The Department is home to a vibrant community of postgraduate students, working on a wide variety of topics within the discipline. Find out more about our research students.



Abimbola Joseph, Owojori (Nigeria)
Email: bimboladavid@yahoo.com
PhD Thesis Title:   A Discourse of Counterterrorism in Nigerian Foreign Policy

Research Abstract: Nigeria has been faced with a great number of national security challenges almost since it attained political independence in 1960. A number of internal activities in Nigeria and some activities in other nations surrounding Nigeria have seriously posed national security challenges to the country in recent times. In this regard, mention can be conveniently made of such issues as trafficking in human and goods smuggling, transnational armed robbery operations, illicit drug trafficking etc. While Nigeria has been pursuing its national security goals using diplomatic and other flexible channels in its external relations, but then it has equally employed coercive methods or measured force when necessary. However, the most horrible challenges to the nation’s national security in recent times are the issues of transnational terrorism.

This study focuses on a number of national security issues facing Nigeria, especially arising from the impact of transnational terrorism of recent times. Therefore, the issues analysed concern the examination of the nature and dynamics of Nigeria's national security challenges and impact of transnational terrorism on the nation's foreign relations and the nation’s geopolitical peculiarities. This research, also, is an effort to evaluate Nigeria's responses to the perceived national security challenges, especially terrorism, within the context of its relations with such supranational entity as the European Union, with a view to making suggestions on how best Nigeria's national security and counter-terrorism campaign could be successful and to ensure profit in the nation's external affairs.

Supervisors: Dr Muhammad Danial Azman and Dr K. S. Balakrishnan


  • 2005 – Bachelor of Science in International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • 2010 – Master of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Federal Republic of Nigeria.


  • 2009   – Recipient of the Fellowship granted by European Union Directorate General for Education/ International Sociological Institute of Gorizia (ISIG), Gorizia, Italy: On Innovation and Creativity- New Solutions to the Problems of the New Europe.
  • 2009   – The Recipient of the Fellowship granted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)/ European University Viadrina, Frankfurt-Oder, Germany: On Normative Power Europe?  European Political Culture in Global Politics.


Azman Ayob (Malaysia)
Email: anamza@siswa.um.edu.my, azmanbfy@yahoo.com

Research Interests:

  • India’s Myanmar Relations/Policy
  • Malaysia’s Myanmar Relations/Policy

Supervisor: Associate Professor Dr Jatswan Singh 


  • 2002 – Master of Arts (MA) in Security and Policy Analysis, National University of Malaysia (UKM).
  • 1997 – Bachelor of Human Sciences (B.Hsc. Hons.) in Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Selected Publications:

  • “Myanmar in India's Intertwined Idealism - Realism Foreign Policy: A "Modified Structuralism" Perspective,” Journal of Management Research, Vol. 7, No. 2, Macrothink Institute, USA, 2015.
  • “Moralistic Politics Versus Realpolitik in India-Myanmar Relations,” Proceeding paper, 5th International Conference on Southeast Asia (ICONSEA 2013), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 11-13 December 2013.
  • “Malaysia and Myanmar Relations: Should Malaysia Take Some Extra Miles In Engaging Myanmar?,” Proceeding paper, 4th International Conference on Southeast Asia (ICONSEA 2011), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 6-7 December 2011.
  • “Good Civil-Military Relations in Malaysia: Contributory Factors,” Journal of Media And Information Warfare (CMIWS), Vol. 2, Uitm Press, 2010. 


  • 2015 - Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNIAS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India.
  • 2009 - Fulbright Study on US Institute (SUSI) in American Politics and Political Thoughts, Massachusetts University (UMASS), Amherst, USA.

3 EzuwanHassan

Ezuwan Hassan (Malaysia)
Email: mohdezuwanh@gmail.com

MA Project Title: Malaysia’s Global Movement of the Moderates (GMM): An Analysis

Research Abstract: My research seeks to provide understanding of this new global movement mooted by Malaysia during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010. It also seeks to provide a better understanding and definition on the term ‘moderation’ and whether Malaysia benefits from and can be regarded as a ‘middle power’ in this region with the international community’s support on GMM. It will also provide an analysis, and retrospective on the challenges faced by Malaysia since the inception of the GMM, including its effectiveness in view of the rise of extremism and terrorism regionally and worldwide. This includes the rise of the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (al Sham) better known by the acronym ISIS.

