Change, Continuity or Crisis? Malaysia at a Crossroads


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Asia Pacific Democracy & Human Rights Seminar

When: Mar 27 2009 (All day)
Where: Washington D.C.: East-West Center in Washington Conference Room, 12:30-2:00 PM

Dr. Pek Koon Heng
Assistant Professor, American University, SIS
Dr. Bridget Welsh
Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS

Malaysia's United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is expected to elect current Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as president in its general assembly in late March, and Abdullah Badawi is expected to step down as premier. Whether this leadership shift in Malaysia signals change, continuity or crisis has yet to be seen. Dr. Pek Koon Heng and Dr. Bridget Welsh will examine political dynamics in Malaysia as they discuss the history of Malaysian politics, provide insights on the current political situation, and address ongoing governance, constitutional, and human rights concerns in Malaysia.

Friday, March 27
12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.
Luncheon will be served at 12:30 P.M.

East-West Center in Washington
1819 L Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2nd Floor Conference Room
This event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to Alison Hazell by email ([email protected]), fax (202) 293-1402, or telephone (202) 327-9752. Please include your name, title, organization, address, phone number, email, and country of citizenship. All personal information is for East-West Center use ONLY and is not circulated. Please note that seating for this event is limited.

Pek Koon Heng is assistant professor and coordinator for Southeast Asia at the Center for Asian Studies at American University's School of International Service. She also directs SIS's summer program on "Globalization in East Asia" in Malaysia, and is the course chair for the Insular Southeast Asia Advanced Area Studies program at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute. Dr. Heng specializes in comparative politics and international relations of East/Southeast Asia. Her current research focuses on regional integration in East/Southeast Asia, and identity politics in Malaysia. She is the author of Chinese Politics in Malaysia: A History of the Malaysian Chinese Association (Oxford University Press, 1988) and has published several book chapters on political and economic developments in Malaysia, including "The Mahathir Generation", in Welsh B., ed., Reflections: The Mahathir Years (John Hopkins University Press, 2004).

Bridget Welsh is associate professor in the Southeast Asia Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS. Her primary research interest focuses on 20th century Southeast Asian politics. Dr. Welsh is the former chair of the Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Studies Group and a consultant to Freedom House. She is the editor of Reflections: The Mahathir Years (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) and co-editor with Ann Marie Murphy of Legacy of Engagement in Southeast Asia (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). Her forthcoming books include Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years in Singapore (co-edited), and Reflecting on Reformasi: The Habibie Period (co-edited). Additionally, Dr. Welsh is the Asia Barometer Survey Malaysia Director and, in collaboration with the Merdeka Center, has conducted surveys of political attitudes in Malaysia to be published in a forthcoming monograph, How Malaysians Think About Politics. She is currently completing an analysis of Malaysian voting behavior and the electoral system during the last ten years and a project examining the local dynamics in elections.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Alison Hazell
Phone: 202.327.9752