The ASEAN Research Center (ARC)

Endowed by Maybank, the ARC aims to be the center of intellectual activity in Southeast Asia by conducting impactful research on topics surrounding emerging markets in the ASEAN region.

Our Mission

Conduct rigorous and impactful research to inform policy-making and improve lives of ASEAN citizens, especially in emerging markets.
Research and publish publicly-available reports on topics regarding ASEAN, including long-term in-house “flagship” research programs.
Host public events for ASEAN-based research programs to spark intellectual dialog and public interest to advance knowledge generation.
Host visiting scholars and students to lecture and conduct research in the region.
ASEAN Research Center (ARC) Faculty Director


Dr. Melati Nungsari received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Melati’s areas of expertise include industrial organization, labor economics, public policy, and economic education. She studies externalities and pricing in platform businesses, pension markets in Malaysia and Chile, and the impact of interventions to improve the economic livelihood of refugees and urban poor in Peninsular Malaysia.

She has presented her research findings at many conferences internationally and has consulted with the United Nations. Her writings have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Edge Business. She also holds a Research Affiliate appointment at MIT Sloan. Prior to joining ASB, she taught economics at Butler University and Davidson College in the USA.

Dr. Melati Nungsari
Faculty Director, ARC
Associate Professor of Economics, ASB
Research Affiliate, MIT Sloan


Management Team

Dr. Melati Nungsari
ARC Faculty Director 
Associate Professor of Economics, ASB
Research Affiliate, MIT Sloan School of Management

Tan Zhai Gen
Research Manager, ASB

Fathin Rusliza
Program Coordinator, ASB

Research Associates

Kar Yern Chin
Research Associate, ASB

Shenyi Chua
Research Associate, ASB

Fatin Nadhirah Jamalolail
Research Associate, ASB

Nicole Wen Shan Fong
Senior Research Associate & Research Manager, ASB

Dr. Pieter E. Stek
Postdoctoral Researcher, ASB

Research Fellows

Dr. Nurul Azreen Azlan
Ph.D. in Urban Studies, Technology University of Delft
Visiting Scholar

Dr. Izzatina Aziz
Ph.D. in Economics,
University of East Anglia

Visiting Scholar

2021 In-House Flagship Research Project

In this project, we take an in-depth look and analyze the ”hawker culture” in Malaysia – using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), we generate a map of hawkers in Malaysia, understand the basics surrounding their businesses and how they access credit, and the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.

Events and Publications