Research Interest:

  • Malaysian Politics and International Relations
  • Global Moderate Movement and Normative Approach to Politics

Supervisor: Dr Helena Varkkey 


  • 2006 – Certificate in Diplomacy, Institute of Diplomacy & Foreign Relations, Malaysia
  • 2003 – Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Administration, Institute of Public Administration, Malaysia
  • 2002 – Bachelor of Human Science (Honours) Political Science & Islamic Revealed Knowledge, International Islamic University of Malaysia

Professional Experiences:

  • 2012 – Special Functions Officer (International Relations, Security & Civil Service) to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia.
  • 2010 – Principal Assistant Secretary, (United Nations, Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement & Langkawi International Dialogue), Department of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wisma Putra.
  • 2008-2009 – Malaysian Long Term Delegate, 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, United States of America.
  • 2007 – First Secretary/Head of Chancery, High Commission of Malaysia, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • 2003 – Assistant Secretary, Policy Planning Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wisma Putra.

Professional Membership:

  • Advisor to President of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration & Management (CAPAM).
  • Member of Association of Administrative and Diplomatic Service (PPTD).

5 IzniBRazak

Izni B. Razak (Malaysia)
Email: izni@iium.edu.myiz_ez@yahoo.com 

PhD Research Title: Towards ASEAN Security Community: ASEAN Counter-terrorism Efforts and its Impact on Community Building in SEA.

Research Abstract: This study seeks to describe the current status of ASEAN Security community by analyzing the extent and perception of ASEAN collective identity, which is essential for the formation of ASC. It seeks to examine the relevance of ASEAN norms codified in the ASEAN Way in community building by examining the unified threat perception, the adherence to non-interference policy and frequencies and degrees of functional cooperation of the ASEAN states in their counter-terrorism efforts.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Dr Jatswan Singh



  • Bachelor of Human Sciences in Political Sciences (First Class Honours), International Islamic University Malaysia.
  • Masters of Human Sciences in Political Sciences (First Class Honours), International Islamic University Malaysia.


  • 2002-2006 – Multiple Dean’s List Awards, awarded by Dean, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, Certificate of Excellence, 2003 awarded by Deputy Rector (Academic Affairs), IIUM.
  • 2005 – Certificate of Excellence, 2005 awarded by Deputy Rector (Academic Affairs), IIUM.
  • 2005 – SLAI Scholarship


Professional Experience:

  • Academic staff, Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia

6 JamaluddinSyakirin 

Jamaluddin Syakirin (Indonesia)


MA Research Title: Modernization of Malaysian Navy and Its Impact on Malaysia’s National Security

Research Abstract: Naval modernization is one of military development priorities in recent days. Many countries continue to focus on weapons acquisition and development programs. Programs of interest include expanding inventories of existing weapons systems and increasingly sophisticated systems. The emergent missions and roles of navies in the relative peacetime contexts have substantially modified the traditional paradigm of naval power and maritime strategy. The emergent benign roles of cooperative maritime strategy evident in joint exercises, interoperable missions, and constabulary roles in humanitarian missions have significantly complemented the still prevalent and traditional coercive and compellence missions of navies.

Navy, as a branch of armed forces entity in a sovereign state, has it owns specification in term of function. Many concentrations are given to army and air force. In spite of that, the effort of analysis on policy implementation to develop navy as an element of defence system which is modernize in recent years in Malaysia have yet been fully researched.

Malaysia’s defense modernization is broad reaching, encompassing the transformation of virtually all aspects of the military establishment, to include weapon systems, operational doctrine, institution building, and personnel reforms. However, Malaysia’s security still faces challenges that must not be neglected. The growing interconnections between domestic and international factors and interconnected traditional and non-traditional factors have made maintaining national security a more challenging task.

Supervisor: Associate Prof. Dr Jatswan Singh


2002/2009 – S.IP (BA), International Relations – Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia


2011 – JASSO Scholarship – Spring Semester Student Exchange Program, Akita International University, Japan


7 MuraliTCTVytheswaran

Murali T. C. T. Vytheswaran (Malaysia)

PhD Research TitleA Difference in Leadership Diplomacy: Malaysia-Indonesia 1962-1967 

Research Abstract: The research work is mainly about leadership diplomacy between Malaysia and Indonesia at that point of period when the cold war in Southeast Asia was at the peak and how two leaders, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Sukarno manipulated policies to keep their nation afloat. Cold War was looming in Southeast Asia and the midst of new nation states changing their destiny after being at the grab of the colonialism yoke. Early 1950s, saw young nation states were working hard to achieve their independence. Some took the rightist road, well some experienced the revolutionary environment but one or two nation could negotiate and got their way out from the western colonial grip. Nation states and the values of independency and diplomacy depended well on leadership qualities. As such during the 1960s until the end of 1970s, two nation states with same values and cultural background has created an ideal venue for being the land of proxies for the spread of cold war. Two nation states, ideally known the nations of Nusantara Melayu came head on with a diplomatic clash, when they differed and contradicted their values.

