Questions remain unanswered in Malaysia six months on from historic election

Leading experts will come together at The Australian National University (ANU) to examine the key issues facing Malaysia six months after the dramatic election, which saw the country’s historic first change of government.

Malaysia's Deputy Defence Minister, Liew Chin Tong will join world-renowned academic experts presenting at the ANU 2018 Malaysia Update on Thursday 11 October and Friday 12 October.

The conference will reflect on the reasons for the opposition election win, and recent changes in Malaysia’s politics, economics and society which may impact policy-making decisions.

Event organiser and Director of the ANU Malaysia Institute, Dr Ross Tapsell, said there are a lot of unanswered questions for the new government headed up by shock election winner 92 year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

“A lot of the big key issues are yet to be resolved in the new Malaysia,” Dr Tapsell said.

“There are concerns of corruption, bad governance, ethnic politics and democratic Parliamentary reforms amongst others.”

Dr Tapsell encouraged Australia to engage with the new Malaysian Government.

“Notwithstanding previous tensions between Mahathir and Australia, the ‘New Malaysia’ is looking to become more democratic and open, which presents a number of opportunities for Australia to build ties,” he said.

Media are invited to attend and more information is available here:

 Interviews with speakers are available by contacting the ANU Media Team on 02 6125 7979 or

Liew Chin Tong - Malaysian Deputy Defence Minister

Elected as Member of the Malaysian Federal Parliament for Kluang in the May 2013 election, and previously for Bukit Bendera (2008-2013), he is now an appointed member of the Malaysian Senate. Since 1999, Chin Tong has served DAP in various capacities and is currently a Member of its Central Executive Committee, serving as Political Education Director.

Wan Saiful - special advisor to Malaysian Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik

Former Chief Executive Officer at the leading Malaysian think tank, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). Has also worked with organisations such as the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit think tank, the British Conservative Party’s research department and Social Enterprise London, and as a columnist for The Star, a national newspaper in Malaysia.

Zainah Anwar - executive director of Musawah
A founding member and former executive director of Sisters in Islam (SIS), a nongovernmental organisation working on the rights of Muslim women within the framework of Islam. She is now the executive director of Musawah, the SIS-initiated Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family.

Dr Ross Tapsell - Director of the ANU Malaysia Institute

Researcher at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, specialising in media and culture in Island Southeast Asia. He is the author of Media Power in Indonesia: Oligarchs, Citizens and the Digital Revolution and co-editor of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence.



Aaron Walker
ANU Media
T: 02 6125 7979
M: 0418 307 213

WHAT: 2018 Malaysia Update - Regime change in Malaysia: how, why and the future
WHERE: Weston Theatre, JG Crawford Building (132), Lennox Crossing, ANU
WHEN: Thursday 11 October to Friday 12 October 2018

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

The Australian National University
East Road, Acton
2601 Canberra