Fishing militia to spearhead Vietnam’s response to China in South China Sea (video)

• Editorial

China has long been infamous for incorporating maritime militias into its fishing industry to assert its sovereignty claims. With the world’s largest fishing fleet, comprising 370,000 non-powered and 762,000 motor-powered vessels, China has the capacity and resources to push more of its fishermen to the front line of maritime disputes. Recent years have witnessed an […]

Has the PSI already been eaten by Indonesia’s predatory politics?

• Editorial

Has the PSI already been eaten by Indonesia’s predatory politics?

The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), a new participant in Indonesia’s electoral landscape set to contest the 2019 national election, is grabbing the attention of Indonesian political watchers. Labelled the ‘millennials’ party’, PSI sees itself as the most promising political vehicle for young people in Indonesia. Its cadres are youths purportedly dissociated from old interest groups. […]

Malaysia #GE14: Najib’s fall about being truly ‘Malaysian’ *updated

• Editorial

Malaysia #GE14: Najib’s fall about being truly ‘Malaysian’ *updated

The stunning victory of Malaysia’s opposition on May 9, 2018 in the country’s 14th general election and the equally impressive peaceful turnover of power — as the federal government changed hands for the first time in the country’s 60-year history — has put Malaysia in the international spotlight. Bucking the global trend of authoritarianism, millions […]

Increased military spending does not portend an Asean arms race

Increased military spending does not portend an Asean arms race

Southeast Asian countries’ historically high defence budgets are the sum of various national considerations: financial self-sufficiency, territorial control, expansion of capabilities, peacetime missions and the development of the local defence industry. The threat of China plays a limited role. Several Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, the Philippines, and Vietnam depended heavily on extra-regional powers […]

A fragile new ‘normal’ descends on South China Sea claimants

• Editorial

A fragile new ‘normal’ descends on South China Sea claimants

The United States and China have apparently reached a tacit agreement to disagree and maintain a leaky status quo in the South China Sea. Not coincidentally, relations on this issue between Asean claimants and between Asean and China are more or less at the same place. In this new ‘normal’ the United States will continue its […]

Disenfranchised & Discouraged: Malaysian Youth Shun Politics

Disenfranchised & Discouraged: Malaysian Youth Shun Politics

Observing the Parliament of Malaysia or indeed any of Malaysia’s 13 state legislative assemblies and it is noticeable that the corridors of power are packed with the elderly. There are no elected politicians between the ages of 15 to 24 in the country, and more than 70 per cent of parliamentarians are above the age of 50. This is […]

Time Running Out For US to Firm Philippines Relationship (video)

• Editorial

Time Running Out For US to Firm Philippines Relationship (video)

In spite of the United States’ renewed focus on great power competition in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), the war against terrorism will remain salient to US strategy. In few places is this clearer than in the Philippines. The United States’ ongoing efforts to bolster its military aid under the remit of counter-terrorism cooperation reflects Washington’s desire […]

Continuity Behind Strengthening Singapore-Malaysia Ties

• Editorial

Continuity Behind Strengthening Singapore-Malaysia Ties

The eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat held in Singapore on January 14 and 15 2018 witnessed a milestone in bilateral ties. Leaders of both countries signed an agreement to build a rapid transit system linking Johor Bahru and Singapore, and officially launched the Marina One and Duo joint developments. But new challenges threaten to test relations […]

Vietnam’s Data Localisation Push To Hurt Economy, Deliver Few Benefits

• Editorial

Vietnam’s Data Localisation Push To Hurt Economy, Deliver Few Benefits

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) thinks that it is killing two birds with one stone by passing new laws regulating data storage. But it could soon find out it has no use for two dead birds while the stone flies off and damages the economy. In June 2017, the MoPS proposed a draft cybersecurity […]

Indonesia military shuffling sees Jokowi’s man heading for top job

Indonesia military shuffling sees Jokowi’s man heading for top job

The leadership of the Indonesian military is in flux. In the last three months of 2017, then commander General Gatot Nurmantyo executed two reshuffles of senior officers: one on October 27 and the other on December 4. Four days later on December 8, General Nurmantyo handed over command of the military to Air Chief Marshal […]

Chinese Aid Building Indonesia, But at What Cost?

* Editorial

Chinese Aid Building Indonesia, But at What Cost?

When Australia reduced its foreign aid to Indonesia by 40 per cent in 2015, Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry responded that ‘Indonesia… is no longer a country that needs aid for development’. At face value, this seems to be the case. Data released by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in October 2017 shows that net foreign […]

Vietnam Economy: Robust 2017 Growth, International Challenges Ahead

• Editorial

Vietnam Economy: Robust 2017 Growth, International Challenges Ahead

Things got off to a bad start for the Vietnam economy in 2017 with the shock withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Subsequent uncertainties about Canada’s participation in a potential TPP-11 agreement that excludes the United States were a further disappointment. Other more positive economic indicators have offset this initial set-back. […]