Looking at the geographical point of view, Nusantara Melayu became test ground for cold war in Southeast Asia. The whole archipelago came directly or indirectly under the influence of Super Powers. Difference in ideological sphere of influence, had an impact of the values exhibited by the leaders of the two nation states. As such nationalism became the key mantras for several nation states. President Sukarno was looking forward to exerting his influence among the Nusantara States. He was a person of historical values. In fact, he clearly stated his views, thoughts and ideological mind-set based on authentic values thus creating a notion of hegemony theories. Besides, Premier Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj believed in practicing a profound International Diplomacy. When leadership cultures, values and thoughts differed, it evolves a gargantuan impression of diplomatic wrangling. It has generated enough problems for two nation states but also paved sufficient opportunities for the super powers to exert their influence, considering the geographical factors.

Supervisors: Associate Prof. Dr Jatswan Singh and Dr Roy Anthony Rogers


  • 2002 – Master of Arts (Diplomatic History), Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • 1993 – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and History, Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • 1983 – Certificate in Teaching (Major in Teaching English as a Second Language), Maktab Perguruan Mohd. Khalid, Johor Bahru

Selected Publications:

  • V.Murali Tharan, Konfrontasi Between Malaysia-Indonesia As An International Issue at the United Nations Security Council (Penang: USM,2002).
  • V.Murali Tharan, Malaysian Diplomacy in Southeast Asia (under publication-MPH).
  • V.Murali Tharan, Education Philosophy and Literature: A Paradigm Shift for Human Capitol (co-authored by Dr Chameline-under publication).

Selected Conferences:

  • Asas Kepimpinan Dan Perkembangan Profesional Guru (Sungai Petani, Percetakan Peladang, 2014).
  • Konfrontasi: As An International Issue At United Nations Security Council, UKM Bangi, October 2012.
  • E-Prac: A Paradigm Shift in Teacher Training Programmes, National Covention (KIK), 8-9 Ogos 2012, Bangi).
  • Recharging Human Capitol: A Paradigm Shift, Educational and Innovational Seminar, IPG Kampus Perempuan Melayu, Melaka. 5-7 May 2010.

Professional Experiences:

  • 2008-2013: Head of Unit for Philosophy of Education and Lecturer, Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia, Kampus Rajang, 96509, Bintangor, Sarawak
  • 2008-to present – Part-Time Tutor, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sibu Jaya, Sibu 
  • 2002 – Part-Time Tutor, Open University of Malaysia 
  • 2002-2008 – Part-Time Tutor, Universiti Sains Malaysia 
  • 1994-2007 – Officer of Educational Services, SMJK Sin Min, Sungai Petani, kedah 
  • 1992-1993 – Officer of Educational Services, SK Patani Para, Sg. Petani, Kedah 
  • 1990-1991 – Officer of Educational Services, SK Bukit Lintang, Kota Tinggi, Johor


Njoku Ekeledirichukwu C. (Nigeria)

PhD Research Title: Drivers of Radicalisation: The case of Jama’atu Ahlus Sunnah Lidda Awati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) in Nigeria. 

Research Abstract: The abduction of more than 270 schoolgirls in a Chibok town of Borno state – North-eastern part of Nigeria in 2014 not only sent a shock wave across the international community but it also put humanity in a mourning mood. That abominable act of terrorism and human trafficking earned Boko Haram (BH) international notoriety and raised a global media campaign – #BringBackOurGirls, a clarion call for the Nigerian Islamist militant group – to heed to the voice of humanity and release those innocent schoolgirls in their custody. Till today, with the exception of about 21 girls rescued by the Nigerian government, those girls remain in captivity.  

It is saddening to note that this horrendous crime against humanity is just one of many crimes perpetrated by BH militants against Nigeria and Nigerians since its emergence in 2009. Like any other militant group (ISIS, Taliban, Al-Shabaab, BH has become a household name not only in Nigeria but also globally. In 2015, Boko Haram killed about 5,478 people making it the second deadliest group after ISIS.  In 2014, Boko Haram was the most lethal terror organisation killing about 6,664 people. Following its decade-long war of terror against the Nigerian State and its neighbours – bombings, kidnappings, robbery, rape, killings and many more, Nigeria is now faced with huge security threat and humanitarian crisis. 

