About the Tun Ismail Ali Challenge

The Tun Ismail Ali Challenge is a two-day residential challenge that aims to provide undergraduates with a platform to express their ideas and creativity in solving policy issues related to the macroeconomy and the financial sector. During the challenge, participants will not only be exposed to the processes of policy making in relation to real-life policy issues, but also be given the chance to engage with experts of the field!

The challenge will take place in Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur on 31st July – 1st August 2019. For more information on the challenge, check out the format of the challenge.


The Challenge is open to undergraduates pursuing a degree in economics or related degrees from both foreign and local universities who have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies by mid-2019.


The Tun Ismail Ali Challenge will be accepting both INDIVIDUAL and TEAM applications (THREE participants to a team).

Team applicants will be accepted as a team, while individual applicants who are accepted will be teamed up with two other successful individual applicants to form a team of three.

Even if you are applying in a team, each team members will have to apply separately, but with a common team name for team identification.

You may access the application form here. The application requires:

  • The application form
  • Latest CV
  • A short answer (500 words) to the application questions
  • A single slide summarising your answer

Please read the Tun Ismail Ali Challenge Terms and Conditions carefully before applying for the Challenge. By applying, it is implied that you have read, understood and agreed to comply with the terms and conditions.

The application opens on 3rd May 2019 and closes at 5pm Malaysian time on 27 June 2019 30 June 2019. 


The winning teams will be awarded cash prizes, as below:

  • Champion: RM 10000
  • 1st Runner-up: RM 5000
  • 2nd Runner-up: RM 3000

More Questions?

Start by reading the FAQS. We may already have the answers to your questions! If you have any further inquiries, please contact the committee at

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Tun Ismail Ali Challenge 2018: Technology and New Growth Areas

The winners of the Tun Ismail Ali Challenge along with the judges, Assistant Governor Marzunisham Omar, Dr Afzanizam (Chief Economist, Bank Islam),  Dr Kwek (Associate Professor, University Malaya), Dr Chew Yew Choong (Principal Data Scientist, RHB) and Prof. Thorsten Beck (6th Tun Ismail Ali Chairholder)

Bringing the World of Economic Policymaking to Undergraduates

The Tun Ismail Ali Chair (TIAC), which was founded by Bank Negara Malaysia to enhance academic excellence in the area of monetary and financial economics of the local academic community, recently organised the inaugural Tun Ismail Ali Challenge on the 18th and 19th of July at Bank Negara Malaysia. The Tun Ismail Ali Challenge was a two-day residential challenge that aimed to provide undergraduates with a platform to express their ideas and creativity in solving policy issues related to the macroeconomy and the financial sector. The challenge aspired to promote the build-up of a strong theoretical and practical foundation in the field of economics amongst the next generation of Malaysian economic graduates. A total of 27 finalists were selected from among 150 applicants to participate in the challenge.

The theme of the challenge was ‘Technology and New Growth Areas’. The participants, who consisted of finalists from various local and foreign universities, proposed various policy solutions that would enable Malaysia to best benefit from the technological revolution underpinning the changes in economies worldwide.

Aaron Luke (London School of Economics), Alya Athira Binti Mohamed Rafick Khan (London School of Economics) and Thevesh Thevananthan (University of Cambridge), who named their team ‘Pakatan Nasi Lemak’, emerged as the champions of the Tun Ismail Ali Challenge with their proposal of establishing an agency that coordinates and funds high-skill training for workers, and eventually pairs them with interested employers.

Cheah May Lyn (University of California, Berkeley), Lai Jia Hao (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus) and Ridhuan Mohammad Rizal (University of California, Berkeley) from the first runner-up team, ‘Golden Bears’, proposed policies to turn Malaysia into a renewable energy hub by tapping into the global demand for renewable energy. Meanwhile, Mandeep Singh A/L Manjit Singh (Help Academy), Sukhdev Singh Malhi Darshan Singh (London School of Economics) and Wong Khang Yee (Help Academy) from the second runner-up team, ‘Scientia Conquisitor’, proposed policies to link small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-up companies.

The winners were awarded RM10,000 (Champion), RM5,000 (First runner-up) and RM3,000 (Second-runner up) cash prizes respectively.