Murray Hunter

This is a collection of some of my past and contemporary articles on Malaysia, Thailand, and some Australian issues. I have posted some old articles that were previously published on Asia Sentinel, New Mandela, Online Opinion, Pravda, Eurasia Review, MIC, and others. I am also posting some of my latest articles. There is a mixture of politics, development, social issues, theology, and some psychology and entrepreneurship.

Murray was one of Asian Correspondent’s thirty-five selected bloggers spanning thirteen different Asian countries after a careful survey of the region’s blogosphere, based on quality of reporting, relevance and popularity.

There is a need more than ever for objective commentary on the region, especially, Malaysia, which I am most interested in. Freedom and speech and press freedom is rapidly declining in the country. In the words of Yap Swee Seng;

“They are creating a culture of fear. If you engage in any talk of public interest, the police may come to your house, you may be arrested, taken to the police station, remanded. Even members of Parliament are treated that way.”

—Yap Swee Seng, former executive director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

Some background.

Murray Hunter has been involved in Asia-Pacific business for the last 40 years as an entrepreneur, consultant, academic, and researcher.

As an entrepreneur he was involved in numerous start-ups, developing a lot of patented technology, where one of his enterprises was listed in 1992 as the fifth fastest going company on the BRW/Price Waterhouse Fast100 list in Australia. Murray created start-ups in manufacturing, sales and distribution in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Malaysia between 1978-2000 in household consumer products. Murray was also involved in natural product chemistry, holding a number of patents, as well as authoring peer reviewed articles on natural product chemistry.

Murray was an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis, assisting in setting up the School of Bio-Process Engineering and SME Unit. He spent a lot of time consulting to Asian governments on community development and village biotechnology, both at the strategic level and “on the ground”. Murray worked with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), developing new crops, and was a visiting researcher at the Institute Development Studies (IDS) in Sabah, Malaysia for a number of years. He was also a visiting professor at a number of universities and regular speaker at conferences and workshops in the region.

Murray is the author of a number of books, numerous research and conceptual papers in referred journals, and commentator on the issues of entrepreneurship, development, and politics in a number of magazines and online news sites around the world. He takes a trans-disciplinary view of issues and events, trying to relate this to the enrichment and empowerment of people in the region.

Murray is on the academic boards of a number of international journals including

  • Review of Contemporary Philosophy

  • Economics, Management and Financial Markets

  • Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, and

  • Psychological Issues in Human Resources Management.

Murray is the Asia and Oceania Analyst for the Eurasia Review, Vice Chairman of the advisory board of Modern Diplomacy, former correspondent for the Asian Correspondent, a long time contributor to the Asia Sentinel and Geopolitical Monitor, and opinion maker with The 21st Century. Murray was also a regular television commentator on RT and Malaysia’s Astro Awani.

Today, Murray is now domiciled in Hat Yai, Thailand.


There are two people who have inspired me with my work and writing:

The first is the legendary late M. G. G. Pillai. M. G. G. Pillai was one of Malaysia’s pioneer online internet journalists from back in the reformasi days. M. G. G. Pillai was always a straight-taking, no-bars-held commentator, at risk to himself. A former correspondent for Reuters during the Vietnam war, journalist for the Far Eastern Economic Review, and co-founder of the old defunct Asiaweek. Like myself, M. G. G. Pillai was made persona non-grata in Singapore. He was a good friend to me when I was in need.

The second person to inspire my writings was my former professor, mentor, and good friend Dr Geoff Drummond, at Swinburne, Melbourne. Geoff pursued life to the intellectual fullest. We went on a long sojourn together discovering organizational culture as a management paradigm. He introduced me to narrative as a research means, and together we explored consciousness and meaning, before he sadly passed away.

I hope what I write here reflects a little upon both of them. Thank you.


Nominated for the Popular The Star Readers’ Choice Non-Fiction award 2023

Lim and Hunter’s prolific writings shed light on the resultant effects of
macro and micro-policies that have shaped Malaysia. Their analyses touch
especially on the key actors—individuals and organisations—that have
played a catalytic role in misshaping the nation’s development. Both their
opinions and reflections on the issues written here have their foundation in
fundamental economics, and rightly so. Civilisational progress or
regression can be seen to be closely aligned to the foundational economics
of society. The end of the crisis and the dark forces will come. The question
is only when and how and whether we, the people, can rise to save what is
rightfully ours.”

- Siti Z Kasim Lawyer and activist

“[W]hen articles are written by astute commentators of the calibre of
Hunter and Lim on the historical achievement of Malaysian voters rejecting
BN after 61 years of unbroken, continuous rule, and the emergence of the
nation’s first alternative governing coalition, they deserve to be collected in
a handy publication. After all, they represent the first draft of history, and
would serve as the first port of call for scholars in future decades
researching the truly historic period of 2018-2021 when posterity

-Tommy Thomas
Former attorney-general of Malaysia

“Can Malaysia return to the nation-building principles our forefathers
agreed to—constitutional monarchy, separation of powers, rule of law,
democracy, good governance and a plural society? Lim and Hunter have
grappled with these issues which will decide the future of Malaysia.”

