Senior Policy Specialist, Malaysia

Location: Malaysia
Deadline: October 29, 2021

In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, Asia plays a crucial global role. Would you be excited at the prospect of employing your knowledge and skills to improve lives, expand opportunities, and help societies flourish across this dynamic region? You could have this opportunity at The Asia Foundation. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, we address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century: governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. We work with innovative leaders and communities to build effective institutions and advance path-breaking reforms. Together with our partners, we are committed to Asia’s continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving region of the world.

The Asia Foundation is seeking a senior policy specialist in Malaysia to provide leadership, direction, and hands-on management for a range of policy-reform initiatives being undertaken. Background and relevant networks in sectors ranging from workforce development, childcare and care industry, education, the digital economy, and inclusive economic growth are preferred. Demonstrated experience with the policymaking process in Malaysia and an in-depth understanding of the political-economy context of policymaking is required.


  • Provide leadership in identifying and engaging with key stakeholders who are decision-makers or influencers on policy issues of concern to the Foundation. Provide analysis on strategic approach for influencing policy, and lead implementation of that approach.
  • Nurture and develop relationships necessary to provide access and credibility on issues of concern to the Foundation.
  • Work with partners, researchers, and units within the Foundation to obtain and communicate data, research, and information necessary for policymakers to craft credible and effective policies in areas of concern.
  • Liaise with and contribute to the work of sub-recipients (individuals, organizations) that have been engaged to contribute to the successful completion of projects/activities. This will include close communication and collaboration with sub-recipients on shared programmatic objectives; contributing to activity reports; providing technical assistance as needed to sub-recipient; informing the country representative of challenges/delays.
  • Maintain good professional relations with key agencies, organizations, and donors relevant to the assigned program. Develop and revise MOUs with relevant government agencies. Inform the country representative of any challenges/issues.
  • Contribute to donor management: draft reports and updates; participate in donor meetings; provide presentations on program developments;
  • Contribute to program development: contribute (along with the SPO and other colleagues)to work plans and budgets to ensure effective meeting spending targets, while also conducting activities that achieve tangible improvements in policy sectors targeted. Consider political-economy contexts and strategies to achieve targeted outcomes, and communicate them with sub-recipients, other colleagues, and the donor. Maintain and develop networks, in particular with local and federal policymakers, that will be helpful in achieving reforms.
  • Contribute to broader organizational initiatives and processes, including strategic plans; results reports; annual reports; theme/issue groups; informational brochures; blogs; senior management/board visits, and requests.
  • Maintain technical expertise and standing in the field, by making public presentations at conferences and seminars/webinars, writing articles/blogs/op-eds on topical issues, representing the Foundation at key events, and generally maintaining visibility and good standing as an expert on policymaking in Malaysia.


  • Master’s degree in relevant field–economics, public policy, political science, or other social science degrees preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience, with direct experience in a policy environment in Malaysia preferred. Project management and INGO experience are also valued.
  • Program management. Excellent Malay and English (spoken/written).
  • Strong inter-personal & cross-cultural skills.Strong time management/organization skills