This category contains 348 posts

CPO Shuhaily Zain: Beyond Mere Enforcement of the Law (Part One)

Ooi Kee Beng in conversation with CPO Shuhaily Zain (Penang Monthly, February 2023) DATO’ MOHD SHUHAILY ZAIN became Penang’s Chief Police Officer (CPO) during the Covid-19 pandemic. He was quickly recognised locally as a dynamic leader who is highly conscious of the important role in social development that the police has, or should have. Penang … Continue reading


The Dubious Grouping of Ages

By OOI KEE BENG I ASSUME THAT he who sees a cup as half empty will try to conserve what he has, while he who sees a cup as half full will proceed to fill it further. I also assume that those who have lived longer tend to be more conscious of what has been … Continue reading

What Are We to Do With You Millennials?

By OOI KEE BENG, February 2023 Editorial, Penang Monthly. I HAVE TO admit something. Before returning to Penang to work in 2017, I had hardly ever used the word “millennial”. Looking back, I think that was because I was in academia and was then, for a long time, attached to an established think tank in … Continue reading

Anwar Must Pull Malaysia out of its Self-made Hole

By Ooi Kee Beng, “Picking on the Present”, column for The Edge Malaysia, 28 January to 3 February 2023 It had seemed obvious to some observers of Malaysian politics back in 2008, after the fateful elections that saw five states fall into the hands of the opposition and the Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its super-majority … Continue reading

The Educational Origins of Penang’s Skills Mismatch and Brain Drain

By OOI KEE BENG, January 2023 Editorial in Penang Monthly. EDUCATION IS REGARDED as a human right today. Therefore, most modern states, barring those who expressly consider public education to be a threat to their continued exercise of political or religious power, have felt duty-bound to provide some level of formal schooling to every one … Continue reading

For the Unity Government, a Search for the Middle Ground

By Ooi Kee Beng, Picking on the Present column in The Edge Malaysia, 26 December 2022 A UNITY GOVERNMENT never sounds like something one should be opposed to, and for good reasons. What is interesting about such a government though, is that they become necessary in a democracy when the posturing and the stances taken … Continue reading

Anwar Ibrahim and the Resilience of the Reformasi Movement

By OOI KEE BENG, in The Straits Times, 26 November 2022 AGAINST GREAT ODDS, and despite time threatening to run out for him, Anwar Ibrahim, at 75 years old, is now Malaysia’s Prime Minister. With that, a new era appears to dawn for the country.  However, chances are, this change will not be as immediately … Continue reading

Time to Go Beyond the Exigencies of Early Nationhood

By OOI KEE BENG. The Edge Malaysia, 21-27 November 2022 THE TRANSITION FROM colonialism to national independence did not start and end with celebrations on Aug 31, 1957. For starters, it was not so much national independence that was nominally declared that day as the founding of a new country. That country — Malaya — … Continue reading

A Deeply Transformed Political Landscape Calls for Confident Voters

By OOI KEE BENG, The Edge Malaysia, October 24-30, 2022 MUCH HAS HAPPENED in Malaysia over the last 25 years. Not only that, in fact, so much profound change has happened to the political landscape in the country that it is now actually quite unrecognisable. I returned to the region in 2004, just after Tun … Continue reading

The Future of Tourism—Only as Bright as We Make It

By OOI KEE BENG. Editorial for Penang Monthly, November 2022 SINCE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL became possible post-Covid, I have, for various reasons, been staying in at least five countries for substantial periods of time, including in Malaysia. A common change that took place between 2020 and 2023 seems evident to me. In all of the countries, … Continue reading