It is Malaysia’s worst water crisis ever, surpassing the 1998 water shortage when Klang Valley folk had to suffer six months of rationing. There are only 80 days to the critical stage, and there can only be a reprieve if the state’s two major dams get as much rainfall this month as they usually do in November, one of the wettest months of the year’ – The Star’s front page lead paragraph, 10th April, 2014. Throughout 2013, Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas suffered consecutive ‘spates of critical water cuts and shortages’ (Mak, 2014).
This paper focuses on how an integrated or systemic approach is needed to both investigate and connect different kinds of interdisciplinary inquiry and knowledge within and beyond universities to encourage more productive collaboration with the other three ‘macro stakeholders’ – government, business, and the wider community. In this way universities can and should provide a greater leadership role in sustainability, innovation and policy studies. Such a framework is needed to also help to change the view of many that academics should just play a supporting role of providing specialised technical expertise only to the other macro stakeholders. The interdisciplinary and collaborative framework developed here is applied to the on-going water crisis in Malaysia – an exemplary complex problem-solving basis for seeking sustainable policy solutions to diverse challenges. As further discussed, this was applied also in practice to a multi-stakeholder seminar on addressing the difficult policy challenges of the Malaysian water industry and sector. FULL PAPER HERE