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This Conference is an annual exercise to deliberate on the overall progress towards “A Malaysia that upholds the principles of liberty and justice”, according to the vision pronounced by Tunku Abdul Rahman. The conference tracks progress and developments in Malaysia along these parameters: rule of law, free markets, limited government and individual liberty and responsibility. We believe that these values are necessary for a liberal and just Malaysia.

Among the topics that will be discussed are:

  • cost of living
  • role of GLCs
  • freedom of speech
  • institutional reforms

Event Detail:

Date: 22 September 2018 (Saturday)

Time: 1000 – 1700 hrs (Registration opens at 0930)

Venue: Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Tentative Agenda


9.30 – 10.00 : Registration
10.00 – 10.05 : Welcoming Remarks by Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria, Chairman, IDEAS
10.05 – 10.25 : Speech and presentation on “The State of Malaysia” by Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Founding President
Tunku ‘Abidin will present a report analysing Malaysia’s development and performance in fourkey areas that corresponds to to IDEAS’ 4 principles. They are rule of law; economic freedom (free market); limited government; and individual liberty. This inaugural report will establish a baseline and will be updated every year at the annual Liberalism Conference.
10.25 – 10.50 : Teabreak
10.50 – 12.10 : 1st Panel – What should be the role of GLCs in the Malaysian economy?
Tentative panelists:

  1. Datuk Dr. Rais Husin Mohamed Arif, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM)
  2. Prof. Edmund Terence Gomez, Universiti of Malaya
  3. Prof. Dr Geoffrey Williams, HELP University
  4. Dr Renato Lima de Oliveira, Asia School of Business

GLCs played a huge role in Malaysia’s economy, dominating most, if not all of the commanding heights of industry. While some GLCs are well-run corporations, there are many that are making losses, inflicting a heavy burden on the Malaysian taxpayers. They also tend to crowd out private sector investment in many economic sectors. This raises the question of reform and whether privatisation should be consider for some of the GLCs.

12.10 – 1.30 : 2nd Panel – High cost of living or low pay: Which is the real problem?
Tentative Panelists:1.Dr Suraya Ismail, Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute (KRI)2.Firdaos Rosli, Director of Economics, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS)3. Prof Yeah Kim Leng, Sunway University Business SchoolOne of the problems facing Malaysians is the rising cost of living. This dissatisfaction was one of the factors that brought down the Barisan Nasional government. However, the policies of the new Pakatan Harapan government such as the abolishment of GST and stabilising the fuel are just short term fixes. What else can be done to deal with the rising costs? Does the actual problem lies in stagnant wages instead?
1.30 – 2.30 : Lunch
2.30 – 3.50 : 3rd Panel – Freedom of Speech in Malaysia – The opening of discourse after GE14
Tentative Panelists:

  1. Prof. Azmi Sharom, Universiti Malaya
  2. Umapagan Ambikaipakan, BFM
  3. Gayathry Venkiteswaran, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

The result of the GE14 has had a liberating effect on public discourse. Overnight, more people are willing to speak out. Pro-government media has become more balanced in their reporting. The new government has promised to review several draconian act e.g. the Anti Fake News Bill. This and other promises have raised hopes among activists that the new government will usher in an era of greater freedom of speech. How much have they delivered? What are the possibilities of more reforms to increase the level of freedom and openness in our country.

3.50 – 4.20 : Concluding Remarks by Ali Salman, Chief Executive Officer, IDEAS
4.20 – 5.00 : Tea Break
5.00 : End


Open to the public and admission is free, but guests must register at : https://goo.gl/forms/bx3TuvrlmLoQqmhU2

For more info please contact Amir Ridzuan Jamaludin at amir@ideas.org.my / Hadaina Lokman at hadaina@ideas.org.my or call 03-2070 8881/8882.

Closing date is 19th September 2018.