KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — In a move aimed at building a greater understanding of Malaysia, the Australian National University (ANU) will launch a new academic research institute tomorrow.
The ANU Malaysia Institute will gather together around 40 academic staff and graduate students currently researching Malaysia-related topics to become the largest academic institution dedicated to the South-eastern nation outside of Malaysia.
Dr Ross Tapsell, who will be Director of the Malaysia Institute, said Malaysia is a key regional partner for Australia.
“Malaysia is Australia’s second-largest trading partner in the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) and eighth-largest partner overall,” Dr Tapsell said.
“Diplomatic and security ties remain close, including recent agreements on transnational crime and terrorism.”
Dr Tapsell said the ANU has a strong history of Malaysian scholarship.
“Many of the most highly regarded works on Malaysian history, politics, economics, sociology and law have been carried out here at ANU,” he said.
“Australian scholarship on Malaysia has declined in recent years, and more Australians studied the Malay language in the 1970s than they do today.
“We need to set a course for enhancing world-leading scholarship to maintain close research collaboration with our neighbours.”