Is Malaysia in crisis?

Photo: Bersih rally, Malaysia:

Event details

PSC Panel discussion

Date & time

Thursday 08 October 2015


Lecture Theatre 5, Manning Clark Centre (26a), Union Court, ANU
ANU Canberra


John Funston and Ross Tapsell


Allison Ley
612 53097

Embattled by billions of dollars in debt owed by the state investment fund 1MDB, and a corruption case involving a ‘donation’ of nearly US$700 million paid into his personal bank account, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak faces the biggest political challenge of his career. The movement for free and fair elections, Bersih, recently held a mass rally—which included calls for the prime minister’s resignation—in Kuala Lumpur and some 70 cities around the world. Najib’s supporters, the ‘Red Shirts’, then held a counter demonstration to ‘restore Malay dignity’. The ruling Barisan Nasional increasingly faces difficulties in maintaining its legitimacy among a divided nation, though it benefits from tensions among members of the opposition coalition. 


About the Speakers

John Funston—Visiting Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific. He has worked on Southeast Asian politics, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, for over four decades. He spent 13 years in the region at the National University of Malaysia (1972–1976), Brunei University (1986–1989), and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore (1997–2001).

Ross Tapsell—Lecturer in Asian Studies at the School of Culture, History and Language, at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific. He researches the media in Indonesia and Malaysia. He was a recipient of the Australian Government Endeavour Post-doctorate Award, where he conducted research on press freedom and media ownership in Indonesia.


This panel discussion is hosted by the ANU ASEAN Society and the Department of Political and Social Change.

The event is free to the public, and no pre-booking is required. For any queries, email


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