-Lim Kit Siang
MP for Iskandar Puteri and former leader of the opposition

“Lim and Hunter take on the daunting task of unravelling the complexities
of the Malaysian journey since independence. They have dared to touch on
all the issues that really matter which have been bullied out of the public
space for being ‘sensitive’ and therefore o-limits to any reasonable
discussion. Yet discuss them we must. Through the years, Malaysia, or rather
her politicians, have woven a tangled web of power, race, religion and
corruption that seems impenetrable. These power dynamics have brought
us to our current sorry state. This book helps us to take that crucial rst step
of looking at ourselves honestly and critically. If we can all put the nation
rst and do just that, we have a chance of the Malaysia we dreamed of. This
book is essential reading for all Malaysians who believe this is yet possible.”

-Ambiga Sreenevasan
Lawyer and human rights advocate

“It is common and even fashionable for Malaysians to lament on what’s
wrong with the country, blame politicians and the system, and then
sink into hopelessness and helplessness. Instead, we need to ask hard
questions, examine possible options, decide on viable solutions and team
up for collective action. This book by Lim and Hunter is an invitation for
Malaysians to stare into the dark forces overshadowing Malaysia’s past,
present and future and walk out of the woods of despair.”

-Wong Chin Huat
Professor, Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia

“This collection of short articles by Lim and Hunter, two well-known
social commentators, lays out in no uncertain terms that Malaysia is a
nation in crisis when it comes to the fundamental issues.”

-James Chin
Professor of Asian studies, University of Tasmania

“As Malaysians anticipate GE15, we would do well to read these wellresearched analyses by two of our best academics to avoid repeating the
same follies of the past. With the two main political coalitions becoming
interchangeable, Malaysia risks becoming a failed state if a progressive
Third Force does not emerge soon to resolve the Malaysian dilemma.”

-Kua Kia Soong
Socialist with Malaysian characteristics

“You may not agree with everything that two of Malaysia’s leading sociopolitical commentators, Lim and Hunter have written, and it may also be
one of the most depressing books you read, as they dissect what has gone
wrong in Malaysia. Whichever way you look at it, Malaysia is a failed
state. Putrajaya has failed the nation on several fronts—economically,
financially, politically, and made a mockery of democracy. As we hurtle
towards GE15, will Malaysians do the right thing and restore the
nation to the multicultural and secular path as envisioned by Tunku at
Merdeka? This timely book is a must-read for every voter.”

-Mariam Mokhtar
Rebuilding Malaysia

“Lim and Hunter are among a very small handful of scholars that dare to
bare the rotten and rotting foundation of Malaysian society, governance
and leadership, but still have the vision to paint some kind of hope for
this nation in her blurry future. This book is the bitter pill that must be
swallowed by Malaysians if we ever want to walk into the fresh air again.”

-Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Professor, UCSI University

“Lim and Hunter offer informed insights, firmly grounded on a sound
understanding of Malaysian politics, economy and society, to reform a
country confronted with the possibility of becoming a failed state.”

-Edmund Terence Gomez
Former professor of political economy, Universiti Malaya

“The writings of two brilliant scholars, Lim and Hunter…are a mustread for those still concerned about how to make this country a better
and more sensible place to call home. A tour de force of critical and
reconstructive analysis of a state we still have hope in.”

-Azly Rahman
Global educator, author, columnist

Murray Hunter has meticulously written a very useful work, examining the influences on entrepreneurial strategy from a number of different paradigms. He argues that opportunity is as much a product of our mental schema as it is from the external commercial and social environment. He concludes that strategy should be opportunity, rather than firm-based and presents a relevant opportunity meta-theory to the socio-economic conditions of this new millennium.

--Amar Bhidé
Thomas Schmidheiny Professor
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Tufts University

Murray Hunter's book has put opportunity at the centre of strategy. He has been able to blend contemporary strategic theory with the wisdom of the east in a meta-theory that extends our understanding of opportunity. Murray stresses the perceptive and interpretive issues around understanding the environment and forming strategy, which is a timely reminder for firms facing the turbulent markets of today.

--Hermawan Kartajaya,
Founder and CEO of MarkPlus Inc.
Co-author with ProfessorPhilip Kotler of five books, including:
Think ASEAN & Marketing 3.0
President of World Marketing Association.