While the threat of Boko Haram and its crimes against humanity linger, the unanswered question on everyone’s lip is ‘what is driving the militant Islamist group? What is responsible for its radicalization? What transforms an individual from a non-violent,law-abiding individual into a radical person? This study is set to address this problem. Can it be religion or socio-political and economic factors or a combination of all these factors that radicalise these youths? Why do men rebel? With the help of Relative Deprivation Theory, I intend to argue that military offensives against BH cannot continue to be the only option in tackling the menace of the extremist group, hence, need for a political solution. It is important to target and mitigate some socioeconomic issues (hunger, economic inequality, social exclusion and marginalization, deprivation, insecurity, endemic corruption and many more) that propel radicalization. 

Supervisor: Associate Professor Dr. Jatswan Singh  

Research Interest: African government and Politics, International Relations and Security, Defence, Conflict resolution and Peacebuilding


  • 2015 - Master of Strategic and Defence Studies (MSDS), University of Malaya, Malaysia.
  • 2006 - Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nigeria.  

8 NorshelaZakariah

Norshela Zakariah (Malaysia)

Email: shela.torch@gmail.com

PhD Research Title: Narratives and Stories of the Rohingya in Klang Valley: An In-depth Study on Security Threats and its Consequences on Local Community.

Research Abstract: I have studies Psychology for my first degree but then I have switch to Political Sciences for Master’s degree. Since then, I had a keen interest in the research areas of refugee studies, security studies, and human behavior. Following the submission of my Master’s dissertation, I had the opportunity to work with UNHCR. My job involves the interviewing of illegal immigrants, investigate and report their situations, and make recommendations on whether to grant them asylum. Having gained hands-on experience with the process, I have noticed the existence of numerous loopholes within the operating procedures in UNHCR, defective procedures with the Immigration Department, and how the influx of refugees is slowly affecting Malaysia’s security in general. Therefore, my PhD thesis seeks to explore how behavior of Rohingya Refugees settled in Klang Valley imposes negative effects on Malaysian society as a whole. While humanitarian assistant is important, the need of the local population has to enjoy a clear priority

Supervisors:  Dr Helena Varkkey and Dr. Roy Anthony Rogers

2014 – International Masters in Regional Integration, Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya
2013 – Bachelor Degree in Human Sciences, Department of Psychology, International Islamic University Malaysia

2015 – Tenaga Pengajar Muda, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM)
2011 – NewStraitsTimes Young Writer’s Award

Professional Experiences:
2013-2014: Protection Assistant at UNHCR Kuala Lumpur 
2013: Internship with Kwah Dao- Burmese Refugees Project (NGO’s) in Mae Hong Son, Thailand 
2010-2013: Humanitarian worker, Mercy Malaysia

Professional Membership:
Reserve Officer Training Unit (ROTU) Air Force, Second Lieutenant, Malaysia



Sabah Carrim (Mauritius)

Ph.D Project Title: Beyond the Formula of the Trial: the Inadequacies of trying “Senior Leaders” and Individuals “Most Responsible” in Internationalised Tribunals.

Research Abstract: My thesis seeks to analyse the current formula deployed in dealing with atrocities, war crimes, perpetrators and war criminals—the trial. My focus will be primarily on the ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia), while references to other tribunals will be made to support my arguments. My thesis has four objectives: Firstly it seeks to trace the rationale behind, as well as the repercussions of limiting the jurisdiction of such trials to “senior leaders” and individuals “most responsible”. Secondly, it analyses the inadequacies of the trial formula in terms of its truth-seeking objective, its didactic value, the repairs it promises to victims, and the level of engagement it encourages (or discourages) in terms of its outreach strategy. Thirdly, it explores the nuances and substitutes used instead of the trial, and assesses their advantages and limitations. Fourthly, it suggests that while the move towards setting up hybrid tribunals is indeed laudable from the perspective of postcolonial theory, there are many elements that bar the possibility of justice. This research is primarily qualitative, guided by Foucauldian discourse, Realist Theory and Postcolonial theory.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Dr Jatswan Singh


  • 2005 – Master of Laws, University of Malaya.
  • 2003 – LL.B (Honours) University of London.

