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 […]

The Global Financial System And The 1MDB Scandal

The Global Financial System And The 1MDB Scandal

Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal reached a crescendo in July. The US Attorney General claimed that more than US$3.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was ‘allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates’ between 2009 and 2015. The case is officially closed in Malaysia, but Prime Minister Najib Razak’s difficulties remain. In 2015, […]

Poisoned chalice: why no one is rushing to embrace the PCA South China Sea ruling

Poisoned chalice: why no one is rushing to embrace the PCA South China Sea ruling

Analyses of state responses to the South China Sea arbitral award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) often frame the issue as a binary choice between a rules-based or power-based approach to international relations. But states are unlikely to view the matter this way, because international law is not autonomous from politics. As observed […]

Skilful Lao Leadership Boosts Asean Unity on South China Sea

Skilful Lao Leadership Boosts Asean Unity on South China Sea

Clouded by controversy even before it began, the recently concluded 49th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in Vientiane, Lao PDR was conspicuous for two things: who was and was not present; and, perhaps more importantly, what was and was not discussed. While Malaysia’s foreign minister, Anifah Aman – who had been expected at the AMM […]

Extrajudicial Killings Put Philippines Rule of Law at Risk

Extrajudicial Killings Put Philippines Rule of Law at Risk

Since his inauguration on June 30, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been true to his campaign pledge of cracking down on drugs. He has ignored objections from within the Philippines and abroad about extrajudicial killings of supposed drug pushers and users by police and unknown assailants, which have already amounted to over a 1,700 deaths. […]

Indonesia’s Overly Ambitious Tax Target

Indonesia’s Overly Ambitious Tax Target

Once again Indonesia President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has reshuffled his cabinet. One pleasant surprise is the return of Ms Mulyani Indrawati, who until recently was managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank. She accepted the offer to serve as the Minister of Finance, replacing Bambang Brodjonegoro who now leads the Ministry of […]

Vietnam’s Higher Education Reforms Target 10,000 PhDs in Six Years

Vietnam’s Higher Education Reforms Target 10,000 PhDs in Six Years

Vietnam has announced a bold new higher education reform agenda. The government of Vietnam will offer up to 10,000 government scholarships for overseas doctoral study between 2014 and 2020 (or 1,300–1,500 per year) to tertiary and research institute staff. The so-called 911 Project will also offer scholarships to qualified non-academic professionals committed to tertiary teaching […]

Why Najib Razak is a Political Dead Man Walking

Why Najib Razak is a Political Dead Man Walking

Last month the US Department of Justice (US-DoJ) announced that it was taking action to seek ‘the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets’ related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). This action will likely start the process that will eventually lead to the removal of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s sixth prime minister. According […]

1MDB Highlights Need For Institutional Reform of State’s Role in Business

1MDB Highlights Need For Institutional Reform of State’s Role in Business

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal in Malaysia which has recently become the subject of a high-profile lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice’s asset recovery initiative highlights the problems with state-ownership in the Malaysian economy. To prevent such scandals from recurring in the future Malaysia must define the role of the government in […]

Myanmar’s Energy Sector Lacking Security

Myanmar’s Energy Sector Lacking Security

Myanmar is on track to be a major player in Asia’s energy security. It has an abundance of untapped resources, a geographic location strategically sandwiched between two economic giants (China and India) and has recently opened itself to world markets. Yet the nation faces internal and external challenges in developing a competitive Myanmar energy sector. […]

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