Sliding down the Slippery Slopes of Unsustainability: Rampant Hill Development in Penang


The island of Penang, on the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia has a very hilly topography. Almost 50% of land is hilly, and 39% is classified as Class III and above, having slopes more than 25⁰ in gradient. Underlain mainly by weathered granitic bedrock, this rugged topography has been a bane for development, as it presents a myriad of engineering and environmental challenges. What is fueling this rampant hill slope development and how is it impacting people's lives in Penang Island? This article seeks to explore these questions and look at what's the best way forward.

By Rexy Prakash Chacko

Winds of Change in Malaysia: The Government and the Climate


2014 figures indicate that Malaysia is ranked third in the region in terms of CO2 emissions per capita (8.00 metric tons) after Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. This is almost double the world average and is a clear indication that Malaysia’s commitment to reduce emissions is essential for the sustainable future of the region.

By Helena Varkkey

Overcoming the Challenges of Sustainable Coastal Development in Southeast Asia


Island Southeast Asia is well-known as a hotbed of mega-biodiversity. But where rainforests meet thriving marine habitats is exactly where numerous large developments are built. Ranging from luxury homes to resorts to industrial areas and ports, coastal infrastructure projects often require dredging, reclamation or the complete destruction of coastal habitats.

By Serina Rahman

Malaysia’s Reformasi Movement Lives Up To Its Name

A revolution took place in Malaysia on May 9, 2018. It was a silent and peaceful one, amazingly achieved through the ballot box, and is therefore not noticed for what it is. But it is a revolution nevertheless, and the effects of it are moving like a strong undercurrent throughout the nation—cutting down old structures, be these mental ones, social ones or political ones. A sense of jubilation and disorientation now permeates the country, and will do so for a few weeks yet, if not months.

By Ooi Kee Beng

Shrinking Civic Space in ASEAN

2017 is a particularly critical year for ASEAN as it celebrates its 50th anniversary; it is timely for the Southeast Asia to prove itself as a region that emphasizes putting ASEAN’s people first. Such recognition of civil society, not as a threat, but as an important ally in ensuring the realisation of human rights for all Asean citizens is critical to the development of a sustainable ASEAN Community.

By Khoo Ying Hooi

Are We Junking The Forest For Poor Nutrition? An inquiry into the palm oil industry and junk food

The oil palm is one of the most efficient oil crops in the world, yielding several times the amount produced by other major oil-bearing crops. Its high productivity, competitive price, accessibility for poor households, and versatile uses have driven exponential growth over the past 30 years (USDA-FAS 2009) and secured its place as one of the most important resources in the food industry today.

By Janice Lee

Malaysia’s Civil Society in light of the Bersih movement

In August 2015 the Bersih 4 rally drew thousands of protesters to the streets who demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Where draws the movement its supporters from and how is it in ethnically diverse Malaysia percepted? Which challenges lie ahead?

By Manuel Höller-Fam