Malaysian Politics and Society – A Developing Trajectory
D ate: Tuesday,24 M arch 2015
Time: 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Venue: ISEA S Seminar Room 2
A bout the Seminar
This seminar w illexamine recent politicaldevelopments and identify emerging trends in M alaysian
politics and society. A politicalstasis has resulted in M alaysia since the 13th G eneralElection in M ay
2013 w hen the Barisan N asional(BN ) w on the election but lost the popular votes to the opposition
Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Prime M inister N ajib Razak’s attempt to overcome the political stasis remains
hindered,if not undermined,by his party’s,the U nited M alays N ationalO rganization (U M N O ),racial
and increasingly Islamic politicaldiscourse and posturing. A llegations ofpoor governance,economic
mismanagement and corruption have also eroded the N ajib administration’s credibility. Conversely,
various cracks are visible w ithin the opposition PR as the component parties have nothing in
common ideologically betw een them - especially betw een the Islamist Pan-M alayan Islamic Party
(PA S)and the secular D emocratic A ction Party (D A P). H ow ever,there seems to be an U M N O and PA S
convergence in that both parties are emphasizing pursuing the Islamic agenda and Islamisation of
M alaysia.
A bout the Speaker
Syed Akbar Ali, an U M N O member, is w idely know n in the blogosphere as
"O utsyed The Box",one of the most popular socio-politicalcommentary blog in
M alaysia; it has received more than 10 million hits. Even though he has been
criticalofPrime M inister N ajib Razak,the latter appointed him to sit as an advisor
to one of the five A dvisory panels governing the M alaysian A nti-Corruption
Commission (M A CC) from 2011 to 2015. A fter graduating from U niversity of
O klahoma (1986),Syed A kbar w orked as a corporate banker from 1987 to 1997,
w as a new spaper columnist (The Sun and Berita M inggu)from 1996 to 2004 and D irector ofCorporate
Finance in an Independent Pow er Producer from 1997 to 2007,and appointed a consultant to the
N ational Economic A ction Council,Prime M inister’s D epartment in 2002. Since 2000,he has been a
property developer and jew ellery retailer and since 2014, an editorial consultant to the M alaysian
Business M agazine. H e appears regularly on TV as commentator on politics and current affairs and
has authored three books:To D igress A Little (2005);M alaysia & The Club ofD oom - The Collapse ofthe
Islam ic Countries (2006);and Things in Com m on (2009).
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