietnamese security official. Police agencies in the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)…

The COVID-19 Infodemic in Malaysia: Scale, scope and policy responses

24 August 2020
By: Harris Zainul and Farlina Said Owing to the novelty of COVID-19, much uncertainty had surrounded it when it was first discovered in December 2019. In the months since, more light has been shed on the novel coronavirus, yet the timespan in between was marked with fear and uncertainty, lending itself to a surge in…

In Malaysia's Covid "infodemic", crime is all too easy

20 August 2020
A crackdown on the spreading of false information is unfair if people don’t have the means to spot it. In Malaysia earlier this month, it was reported a woman had been nabbed by the police for spreading false information relating to a supermarket closure in the northern state of Penang. Her alleged crime? A Facebook…

Disinformation and xenophobia target Malaysia’s Rohingya

11 July 2020
The Rohingya in Malaysia have become the target of increasing xenophobia and hate speech. Disinformation — the intentional creation of false information — is fuelling the fire of outrage against this marginalised community. False allegations began circulating on social media in April 2020. They included claims that a Rohingya man was insisting on full citizenship…

More must be done to address Covid-19 infodemic

02 July 2020
PARALLEL to the spread of Covid-19 is its infodemic. Coined by the World Health Organisation, it refers to a situation where there is "an overabundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it". Indicating the extent of…

Campaign of Hate? Fake News and Anti-Refugee Rhetoric in Malaysia

24 June 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted in New Naratif Article by Jules Rahman Ong,  20 June 2020 Abdul Wahid, 40, came to Malaysia seven years ago in a rickety fishing boat cramped with 135 others—it’s a number he still remembers to this day. He, his wife and baby never planned to go to Malaysia. But they were forced…

Malaysia’s political crisis could worsen coronavirus and economic challenges

16 May 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted in CNBC Malaysia’s parliament sat for the first time this year on Monday and was supposed to debate motions that include a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. “At the moment we know that the coalition that governs the federal government is operating at a very, very thin, fragile ... majority,” said…

Malaysia is beating coronavirus, so why should Muhyiddin be worried?

16 May 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post The country, once the worst hit in Southeast Asia, is now relaxing measures after a stunning turnaround in fortunes But the new prime minister is not getting the credit. Rather, attention is now returning to his democratic legitimacy By Tashny Sukumaran,  16 May 2020 As Malaysia…

Mekong nations face growing threat to food security amid claims China’s dams exacerbate effects of drought

10 May 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Drought, erratic water levels along 4,300km river are disrupting rice yields and fish catches, raising costs for farmers Beijing rejects claim Chinese dams behind drought hitting countries downstream By Laura Zhou,  10 May 2020 Fishermen in northeast Thailand say they have seen catches in the Mekong River…

Democracy in 'Malaysia Terbaru’

09 May 2020
MAY 9 — Two years ago to this date, 12,299,514 Malaysians had braved the humid climate,extended waiting times, and weekday voting to perform their democratic civic duty in Malaysia 14th General Elections (GE14). Consisting of a historic 82.32 per cent of all eligible voters, this had set in motion events that are now all too…

Points for policymakers when tackling a crisis

22 April 2020
WITH Covid-19’s exponential spread threatening entire populations, the role of government during this pandemic has undoubtedly, and understandably increased. This role, among others, includes determining when free movement should be restored, which sectors of the economy are able to operate, and which layers of society experiencing present hardships ought to receive financial assistance. Not limited…

Media freedom and fake news during the time of COVID-19

15 April 2020
The likening of the fight against COVID-19 to a war should neither be a rationale for war-time measures, nor a free hand to muzzle the media and impinge on individual free speech. With new normals being expected, these normals must include a free media coupled with better protected free speech rights.  False information and rumours…

Malaysia's Infodemic and Policy Response

02 April 2020
The COVID-19 infodemic has shown that content needs to be regulated. The continued reliance on Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 means continued exposure to risk of abuse. In light of this, what is the way forward towards the twin goals of addressing the infodemic…

Curing the COVID-19 Information Disorder

18 March 2020
Due to COVID-19’s novelty and pandemic status, false information, which thrives on fear and uncertainty, have flourished. This has led to an information disorder on COVID-19, which includes false information pertaining to its source, how it spreads, how to treat it, as well as conspiracy theories about its origins. Emblematic of this is how as…

If the new coronavirus doesn’t get you in Malaysia, fake, racist news about it might

01 February 2020
Harris Zainul was quoted by the South China Morning Post Misinformation about the virus has become so pervasive that Malaysia’s health minister warns it’s a ‘more critical’ issue than the disease itself But who should take charge of combating rumours that are so far off the mark they could be fatal – governments or the social…

Everywhere and Nowhere: Cybertroopers and the battle for democracy

16 January 2020
The utilisation of propaganda often has been hand-in-hand with politics since time immemorial. But with new tools – such as social media platforms, big data analytics and micro-targeted advertising – the scale, scope and precision of propaganda campaigns have increased exponentially. In the not too distant past, rolling tanks, men with guns in their hands…

Going beyond the ballot box

18 December 2019
BY most measures, democracy is thriving in Malaysia. Nonetheless, triumphs in voter turnout and youth suffrage notwithstanding, it is important to remember that democratic participation does not end at the ballot box once every four or five years. It goes beyond that, and it needs to be emphasised that everyone has a day-to-day stake in…

