Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5.45pm – 8.00pm
Bobo KL, 65-1 Jalan Bangkung,
Taman Bandaraya, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

PRIME MINISTER MAHATHIR’S STATEMENTS ABOUT CHINA AND CHINESE PROJECTS SINCE HIS STUNNING RETURN TO POWER in May 2018 have left an impression that the new Malaysia is now determined to reset its China policy and its stance towards Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

After his announcement during the recent China visit that his PH government is cancelling three controversial Chinese-funded projects in Malaysia, many observers have been quick to opine that Malaysia under Mahathir 2.0 is pushing back Beijing’s BRI and challenging Chinese power in Southeast Asia.

This talk refutes this simplistic view. The speaker suggests that Mahathir’s approach is more nuanced than widely assumed. He traces Malaysia’s decades-long China policy, unpack the BRI dynamics, decode Mahathir’s statements, and provides a political risk analysis of the progress, problems, and prospects of China’s growing presence in Southeast Asia, in light of the escalating US-China trade war and wider uncertainties.


  • WHAT is BRI (Belt and Road Initiative)?
  • WHY has Xi Jinping been promoting BRI as China’s grand strategy since 2013? Is China’s ambition in Southeast Asia more economic or strategic in nature?
  • WHO are the players? Who might be the winners, losers, and deal pushers in Southeast Asia? Why different ASEAN countries have responded differently.
  • HOW has BRI been initiated, negotiated, and implemented? Why the controversies, apprehensions and attractions will continue hand in hand? Is China exploiting its cultural links with the ethnic Chinese community in Southeast Asia for its foreign policy agenda?
  • SO WHAT do the above mean for the “new” Malaysia? To what extend was Tun Mahathir’s recent visit to China a sucess and setback? In what way?

Arrival and Registration
Cocktail Reception

Talk by Assoc. Prof. Kuik Cheng-Chwee
Q & A

End of Event

Social Networking Session
Dinner @ Bobo (User pay

FBN MEMBERS Waived (Unlimited no. of participants)
YPO and EO MEMBERS RM 150 per person
Friends of FBN Asia Members
(by-invitation only)
RM 300 per person


Registration closes on 22 October 2018.
For non-members, registration fees will be fully refunded if the participant joins FBN Asia within 3 months from date of event.

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About Dr. Kuik Cheng-Chwee

Dr. Kuik Cheng-Chwee holds an M.Litt from the University of St. Andrews and a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University and is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

He is co-founder of the East Asian International Relations (EAIR) Caucus, a research platform for exchange, engagement, and empowerment among foreign affairs professionals in Malaysia. Previously he was a post- doctoral research associate at the Princeton-Harvard “China and the World” Program and Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations.

Dr Kuik researches and publishes in International Relations and Asian security affairs, with a focus on smaller countries’ foreign policy choices vis-a-vis the big powers. His publications have appeared in international peer-reviewed journals, books and opinion outlets like International New York Times, the Asan Forum and The Interpreter. He is also a regular invited speaker at international conferences and closed-door policy round tables. He has presented research in leading universities and institutions such as UC Berkeley, the Chatham House, Columbia, Harvard, LSE, Oxford, Qinghua and Stanford.

Please contact FBN Asia Malaysia Representative
Ms Taryn Foo |


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