RSIS Panel Webinar on “Malaysia’s Policy Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Drivers, Players, Consequences”
Malaysia is widely acknowledged to have managed well the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, befitting a resource-rich upper middle-income country with one of the best healthcare systems in Southeast Asia and a strong centralised state. However, the pandemic has since evolved into a more complex public health, economic, social and political challenge for Malaysia.
While Malaysia’s handling of COVID-19 has come under public criticism, some of its achievements are less well appreciated. The underlying resource constraints, trade-offs, considerations of key players, and longer term consequences bear closer attention.
This webinar hopes to explore the following questions:
– What has COVID-19 revealed about the strengths and weaknesses of Malaysian policy-making?
– What are the longer term implications of Malaysia’s management of the pandemic for public health, the economy, and its fiscal position and priorities?
– How have authority and leadership been exercised, and has the pandemic changed public expectations of the government and politics? Do the youth have a different view and what impact will they have?
About the Panellists
With a background in genetics and public health policy, Azrul Mohd Khalib has worked as a development and programme policy specialist for more than 20 years. He has extensive experience working on strategic health system issues related to access to healthcare, sexual reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, and humanitarian assistance.
Azrul is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy. His previous positions have been with the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS); the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); representing the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Azrul has also worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Malaysian AIDS Council.
He is co-founder of the CodeBlue health news website. He is also a board member of the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center). He is a writer, has been a columnist with two Malaysian media outlets, and is a co-presenter with BFM 89.9’s Health & Living programme where he discusses health policy.
Muhammed Abdul Khalid is a Research Fellow at Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER). He was Economic Adviser to then 7th Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Member of the Economic Action Council.
He previously served as Director of Research at Khazanah Research Institute, Head of Economics at the Securities Commission Malaysia, and Senior Analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. He was also a Senior Technical Advisor at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Malaysia.
He has also served as consultant to the World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
He is the author of The Colour of Inequality (2014), and Antara Dua Darjat (2017).
He obtained his PhD from the Institut d’études Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po Paris), France, Master of Economics from University of Malaya, and BSc from University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.