Partners in Recovery: Malaysia and the New Southern Policy Plus

    Partners in Recovery: Malaysia and the New Southern Policy Plus
    A Malaysia Scholars on Korea (MASK) event

    November 2021 would mark five years since the New Southern Policy (NSP) was first announced. The ASEAN and India-oriented policy have made great gains for the region. For ASEAN, in 2019, ASEAN-ROK trade volume registered a 37% increase with a 90% increase of Korean FDI to ASEAN. Prior to the COVID-19 ridden 2020, Korean tourists into ASEAN increased by 33%, and newly registered Korean enterprises in ASEAN increased by 21.6% (Rabena 2020). However, the NSP is said to fall short in certain expectations. Among them, is on realising ASEAN’s potential role to broker peace in the Korean Peninsula, prospects of creating a larger space for middle powers and to ensure ROK’s appeal resonates equally throughout the region.  

    By November 2021, the pandemic would present a new normal that includes acceptance of the realities in recovery. The New Southern Policy Plus, aimed at responding to recovery needs, would identify a further seven key areas in the three pillars of people, peace and prosperity. These are to pursue cooperation in public health, education and human capital development, cultural exchanges, trade and investment, rural and urban infrastructure, future industries and non-traditional security issues.  

    The progress of the NSP Plus would occur against domestic developments in South Korea, such as the impending elections in 2022, which would raise concerns of the sustainability in commitments. Additionally, as the region shifts to accommodate major power competition, the NSP Plus could still bear the expectations of the NSP, with the same challenges and issues.

    Date 24 November 2021
    Time 1030am (UTC+8)
    Venue DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur and Zoom platform


    Programme book

    Opening ceremony

    Welcoming remarks

    Alizan Mahadi

    Opening remarks

    H.E. Lee Chi Beom

    Keynote address

    Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid

    Session 1: The NSP as sustained partnership between Malaysia and ROK

    1145 – 1300 (UTC+8) : Session 1

    The NSP as sustained partnership between Malaysia and RO

    The New Southern Policy would have brought positive changes to Malaysia-ROK relations. As the NSP hits a five-year mark, identifying areas of priorities to adjust or revise could build sustained relations. These include institutionalisation of the NSP, Southeast Asia’s participation in peace in the Korean Peninsula and areas for future collaboration. The NSP-Plus is unfolding against shifting strategic circumstances in the region, such as access to vaccines, enhanced alliances and major power competition. 

    • What is the strategic outlook for Malaysia and ROK, which could prompt strategic convergence in the mid to long term?
    • What are the mechanisms to ensure sustained NSP presence and areas of priorities?
    • Is there a possibility for cooperation to bring peace in the Korean Peninsula or Asean? Could there be cooperation in traditional or non-traditional security areas? 

    Special address I

    Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood

    Speaker I

    Dr Hoo Chiew-Ping

    Speaker II

    Dr Lee Jaehyeon

    Discussant I

    Dr Peter Ngeow Chow Bing

    Discussant II

    Dr Kim Hyung Jong


    Dr Nurliana Kamaruddin


    Farlina Said

    Session 2: The NSP-Plus, Malaysia and a recovery

    1400 – 1530 (UTC+8)Session 2

    The NSP-Plus, Malaysia and a recovery 

    After a pandemic-dominated 2020, the end of 2021 sees South Korea and Malaysia presenting recovery programmes. South Korea’s New Deal focuses on job creation through investments in digitalisation, including green and emerging technologies. Malaysia unveiled recovery plans, such as Penjana, Permai and the 12th Malaysia Plan. MP12 focuses on eight sectors inclusive of electrical and electronics, creative, tourism, smart farming and halal. Areas for greater cooperation include exchanges in digital economy and cultural diplomacy. 

    • How are Malaysia and ROK managing the Covid-19 recovery and are there challenges for its execution? 
    • Are there best practices that can be learned from South Korea’s experience?
    • Are there areas of cooperation for ROK and Malaysia as recovery phases progress? 

    Special address II

    Fabian Bigar

    Speaker I

    Dr Zokhri Idris

    Speaker II

    Dr Ko Young Kyung

    Speaker III

    Dr Danial Mohd Yusof

    Discussant I

    Dato’ Steven Wong

    Discussant II

    Dr Roy Anthony Rogers

    Discussant III

    Aaron Denison Deivasagayam


    Harris Zainul

    Closing remarks

    H.E. Lee Chi Beom

    Thomas Daniel

    The Malaysia Scholars on Korea (MASK) Network

    The Malaysia Scholars on Korea (MASK) Network is a network linking Malaysian scholars, policymakers and think tankers in a conversation on Malaysia-South Korea relations. Through the years, MASK events have explored the intricacies of a Malaysia-South Korea Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, a special meeting following President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Malaysia and possibilities for ASEAN engagement in the Korean Peninsula.  


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