Session 1 – Mencapai perpaduan dan memelihara demokrasi


YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah

YB Dato Saifuddin Abdullah is the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, government of Malaysia. He is a Member of Parliament for Temerloh and elected member of the UMNO Supreme Council – the highest decision making body of the leading party in the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional. Born in Mentakab Pahang, Safuddin was a former youth leader and President of the Malaysian Youth Council from 1998 to 2002. Prior to joining politics the University of Malaya graduate was an entrepreneur and writer. He has written five books on youth movement and politics. The alumnus of Malay College Kuala Kangsar was also a columnist for two leading mainstream Malay newspapers Utusan Melayu and Berita Harian. He currently writes for Sinar Harian and Malay Mail.


Datuk Lee Hwa Beng

Datuk Lee Hwa Beng was elected State Assemblyman of Subang Jaya under the MCA banner from 1995 to 2008. He was also Chairman of the Port Klang Authority from 2008 to 2011. He is an accountant by profession and currently tweets at @hwabeng.


YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad is the Communications Director for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN) and State Assemblyman for Selangor, Malaysia. In the 2008 general elections, Nik Nazmi at 26 was the youngest elected representative in the elections. Educated at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Nik Nazmi furthered his education in law at King’s College, University of London. In 2006, Nik Nazmi was appointed as Private Secretary to PKR De-Facto Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. After the 2008 elections to 2010 he held the position of Political Secretary to Selangor Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim. A prolific writer with columns in the Edge, Malaysian Insider and Sinar Harian, Nik Nazmi has also writen two books – Moving Forward: Malays for the 21st Century and Coming of Age: a Decade of Essays 2001-2011. He blogs at


Mr. Edward Ling

Edward Ling is a graduate from Monash University, Australia with a Bachelors of Computing. He is the person that inspired Hannah Yeoh, the current State Assemblymen of Subang Jaya, into politics. He ran her campaign in 2008 as her campaign manager, and after winning the seat, continued to volunteer on as her political secretary. In early 2010, The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) selected him for Legislative Fellows Program scholarship. Subsequently, he was appointed as the one of the councillors in MPSJ (Subang Jaya municipal council) for the term July 2010- Feb 2012. Edward loves Malaysia and enjoys inspiring Malaysians to contribute to their country.


Moderator: Dr. Ong Kian Ming

Ong Kian Ming obtained his PhD in political science from Duke University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is a political analyst and lecturer at UCSI University. Before leaving to pursue his PhD in the United States, he worked as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in the KL office and as a policy analyst with two politically linked think thanks, the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP) and the Socio-Economic Development and Research (SEDAR) Institute. He holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE) and an MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge. He writes regularly for Malaysiakini and The Edge Financial Daily. He tweets at @imokman.



Session 2 – Mencipta masyarakat adil

Mr. P. Uthayakumar

P. Uthayakumar is the de facto leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) and the Secretary General of the Human Rights Party (HRP) which champions the cause against racial discrimination and racism in Malaysia. In 2007, P. Uthayakumar was arrested on charges of sedition for leading the HINDRAF rally that stood for dismantling racial discrimination against the Malaysian Indian ethnic minority, and he was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 1.5 years. If found guilty, he faces a further three year jail sentence. P. Uthayakumar has been a lawyer by practice for the past 22 years. His strong thoughts on justice and fairness grew from his days of being a student at Thames Valley University, London.


Ms. Zainah Anwar

Zainah Anwar is a founding member of Sisters in Islam, and served as Executive Director from 1987 – 2008. She is now the Director of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. She is a prominent feminist and public intellectual in Malaysia and former member of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, SUHAKAM. She received her postgraduate degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Sisters in Islam (SIS) is a Malaysian non-governmental organization committed to upholding the principles of justice and equality for women within the framework of Islam. Their programme areas include legal advocacy and services, public education, and research to advance the status and rights of Muslim women in Malaysia.


YB Liew Chin Tong

Liew Chin Tong was elected as MP for Bukit Bendera in the March 2008 election. Since joining in 1999, he has served DAP in various capacities and now sits on its Central Executive Committee as International Secretary. His wide-ranging research interests include political economy, political Islam, identity politics and urban studies. He was the Executive Director of Penang Institute (formerly known as Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute) and Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), as well as formerly a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.


Moderator: Dr. Farish Noor

Dr. Farish Ahmad-Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist. He is presently Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; and Director of Research for the Research Cluster ‘Transnational Religion in Southeast Asia’. He is also Affiliated Professor at Muhamadiyah University, Surakarta and Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta. Apart from his academic writings he is also a columnist for several newspapers across Southeast Asia, South Asia, South Africa and Europe. His columns have appeared in The New Straits Times, Sin Chew Jit Poh,, The Star, The Pakistan Daily Times, The Khaleej Times, Far Eastern Economic Review, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, al-Qalam, and others. He has also been a radio essayist for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. He is also well-known for his writings at



Session 3 – Mencipta masyarakat adil (II)

Mr. Peter John Jaban

The voice of Radio Free Sarawak, Peter John Jaban, was a pioneer DJ in a Sarawak radio station, Cats radio, that was owned by chief minister Taib Mahmud. Better known as Anak Apai, he goes on air these days on Radio Free Sarawak as “Papa Orang Utan”, interviewing native tribesmen by phone in longhouses all over Sarawak. Before becoming a broadcaster Peter John worked in the Land and Survey Office in Kuching but resigned in 2006. He was also a former deputy chairman of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and is still an active campaigner for human rights in Sarawak. Peter John is also a member of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement in London.



