Malaysian Think Tanks And University Policy Institutes : Reflecting Or Diverging From Regional Expectations?

by William Adams, Prof. Dr. Donna Lind Infeld, Prof. Dr. Nik Rosnah Wan Abdullah

Working Paper, 5 June 2018


East and Southeast Asian think tanks are often described as small, new, multi-issue organisations that avoid offending central governments. To examine if these and other generalizations have predictive value, Malaysia was selected for systematic study.

The country’s 19 non-university think tanks were found to be larger and more productive than the Asian stereotype and showed indications of becoming more independent. University-based policy research centres were also examined. Scholars have recently expanded the working definition of think tanks to include these entities, but they have rarely been studied.

Malaysian campuses were found to have 44 such policy-related institutes, most of them founded just since 2000, usually single-issue focused, operating with a large number of affiliated scholars, and already generating substantial citations and publications.

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