Democratization, governance and reform in complex political environments: A Discussion with IDEAS Founder Tunku Zain Al’Abidin
Malaysia experienced a historic election in May 2018, when the incumbent governing coalition was defeated for the first time in the country’s six-decade-long independent history. But as in many contexts, institutional and social reforms face serious challenges. The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), one of the leading think tanks in Southeast Asia, has grappled with the challenges of democratization, governance, development, and public policy since its founding, and plays a key supporting role in Malaysia’s new political landscape. Its Founding President Tunku ‘Abidin will speak about IDEAS’ role in the political transition and its aftermath. The lessons from this key test case have significant relevance beyond Malaysia.
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Tunku Zain Al’Abidin is a Malaysian public intellectual, the Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), director or advisor of several educational organizations, and patron of numerous cultural initiatives. He has written widely on issues of democratization and reform, and is a Royal Fellow of the National University of Malaysia. He is also a former Eisenhower Fellow who has worked in the British Parliament, World Bank, UNDP, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.