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  • The 2nd Australia-Malaysia Dialogue, Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus , Research and Development Park (R&D) Conference Centre, Melbourne, Australia

The 2nd Australia-Malaysia Dialogue, Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus , Research and Development Park (R&D) Conference Centre, Melbourne, Australia

 

The 2nd Australia – Malaysia Dialogue was jointly  organised by the Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus, Research and Development Park (R&D) Conference Centre, Melbourne Australia, Institute of Malaysia and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and the Institute of ASEAN Studies and Global Affairs (INSPAG), FSPPP, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia  . The two-day Dialogue which was held on 5th to 6th December 2011 hosted by La Trobe University  is a continuation of the Dialogue first held two years ago at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang with the following objectives:

  1. To consider policy issues of interest to the two countries, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region and global security;
  2. To consider ways of improving dialogue and cooperation between the two countries, and intellectual exchanges, with a policy focus;
  3. To make recommendations, where appropriate, to governments, regional organisations, academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders in keeping with the two objectives outlined above; and
  4. To publish in different formats the results of papers presented and discussions that form part of the Dialogue

Malaysia’s Consul-General (Melbourne), Dr. Mohamed Rameez Yahya was present for the opening session together with 27 participants of various backgrounds from the Academia, Public Institutions, Mass Media, serving and retired diplomats, policy –makers, community leaders and NGOs of both countries took part in the Dialogue. Among them included Malaysian Students Leader Alumni Association (ASPIRASI).

Professor Joseph Anthony Camilleri, the Director of the Centre for Dialogue opened the session by stating the purpose, scope and method for the Australia-Malaysia Dialogue. According to him, the focus of the dialogue should be on the discussion whereby the participants would give their opinions and further discuss and ask any related questions in depth on the area presented. The Dialogue would serve as an instrument for the participants to better understand any issues faced by the two countries. It could also promote mutual understanding which later will reach the audience outside the circle which could help to develop collaboration building. At the end of the Dialogue, the committee member will refine each presentation and compile them into a publication. He hoped that the Dialogue would provide common ground in areas of discussion that will benefit both countries.

YBhg. Dato’ Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari, the Director General of the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), representing  the Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, in the opening remarks stated that the challenges faced by the world today are far more complex than before, and hoped that the Dialogue will provide a platform and opportunity to initiate more activities under the existing corporation and would yield pragmatic ideas to further strengthen the bilateral relations between Malaysia and Australia.

The Main theme for the first day of the Dialogue was “Malaysia and Australia Addressing Regional and Global Challeges “, saw ten (10) presenters with topics listed below:

1. “Big Power Relationsin the Asia-Pacific Region post 9/11” by Prof. Dr. K.S. Nathan, IKMAS (UKM)

2. “The Asian Struggle for Coherence : Risks and Opportunities” by Mr. Rowan Callick, Columnist of The Australian

3. “The ASEAN Community Project 2015” by YBhg.Dato’ Dr. Yusuf Ahmad, INSPAG (UiTM)

4. "Australia and Malaysia : Partners in Changing Region" by Mr. Bassim Blazey , Assistant Secretary South- East Asia Bilateral Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

5.“Australia- Malaysia Security Coorporation and the Five Powers Defence Arrangement” by Dr. Craig Snyder, Deakin University

6. “The Pot Calling the Kettle Black” by YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), UKM

7. “Scope for Malaysia and Australia to Lift the Level of Their Coorporation” by Adjuct Prof. Charles Mott, La Trobe University

8. “Australia-Malaysia Relations: Missed Opportunities , Tantalizing Possibilities ” by Prof. Joseph Camilleri, La Trobe University 

9. "Issues of Asylum Seeker in Australia-Malaysia Relations: The Aborted Malaysian Solution" by YBhg. Dato’ Prof. Dr. QASIM Ahmad, UiTM

10."An International Lawyer's Prospective on the Arrangement between the Governments of Australia and Malaysia on Transfer and Resettlement" by Dr. Savitri Taylor, La Trobe University

The Sub theme discussed on the second day of the Dialogue was “Managing Plural Societies”, saw ten (10) presenters with the topics listed below:

1. “Islam and Politics in Malaysia Post 9/11: Competing Ideas and Rallying Support Among Political parties in Malaysia” by Dr. Shaharuddin Badaruddin, UiTM

2. “Reclaiming Malaysia’s Secular Democratic State: Shifting Towards a Post-Islamist Course” by  Prof. Lily Zubaidah Rahim, University Of Sydney

3. “Debating Secularisms: Australian and Malaysian Muslims on Legal Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Democracy” by Dr. Sven Schottmann, La Trobe University

4. “A Critical Assessment of Malaysia's Experience in Managing Religious Pluralism,  Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward ” by Rev. Dr. Herman Shastri, Council of Churches of Malaysia

5. “The Importance of Interfaith Organizations for Interreligious Harmony and Social Cohesion in Developed and Developing Multifaith Societies” by Prof. Des Cahill, The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University)

6. “Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity in Religious Interpretation: Women NGO's, Mobilization and Power Relations in Malaysia ” by Dr. Sharifah Syahirah Syed Sheikh, INSPAG ( UiTM)

7. “Indigenous Matters: Orang Asli and Aboriginals” by Prof. Alberto Gomes, La Trobe University

8. “Challeges of Plural Societies: Lessons Australia Can Learn From Our Region” by Mr. Pino Migliorino, Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA)

9.“The Management of Pluralism, Democracy and National Security in Malaysia: Implications for Southeast Asia and the Broader Asia-Pasific Region ” by  Dr.Wahabuddin Ra’ees, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

10. “Managing Pluralism in Malaysia: A civil Society Perspective” by Ms. Tricia Yeoh Su-Wern, Dynamic Market Research, Malaysia

The participants were brought to dine at the cosy and delicious Indian Restaurant, The Indian Tukka Café, on the first day and a tour around La Trobe campus on  the next day.

Towards the end of the Dialogue, Mr.Larry Marshall,the head organiser,complimented all participants  and presenters  for making the Dialogue a success and reminded them that all presentations and discussions would soon be compiled and published.He also added that the next Dialogue will be hosted by Malaysia.

The Dialogue ended with a memento giving ceremony by IKMAS (UKM) , INSPAG (UiTM)  and IDFR to La Trobe University and followed by a  group photo session.