Recent events in Malaysia have raised questions about the future of political developments in this country. The initial successes of the PR in making inroads on the Malaysian political scene during the general elections of 2008 and 2013 was considered by many to be a significant milestone in the ongoing evolution of the still-maturing democratic system of Malaysia. However, the jailing of the charismatic leader Anwar Ibrahim, the passing of the highly influential spiritual leader of PAS, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, and internal divisions within the coalition are some of the problems which could potentially undermine the ability of the People’s Alliance to mount a strong contest against the ruling Barisan Nasional in the coming elections.
This seminar seeks to analyse and discuss the impact of recent political developments on the political landscape of Malaysian. Dr Mohamed Nawab will seek to analyst the future trajectory in PAS Politics, especially after the passing of its highly influential spiritual leader, Nik Aziz Nik Mat. Issues pertaining to internal divisions of PAS, its drive to implement hudud laws, and its continuing evolution to present itself as an alternative and more legitimate Islamist party in contrast to UMNO will be discussed. Mr Yang Razali will address the sustainability of Pakatan Rakyat in light of the challenges faced by the various opposition parties in the coalition. Leadership problems, and internal differences along ideological and political lines will be discussed. On the topic of PAS and UMNO, Dr Farish Noor will assess the place of PAS and UMNO in the constellation of regional and global Islamic movements and parties.
About the Speakers:
YANG RAZALI KASSIM is Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University and at the RSIS’ Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies. He is also Editor of two RSIS publications, RSIS Commentaries and Strategic Currents. He is a Research Adviser and Member of the Selection Committee of the Temasek-Foundation-NTU Asia Journalism Fellowship Programme of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information (WKWSCI). He studied at Raffles Institution and graduated in Political Science from the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) with Second Class Upper Honours. He was a Wolfson Press Fellow, Cambridge University and a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute of International Policy, Sydney.
Prior to RSIS, he was with Singapore Press Holdings, serving as Regional Editor with The Business Times; Principal Assistant to the Editor/Senior Correspondent with The Straits Times; and Jakarta Correspondent, The Straits Times. He was also a recipient of a Pan-Asia Award in Journalism by Citibank. In his professional career as a journalist, he had followed the meetings of ASEAN foreign and economic ministers and the WTO (World Trade Organization) as well as the summits of ASEAN Leaders, ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) and APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in various world cities including Auckland, Bogor, Manila, Osaka and Seattle.
MOHAMED NAWAB OSMAN is the Coordinator of the Malaysia Program at RSIS. His research interests include the domestic and international politics of Southeast and South Asian countries, transnational Islamic political movements and counter-radicalization. Nawab has written various papers, books and journal articles relating to his research interests. Some of these articles have been featured in prominent journals such as Southeast Asia Research, South Asia, Terrorism and Political Violence, Indonesia and the Malay World and Contemporary Southeast Asia. Several of his opinion pieces have been featured in leading dailies such as The Straits Times, India Express, The Nation (Thailand), Jakarta Post, Manila Times and Today’s Zaman (Turkey). Nawab is a frequent commentator on political Islam, terrorism and Southeast Asian politics on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera and Channel News Asia. Nawab is a social activist and serves as the President of Critical Xchange, an organization that seeks provide a mutually beneficial platform for Muslim citizens and incoming expats to exchange news, views and skills with the local Singaporean community. He also sits in the boards of Association of Muslim Professionals and Jamiyah Singapore. In 2014, he was nominated to attend the inaugural Young Southeast Asian Leader’s Initiative, a program initiated by President Barack Obama. He also attended the inaugural YSEALI workshop in Singapore as a mentor.Nawab has attended a number of prestigious fellowship program organized by the governments of the United States, France and China.
FARISH A. NOOR is presently Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; where he is part of the research cluster ‘Transnational Religion in Southeast Asia’. Dr. Farish is also Affiliated Professor at Muhamadiyah University, Surakarta and Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta.
He is the author of The Madrasa in Asia: Political Activism and Transnational Linkages. (With Martin van Bruinessen and Yoginder Sikand (Eds.), University of Amsterdam Press, Amsterdam, 2008; Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: 1951-2003, Malaysian Sociological Research Institute (MSRI), Kuala Lumpur, 2004. His other writings include: Writings on the War on Terror (Globalmedia Press, India, 2006), From Majapahit to Putrajaya:Searching For Another Malaysia (Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur, 2005), Islam Progresif: Peluang, Tentangan dan Masa Depannya di Asia Tenggara (SAMHA, Jogjakarta, 2005), Di San Zhi Yan Kan Ma Lai Xi Ya (Sin Chew Jit Poh Press, Petaling Jaya, 2004), The Other Malaysia: Writings on Malaysia’s Subaltern History (Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur, 2003); and New Voices of Islam, (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden, Netherlands, 2002).