Liberal in Malaysia
Liberalism Conference 2021

Liberalism Conference 2021
© FNF Malaysia 

The Liberalism Conference 2021, hosted by IDEAS, was conducted successfully last week on October 23rd and 24th, 2021. Watch the full discussion below:

Session 1

During times of crisis or great public uncertainty, it is fashionable to assume that authoritarian states are in a stronger position than liberal democracies with regards to their ability to react. However, as evidenced by the effective responses demonstrated by liberal democracies, such as New Zealand and Taiwan, it is clear that open societies have proven just as resilient during times of turbulence.

Malaysia asserts more government control and one way policies to handle the pandemic which seems ineffective. Is openness the key to navigating our health & political crisis?

Opening Remarks: YAM Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz (Chairman IDEAS Board of Directors)

Keynote speaker: Dato’ Sri N azir Razak (Chairman and Founding Partner, Ikhlas Capital).

Watch the full discussion here

Session 2: Post-Sheraton the breakdown of trust and fragility of parliamentary democracy.

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic first struck Malaysia, Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy has deteriorated. Positive reforms arguably started to take place under the recently established government of Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri government. Such developments are a good start for better prospects of national democratisation, but they must be meaningfully followed through.

How do we ensure that high level discussions surrounding these proposed reforms are maintained? What strategies are at hand to overcome identified challenges to these reforms? Should we celebrate these developments?

Moderator: Aira Azhari (Manager, Democracy and Governance, IDEAS)


  • Dr.Amrita Malhi (Visiting Fellow at Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australia National University)
  • Dr.Sebatian Dettman (School of Social Science, Singapore Management University)
  • Dr.Sophie Lemiere (Political Anthropologists-Consultant)

Watch the full discussion here

Session 3: The Rise of state-intervention in weathering the economics of covid-19

It is commonly claimed that COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in the globalized economy. Major population centres around the world underwent lockdowns and restrictions, bringing everyday business activities to a halt. In response, countries around the world resolve to adopt massive fiscal measures to keep individuals and businesses afloat.

Has COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses of the globalized economy and our reliance on global supply chains? Can the future market become sustainable, especially in weathering future pandemics? What could we learn from COVID-19 with regards to market liberalisation?

Moderator: Sri Murni Yusuf (Senior Manager, Public Finance, IDEAS)


  • Nadia Jalil (Regional Head, Group Economic and Market Analysis, CIMB)
  • Hafiz Noor Shams (Visiting Fellow, REFSA)
  • Dr. Carmelo Ferlito (CEO, Center for Market Education (CME))

Watch the discussion here

Session 4: Covid-19 Vaccination: Balancing Personal Liberty and Community Interest

The battle between personal liberty and community interest/security has been a never ending since September 11, 2001. These days, questions are being asked again about on how we balance personal liberty vis a vis the public good. Questions are being asked today about how we balance the freedom not to be vaccinated vis a vis public health interests?

Must we undermine personal liberty to achieve community interest? Or should it be the other way round?

Moderator: Tricia Yeoh (CEO, IDEAS)


  • Dr.Khor Swee Kheng (Associate Fellow, Chatham House)
  • Dr.Hartini Zainuddin (Child Activits)
  • Dato’Prof.Dr.Adeeba Kamarulzaman (Professor of Medicine & Infectious Diseases, University of Malaya)

Watch the full discussion here