History & Regional Studies Programme

What is History & Regional Studies Programme?

Penang’s impressive growth as a cultural and economic hub was fuelled by free trade. This regionality and globality came to define the character of this “Pearl of the Orient”, and its reputation is built on this history of entrepreneurship. As on of the region’s earliest modern cities, it exerted great influence over its immediate surroundings. We continue to study with great interest the dynamics of regional politics today, alongside how governance in Malaysia responds to world events.

Who are the team members?

Dr Choong Pui Yee (钟佩妤), Senior Analyst
Dr. Choong Pui Yee holds a MSc in Strategic Studies from Nanyang Technological University Singapore, and a Ph.D in Political Science from Monash University Malaysia. She was a Senior Analyst at the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). While doing her Ph.D, she also taught politics related subjects to undergraduates. Pui Yee’s research interests include Malaysia domestic politics and political mobilization of repressed groups. She has published her work in media outlets like TheStar, Malaysiakini, TodayOnline, StraitsTimes, as well as a few book chapters.

Dr Beh May Ting (马美婷), Projects Researcher
Dr Beh May Ting holds an MSocSc in Asian Studies from Universiti Sains Malaysia (where she graduated as the Gold Medalist of the faculty during her BSocSc) and a PhD in Anthropology from Monash University. She specialises in Urban Anthropology, Food Studies, and Cultural Geography. Prior to joining Penang Institute, she was a Lecturer with the School of Arts and Social Sciences in Monash University Malaysia. During her doctoral studies, she was a Graduate Research Fellow with the Asia Research Institute in the National University of Singapore. Apart from research work, May Ting is a polyglot, athlete, and musician.

Frederik Paulus, Senior Fellow
Frederik holds a Masters in Finance from London Business School and a Masters in Economics from the University of Antwerp. Prior to Penang Institute, he had a 20-year career in financial services, with a specialisation in risk management and regulatory compliance. His research interests are the interplay between the financial sector and the real economy in an international context, the transmission mechanisms of fiscal and monetary policy and the role of the government in fostering a well-functioning market with fair outcomes. Further afield, he is fascinated by the rise of digital technology and its economic, social and political ramifications.

Braema Mathi, Visiting Senior Research Fellow
Braema Mathi (Mathiaparanam) is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Penang Institute in Malaysia. Braema has worked as a teacher, a journalist, a researcher, and been a director of research and advocacy, director of programmes, head of corporate communications – with various organisations.

Mohd Izzuddin Ramli (毅祖定), Analyst
He received his master’s degree in Political Science from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). His current research interests include contemporary journalism issues and media literacy in Malaysia. He also writes as a columnist for a local news portal. His works, which comprise of commentaries on politics, media, and society, have appeared in Penang Monthly, New Naratif and Nikkei Asian Review. He has also been published in Media and Elections: Democratic Transition in Malaysia (2018). His latest publication is Melayu atau Kemelayuan: Menelusuri Sejarah Idea (2019), the translation of Anthony Milner’s The Malays (2008).

Nidhal bin Mujahid, Analyst
Graduated from International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) with a bachelor’s degree of Human Sciences in Political Sciences, his research interest includes the study of Muslim Diaspora in the 18th and 19th century and the relationship between culture and urbanization of Muslims in Penang. He writes occasionally about political Islam and subsequently reads about Malay issues.