The former Secretary General of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) assumed the chairmanship position in the Board of Directors of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). IDEAS announced the  the appointment of Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria effective 16 November 2017.   

Tan Sri Rebecca was Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) from 2010 to 2016. In this role, she provided oversight for the formulation and implementation of Malaysia’s international trade policies and positions. This involved Malaysia’s participation in bilateral, regional (ASEAN, APEC, OIC) and multilateral (World Trade Organisation) fora.  She also provided oversight for the TPP negotiations and other bilateral and regional FTAs, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Commenting on her new role, Tan Sri Rebecca says: “I am looking forward to this new challenge, to work with this young and dynamic organisation. While there is much that IDEAS has already and can further do for Malaysia, I am looking forward to seeing IDEAS provide more policy analyses that contribute towards the deepening of ASEAN economic integration.”

On the regional front, Tan Sri Rebecca is a leading voice in ASEAN. She chaired the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials Meeting as well as the ASEAN High Level Task Force for Economic Integration. She was also the ASEAN Chair for the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement, and Chief Negotiator for the bilateral free trade agreements with India and Turkey. Today, she continues as a leader especially on issues around ASEAN economic integration in her capacity as Senior Policy Fellow for the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

Tan Sri Rebecca also serves on the Boards of RHB Bank Berhad, Hartalega Holdings Berhad, Lafarge Malaysia Berhad, Eco World International Berhad, Sunway Construction Berhad, and MyKasih.

Welcoming Tan Sri Rebecca to the Board, IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan says “Tan Sri Rebecca brings tremendous experience and expertise into IDEAS. We have always championed integrity, economic openness, and greater integration into the regional and global trade architecture. With Tan Sri Rebecca’s leadership, we are on solid footing to enhance our policy research capacity. The next step for us is to bring in more academics and policy experts as our Fellows and Senior Fellows so that we can fulfil Tan Sri Rebecca’s expectations.”  

In addition to Tan Sri Rebecca, other members of IDEAS Board of Directors are YAM Tunku Zain al-‘Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Dato’ Dr R Thillainathan, Christopher Leong and Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Mohd Fuaad. 

IDEAS is a member of the Economic Freedom Network.

For enquiries, please email Wan Saiful Wan Jan (

IDEAS Media Statement
Dated 27 November 2017




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