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 […]

Preceding US-China trade war may help cushion COVID-19s effect on Asean

• Analysis

Preceding US-China trade war may help cushion COVID-19s effect on Asean

The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy. Measures introduced to deal with it could save lives, but are having wide-ranging economic effects and inducing economic contagion. There are already studies estimating the economic impact of the pandemic, but greater focus is needed on the transmission mechanisms of the economic contagion and in […]

Bold actions needed to revitalise Indonesian economy

• Editorial

Bold actions needed to revitalise Indonesian economy

In the late 1990s the Indonesian economy was in the midst of one of the deepest economic crises in recent global history. The 32-year authoritarian rule of former president Suharto had ended ingloriously, with no political roadmap for succession. There were various ‘Yugoslav’ scenarios of territorial disintegration. There were also ominous ethnic disputes, generating a […]

Hope for a ‘new’ Malaysia derailed by old politics — at least for now

• Editorial

Hope for a ‘new’ Malaysia derailed by old politics — at least for now

Malaysia has experienced a dramatic political transition with conservative political parties returning to government. The new Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) coalition recently used legal means to grab power, making Muhyiddin Yassin the country’s eighth prime minister. The alliance includes the 1MDB scandal-tainted United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). To understand […]

Indonesia’s KPK’s anti-corruption future is grim

• Editorial

Indonesia’s KPK’s anti-corruption future is grim

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is an anomaly in Indonesia’s corrupt institutional environment. As the KPK Law 30/2002 produced one of the world’s most effective anti-corruption agencies, critics and state powerholders had duplicitously argued for the KPK to be reinvented to function as a government-friendly ‘watchdog’ focusing on corruption prevention. In late 2019 these arguments […]

Continuing Vietnam’s anti-graft campaign beyond Nguyen Phu Trong

• Editorial

Continuing Vietnam’s anti-graft campaign beyond Nguyen Phu Trong

A high-profile feature of current Vietnamese politics is the anti-corruption drive led by Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). As the anti-graft campaign enters its fifth year, Trong has announced that 10 more grand corruption cases will be put to trial in 2020. But should Trong step down […]