Event Information

Date: 28/7/2020

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Venue: Live Streaming via Zoom


Registration for MAAL members: https://forms.gle/NAyz2s13oq79VuEf9

Registration Link (Other Universities/Organization):

The Zoom details will be sent to your registered emails after the registration has been verified

Synopsis of Webinar

COVID-19 has brought to the fore a lack of information on the disease and on public health in general for many people. Clear, accurate and accessible information about the disease and public health response to it is essential. Information must be presented in a language that is easily understood via a medium and in a format that can be trusted. The availability of accurate information is crucial not only for the public but also for health professionals and decision makers. However, much of the information available to date has been presented in English and in the national language,  Bahasa Malaysia, while lesser-used languages have been neglected. At the same time, social media has swamped the public with misleading information creating widespread confusion. With regard to vocabulary, there has been an exponential rise in the use of a single word in a short time: Covid-19, or coronavirus, and of war-related analogies. New vocabulary encompassing specialist medical terms, new acronyms, and words and phrases to express the imperatives of isolation and distancing have become dominant. This phenonenon has implications for applied linguistics research. This panel addresses challenges of transdisciplinary research and multilingualism, drawing lessons from the experience of COVID-19 thus far. The importance of pragmatic approaches and interactions among academics and practitioners in supporting multilingualism as an effective response to global challenges will be highlighted.


Prof. Dr. Azirah Hashim, UM (Language Policy and Multilingualism in ASEAN)

Prof. Dr. Richard Powell, Nihon University (Clarity and accessibility in law and the challenges of multilingualism)

Prof. Dr. Khairul Anwar Mastor and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zarina Othman, UKM (Facing the Pandemic: Religiosity, Personality and Language)

Speaker’s Profile: Prof Dr. Azirah Hashim

Azirah Hashim is Professor in the English Language Department, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics and was, until recently, Executive Director of the Asia-Europe, University of Malaya. Her research interests include Language Contact in Southeast Asia, English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN, Higher Education in ASEAN, and Academic and Professional Discourse.  Some of her publications include Communicating with Asia: the Future of English as a Global Language, Cambridge University Press edited with Leitner, G. and Wolf, HG. (2016, 2019), International Arbitration Discourse and Practices in Asia, Routledge edited with Bhatia, V. et. al (2018), and articles in journals such as World Englishes, Discourse Studies and Multilingua. Her latest book, co-authored with Gerhard Leitner, on English in Southeast Asia: Transforming language habitats by Routledge will be published later this year (2020).


In 2017, she was appointed Vice-President and President Elect of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) and is Founding President of the Malaysian Association of Applied Linguistics, an affiliate of the International Association of Applied Linguistics. In addition, she is an honorary life member of the executive committee of the Asia Pacific Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association. In 2009, she was awarded the Georg Forster Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany and is a Fellow of the Foundation. More recently, she was a recipient of the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humantities Research Institute Research Fellowship, Trinity Colledge Dublin. Azirah is on the editorial board of several journals including English Today and  Journal of Sociolinguistic Studies.

Speaker’s Profile: Prof. Dr. Richard Powell

Richard Powell has held the post of professor at Nihon University in Tokyo for over 20 years, teaching classes in business English and language and human rights and coordinating the Economics Faculty’s International Course. He is a founding member and director of the Japan Association of Law and Language and sits on the editorial and advisory boards of a number of journals, including the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. His research interests include forensic linguistics, legal English, language policy and planning, bilingualism and cross-cultural pragmatics, and in addition to Japan and East Asia he has conducted research and written books and book chapters about East Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He is a frequent and enthusiastic visitor to Malaysia, publishing Motivations for language choice in Malaysian courtrooms with University of Malaya Press in 2008 and Language choice in postcolonial law. Lessons from Malaysia’s bilingual system with Springer in 2020, in addition to several articles and chapters on legal language and multilingualism in the Malaysian context. Before doing a PhD on legal education at the University of Melbourne Richard took a BA in history at Cambridge, an MSc in politics at SOAS, and an MA in linguistics at Macquarie, and he also completed the solicitor’s qualification examinations at the College of Law in London, fueling his enduring interest in cross-disciplinary research and collaboration.

Speaker’s Profile: Prof. Dr. Khairul Anwar Mastor

Khairul Anwar Mastor is a professor in personality assessment & development. Graduated from UKM,  George Washington University & University of New South Wales,  Australia. Research interests in religiosity & personality development. How does religion influence one’s thinking,  feeling and behavior. Recent study on personality & religiosity development among Tahfiz students and the effects of daily prayers & Ramadan fasting on personality development, religious coping behavior facing COVID 19, fasting during Covid-19.

Speaker’s Profile: Assoc. Prof. Dr Zarina Othman

Associate Professor Dr Zarina Othman began her teaching career in 1989, and in 1993 she joined Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). She obtained her Bachelor degree (B.Ed. TESL) in Kent University UK, then obtained her Masters from University of Malaya in 2007, and completed her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Linguistics) in Lancaster University, United Kingdom in 2007. Dr Zarina was appointed the Deputy Director of Language Proficiency at the Center for General Studies, UKM in 2007 till August 2013. In September 2013 – 2018, she was appointed the Head of Latin American Studies (IKAL) at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) UKM.  Currently she is the Deputy Director of Pusat Citra Universiti (Center for Liberal Studies). Her research interests include the study of academic discourse, linguistics sexism, ELT and ESP Teaching and Language and Communication. Her previous researches had involved among others; researches in investigating the linguistics sexism in school textbooks, communicating environmental awareness, investigating the corpus language of the mind sets and experiences of flood victims among and research on the communication framework of Doctor- Patient discourse in promoting professional medical practice. Dr Zarina is currently the Secretary to MAAL Malaysian Association of Applied Linguistics.