Building Indonesia’s new capital: good governance key to success (video)

• Contributed content • editorial

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s announcement last August that a new capital will be built in East Kalimantan has been widely met with scepticism. While warranted, some of the project’s potential upsides are being overlooked by both outsiders and the government. Given the threat climate change poses to keeping Jakarta’s head above water, the case for building a […]

Economic fallout to challenge Cambodia’s COVID-19 success

• Contributed content

Economic fallout to challenge Cambodia’s COVID-19 success

Unlike Europe, North America and recently Brazil, Mexico, and India, Southeast Asia does not seem to have been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of total deaths and confirmed cases. Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia are the worst affected countries in the region, while Vietnam, Cambodia and previously Singapore, have managed to […]

Why the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is such a big deal

• Contributed content • analysis

Why the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is such a big deal

In February, the European Parliament adopted the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). This is the most comprehensive and ambitious EU trade agreement with a developing country to date, the result of bilateral negotiations between the two following a failed attempt to negotiate a broader EU–Asean trade agreement. The EVFTA will be Vietnam’s next big step […]

Diversifying Myanmar’s economy should be a priority for the next government

• Contributed content • analysis

Diversifying Myanmar’s economy should be a priority for the next government

When Myanmar’s military regime began opening up the country politically and economically in 2010, one motive was to alleviate the country’s overreliance on China. Ten years down the road, in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the threat of new Western sanctions triggered by human rights violations (HRV) against the Muslim […]

PPE tariff reform key to battling COVID-19 in Asean

• Contributed content • Editorial

PPE tariff reform key to battling COVID-19 in Asean

The Special Asean Summit (SAS) on April 14 emphasised the need for a collective response to COVID-19 that involves keeping the regional bloc’s markets open to trade. As Asean member states deploy all possible instruments to combat the pandemic, trade can serve as a powerful, low-cost tool to improve access to the personal protective equipment […]

Scepticism, trust, and the problem with Singapore’s TraceTogether COVID-19 app (video)

• Contributed material • Editorial

The Singapore government won international acclaim for its deft handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the early months. The country was praised for its ability to activate an efficient contact tracing system to track down possible cases and implement strict quarantine measures to reduce community infection. The initial low rate of infection, coupled with the […]

No law sees Indonesia’s extremist charities offering terrorists more

• Contributed content • Editorial

No law sees Indonesia’s extremist charities offering terrorists more

More than 1,100 suspected terrorists have been arrested in Indonesia since 2015, with more killed in counter-terrorism operations or during attacks. As of 2018 there was 432 terrorist inmates housed across 117 prisons, with hundreds of others undergoing or awaiting trial. However, while the Indonesian government is successfully enforcing its anti-terrorism law, the proliferation of extremist charities […]

Key challenges to Myanmar’s development and governance remain

• Contributed content

Key challenges to Myanmar’s development and governance remain

Myanmar’s efforts to reverse a legacy of isolation began with the quasi-civilian government (QCG) led by former president U Thein Sein. From 2011–2015, his government undertook a series of political, economic and social reforms that built the foundation for future democratic development (FDD). Key reform initiatives under his administration included renewed engagement with ethnic armed […]

Communications and transparency key to Indonesia’s COVID-19 response

• Contributed content • Editorial

Communications and transparency key to Indonesia’s COVID-19 response

In mid-February, Indonesia’s Health Minister, Terawan Agus Putranto pointed to divine intervention when explaining that no cases of COVID-19 had been identified in Indonesia. Despite his advice for continued prayer the first case was confirmed on March 1. During the following weeks many more cases were confirmed. As of March 30, the total stood at […]

Equalising Thailand’s water management requires grassroots inclusion

• Contributed content • Editorial

Equalising Thailand’s water management requires grassroots inclusion

Shortages of water are a huge problem for Thailand. The government’s attempts to promote industrial investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) — Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao — has caused water demand in the region to rise drastically. This has diverted water away from farmers and local people creating an increasingly unfair distribution of water […]

Repairing the US–Asean relationship requires commitment and time

• Contributed content

Repairing the US–Asean relationship requires commitment and time

The relationship between the United States and Asean in 2015 rested on two things. The first was a coherent set of strategic, economic and political policies. The second was a concerted and public effort from the United States to demonstrate that Asean was an important partner in the region. US respect for Asean centrality came […]

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