Malaysia’s Troubles Are Just Beginning

Malaysia’s Troubles Are Just Beginning

As it tussles with multiple crises of political legitimacy and governance Malaysia has reached a decisive point in its more than half-century history as an independent nation. What started as a shocking but not exceptional scandal has turned into a political crisis of unprecedented proportions. This was underlined by the Bersih 4 protests on August 29–30  […]

Money Politics To Spoil Simultaneous Indonesia Local Elections

Money Politics To Spoil Simultaneous Indonesia Local Elections

On December 9, Indonesia will have its first simultaneous local executive elections to elect governors, district heads and mayors in 269 localities (out of 537) across Indonesia. While direct election of local executives has been held since 2004, this is the first time these elections will be held simultaneously on a single day. This change […]

The Challenges Of Myanmar’s Extractive Industries

The Challenges Of Myanmar’s Extractive Industries

Following five decades of rule by socialist and military governments under which the country became one of the least developed countries in the world, a new chapter of Myanmar’s engagement with the international community was opened in March 2011. While the previous regime denied that poverty existed in Myanmar the new government acknowledged the problem […]

Minorities forgotten as Vietnam–US ties improve

Minorities forgotten as Vietnam–US ties improve

Twenty years after the post–war normalisation of Vietnam–US ties, the two nations are increasingly close. This process has sped up with China’s moves in the South China Sea since 2014, although a number of issues still hold the relationship back: Vietnam wants the embargo on weapons sales gone and the United States wants to see […]

Was This Singapore’s Final Authoritarian Election?

Was This Singapore’s Final Authoritarian Election?

Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) is riding high in the saddle again. After a decade of slightly sagging fortunes in which the long-ruling party’s share of the national vote slumped from over 75 per cent in 2001 to barely 60 per cent in 2011, the PAP rebounded mightily in the 2015 Singapore General Election on […]

Jokowi Takes First Shot at Reforming Indonesia’s Economy

Jokowi Takes First Shot at Reforming Indonesia’s Economy

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has announced a comprehensive package of reforms aimed at reducing inflation and stabilising the exchange rate, stimulating demand through ‘deregulation’ and direct support, with a special focus on creating more jobs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and across urban and rural communities. The reforms will come into effect tomorrow, […]

2015 Singapore Election: A Tipping Point For The PAP

2015 Singapore Election: A Tipping Point For The PAP

Today’s 2015 Singapore general election will be the most widely contested since independence. Eight opposition parties and a handful of independents will vie for 89 parliamentary seats in the 2015 Singapore election. A tactical question hangs over many of the 2.46 million eligible voters as they go to the polls: do they reward the ruling […]

Government Safe, But Singapore General Election May Hurt Lee

Government Safe, But Singapore General Election May Hurt Lee

As Singaporeans prepare to go to the polls in the 17th Singapore general election on September 11 2015 the contending parties appear to be heading for a showdown over the time-frame by which the government should be judged. The government wants voters to judge it based on its record over 50 years or more; the […]

Is The TPP Heading For The Spaghetti Bowl?

Is The TPP Heading For The Spaghetti Bowl?

Ever since Jagdish Bhagwati coined the phrase ‘spaghetti bowl’ to describe the maze of overlapping preferential trade arrangements (PTAs), trade economists have been split over whether such deals are ‘building blocks’ or ‘stumbling blocks’ for the multilateral trading system. PTA proponents point to the complementary of most favoured nation (MFN) and PTA tariff cutting during […]

An Unsteady Balance of Power Likely in Myanmar Elections

An Unsteady Balance of Power Likely in Myanmar Elections

Much uncertainty surrounds the lead up to and conduct of Myanmar’s upcoming legislative elections. The recent voting down of constitutional amendments in parliament — almost certainly (and solely) by the bloc of appointed, non-elected military parliamentarians — erodes to a certain extent the legitimacy of the electoral process. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces) retain their […]

Middle Income Countries Need to Learn How to Learn

Middle Income Countries Need to Learn How to Learn

Investment in human capital through education, partly by the government, is almost universally thought to be a precondition for sustainable growth. For Asian countries that can no longer rely on factor accumulation to underpin their continued economic development, improving the quality of national education systems has become of paramount importance. The historical experience of the […]

How Restrictive are Asean’s Rules of Origin?

How Restrictive are Asean’s Rules of Origin?

Asia accounts for more than 50 per cent of the world’s automobile production, 62 per cent of liquid display screen, 86 per cent of smart phones and 100 per cent of digital cameras. Much of this production is based on production networks: that is, value chains that criss-cross the region, with the various stages of […]