Selected Publications:

  • CARRIM, S. (2015) Semi-Apes. Malaysia: 108 Publishing.
  • CARRIM, S. (2012) Humeirah. Malaysia: 108 Publishing.
  • CARRIM, S. “An Encounter with Nietzsche,” Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2014, pp. 71-82.
  • CARRIM, S. “Beauty and Eroticism in Mishima's The Temple of the Golden Pavilion,” in McNamara, S. (ed.), Re(Possessing Beauty): Politics, Poetics and Change, Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press., 2014.
  • CARRIM, S. “War Crimes Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur: Judicial Biasness,” Current Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2014, pp. 44-56.
  • CARRIM, S. “Why I write,” Journal of Creativity and Human Development, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2012, pp. 4-6.
  • CARRIM, S. “Jury Trials: From the Tossing of a Coin to the Ouija Board and now to Facebook,” Brickfields Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2012, pp. 27-30.
  • CARRIM, S. Diversifying to Unify: Using Literature and Visual Arts to Teach Law,” in: Tan, S. B (ed.) The Convergence of the Performing and Creative Arts, Malaysia: Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia Publications, 2012.

Professional Experiences:

  • 2011-2015 – Lecturer, Law, Brickfields Asia College, Malaysia
  • 2008-2010 – Lecturer, Law, KDU University College, Malaysia
  • 2006-2008 – Lecturer, Law, University of Technology, Mauritius


Sani Safiyanu (NIGERIA)                                                           
Email: sani@siswa.edu.myssafiyanu.pol@buk.edu.ng

PhD Thesis Title: Nigeria’s involvement in Peacekeeping Operations in Africa

Abstract: Nigeria is one of the most important players in international relations, a potential leader in Africa and one of the highest contributors to peacekeeping operations (PKO), both regionally and globally. Her peacekeeping role in the continent had a long history from the 1960s when the country got her independence. And barely ten days later it sent her troops to Congo during the country’s political crisis. Since then, Nigeria has continued to help contain conflict and maintain peace in the whole of African region by sending peacekeepers through the UN. This policy gained greater impetus from the 1970s when it emerged victorious from the thirty-month civil war and increases participation through the UN, AU and the ECOMOG and continue to send troops to Chad, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Sudan and Mali with current deployment to Gambia and outside the continent. It also involved in bilateral peacekeeping operations where it helped quenched or prostrate a coup attempt in Tanzania. The paper examines the transformation process of the Nigeria PKO within the three organisations. Despite all odd, the country has never stopped its commitments to peacekeeping in Africa.

Supervisor: Dr. Roy Anthony Rogers


9 SheilaMathivathaniArianayagam 

Sheila Mathivathani Arianayagam (Malaysia)
Email: sheila111274@yahoo.com

MA Research Title: International Human Rights Norms and the Issue of State-Induced Forced Labour in Myanmar

Research Abstract: My research is devoted to the study of human rights, an integral part of mankind’s existence in this modern world. My interest in this area led me to delve deeper into analyzing the intricacies of the subject matter following society’s shift in its perspectives regarding the rights accorded to a person. Sovereignty could no longer be used as an excuse to conduct state affairs in a manner that completely disregarded human rights.

However, the changing scenario was not without its problems. Despite its growing importance, human rights is increasingly being ignored in certain countries. Although these countries were signatories to the many laws and conventions governing human rights, the level of acceptance and implementation of these tenets remain at best minimal. Their leaders convey willingness to submit to legislations promoting human rights while concealing their actual intentions. These promises of change continued to exist as pure rhetoric. At the same time, parallel to these behavioral attitudes, there are leaders that enthusiastically embrace the principles of human rights. These leaders project a positive outlook to adapting to the new environment and are more pliable to conforming to universal norms.

In my research, I used the spiral model of human rights change to study the developments in Myanmar’s labour rights, focusing specifically on the oil and gas and tourism industries. Although the country was a signatory to the international convention on forced labour, the practise had been widely employed until recent times. My research also looked into the influence of the transnational advocacy network in compelling Myanmar to comply with the forced labour conventions it had earlier ratified. The progress achieved by this country in its efforts to eradicate forced labour was largely due to the tireless efforts of the advocacy network that closely cooperated with Myanmar’s domestic activists.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Dr Jatswan Singh


  • 2015 - Master of Arts (by research) in International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya 
  • 2000 - Accounting and Cost and Management Accounting, Level 3, Pitman Qualifications 
  • 2000 - Third Level Group Diploma in Accounting, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 
  • 1999 - Book Keeping and Accounts – Second Level, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 
  • 1998 - Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Honors, Second Class Upper, University of Malaya


  • (Co-authored), ‘Modern Slavery: State-Induced Labour in Myanmar (Burma) and Reactions from the International Community’, Malaysian Journal of International Relations, Vol. 1, December 2013


  • ‘State-Induced Forced Labour in Myanmar (Burma) and Responses from the International Community,’ 5th International Conference on Southeast Asia (ICONSEA 2013), University of Malaya

Professional Membership:

  • International Well Control Forum (IWCF).


Last Updated: 02/05/2019