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Ooi Kee Beng

Dr OOI KEE BENG is the Executive Director of Penang Institute (George Town, Penang, Malaysia). He was born and raised in Penang, and was the Deputy Director of ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute (formerly the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISEAS). He is the founder-editor of the Penang Monthly (published by Penang Institute), ISEAS Perspective (published by ISEAS) and ISSUES (published by Penang Institute). He is also editor of Trends in Southeast Asia, and a columnist for The Edge, Malaysia.
Ooi Kee Beng has written 320 posts for Wikibeng

The Dynamics Needed to Dislodge Malaysia from its Race Fetish

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, March 30, 2020 Malaysian politics is largely racial. It is racial to such an extent that religion is popularly connected to race. And so, the greatest challenge that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government faced when it took power in May 2018 was in developing and propagating for … Continue reading

Admitting Humanity’s Exploitative Ties with Nature: Penang’s Pursuit of Sustainable Development

By Ooi Kee Beng, in HESB (Higher Education in Southeast Asia and Beyond) March 2020 ISSUE #07: pp.13-15 Globalisation’s Historical Consequence The atypical ambition to make human development sustainable would not have come about in our time, if not for the pervasive sense we all feel that human insatiability has gone too far. Human interference—or … Continue reading

With Malaysian politics on a knife’s edge, what challenges will Muhyiddin face?

By OOI KEE BENG, for TODAYONLINE, Singapore. 9 March 2020 If Malaysia’s new government under Muhyiddin Yassin is a solid one, then one could perhaps begin declaring a new era in the country’s politics.  But it is not, and it in fact depends heavily on parties like the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and the … Continue reading

Entrepreneurship Gone Sexy

Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly editorial, March, 2020 ENTREPRENEURSHIP. THIS IS a word more used than understood. But it is a word that is hugely popular today. It connotes some psychological quality that we wish that our young people have more of today, something akin to innovativeness, adaptiveness and creative. And there does not seem … Continue reading

Of pyramids, eggs, durians and depicting power in Malaysia

Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 2, 2020 – March 08, 2020. Power structures are often perceived in the form of a pyramid. Where the number of inhabitants at each level is concerned, then yes, a hierarchy is clearly and understandably modelled as a pyramid, presented as a structure with a … Continue reading

As another unstable coalition takes power, what does the future hold for Malaysian politics?

By OOI KEE BENG for TODAYONLINE, 2 March 2020 Muhyiddin Yassin has emerged as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister after a week of dramatic twists and turns among parliamentarians. He emerged the winner thanks to the coming together of three of the five Malay-based parties in the country, along with a coalition of Sarawak parties called … Continue reading

Expect more mischief by Malaysian political elites unless there is a devolution of power

By OOI KEE BENG, for TODAYONLINE, Singapore, 26 FEBRUARY, 2020 The grab for power attempted over the period of Feb 22 to 24 at Malaysia’s centre of power was a totally elite enterprise. It was a game of numbers among parliamentarians done behind locked doors. This caught everyone not involved in the plotting by surprise. … Continue reading

Was the Pakatan Harapan coalition doomed to fail from the start?

By Ooi Kee Beng for CNA Commentary, 25 February 2020 PENANG: A coup d’etat attempt of sorts took place between Friday (Feb 21) and Monday. What unfolded by the end of Monday was that Dr Mahathir Mohamad had resigned as prime minister, only to become interim prime minister at the request of the Agong. This … Continue reading

Malaysia, Truly the World

By OOI KEE BENG for THE EDGE MALAYSIA 27 January 2020 The dimensions for conflict perpetually vexing this strange political creation that the world knows as Malaysia are many. And they often go unmentioned — even unidentified and therefore unmanaged. There are various reasons for this. First, to state the obvious, racialism, noted in the … Continue reading

When the Artistic Impulse Becomes a Key Economic Asset

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial for Penang Monthly, February 2020 February, 2020 “CREATIVE INDUSTRIES” is an infuriating term. Why it is so difficult to get a firm handle on it is that it epitomises the postmodern nature of our times, challenging not only a range of notions associated with “modernity”, but also connoting socio-economic and … Continue reading