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UNRISD Tribute to Khoo Khay Jin (1948 - 2011)

4 Jan 2012



The community of social science scholars in Malaysia and around the world is saddened at the news of the death of Khoo Khay Jin, an outstanding social scientist, a leading public intellectual and an out-of-the-box thinker.

UNRISD was privileged to work with Khoo Khay Jin who contributed to the UNRISD flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality , published in 2010. Yusuf Bangura, Research Coordinator at UNRISD and the lead author of the Poverty Report, expressed his deep regrets at this loss.

"Khay Jin wrote the most perceptive and empirical study I have read on socio-economic ethnic inequalities in Malaysia. His study contributed to the chapter on ethnic and spatial inequalities in the UNRISD Poverty Report: , which would have been poorer without his insights. Even when his illness was at an advanced stage, Khay Jin worked courageously in revising his paper for the forthcoming book Policy Regimes and the Political Economy of Poverty Reduction in Malaysia (edited by Khoo Boo Teik, and to be published by Palgrave). I believe his chapter "Poverty and Inequality" will be a major reference for scholars of ethnic inequalities in Malaysia and elsewhere. Discussion of ethnic inequalities is a sensitive subject in Malaysia; household income and expenditure data are systematically collected but published only in summary form. However, Khay Jin was able to access some of the raw data for the UNRISD study, making his chapter in the Malaysia book a compelling read. I met Khay Jin in Penang in 2007 during the UNRISD workshop on the Malaysia study. His contribution in the discussion was always sharp, engaging and empirically grounded. He was also very friendly. His friends and colleagues will miss him greatly."

Please refer to The Malaysian Insider, December 26, 2011