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 […]

Subplots in Thailand Submarine Setback

Subplots in Thailand Submarine Setback

In June 2015 several announcements suggested that Thailand would acquire three Chinese submarines for 36 billion baht (US$1.03billion). But by mid-July Thailand Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon stated that the proposal would be deferred and subject to further review. While some commentators were quick to surmise that US diplomatic pressure had been applied, it is equally […]

Is Indonesia Trapped in The Middle?

Is Indonesia Trapped in The Middle?

Indonesia became a middle-income country in 2004. Indonesia’s growth rates — while superior to those of most developing countries — remain below those of East Asia’s most dynamic economies. So why hasn’t the country grown faster still and why does growth appear slower in the democratic era than that of Soeharto? Few countries have experienced […]

Myanmar’s Political Destination After The Myanmar Elections Unknown

Myanmar’s Political Destination After The Myanmar Elections Unknown

The second general election since Myanmar began its political transition in 2011 will be held on Sunday 8 November 2015 with some 30 million Myanmar voters — at home and abroad — potentially eligible to vote in one of the largest worldwide, single-stage voting events. But what the election means for Myanmar’s continued democratic transition […]

Malaysia’s mess is Mahathir-made

Malaysia’s mess is Mahathir-made

At least embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is right about one thing. The current mess in Malaysian politics is the making of his greatest nemesis, Mahathir Mohamad, who led the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist from 1981–2003. What Najib fails to fathom is that Mahathir has not produced this mess by criticising […]