Asean and the dammed Mekong

08 November 2019
CONVERSATIONS on Asean in recent years have largely revolved around its community- building initiatives, its master plan on connectivity, its positioning vis-a-vis the United States’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, in addition to the latest incursions of sovereign waters in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, issues surrounding the Mekong…

We need to talk, Malaysia

01 September 2019
It is, once again, August 31. Like clockwork, the public and private sector machinery has been churning out narratives to drive up patriotism among Malaysians. These efforts culminate on the 31st, where on the perfectly tarred streets of Putrajaya, there was a parade whose participants have been painstakingly curated to reflect the entire spectrum of…

'1984' still holds sway

11 July 2019
Seven decades ago, Eric Blair, or better known by his pseudonym George Orwell, published “1984”. Considered today as a classic of dystopian fiction, terms and concepts introduced by the book, such as Big Brother, Ministry of Truth, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, and 2 + 2 = 5 have since entered into the common…

Future Proofing Malaysia’s Democracy

03 July 2019
JULY 3 — Malaysia is bucking global trends of retreating democracies and declining voter turnouts. In fact, it recorded an improvement in its democracy score by 7 points in 2019 (Freedom House), and registering a historic turnout of 12,299,514 voters (82.32 per cent) in last year’s general elections. More than that, the newly elected Pakatan…

Reality Check: The End of Identity Politics?

13 May 2019
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is perceived to be more multiracial and practising less racial politics than the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition it unseated. The two largest component parties in PH, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP) are as multiracial as political parties get in Malaysia. Even Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia…

Race, religion and rhetoric ramp up in ‘New Malaysia’

01 April 2019
After recouping the Semenyih state legislative assembly seat, it comes as little surprise that the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) are finally formalising their cooperation. The implication of this is that political discourse will only regress further to the right. The hardening of racial and religious divides on the…

How Asean think-tanks see the inter-Korea peace process

01 March 2019
Southeast Asia is making global headlines this week with the second US-North Korea Summit, in Hanoi. “Asean as an organisation has nothing to do with the choice of Vietnam as the summit venue, but it does put [this] region in a favourable international light as a relatively neutral, safe and yet strategically important area of…

Tech threat to democracy

04 February 2019
Perhaps the first truly global social media trend of 2019 is the #tenyearchallenge. Taking the online world by storm, the challenge entailed users posting two photos of themselves taken a decade apart purportedly to peacock how much they have grown since. Doing the same for social media and its relationship with democracy would highlight mixed…

No Silver Bullet for Fake News in a New Malaysia

12 January 2019
With the watershed May 9 general elections having swept into power the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, the repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA) 2018 is merely a matter of time. One of the problematic piece of legislation singled out in the election campaign, AFNA 2018 owes its continued existence to the Barisan Nasional (BN)…

Asean-South Korea Ties - Cooperation Peace, Prosperity

20 November 2018
SOUTH Korea’s New Southern Policy (NSP) is based on the “3Ps” of People, Peace and Prosperity. Overarchingly, the NSP seeks to elevate South Korea’s relationship with Asean member states to the same level of relations it has with the United States, China, Japan, and Russia. By any measure, this is a good indicator of South…

Trump, Kim Summit Ends with Signing of Joint Declaration

12 June 2018
All eyes were on the Capella Hotel in Singapore, the location of the historic summit between the President of the United States (US), Donald Trump and Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. The previously unimaginable encounter saw the leader of the free world shake the hand of a third-generation leader of a ruling…
Peace for Korean peninsula?

Peace for Korean Peninsula?

11 June 2018
AT 9am tomorrow at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, United States President Donald Trump will be the first sitting US president to meet with the supreme leader of North Korea. This would be unheard of a year ago, where no one would have thought a US-North Korea Summit possible. The reasons for this…
Set up review body

Set Up Review Body

06 February 2018
WHEN the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) was deregulated in 2009, oversight of foreign investment into Malaysia’s strategic sector was left under the purview of its respective sector regulators. While applauded as a bold move to further liberalise the Malaysian economy, it had, unfortunately, limited results. On one hand, it can be rightfully argued that the…

Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN International Affairs: Risk and Opportunity Multiplier

06 November 2017
Summary: This study examines the implications of climate change for international affairs in Southeast Asia and for ASEAN as a multilateral organization. Climate change and efforts to mitigate climate change give rise to major risks as well as opportunities in international affairs. It is therefore in the interest of all countries to be aware of…

Business is business

26 September 2017
NETIZENS have taken to social media over the past weeks regarding the recent investments announced during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s visit to the White House, Washington DC. The comments were rife with criticism. They sought to appeal to sentiment rather than logic. Investments, whether outward or inward, are not out of the ordinary…

Three Things to Expect from Tillerson’s Visit to Kuala Lumpur

08 August 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia for a series of regional meetings to broaden and enhance the United States’ economic and security interests. The former Exxon Mobil chief executive arrived in Manila last weekend and is now in Thailand, where he will pay his respects to the late King Bhumibol…

A Common Regional Identity

18 July 2017
IN the past five decades, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has seen an alphabet soup of agreements and blueprints shared between its 10 member states. But, none are as ambitious as the “Asean Community”. Consisting of three pillars — Political Security, Economic and Socio-Cultural — the Asean Community intends to, among others, create a common…
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