Amongst the priority areas that the Centre is working on are the following:
Interfaith Dialogue and Freedom of Religion: Work focuses on a review of policies that have had major impact – both positive and negative - on national unity and the chasm between religious groups in Malaysia. Arising from the review, appropriate policy interventions will be put forward and roundtables, seminars and discussion panels will be carried out to propose corrective actions and therefore strengthen unity, freedom of religion, interfaith dialogue and social cohesion. Special attention will be given to issues related to recent rifts in inter-ethnic relations.
To ensure that Malaysia does not lag behind in the global economy, it is necessary to review Malaysia's international competitiveness, particularly in relation to the rise of China, India and other regional players. Work focuses on addressing the constraints and bottlenecks that impede the progress of resilient socio-economic growth. Findings were submitted ahead of the Ninth Malaysia Plan submission to ensure that they provided practical guidance to the development planning and implementation machinery.
Education and Human Capital Development
There is a new urgency for educational reform and policy changes to enable Malaysian youth to remain relevant in a globalised economy and rapidly changing world scene. Areas of intervention include but are not limited to recommending specific changes to be made to the law, education pedagogy, educational institutions and in agencies both in the public and private sectors. Policy work focuses on scenario building aimed at producing higher performance in tertiary education as well as the examination of issues of public controversy such as the apportionment of scholarships and university admissions. Special attention will be given to the issue of tackling student under-achievement, as well as how to use education as a means of enhancing integration.
Poverty Stricken and Low Income Communities and Urban Poor
Apart from hardcore poor communities, there are growing numbers of urban poor dwellers. Interventions are needed to focus on the condition of low-income families – often, the forgotten lot – who are positioned between the poor and the middle-class. Better targeted policy innovations are planned from the Centre's programme which will be undertaken in partnership with key NGOs active in social work in depressed and marginalized communities.
Environment and Sustainable Development
In ensuring sustainable development, Issues of environmental protection and conservation and the need for balanced development to ensure sustainability have become a forefront of national and global consciousness. Policy work by the Centre will focus on key areas of sector importance such as the nation's stock of forests and waters and the role that major players in development, especially corporate actors, can play in a sustainable development policy. Area of focus is on developing sustainable financing of biodiversity and environmental conservation activities ranging from community based initiatives to protected area management.
Transparency and Good Governance
Commitment to the causes of improving the government system, democratic processes and transparency is crucial to sustain and improve a well-functioning society. The Centre for Public Policy Studies aims at strengthening good governance in Malaysia.
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