Asia School of Business

Edit Content

The ASEAN Research Center

Endowed by Maybank, the ASEAN Research Center (ARC) positions itself as the intellectual hub in Southeast Asia, focusing on impactful research about 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 related to ASEAN, including long-term “flagship” research programs developed in-house.


Host public events for ASEAN-based research programs to foster intellectual dialogue and public interest, advancing knowledge generation.


Host visiting scholars and students to lecture and conduct research in the region, enhancing academic exchange and collaboration.

Research Pillars

Economic Resilience

ARC’s economic resilience research explores strategies to withstand shocks, adapt, and thrive in the ASEAN region’s dynamic market conditions and policies that foster stability and growth.
  • RYSE
    • A program designed to empower Malaysian youths through entrepreneurship and employability initiatives. Learn more
  • Roadside Economy Research Project
    • An extensive study on Malaysia’s hawker economy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations and their livelihoods.

Sustainability and Society

ARC’s Sustainability and Society research pillar works with various public and private organizations to analyze ways to balance economic growth with environmental stewardship and social equity for a thriving future in the ASEAN region and beyond.
  • ESG Policies in ASEAN
    • In 2023, ARC was commissioned by the AKC to publish the “ESG Practices in ASEAN & Korea: Pathways Towards Sustainability” guidebook which highlights green and responsible business practices in ASEAN & Korea.
  • Palm Oil
  • MOF Case Study


The Inclusivity pillar promotes equity, ensuring that diverse voices are heard, valued, and protected. ARC partners with organizations such as UNHCR and SUHAKAM on research concerning statelessness, forced migration, and beyond.
  • Covid-19 Mortality
  • Public Perception on Refugees

Our Research Projects

Building a Malay Language Curriculum for Adult Refugees in Malaysia: Preliminary Findings

This ongoing project, a collaboration between ARC and UPM, along with funding partners UNHCR and Uniqlo Malaysia, aims to close the language gap between refugees and their hosts through an immersion-based Bahasa Malaysia curriculum.


Learn more here

Our Research Projects

Understanding Youth Entrepreneurship and Employability

Using RYSE as a platform for research, the methodology employed is based on two principles: (1) The integration of research and programs, leading to a two-way feedback system, and (2) Holistic Understanding towards Youth Entrepreneurship.

Our Research Projects

Ethnography on Palm Oil Labour

We conducted a labor ethnography study through semi-structured interviews with palm oil workers and smallholders in Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, and Selangor. The research explores and compares labor conditions between unionized estate workers and independent smallholders.

Our Research Projects

Focus Group Discussions conducted for Public Perception on Refugees in Malaysia Study

The research aims to understand public perception of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, as well as the factors that influence such perceptions.

Our Research Projects

Understanding the Role of AI in Enhancing Research

With the ongoing evolution of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly Large Language Models (LLMs) like those employed in ChatGPT, what impact will it have on the future of research? This is the question ARC aims to address through our AI projects.

ARC Updates

News and Events

ARC Updates

Research Publication

1Trust, Norms, and Increasing COVID-19 Vaccination Registration in Malaysia – Preliminary Results 2021Report
2Social expectations and government incentives in Malaysia’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake2022Research Paper
3A voice for the silent: uncovering service exclusion practices2022Research Paper
4Identity, trust, and the experiences of refugees during a COVID-19 lockdown2022Research Paper
5Refugee community-based organizations: Resources, power, and dependency2022Research Paper
6A textual analysis of the effect of short-term volunteering on attitudes toward refugees in Malaysia2022Research Paper
7Reclaiming agency: A case study on refugee community organisations in Malaysia2022Book Chapter
8Translating entrepreneurial intention to behaviour amongst micro and small entrepreneurs 2022Research Paper
9An agency mapping of marginalized communities and aid providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia 2022Research Paper
10Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on vulnerable populations in Malaysia through an ethical lens: A study of non-state actors involved in aid distribution 2022Research Paper
11The formation of youth entrepreneurial intention in an emerging economy: the interaction between psychological traits and socioeconomic factors 2023Research Paper
12Do proactive students benefit more from university support for entrepreneurship when it comes to choosing entrepreneurship as a career choice? An examination of Ghanian and Malaysian students 2023Research Paper
13Perceptions of Entrepreneurship and Online Learning During the Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic 2023Research Paper
14Dreams vs Reality: Urban and Rural Female Youth Aspirations 2023Research Paper
15Conditions of Precarity and Strategies of Resilience: The Malaysian Hawker Community and COVID-19 Pandemic 2023Book Chapter
16Recruitment of Participants from Vulnerable Groups for Social Research: Challenges and Solutions 2023Book Chapter
17Human Rights and Statelessness in Peninsular Malaysia 2023Report
18Modul Bertutur Bahasa Melayu: Aras Permulaan (A Basic Conversational Malay Language Curriculum for Non-Native Adult Speakers)2023Book
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 the 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

