Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur

What we do?

Penang Institute’s office in Kuala Lumpur (PI in KL) was officially opened on 26 February 2014 by YAB Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang.  As the sister arm of Penang Institute (the public policy think tank of the Penang state government), its aim is to be relevant on a national level by focussing on country-wide research, though always with attention to Penang as a frame of reference. PI in KL critically engages with federal policies, aiming to generate and expand ideas that will help steer Malaysia towards becoming a high-income, knowledge-intensive economy. The team, though small, is robust and seeks to affect change by developing pragmatic, action-oriented policies that make a real difference in the lives of citizens.

Who are we?

Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Head
Dr. Ong Kian Ming is Member of Parliament for Serdang and a scholar with a PhD in Political Science from Duke University, a Masters’ degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics. His interests are in electoral, economic and education reform, democratization and decentralization, and energy and sustainability issues.

Esther Sinirisan Chong Shiaw Yee, Analyst
Trained in International and Strategic Studies and History at University Malaya. Ms Esther’s current research interests lie in education and government policy, history & heritage of East Malaysia. She is currently assisting in a research project on education decentralization policies and also contributes regularly to the Chinese press, writing on topics that range from socio-cultural to environmental and public policy issues.

Dr. Lim Chee Han, Senior Analyst
He is a scientifically-trained researcher. He holds a PhD in Infection Biology from Hannover Medical School, Germany, and a Master’s degree in Immunology from Imperial College London. Prior to joining the KL office, he spent 2 and a half years in the Economics Studies section at Penang Institute, Penang office. He has diverse interests in various socio-political issues. Healthcare and education reform are currently his main research focus, while sustainable development and social equality are also his policy concern. He believes that a nation would advance significantly if policymaking is taken very seriously.

Lim Su Lin, Analyst
Su Lin graduated from the University of Cambridge with a B.A. degree in History in 2013. She joined PI in KL in October 2016 as a Research Analyst. Her research interests lie in the areas of women’s rights under the law and mental healthcare policies. A historian at heart, she has a personal interest in colonial histories, particularly the study of cultural exchanges between invading powers and local communities. She is interested in how these processes, beyond a top-down ‘ordaining’ of knowledge, were often played out through subtle, reciprocal negotiations between both ruling powers and the native communities.

Darshan Joshi, Analyst
Darshan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of New South Wales, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. While he maintains an interest in a wide range of topics that fall under the purview of public policy, his true passions lie in the analyses of energy and environmental issues. He views climate change as one of the most significant issues to face contemporary society, and strongly feels that the public sector should play a critical role in the process of decarbonisation. He also firmly believes that comprehensive and transparent data can play a crucial role in the necessary advancement of policymaking.


The Case for Stronger Climate Policies in Malaysia: Electricity, Transport, and the Need for a Carbon Tax

Electric Vehicles in Malaysia? Hold Your Horsepower!

Evaluating the Performance of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA)

What is the future of KTM?

Healthy Food Choices and Diabetes

Analysing Malaysia’s Development Expenditure in the Federal Budget from 2004 to 2018

Bridging Barriers: A study on improving access to mental healthcare in Malaysia
Cost of Living with HIV in Malaysia

An unhealthy obsession with Global University Rankings?

Housemanship in Malaysia

The sustainability of the PTPTN Loan Scheme

Higher Order Thinking Skills – Cultivating Creative Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration through Malaysian schools

Malaysia’s Labour Market and Job Creation under the Economic Transformation Programme (2011-2015)

Reforming Higher Education: Scholarship Or Vocationalism?

The SUNWAY Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line: Lessons for The Future

Private Higher Education in Malaysia – Avoiding a Hidden Crisis?
Research by two experienced academics, Dr. Geoffrey Williams and Dr. Paul Lim, on the financial health of 41 private universities, 8 foreign branch campuses and 27 university colleges (2 of whom have since been upgraded to full universities) reveal serious challenges faced by private HLIs in terms of financial sustainability.

Malaysia Boys “Missing from Public Universities”

Homelessness in Our Cities