Can Malaysia revive its economy in 2016?

A maintenance worker works near a portrait of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the 69th United Malays National Organisation general assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 8 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Shankaran Nambiar, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research

It has been a rather challenging year for the Malaysian economy. Political disruptions and economic shocks have rocked the nation.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been strenuously committed to undertaking fiscal reform. He has repeatedly stressed the importance of reducing fiscal deficits. Read more…

Evaluating Malaysia’s ASEAN chairmanship

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman during the plenary session of the ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS-YII

Malaysia ended its chairmanship of ASEAN as the grouping announced the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in November 2015. The AEC intends to create a single market across the ASEAN region by standardising economic regulations including those on trade, flows of financial capital and labour migration. Read more…

Najib’s political headache

Demonstrators marched in major cities around Malaysia on 29 August 2015 calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arnold Puyok, UNIMAS

These are tiring times for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Najib has so far managed to stay in power despite the flurry of attacks on his leadership. Political debacles have almost cost Najib his prime ministership and the popularity of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN). Read more…

No easy solutions for Malaysia’s mess

Protestors hold placards demanding Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation during an anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur on 29 August 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Meredith Weiss, SUNY Albany

Malaysia is currently in crisis; the ringgit seems to be on an inexorable downhill slide, ethnic tensions have deteriorated from an uncomfortable simmer to an open flame, and both the government and opposition coalitions are unravelling. Read more…

Will things fall apart in the Malaysian federation?

The Malaysia Independence Day Parade rehearsal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 27 August 2015. Secession and federalism have suddenly emerged as issues after half a century of relative national stability. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Harding, NUS

The Irish poet WB Yeats was not thinking about Southeast Asia when he wrote ‘things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’, but his words may accurately describe the situation in Malaysia. The monarchy governing the state of Johor is rattling the federation agreement and talking of secession. Sarawak wants significant devolution. And Sabah is gearing up for the same demand. Read more…

The structural regression of Malaysian manufacturing


Authors: Jayant Menon and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB

Malaysia’s manufacturing sector is reversing to a state reminiscent of its post-colonial stage of development. Regrettably this situation was avoidable.

When the Federation of Malaya gained independence from Britain in 1957, economic conditions were ripe for rapid and sustained growth. Its primary export sector was showing immense potential for expansion. Read more…

Malaysia’s troubles just beginning

MALAYSIA, Kuala Lumpur: Thousands of Malaysians took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur on August 30, 2015 to rally for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andrew Harding, NUS

As it tussles with multiple crises of political legitimacy and governance, Malaysia has reached a decisive point in its more than half-century history as an independent nation. What started as a shocking but not exceptional scandal has turned into a political crisis of unprecedented proportions. This was underlined by the Bersih 4 protests on 29–30 August in Kuala Lumpur, attended by an estimated 250,000 yellow-T-shirted Malaysians.

Read more…