Session 4 – Menjamin satu cara liberal terhadap tradisi-tradisi kebudayaan

Mr. Pang Khee Teik

Pang Khee Teik is the founder of Seksualiti Merdeka and former Director of the Annexe Gallery arts space. Seksualiti Merdeka is an annual sexuality rights festival held in Kuala Lumpur, and represents a coalition of Malaysian NGOs (incl. Malaysian Bar Council, SUARAM, Empower, PT Foundation, United Nations, Amnesty International) and individuals. Apart from the annual festival, they also organise workshops, talks, film screenings, letter writings. Seksualiti Merdeka means “Sexuality Independence” and the term is used to highlight the fact that even all these years after our independence, not all Malaysians are free to be who they are.


Ms. Alicia Izharuddin

Alicia Izharuddin is a doctoral student in gender studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies where she specialises in religion, film, and sexuality in Indonesia and Malaysia. Her scholarship is deeply political; as a Muslim feminist activist and film enthusiast, she is interested in the ways film as ideology and social practice work toward maintaining and subverting domination and gender inequality in Muslim societies. She is also a freelance writer of numerous Malaysian political publications and founder of the Malaysian feminist webzine Kakak Killjoy.



Session 5 – Membina satu rakyat progresif

Dr. Shien Jin Ong

Dr. Shien Jin Ong received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University and S.B. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was previously a quantitative strategist at Goldman Sachs, but has left the domain of finance to explore entrepreneurship in education, a field he is deeply passionate about. He recently returned to Malaysia to survey the landscape of Malaysian education towards the feasibility of a science & technology school for gifted children.


Ms. Barbara Hou

Barbara Hou is President and founding member of the Asian Women’s Leadership University (AWLU) Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of establishing a global women’s leadership university for women based in Asia. She is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Michigan Law School and has combined a career in corporate law practice and international development. As a lawyer in the Hong Kong offices of Allen & Overy LLP and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, she represented issuers and investment banks on debt and equity capital raisings in emerging market economies in Asia. She also has international development experience in South Africa (South African Human Rights Commission), Uganda (Fellowship for Reconciliation), Burma (Growing Together Myanmar) and Bangladesh (Asian University for Women). The University is targeted to enroll the first 100 students representing 10-15 countries by September 2015. The AWLU Facebook page is here and they tweet at @awluproject.



Session 6 – Mencapai cita-cita

Dinesh Rathakrishnan, Macalester College ’14

Dinesh hails from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. He’s mostly been involved in work dealing with education and sexual health, particularly HIV. He thinks students are uniquely poised to create change in an effective manner to address particular issues in the community by participating in meaningful internships. He currently attends Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and is actively involved in the campus community. He leads the HIV organization on campus, works at the Minnesota AIDS Project as a community educator, and is in training to provide sexual health information to incoming freshman next year. This summer, he has received two fellowships to work with sexual health education and shadow health professionals in Minnesota.


Lenard Lim, Middlebury College ’12

Lenard Lim is a History and Mathematics senior at Middlebury College. He has completed internships at the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York; two agencies in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department – Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) and Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp); the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS); OKM Consulting and the Democratic Action Party (DAP). He was part of the first batch of the Otak-Otak program last summer. Prior to Middlebury, he attended the United World College Costa Rica and Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) Jasin.


Teh Min Sern, Swarthmore College ’12

Min Sern is a senior majoring in Political Science and Latin American Studies at Swarthmore College. Over the past few years, his interests have centered around the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples in both Malaysia and Ecuador. He has interned with the Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano in Ecuador. Last summer, he interned with Citibank as part of the amazing Otak-Otak program. On campus, Min Sern sings in an a capella group and performs Balinese Gamelan. His interests on campus revolve around international student affairs and institutional change. He is currently organizing a conference entitled: “The Progress Paradox: Critical Perspectives on Development,” to be held at Swarthmore from 8-16 April this year. Before Swarthmore, he attended the United World College Red Cross Nordic.


Fardina Fuad, Mount Holyoke College ’14

Fardina is a second-year scholar of Economics and Film at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. As part of the pioneering Teach For Malaysia (TFM) recruitment team, she assisted in assembling the premier cohort of 50 fellows. A proud alumna of SMK Damansara Jaya and United World College USA, Fardina is a feminist, a leader, and a strong supporter of women’s education. She currently holds the positions of TFM’s Campus Representative Manager in the Northeast US Region and the undergraduate representative of the Asian Women’s Leadership University (AWLU) project.