Book Review by Dr Lee Poh Onn, ISEAS Singapore

Dr Lee Poh Onn, Senior Research Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore was an important contributor to my book, “The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia: Palm Oil and Patronage”, for providing his own insights, linking me up with his contacts, and also giving his enthusiastic encouragement for the project. An expert himself about development and political economy in ASEAN, he has now written a very kind review of my book, where he reflects on the content through his own academic lens. This review has been published in the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies Vol. 34/3 (Dec 2017) Special Issue: “The Malaysian Economy Towards 2020 and Beyond”. it is available for free download at the Journal’s website here (direct download link here).  Thank you, Dr Lee!

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UNESCO Forum of ASEAN National Bioethics Committees on Haze, 6-7 December 2017

I was recently invited to participate in a UNESCO Forum searching for transboundary haze solutions from a bioethical and sustainability science perspectives. This forum was a continuation from the National Bioethics Committee meetings held in respective countries beforehand (see here). The forum was held at Le Meridien Jakarta and had an impressive mix of participants, not only from academia, NGO and government sectors, but also many from community leaders and farmers directly involved and affected by practices on the ground.

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Public Lecture in conjunction with Study Visit from Universitas Abdurrab, Riau, 29 November 2017

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya received a delegation of 8 academic staff and 28 students from Universitas Abdurrab, a private university in Riau, Indonesia, on 29 December 2017. The delegation was headed by Dr. M. Saeri, Deputy Rector for Academic and Alumni Affairs. The students were from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, majoring in international relations, communications and government.

 

As part of the study visit, a Public Lecture on the theme of Trasboundary Haze Governance was organized. I gave a presentation based on my book, “The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia: Palm Oil and Patronage” and Pak Alfajri, MIA, the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Abdurrab, who is also interested in this topic, gave his own views on the subject with a presentation on “Riau Government Policies to Realize the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution Goals (2015-2016)”. Students in attendance engaged in an interesting discussion with the speakers after the presentation, before concluding their visit with a campus tour.

EU-Malaysia International Discourse on Palm Oil Sustainability, 11 October 2017

I was invited to speak at the EU-Malaysia International Discourse on Palm Oil Sustainability, organized by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference (IGEM) 2017. I was part of the panel discussing “Better understanding of the different points of views of palm oil in the foreign market”. I offered the academic POV and discussed ideas like Environmental Hyperopia and Eco-Imperialism in explaining how academicians would frame the perception problem in the palm oil industry.

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UGM-RUG Conference on the SDGs, 3-5 October, Jogjakarta

I was invited to be part of a new book project on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) led by Prof Dr. Ronald L. Holzhacker at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. As part of this project, a Working Conference on Regional and National Approaches toward the Sustainable Development Goals in Southeast Asia and ASEAN was organised in Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Jogjakarta in October.

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8th CILS International Conference on State Boundary Affairs, 2-3 October 2017

I attended the 8th Centre for International Law Studies (CILS) International Conference on State Boundary Affairs held at the Faculty of Law, Universitas Tanjungpura, as one of the invited speakers. Even though I have limited expertise on legal issues, I was asked to speak on the international relations surrounding transboundary air pollution (haze) crossing the boundaries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The title of my talk was entitled “Revisiting the ‘Myth’ of the ASEAN Way: Recent Legal Developments on Transboundary Haze”. The Prezi for my talk can be found here.