ISSUES is Penang Institute’s series of discussion e-briefs analysing policy-relevant matters relating to Penang, Malaysia and the region. Initiated on 15 June 2017, the articles are generally written by researchers attached to the Institute.

They are meant to stimulate public interest in the subjects discussed and contribute substantively towards better-informed fact-based decision-making in Malaysia, both in the public sector and the private sector.

Feedback is welcome and can be sent to


16 Jan – Eradicating Child Marriages in Southeast Asia: Protecting Children, Challenging Cultural Exceptionalism


31 Dec – Sustainable Strategies based on Penang infrastructure Corporation’s Projects, by Joshua Woo Sze Zeng (Executive Director of Penggerak Komuniti Muda)

23 May – Aiming for a Post-Covid-19 Recovery That Brings Resilience, by Dr. Ng Shin Wei (Penang Green Council, & Director of Global Policy Asia)

14 May – Lessons from Southeast Asia’s Response to Covid-19, by Dr. Choong Pui Yee

9 May – Evaluating the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) Project According to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, by Joshua Woo (Executive Director of Penggerak Komuniti Muda)

18 Apr – A Critical Time for Penang’s Fragile Creative Ecosystem, by Pan Yi Chieh

09 Apr – The Covid-19 Disruption Highlights the Neglected Nature of Arts and Culture Sector in Malaysia, by Lim Sok Swan

04 Apr – Penang Economic Outlook 2020: A Rough Year Ahead, by Ong Wooi Leng

03 Apr – Fighting Covid-19 with Collaboration and Connectivity in Medical Science and Information Technology, by Tony Yeoh (CEO of Digital Penang Corporation)

27 Mar – Smart City Technologies Take on Covid-19, by Tan Lii Inn

17 Mar – Reducing Moral Hazards in Malaysia’s Public Healthcare System, by Dr Khor Swee Kheng

25 Feb – Malaysia’s Northern States: Improving Competitive Advantages and Industrial Growth, by Lee Siu Ming


2 Dec – On the Many Non-Economic Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements, by Darshan Joshi and Dr Khor Swee Kheng

15 Nov – On the Many Economic Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements, by Darshan Joshi and Dr Khor Swee Kheng

18 Oct – The Value of Private Member’s Bills in Parliament: A Process Comparison between Malaysia and the United Kingdom, by Kenneth Cheng Chee Kin

2 Oct – A Proposal for Carbon Price-and-Rebate (CPR) in Malaysia, by Darshan Joshi

13 Sep – Penang: Becoming A Smart State, by Tan Lii Inn

16 Aug – What’s Better than Curing a Disease? Preventing It, by Dr Khor Swee Kheng

9 Aug – Recognising Malaysian Soft Power after May 9, 2018, by Dr Khor Swee Kheng

5 Aug – Cut the Queue: A Basket of Solutions for Malaysian Hospitals, by Dr Khor Swee Kheng

26 Jul – Realising Blue Economy Benefits in Penang, by Gareth Johnstone and Negin Vaghefi

14 Jun – Ecotourism: A Sector where Sustainability is Everything, by Negin Vaghefi

10 May – Synergy among Stakeholders is Key to the Sustainability of Cultural Tourism in Penang, by Pan Yi Chieh

26 Apr – Future-proofing Malaysia’s Health Workforce, by Dr Khor Swee Kheng

12 Apr – Breaking Old Habits is Vital for Malaysia’s Mainstream Newspapers, by Mohd Izzuddin Ramli

15 Mar – Decentralisation is the Best Pro-Growth and Pro-Poor Economic Strategy for New Malaysia, by Prof. Woo Wing Thye

22 Feb – The Future of Creative Industries in Penang, by Alexander Fernandez, Lim Sok Swan and Pan Yi Chieh

1 Feb – Making Food Hawking in Penang Sustainable, by Nicholas Chong


14 Dec – George Town Heritage Celebrations: Achievements and Reflections, by Pan Yi Chieh

5 Dec – The Role of Electricity, Transport, and a Carbon Tax in Strengthening Malaysia’s Climate Policy, by Darshan Joshi

30 Nov – Key Changes to Development Expenditure in Malaysia’s Budget 2019, by Darshan Joshi

9 Nov – Key Issues to Consider in Heritage Preservation, by Lim Sok Swan

30 Oct – High Incidence of Judicial Errors in Capital Punishment Cases in Malaysia, by Lim Chee Han, Ngeow Chow Ying and Harchanadevi Arivananthan

28 Sep – An Alternative Model of Skim Peduli Sihat to Pool Risks for B40 Households, by Lim Chee Han and Kenneth Cheng Chee Kin

12 Sep – Can Batu Kawan Industrial Park be the Silicon Valley of the East?, by Timothy Choy

28 Aug – Tracking Malaysia’s Development Expenditure in Federal Budgets from 2004 to 2018, by Dr Ong Kian Ming and Darshan Joshi

16 Aug – Perbandingan Hukuman Hudud untuk Kesalahan Sariqah dan Hirabah di Brunei, Aceh, Kelantan dan Terengganu, by Nidhal Mujahid

7 June – Economic Success Requires Foresighted Demographic Measures, by Ong Wooi Leng

27 Apr – What Widens the Gender Pay Gap?, by Negin Vaghefi

30 Mar – Fiqh al-Muwatanah (Fiqh of Citizenship): A New and Inclusive Islamic Approach for Multi-religious Societies, by Maszlee Malik

1 Feb – Tighter Collaboration Needed in Penang’s Skills Development Infrastructure, by Ong Wooi Leng and Leo van Grunsven

10 Jan – Whistle-blowing as an Islamic Imperative: Empowering Muslim Civil Society Towards Good Governance, by Maszlee Malik


05 Dec – Obesity in Malaysia: Unhealthy Eating is as Harmful as Smoking, by Tim-Niklas Schoepp

22 Nov – Social Media Usage among Penangites: A Tool of Benefit or Distraction?, by Alexander Fernandez

8 Nov – Penang’s Economy is Healthy and Strong, with Incomes Rising and Inequality Decreasing, by By Ong Kian Ming and Nick Tan Beng Teong

24 Oct – Heritage Tourism in George Town: A Complicated and Always Controversial Issue, by By Lim Sok Swan and Pan Yi Chieh

10 Oct – The Policing and Politics of the Malay Language, by Ooi Kok Hin

26 Sep – Reclaiming Penang’s Historical Role as a Prominent Literary Translation Hub, by Mohd Izzuddin Ramli

12 Sep – Logging in Ulu Muda Forest Reserve: Is Penang’s Water Security under Threat?, by Sri Vaitheki Ramasamy

29 Aug – Penang’s Aquaculture Industry Holds Great Economic Potential, by Negin Vaghefi

22 Aug – Chinese Property Projects in Southern Johor: Should We Be Concerned?, by Ong Kian Ming

16 Aug – Sebatan di khalayak secara mandatori boleh menjadi trend nasional, oleh Nidhal Mujahid

16 Aug – Mandatory Public Whipping May Become a National Trend, by Nidhal Mujahid

9 Aug – Explaining Salaries and Wages Data: A Look through Penang’s Lens, by Timothy Choy

1 Aug – Facing Climate Change Begins at Home, by Evelyn Teh

18 July – Time for Malaysian States to Introduce “Non-Constituency Seats” (NCSs), by Wong Chin Huat

11 July – Child Marriages in Malaysia: Reality, Resistance and Recourse, by Ooi Kok Hin

28 June – The Digital Free Trade Zone – A Path to Inclusive Growth?, by Timothy Choy

15 June – The Skills Gap Remains Penang’s Big Challenge, by Ong Wooi Leng