The theme for Malaysia Forum 2013 is ‘Berpandangan Jauh’, which means in Bahasa Malaysia ‘to take a long term view’. Berpandangan Jauh is a phrase adapted from the lyrics of Akbar Nawab’s song Wawasan 2020.

With a watershed election behind us and another election just around the corner, the Malaysia Forum team believes it is a timely juncture to ask questions surrounding the long-term development of our country. We have constructed our panels across four MF audiences to approach pertinent Malaysian topics with a long-term view, and what exactly it means to do that. Among the topics discussed are stability and development, media maturity, social activism, education, language politics and general elections.




[MF KL Panel 1] Bersatu dan Maju : The Balance between Stability and Development

This panel will define and discuss the relationship between stability/unity versus development in the Malaysian context. National interests such as affirmative action, Bersih, Bakun and Lynas all involved some form of tradeoff between a developing society/economy and stability, and election rhetoric has also lately found a focal point around the notion of peaceful development.

Is the relationship between stability and development one that really exists in Malaysia? What role has it played in the political sphere and the economy? How has affirmative action in Malaysia contributed (or not) to stability and development? Do we agree with the theory that stability is tied to having the same government?


Dr. Lin Mui Kiang

Dr Lin is the former United Nations Coordination Specialist for Malaysia. She coordinated UN operations here, working with the government, civil society and other stakeholders to achieve agreed goals in policy and strategic planning and joint programmes. Dr Lin worked previously for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC and specialized in transferring best development practices from Asia to Latin American countries. Prior to that, she set up the Worldview Foundation that specialized in media and education for sustainable development and has won international awards for her work. Dr Lin served for ten years in the Ministry of Agriculture and twelve years in the Economic Planning Unit, PM Department Malaysia, working in the agriculture, infrastructure, regional development, and environment and sustainable development sectors, and assisted in drafting the Malaysia Five Year Development Plans.


Mr. Nurhisham Hussein

Nurhisham Hussein is an Economist at the Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC), producing country reports, economic viewpoints and quantitative forecasts. He began his career in merchant banking in the 1990s before joining Perwira Affin Bank in 1997 as part of the Corporate Planning Department. He later joined Permodalan Nasional Berhad in 2004 to head the Economics section of the Research Division. There he was responsible for monitoring, analysis and reporting of economic conditions in Malaysia and internationally, providing input for PNB’s investment decisions. Nurhisham maintains the popular economics blog


Mr. Zadil Hanief

Zadil Hanief is an Associate Director at Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), Prime Minister’s Department, the unit mandated to spearhead Malaysia’s transformation programs. He currently oversees the implementation and delivery of initiatives under NKRA Urban Public Transport. He was instrumental in the development of public transport initiatives in Government Transformation Program Roadmap 2.0. He has worked closely with senior policy makers in the areas of rural development, immigration affairs, healthcare and wholesale / retail. Prior to joining the Malaysian Government, he spent 10 years with Shell and Procter & Gamble.


Moderator: Mr. Hafiz Noor Shams
Hafiz Noor Shams works at a research setup called Asean Confidential under the Financial Times. Prior to joining the FT, he was responsible in producing macroeconomic analysis and outlook at ECM Libra Investment Bank. He’s also a fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). He regularly contributes to The Malaysian Insider, The Sun and the Selangor Times. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s in economics from the University of Michigan and the University of Sydney respectively.



[MF KL Panel 2] Selamat Pagi Malaysia: Towards Media Maturity

This panel will explore and discuss the state of journalism and media maturity in Malaysia over time and comparatively across broader contexts. What does media maturity mean for Malaysia? How important is it for the media to create a well-informed electorate in Malaysia, and do we currently do enough? Given the rise of what is known as alternative media in the past decade, how have views and standards changed in the media industry? Do Malaysians truly need mass media that caters to our sensitivities or are we ready for a change in the way we report stories?


Mr. Chan Kok Leong

Chan Kok Leong is the chief editor of the Selangor Times, which is a Selangor-based newspaper that focuses on community and local issues. He began his career in the banking industry before joining the news industry. He has had stints at The Sun, New Straits Times, The Edge Financial Daily and later Malaysiakini as a reporter. He is also a member of The Media Project and alumnus of The Poynter Institute of Media Studies.


Mr. Ho Kay Tat

Ho Kay Tat is now group CEO of The Edge Media Group. He was formerly CEO/Managing Director and COO of The Star Publications. Before joining The Star Publications, he was group Chief Editor of The Edge. Under his guidance, The Edge Media Group is planning for regional expansion.


Mr. Jahabar Sadiq

Jahabar Sadiq is CEO and editor of The Malaysian Insider. He was a senior producer with Reuters Television, the international news and information broadcast agency from 1998 to 2009. He covered the region from Afghanistan to East Timor producing breaking news and features that range from business to lifestyle. He was previously a Reuters correspondent covering politics and business news in Reuters Malaysia from 1994 to 1995 before joining AP Television for a short spell. Jahabar started his journalism career in the then leading Malaysian daily New Straits Times in 1988 before moving to Business Times in 1993.


Moderator: Ms. Masjaliza Hamzah
Masjaliza Hamzah is executive officer at the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ). She formerly managed the Research and Publications unit of Sisters in Islam (SIS), where she worked on human rights and progressive Islam. She was also a journalist at The Star for 10 years during which she actively promoted media freedom.