Malaysia’s First Defense White Paper Seeks to Navigate Great Power Competition and Other Security Challenges


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When: May 29 2019 - 12:00pm until May 29 2019 - 1:30pm
Where: 1819 L St NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036

Malaysia’s First Defense White Paper Seeks to Navigate Great Power Competition and Other Security Challenges

An Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar featuring:

Ms. Ivy Kwek
Special Functions Officer to Deputy Minister,
Ministry of Defence, Malaysia

Dr. Satu P. Limaye (Moderator)
Vice President, East-West Center & Director, East West Center in Washington

Being a small state, Malaysia has always employed creative diplomatic means to navigate the risks and tensions with other more powerful countries. Yet the rise of China as an economic and military power on one hand, and a changing U.S. approachLeft to right: Ms. Ivy Kwek and Dr. Satu Limaye towards the Indo-Pacific on the other, seem to be putting countries like Malaysia into a difficult position. Meanwhile, the new administration in Malaysia has also injected new impetus into Malaysia’s foreign policy and defense posturing.

In its first endeavor of drafting a Defense White Paper, Malaysia’s new administration attempts to review Malaysia’s security outlook that is not just about navigating U.S.-China relations, but also other non-traditional security challenges and intra-ASEAN relations. It will also touch on aspects such as transparency in budgeting and procurement, the role of the defense industry, the welfare of defense personnel and greater gender diversity in the military. In this seminar, Ms. Kwek discussed the Malaysian perspective on the Indo-Pacific region’s big power rivalry and what the forthcoming Defense White Paper aims to achieve.

 For more images, please visit the album for this event on the East-West Center's Flickr page. 

Ms. Ivy Kwek currently serves as the Special Functions Officer to the Deputy Minister of Defence, Malaysia, in which she advises the deputy minister on policy matters and is involved in the drafting of the Defence White Paper. Prior to this, she has worked in various policy advisory and governmental affairs roles for international organisations and in the diplomatic circle. She holds a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London and is currently undergoing the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellow Program by the U.S. Department of State.

Satu Limaye is Vice President of the East-West Center and the Director of the East-West Center in Washington where he created and now directs the Asia Matters for America initiative and edits the Asia Pacific Bulletin. He is also a Senior Advisor at CNA Corp (Center for Naval Analyses) and Senior Fellow on Asia History and Policy at the Foreign Policy Institute at Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies (SAIS). He is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar. Dr. Limaye publishes and presents on a range of Indo-Pacific issues. Recent publications include: Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh and Brahmaputra River Politics (with Nilanthi Samaranayake and Joel Wuthnow); Why ASEAN is Here to Stay and What that Means for the US; The United States-Japan Alliance and Southeast Asia: Meeting Regional Demands ; and Weighted West: The Indian Navy’s New Maritime Strategy, Capabilities, and Diplomacy.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Wang
Phone: 2023279755