Lee Hwok-Aun

Dr Lee Hwok-Aun is Senior Fellow of the Regional Economic Studies Programme, and Co-coordinator of the Malaysia Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He was previously Senior Lecturer in development studies at the University of Malaya. He authored Affirmative Action in Malaysia and South Africa: Preference for Parity (Routledge, 2021), co-edited The Defeat of Barisan Nasional: Missed Signs or Late Surge? (ISEAS, 2019) and has written various ISEAS Perspective and Trends articles on Malaysia’s affirmative action, inequality, education and labour. He led an unprecedented field experiment on hiring discrimination, published as “Discrimination of high degrees: Race and graduate hiring in Malaysia” (Journal of the Asia-Pacific Economy, 2016).

Articles by Lee Hwok-Aun (24)

The ‘Malay Protector’ Debate: Spirited But Short on Substance

Lee Hwok-Aun

Half of all Malaysians and 81 per cent of Malays deem ‘Malay special rights and privileges’ a ‘core feature’ of Malaysian society. Many Malays are anxious about ‘fair competition’, but perhaps encouragingly from the perspective of reform, there are indications of openness to change.

Credit UMNO for the Rakyat’s Benefits? More Serious Accounting Needed

Kevin Zhang|Lee Hwok-Aun

UMNO and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri are hoping to take credit for recent announcements on hiking the minimum wage and allowing special withdrawals from retirement savings, but the devil is in the details.

Malaysia’s Focus on When to Raise Minimum Wage Must Not Forget Why

Lee Hwok-Aun

After years of lobbying, Malaysia finally approved an increase in the national minimum wage to RM1,500. While the government has since delayed its implementation, current economic circumstances require the wage floor to be raised sooner rather than later.

Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund: An Emergency Populist Fund?

Lee Hwok-Aun

Hard questions must be asked of Malaysia’s depletion of workers’ hard-earned retirement savings. Was it justified to permissively sacrifice future income for present consumption? Did political interest thump economic analysis?

Bumiputeras vs ‘the Others’ in Malaysia’s 2022 Budget: Moral Outrage is Not Enough

Lee Hwok-Aun

The UMNO-Perikatan-governed Bumiputera agenda forges on, with a zealousness that, if unchecked, will spell trouble. But the critique must go beyond moral outrage at the ethnic disparities in the budget and grapple with real alternatives.