Liberalism Conference 2016
Theme: Can Liberalism Save Malaysia?
Date: 24 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Venue: Pullman Hotel Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

Background

Malaysia is facing various challenges on both socio-economic and political fronts. Economic growth is slowing down, leadership crisis and the 1MDB scandal are causing investors to be jittery, and there is a growing racial and religious divide. We seem to be moving in the wrong trajectory.

What does liberalism has to say about the challenges faced by our country today? How can liberal ideas be used to formulate a solution? Can liberalism save Malaysia? This conference will explore the big issues, to spark a debate about the role of liberal ideas in our country today.

Introduction

IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges, and defines itself based on classical liberal principles of the rule of law, limited government, individual liberty and free markets.

As a follow up to last year’s well received conference, IDEAS will organise another conference, this time to answer one fundamental question; with all the problems facing Malaysia today, can liberalism save us? We will look into 4 themes; stemming the tide of illiberalism; scandals and mismanagement in State-owned enterprises; race relations; and racial politics.

Tentative Agenda

 

Time Agenda
9.00 am Welcoming remarks from Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive, IDEAS
9.05 am Keynote address by Dr. Razeen Sally, National University of Singapore (NUS)Malaysia’s future in an increasingly illiberal environment

Malaysia is facing various challenges on both socio-economic and political fronts. Economic growth is slowing down, leadership crisis and the 1MDB scandal are causing investors to be jittery, and there is a growing racial and religious divide.  We seem to be moving in the wrong trajectory. What can be done to stem the tide of illiberalism in Malaysia.

9.45 am Tea Break
10.00 am Panel session 1 – Can a liberal order prevent another GLC scandal?Moderator: Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS

Liberals generally believe that government involvement in businesses has a distortionary effect on the market.   These could cost taxpayers billions of ringgit. What steps are necessary to avoid similar scandals? What does liberalism has to say regarding this?

12.00 pm Lunch
12.45 pm Panel Session 2: Liberalism and multiculturalism – Does freedom unite or divide?Moderator: Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS

The liberal attitude towards multicultural society has always been one of live and let live. Liberals reject forced assimilation and integration, believing that respect of individual liberty is better to promote harmony.  This was the spirit of our Rukun Negara.  On the other hand, opponents argue that the government needs to restrict freedom in order to impose harmony and to prevent conflict.  Is it necessary for Malaysians to give up our freedom to achieve unity?

2.45pm Teabreak
4.45 pm Panel Session 3: Getting to General Election 14 – When will race and religion stop being used to win elections?Moderator: Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS

Liberals oppose the exploitation of racial and religious issues for political gains.  They see this as dangerous and can lead to strife. But in Malaysia today, we see that despite being independent for almost 60 years, race and religion continue to be exploited by politicians seeking to win elections.  Will we ever see a racially- and religiously-blind politics in Malaysia?

4.45 pm Closing remarks

Registration

Registration – To register click https://goo.gl/forms/oM6hIVGBZ7yIbM9J3

Fees: Adult – RM 100

          Students – RM 50

 

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