Murray Hunter has written a book that adopts an innovative approach to business in keeping with the dynamic and evolving requirements of capitalizing on commercial opportunity in the new millennium. The focus of the book is on opportunity as the driver of strategy and entrepreneurship rather than the traditional focus, which is on the firm and its strengths and weaknesses as the drivers of strategy and entrepreneurship. This book raises the issue of what actually comes first - the firm or the market. The thrust of the book is that opportunity comes first in today's business environment and that strategy and entrepreneurship flow from this. Rather than firm oriented factors, Murray Hunter's meta theory of opportunity, strategy and entrepreneurship focuses on what are the variables and factors involved, how are they related and why they are influenced by underlying psychological, economic and social dynamics? Viewing the world through the prism of opportunity takes the reader on a journey that involves an exploration of opportunity from socio-economic, economic history, political economy, economic geography and biographical perspectives. This innovative approach to strategy formation and entrepreneurship development, as advocated by Murray Hunter, is to be commended.

--Professor Richard Fletcher,
School of Marketing,
University of Western Sydney

Hunter has reached the top-most heights, a veritable vision platform that no author has previously achieved in the study of human innovation and enterprise. In one tome, he has been able to cumulate our entire knowledge of human opportunity. The depth and scope of Hunter's understanding is staggering and unrivalled. Encompassing the entire history, science and philosophy of opportunity in a digestible form, this book will serve students and scholars of innovation and entrepreneurship for years to come. It will not easily be obsolesced--only supplemented--because of its wide coverage, skilful writing, accumulation of knowledge, integration and interpretation, and above all the profound wisdom that Hunter's work evidences. This book must be in every library and read by every serious student of human enterprise.
--Howard Frederick,
Professor of Entrepreneurial Education,
Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Community (CEIC),
Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Brave, honest and passionate, Professor Murray Hunter's new book is more than a content-rich read. It is an intellectual journey par excellence. By revisiting and rethinking the best of the west and the essentials of the east; the author inspires, encourages and energetically invites us to bridge both mental and physical distances. Professor Hunter contrasts and compares; still, he does not exclude and separate; but includes, concludes, shares and sublimes. Disheartened by the McFB (McDonalads-Facebook) world, dominated by anti-intellectualism and nearly automated conduct, turns numerous possibilities into ever fewer probabilities. Mounting crises discourage and constrain us. Hope and vision comes with Hunter's "Opportunity".
Homo cogitus: homo faber!

--Professor Anis H. BajrektarevicChairperson for International Law and Global Political Studies,EXPORT EU-ASEAN-NAFTA,IMC University,Austria, Europe

Professor Hunter brings about an important aspect; for the world to know that opportunities have to be discovered by strategic design of search and research. He combines the wisdom of the east with business environments of the west in order to optimize resources with a win-win paradigm for both an entrepreneur and a customer. He advocates that customer needs must be identified as the customer does not know what he or she needs until he or she has seen the product. His wisdom applies equally well to the service domain. A must read for those considering global opportunities and strategic planning in government, academia, industry, or the service sector!

--Vijay K. Arora,
Director, Graduate Studies, Wilkes University
Chair of the International Division of the American
Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Leading Educator of the World, 2005

Murray Hunter penned a business strategy book for our times by placing the idea of 'opportunity' at the centre of entrepreneurship and society. He highlights the importance of being alert to the possible and, in turn, able to exploit that opportunity. If we want to build solid structures on ever-shifting sands as the pace of global change accelerates, Hunter underscores the need for developing new mental models.

--Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin,
President of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), Ireland.

"This book presents a comprehensive overview of the essential oil sector. Professor Hunter has put his expertise and practical experience to the disposal of researchers and entrepreneurs. While maintaining scientific integrity, the language also encourages the layman to read and understand this technical subject. This book is an absolute must for all those interested in essential oils."

-Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Former President of Mauritius, former Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), University of Mauritius, Mauritius. Also the Loreal-UNESCO Laureate for Africa, awards for Women in Science 2007.

"Professor Hunter is one of the world's top experts in the field of essential oils.  He is also a top-ranked entrepreneurship professor who knows how to commercialise these products.  This book will long be remembered as a watershed in commercialisation of new innovations".

Dr. Howard H. Frederick Professor of Entrepreneurship & Education Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

"Professor Hunter has dedicated more than 2 decades of his lifetime on the development of essential oils from Australia and Asia. His fervent wish to encourage essential oil research and commercialisation in this part of the world resulted in the publication of this book which will be the future reference for enthusiasts in medicinal natural products, essential oil, flavours and fragrance".

Dr. Zuriati Zakaria Professor of Chemistry Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

"Murray has been a prolific writer on essential oils, perfumery and cosmetics in our magazine for the last 18 years. His articles have deepened our readers' knowledge about a number of contemporary issues important to the industry with his detailed writing. This book will empower the reader to make informed decisions about the essential oil industry".

Joy Harrison Editor The Australiasian Journal of Cosmetic Science

"A 'must read' book for entrepreneurs and researchers who are involved in the research and development of essential oils, flavours and fragrances".

Dr Rasadah Mat Ali Senior Director Medicinal Plants Programme Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)

Subscribe to Murray Hunter

A review of issues within SE Asia, from both my past and contemporary writing


Innovator and entrepreneur, former academic, author, thinker, interested in South-East Asian affairs.