Dr Serina Rahman is Visiting Fellow at the Malaysia Studies Programme and the Regional Economics Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
A conservation scientist and environmental anthropologist, she is fascinated with all facets of Malaysia’s rural outskirts. Her varied publications are all tributaries of this interest, ranging from rural politics to poverty and livelihoods to socioeconomic values of coastal habitats and the Islamic radicalisation of rural women. She was awarded the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Award 2014 (for Environmental Protection – Individual), and is the Malaysian Ambassador for Citizen Science Asia. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at NUS.
As the government rolls out stricter measures to control the spread of COVID-19, it is unfortunate that some people on the ground blame the authorities for their incompetence instead of working together to break the back of the virus.
The state of Johor has suffered disproportionately among Malaysian states due to the impact of Covid-induced border closures. Increasing poverty and unemployment are compounded by decreasing mental health and well-being. Several initiatives have been launched to alleviate difficulties. But the state will not fully recover until borders reopen, given Johor’s high dependence on international investments and its deep connections with Singapore for business, investment and livelihoods.