MF Kuala Lumpur: Aspiration Malaysia Panel

Moderator: Umapagan Ampikaipakan
Umapagan Ampikaipakan is a freelance writer and book critic. He resides, for the most part, within the pages of the New Straits Times, where he ruminates on everything from the idiosyncrasies of Malaysian politics to his unnatural obsession with the written word. In the fall of 2008, he covered the U.S. Presidential Elections for his newspaper. He can also be found (his disembodied voice, that is) rambling over the airwaves, on BFM 89.9, where he is their resident book guy, as well as the host of their movie show, WTF: What the Flick.

Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr. Khoo Kay Kim
Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr. Khoo Kay Kim is a leading Malaysian historian and academician. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Malaya’s Department of History as well as Chancellor of KDU University College. Prof. Khoo was also a co-author of the Rukunegara, which was crafted in reaction to the May 13 race riots in 1969. Click here for a detailed account of a public talk given by Prof. Khoo on unity in Malaysia.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is a leading Malaysian human rights lawyer and activist and the current president of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM). Through HAKAM and a coalition of NGOs callled Article 11 (after the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion) of which HAKAM is a member, he has been actively involved in efforts to promote the rule of law and constitutionalism, particularly in the face of worrying trends of Islamization and race politics in government and wider society. He further actively promotes a civil rights discourse both in and outside court.

Keeran Sivarajah
Keeran Sivarajah is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Teach For Malaysia — an independent, not-for-profit organisation that is enlisting Malaysia’s most promising future leaders in a mission to end education inequity. He also serves as a member on the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Advisory Panel for Education. While at university, Keeran was a tutor to children of African refugees, and taught primary and secondary children at the Carlton Primary School in Melbourne.

Jo Kukathas
Jo Kukathas is Director of the Instant Café Theatre Company, Malaysia. She is a theatre maker, writer and actor. Jo works with local as well as regional artists to create collaborative work that deals with contemporary issues.

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Moderator: Jason Lim of Perantauan Pictures
At age 20, together with four high-school friends Jason Lim co-founded Perantauan Enterprise to meddle in independent film, music, theatre and literary production. The enterprise exists today as Perantauan Pictures which produced and has released three feature length films screened in Malaysia, UK, US and Australia. He remains a (noisily) sleeping partner in the enterprise. Today, Jason writes a monthly column on film in The Star and is involved in developing an initiative to help address Malaysia’s brain drain challenge.

Johnson Oei of E.P.I.C
At age 22, John-Son Oei co-founded E.P.I.C. (Extraordinary People Impacting Community), a platform for people to be inspired, mobilized and empowered to make positive changes in their community. Currently E.P.I.C. is focused on Project E.P.I.C, their outreach program that does hands-on work in Orang Asli communities to improve the welfare of the indigenous people in Malaysia.

Khailee Ng of Youth Asia
Khailee is a co-founder of Youth Asia, a group of young people who build businesses focused on social technology and the collective power of people. Youth Asia is known for launching businesses such as GroupsMore (now acquired by Groupon) and, a community of Malaysian social media users. In his students days he was part of the founding team of theCICAK, a socio-political youth magazine, and Project Bazooka, a indie music promoter.

Hwa Shi-Hsia of Mari Kita Membaca
Shi-Hsia and six other friends form the team at Mari Kita Membaca, whose main objective is to support the educational needs of the rural villages in Malaysia by providing books and other resources for community learning centers and village libraries. Mari Kita Membaca aims to empower children in rural Orang Asli communities to read and to learn.

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Prof. Mohd Anis Md Nor
Professor Mohd Anis Md Nor is professor of Ethnochoreology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Malaya. Prof. Anis has pioneered the study of Zapin dance and music in Southeast Asia and has published widely on the said topic. He is a member of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Ethnochoreology, and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Islamic World Arts Initiative (IWAI) in 2004. Professor Anis is the curator for the Zapin International Dance Festival and the International Malay Performing Arts for the State Government of Johor in Malaysia.

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Dr. Pek Koon Heng
Dr. Pek Koon Heng teaches courses on International Relations and International Political Economy in Southeast and East Asia. She also directs SIS’s summer graduate program on “Globalization and Regionalism in East Asia” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In addition, she runs the Insular Southeast Asia Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department Foreign Service Institute (as a contractor), which prepares US Foreign Service Officers for assignments in the region.