Building on The Past


Penang’s major think tank has now existed for 15 years. With recent major changes in socioeconomic and political conditions, the focus of research has changed, bringing with it a need to reorganise. George Town is now on the Unesco heritage list; the state has a new government; South-East Asian integration has opened up air travel; and there is a shift in economic power globally; all of which require new perspectives. Penang Institute has a lot of work to do in the near future.

The Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI) has now changed its name to Penang Institute. The launch of the new moniker took place on December 9, 2011.

It seems a good time for the institute’s magazine to take a quick look at its veritable history.

SERI was established in March 1997 as an independent nonprofit research organisation to supply the Penang government with strategic knowledge about the state. The original idea for such an organisation was first mooted in the first Penang Strategic Development Plan (PSDP1) which foresaw the existence of a Penang research and development institute “consistent with the need for effective research and planning activities”.

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