Deputy Dean of Research, Associate Professor (II) of Economics, Faculty Director Maybank ARC, ASB Research Affiliate, MIT Sloan.

Nuruzzahraa Mohd Raznan

Marketing and Program Senior Associate, ASB

Program Manager, ASB

Shre Maha Manohar

Research and Communications Executive, ASB

Milaine Thia

Manager, Research & Communications, ASB

Chin Jia Wei

Principal Research Associate, ASB

Kar Yern Chin

Senior Research Associate, ASB

Senior Research Associate, ASB​

Fatimah Zahra Ros’azam

Research Associate, ASB​

Sharon Wah Yue Qing

Research Associate, ASB​

Sharon Wah Yue Qing

Research Associate, ASB​

Dr. Michael Mustafa

Ph.D. in Applied Psychology, University of Nottingham Head of Division for Organisational & Applied Psychology, University of Nottingham

Dr. Pieter E. Stek

PhD in Technology, Policy & Management from Delft University

Dr. Mark Cheong Wing Loong

Ph.D. in Public Health from Monash University Senior Lecturer School of Pharmacy Monash University Malaysia

ARC x SUHAKAM Lecture 2024

On January 23, 2024, the ARC x SUHAKAM Lecture in Kuala Lumpur delved into the pressing concern of statelessness in Malaysia. Dr. Melati Nungsari, Deputy Dean of Research at ASB and Faculty Director of ARC, presented a SUHAKAM-commissioned report, followed by an impactful keynote from Bukit Gelugor MP YB. Tuan Ramkarpal Singh, illuminating the struggles faced by stateless individuals. The event also marked a milestone with the signing of a five-year memorandum of understanding on statelessness in Sabah, uniting SUHAKAM, Indonesia’s Komnas HAM, and The CHR Philippines in collaborative efforts.

ARC in the News

Explore a collection of media articles that provide insightful perspectives on the work and research themes of the ARC. These features delve into a broad overview of our commitment to addressing statelessness issues and showcase the diverse facets of our research initiatives.

ASEAN - Korea ESG Forum 2023

The ASEAN-Korea Centre orchestrated the ‘ASEAN-Korea ESG Forum’, marking the debut of the ‘ESG Practices in ASEAN and Korea: Pathways Towards Sustainability’ Guidebook, authored by the ASEAN Research Center and the Korea University ASEAN Center. Esteemed experts from both regions convened to explore the intersection of environmental, social, and governance issues in international trade. Through insightful sessions and expert dialogues, the forum underscored the pivotal role of ESG cooperation in bolstering sustainable partnerships between ASEAN and Korea, setting the stage for ongoing collaboration and mutual advancement.

The ASB-UNHCR Research Workshop on Refugee Studies and Forced Displacement 2023

The two-day workshop on refugee studies and forced displacement is being held for the third time in Malaysia by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, in collaboration with the Asia School of Business ahead of World Refugee Day (20th of June), to highlight the importance of those who fled their war-torn country receiving basic human needs such as healthcare and education when seeking asylum. About 200 participants from all over the world attended the workshop and gathered to exchange and discuss ideas to understand deeper on refugees issues.

Feeding The Nation: Hawkers Are Navigating The Storm 2022

On 19th October 2022, the Maybank ASEAN Research Center at Asia School of Business officially launched its first public research dissemination event based on their in-house flagship study on Malaysia’s hawker and roadside economy. The research launch event closed with a panel discussion exploring how the Malaysian hawker community can be supported and noting the value of nostalgia in regard to street culture.

Launching of ASEAN Research Center 2022

On the 29th March 2022, the ASEAN Research Center has officially been launched! We were honoured to have Datuk Nora Manaf, co-chair of the Maybank ASEAN Research Center and Group Chief Human Capital Officer of Maybank and Professor Charles Fine, President and Dean at Asia School of Business and Professor at MIT Sloan to officiate the ceremony.