Plenary Guest-of-Honour Dato' Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim
Member of Parliament, Port Dickson, President, People’s Justice Party and Leader, Pakatan Harapan Coalition
Anwar Ibrahim is the leader of Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, President of the People’s Justice Party, and is expected to lead the country as its eighth Prime Minister. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993-1998 and Finance Minister from 1991-1998. Since 1998, he has led the reform movement to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country. For his principled stance on issues of justice and the rule of law, he has spent over ten of the past 20 years in solitary confinement as a prisoner of conscience. He received a full pardon for all of the crimes alleged against him and was released from incarceration days after his party won the 14th Malaysian General Election on 9 May 2018.
Anwar is highly regarded for his stance against corruption and his skillful management of the Malaysian economy during the Asian financial crisis. He has called for bold reforms to Malaysia’s political economy in order to remain competitive in the 21st century. He believes an independent judiciary, free media and respect for the rule of law are cornerstones on which Malaysia’s economic strength can be expanded, ideas which are memorialized in his book Asian Renaissance. He further believes that the government must not ignore the plight of the poor and marginalised and should take active steps to create a humane economy. The multiethnic People’s Justice Party that he leads has provided a template for how Malaysia’s diverse ethnic and religious groups can work together towards a common national objective.
Throughout his career, Anwar has articulated a compelling argument in support of greater understanding between civilisations. At a time when many have described an inevitable clash, Anwar’s view is that dialogue is necessary and vital. Across the Muslim world, he has a unique ability and position to address the complex issues which hinder growth and development and demonstrate the compatibility of democracy with Muslim peoples.
Throughout his career, Anwar has held key positions in international institutions including President of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Council, Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Honorary President of AccountAbility and member of the Advisory Board of the International Crisis Group. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Malaysia Chair at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, at Washington, DC. He has also taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, lecturing on issues of governance, democracy and contemporary politics in Southeast Asia.
Francis is Regional Head, Disputes Practices and was appointed Senior Counsel in January 2009. He practices in the areas of international commercial and treaty arbitration and litigation.
He is actively involved in cross-border commercial disputes in the areas of banking, property, financial and investment related claims. He is currently acting for an Australian energy group in a billion-dollar dispute against an Indonesian conglomerate, being the first case to be heard before the Singapore International Commercial Court. He also specialises in aviation law and advised in the class-action suit resulting from the crash of the SilkAir flight (Indonesia) and the SIA crash (Taiwan).
Francis has been recognised as a leading dispute resolution lawyer by AsiaLaw Profiles (2018, 2017), Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2014-2018), Ranked Lawyers, Chambers Global (2016-2017), Dispute Resolution Chambers Asia-Pacific (2016 and 2017), Best Lawyer in International Litigation Practice (2017 edition) (2015-2017 edition), Labour & Employment (2016 edition) Who’s Who Legal, Asia Law Leading Lawyers (2009), Global Arbitration Review (2010), and the Fifth Edition of Best Lawyers in Singapore Practice Area of Litigation (2013).
Francis is a Chartered Arbitrator, the immediate Past Chairman of the Singapore branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and is the President-Elect of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association. He is the General Editor of “Civil Litigation in Singapore” (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017) and a member of the Rules Committee, Singapore Academy of Law.
He is currently sitting as party-nominated arbitrator of a Mauritius entity in a bilateral investment treaty (ICSID) dispute with the Government of India. He is presently assisting several Asian governments in setting up their international arbitration framework.