Past Events

Book Launch & Panel Discussion: Covid-19 and the Structural Crisis of Our Time

About the Book

This book is not just about the Covid-19 pandemic. It analyses the multiple crises confronting humanity today – ecological, health, economic, financial and political crises. How do we make sense of all these structural crises, not to mention the current geo-political crises, confronting us?

The authors set out to answer three basic questions: what is the nature of these crises and how are they inter-related; how did we get to this state of affairs; and what are the possible ways forward?

Environmental crises as manifested in climate change and loss of biodiversity threaten human existence. Deforestation, abusive land use and large-scale industrial farming contributed to zoonoses and pandemics. Rapacious financialisation of the economy aided by market-dependent central banks led to regular financial and economic crises over the last four decades. Wealth and social equality reaching historical levels created ideal conditions for political polarization, populism and protests.

Written two years ago, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Lim and Dr Heng, bring a holistic and historical perspective to a better understanding of these interrelated crises.

1. Dr Lim Mah Hui, Author of the Book & Chairman of the Third World Network
2. Dr Shahridan Faiez, Principal Advisor, Think City & Former Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank
3. Dr Chee Heng Leng, Independent Researcher and Social Activist

Moderator: Gareth Richards


About the Panelists

Dr Lim Mah Hui (Author)

He has a combined professional experience in three areas – academia and research; banking and finance; and public service. He has a multi-disciplinary background in Economics, Political Science, Sociology and Finance. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University and taught in the University of Malaya and later at Temple University, Philadelphia. After academia, he worked in several major international banks in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta. His last assignment was at the Asian Development Bank in Manila. He then returned to Malaysia, is active in research and civil. He served as a city councillor for Penang island representing civil society.

He is chairman of the Third World Network, an international NGO involved in research and advocacy on issues like climate change, international finance and trade, bio-diversity etc.

His recent books include:

• Covid-19 and the Structural Crises of Our Time, ISEAS, Singapore, 2022.

• Local Democracy Denied: A Journey into Local Government in Malaysia. SERD, KL. 2020.

• Nowhere to Hide: The Great Financial Crisis and Challenges for Asia, ISEAS, Singapore, 2010.

Dr Shahridan Faiez

He is interested in the intersection of finance and sustainable development and is with more than 25 years of field experience. He spent 13 years being attached to the World Bank based in Washington DC where he implemented sustainable development projects in countries as diverse as East Timor, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Bulgaria. He currently provides advisory services to Governments, Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations. This includes the Government of Ivory Coast in West Africa, and local governments such as the Municipal Authority of Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, and the state government of Selangor. He is currently Principal Advisor to Think City where he focuses on supporting the urban poor in public housing projects and is economic advisor to the Consumer’s Association of Penang (CAP). Dr Faiez has a degree in geology from Universiti Malaya and a PhD in natural resource governance from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Chee Heng Leng

She works in the field of health and health care, and was part of the group of academics, researchers, activists and advocates that founded the Citizens’ Health Initiative (Malaysia) in 1998 to work for equitable, accessible and sustainable health care of quality. She previously held academic positions in universities. While retired, she continues with her academic writing and advocacy work.

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