I am a Lee Kuan Yew Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore, and John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, under a Singapore government scholarship.
I was Executive Vice President at Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, a Malaysian government agency under its Prime Minister’s Department, where my focus was innovation, education and social impact.
Prior to that, I was the inaugural CEO of the Malaysian Investor Relations Association, that was set up by Bursa Malaysia, and funded by Securities Commission Malaysia, as part of the Capital Market Masterplan.
Before that, I was with a couple of public listed companies doing corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and investor relations.
Earlier, I was with two major multinationals in regional telecommunications, and in downstream oil & gas, in various roles in finance.
I did my undergraduate at the University of Maryland in the US, and obtained two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Finance and one in Management Science & Statistics.
What I am trying to achieve . . .
My interest is to look at how social and environmental ills can be reversed through leveraging on the latent potential of social capital. The linkages, behaviours and relationships within society can be harnessed to provide positive conditioning that would spur people to do things right. We need to move from a thirst for economic gains to that of social advancement, where the former is a consequence of the latter, instead of the other way around.
Why this is important . . .
Malaysia’s focus on economic competitiveness and high-income has widened income inequality. This had to be mitigated by subsidies and welfare safety nets. However, the dynamics of an increasingly complex society, exacerbated by income disparity, has led to unintended consequences in the form of deep-rooted social and environmental ills. Indeed, the mad dash for an economic competitive edge in Malaysia and in many countries has encouraged exploitation in various forms, and negative externalities of social and environmental degradation.
What I have done . . .
I wrote a couple of ‘game changer’ strategies in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan – on strengthening collaboration through a ‘whole-society approach’ and developing a ‘social financing’ model. To do this we need to understand the key social issues in Malaysia and what the size of the issues are. The Social Progress Assessment that I created defines this and sets out a basis for benchmarking social impact.
I established the Social Outcome Fund (SOF), where government pays two-thirds of the money it saves, if social-purpose organisations deliver outcomes that reduce social issues and its cost.
The idea is to promote preventive interventions anchored on outcomes, by seeking out specific interventions that can avoid social issues from manifesting into larger problems.
How I see things in the future . . .
I see societal wellbeing as important foundation goals – that fosters robust economic activities, pursuit of knowledge and technological advances.
I envision a progressive civil society that coexists and stimulates governance, as partners in public service.
How you can get involved . . .
If you think the same way, join me in my journey. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and tell me what you think, what we can do and how we can get the others, including government, to do what needs to be done.