Malaysia Must Act Firmly Over Kim Jong-nam Assassination

Malaysia Must Act Firmly Over Kim Jong-nam Assassination

The murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged eldest brother of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) should come as no surprise to those familiar with the violent ways of the Kim regime. CCTV footage shows two women wiping a cloth containing the deadly VX nerve agent – classified as a […]

Why the RCEP is The Only Game in Town For Asean Following TPP Trumping

Why the RCEP is The Only Game in Town For Asean Following TPP Trumping

US President Donald Trump’s executive order to withdraw the United States from the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the Asia Pacific is a strategic turning point in the open economic order. It is a blow to furthering reform for some members, a lost opportunity for the United States to write the rules of international […]

2016: The Year the Malaysian Economy ‘Crumbled’

2016: The Year the Malaysian Economy ‘Crumbled’

Last year was rather eventful for the Malaysian economy. Malaysia’s GDP growth rate — the one big indicator of macroeconomic health — has crumbled. From a past average of 5 per cent in real GDP growth, 2016 is likely to see something like 4.2 per cent. What is of more concern is that growth in […]

Vietnam SOEs: Structural Reforms Still in Doubt

Vietnam SOEs: Structural Reforms Still in Doubt

Vietnam’s economy has shown resilience in the face of global headwinds. In 2016 Vietnam GDP growth was an estimated 6.2 per cent — higher than the larger Asean economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. This growth has been bolstered mainly by robust domestic demand and strong performance in manufacturing exports. Yet the economic outlook is […]

Sino–Myanmar Relations Remain Warm Under Suu Kyi

Sino–Myanmar Relations Remain Warm Under Suu Kyi

On November 8, 2015, the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) party won the general election in an overwhelming victory, putting an end to decades of military rule. Myanmar’s democratic progress was welcomed and praised by Western countries and global society alike. After the NLD formed government there was no doubt that […]

Myanmar Risks Daesh Terrorism Wrath With Continuing Rohingya Abuse

Myanmar Risks Daesh Terrorism Wrath With Continuing Rohingya Abuse

On October 9, 2016, 200 armed attackers from the Aqa Mul Mujahidin — an organisation with links to the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) — carried out a surprise attack on Myanmar police at the Maungdaw border, killing nine police officers. The attackers were from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine (Arakan) State. They seized weapons, ammunition, bayonets, and […]

Circling The Wagons: Will Najib’s Bolstered Arsenal of Legislation Be Enough?

Circling The Wagons: Will Najib’s Bolstered Arsenal of Legislation Be Enough?

The year 2016 ended with Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak still firmly entrenched, despite two years of scandal, scrutiny and speculation over funds missing from state development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), including US$800 million that is believed to have passed through his personal accounts. Mr Razak quickly shut down Malaysian investigations into 1MDB in […]

Tight Grip & Diversification Needed for Laos Economy in Uncertain Times

Tight Grip & Diversification Needed for Laos Economy in Uncertain Times

With a gross domestic product (GDP) averaging 7 per cent since 2000, the Laos economy is among the fastest growing in Asean. Despite this, in recent years the Laos economy has trended downwards. Amid global economic uncertainty, it remains to be seen how Laos will manage its macroeconomic policies and export diversification strategy. The Laos […]

Indonesia’s Economy Threatened by Fiscal Sustainability

Indonesia’s Economy Threatened by Fiscal Sustainability

Despite major domestic and external challenges Indonesia’s economy is expected to grow at around 5 per cent again this year — much like last year — and only slightly below the official estimate of 5.3 per cent. However, it will come in much lower than the 7 per cent the new government had targeted. Compared […]

Singapore Economy to Face Strong Challenges in 2017

Singapore Economy to Face Strong Challenges in 2017

The Singaporean economy is slowing much faster than anticipated. The latest forecast by the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore (MTI) projects 2016 Singapore GDP growth at 1.0-1.5 per cent — the slowest since the 2009 fallout from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This time around the contributory factors are external and domestic, as well […]

TPP’s Demise Sends Malaysia in Search of a New Trade Agenda

TPP’s Demise Sends Malaysia in Search of a New Trade Agenda

Malaysia’s trade with the United States has been in decline. But with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement dead in the water, what’s next for Malaysia’s trade agenda? If there is a flicker of hope for the TPP it comes from the talks that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had with President-elect Donald Trump during the […]

More harmony needed in Asean food standards

More harmony needed in Asean food standards

The food sector has the potential to benefit greatly in the new Asean Economic Community (AEC). But because food products attract higher levels of regulation, which often varies between member countries, a significant number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) remain. Such regulatory heterogeneity creates challenges for increasing food trade, harmonising standards, and ultimately creating an integrated […]

The Importance of Reining in Myanmar GADs Section 144 Powers

The Importance of Reining in Myanmar GADs Section 144 Powers

In October serious concerns began being raised about the situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State after reports surfaced that nine police officers had been killed in the region. But the state’s precarious situation continues to be shrouded in mystery. Speculation over the motives of the perpetrators and unsubstantiated claims that it may be linked to […]

PAP And Singapore’s Contracting Political Space

PAP And Singapore’s Contracting Political Space

Before and since the September 2015 Singapore general election, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been introducing political reforms in response to Singapore’s increasingly questioning populace. But the striking theme of these changes is not resignation to looser controls over political engagement in the city-state but resolve to contain the boundaries of that engagement. […]

Mahathir And Anwar: Unlikely Bedfellows Reunite For BN/ Najib Battle

Mahathir And Anwar: Unlikely Bedfellows Reunite For BN/ Najib Battle

On Monday September 5,  former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad did the unthinkable. He turned up at the High Court for Anwar Ibrahim’s filing of an interim injunction to stop the enforcement of the newly-passed National Security Council (NSC) Act. Mahathir shook hands with his former ally turned nemesis and both exchanged pleasantries. He wished […]

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