Time for Vietnam’s next generation of clean leaders to step up

• Editorial

Time for Vietnam’s next generation of clean leaders to step up

Last year marked the mid-point between Vietnam’s five yearly National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). The eighth plenum of the CPV Central Committee met in October to initiate planning for the 13th Congress in 2021. Five  sub-committees charged with drawing up Vietnam’s next socio-economic plan, amending party statutes, and vetting possible candidates […]

Malaysia: retiring senators to open path for speedier reforms

• Editorial

Malaysia: retiring senators to open path for speedier reforms

The pattern of political reform following a regime change is usually predictable: the reformers gain popular support, make changes to the constitution and then use constitutional politics to achieve their ends. But Malaysia’s current period of political change is straying far from this pattern. Instead, Malaysia is proving that peaceful transition and reform may be […]

Malaysia economic reform: bold decisions needed if expectations are to be met

• Editorial

Malaysia economic reform: bold decisions needed if expectations are to be met

The widely unanticipated ousting of Malaysia’s government last May not only left political analysts scrambling for explanations, it also had economists wondering what was in store for the economy. The Najib Razak government had presided over relatively strong growth (5.9 per cent in 2017), low unemployment (around 3.5 per cent) and sound macroeconomic fundamentals. The […]

Mediation helping manage Laos’ legal case backlog problem

Mediation helping manage Laos’ legal case backlog problem

Law courts in many Asian countries are overburdened. A perfect storm of factors including rapid economic growth, urbanisation, industrialisation and the withering away of traditional governance systems has caused the number of criminal and civil cases to soar. Courts are often ill-equipped to cope with the increasing pressure. Perhaps the most commonly cited indicator of this phenomenon […]

Pragmatic & risk-averse: little change expected under Nguyen Phu Trong (video)

• Editorial

Vietnam’s top leadership positions, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the president, are traditionally held by two different people. This separation ceased to exist on October 23, 2018 when the National Assembly (NA) elected General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as president, filling the vacancy created by the sudden death of […]

Putin’s Singapore visit signals continued Russia-Asean interest

• Editorial

Putin’s Singapore visit signals continued Russia-Asean interest

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first-ever state visit to Singapore on November 13, 2018. Coinciding with the 33rd Asean summit, 3rd Asean–Russia summit, 13th East Asia Summit (EAS), and 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Singapore, the visit marks an important step in Russia’s efforts to broaden its pivot to the East. […]

Trade war: Focus turns to Thailand to conclude $7 trln RCEP

• Editorial

Trade war: Focus turns to Thailand to conclude $7 trln RCEP

Six years in the making, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is slated to transform the region into an Asean-centric, comprehensive free trade area,  poised to make a large contribution to Asian and global economic cooperation. The RCEP may well become the second major Asia-led trade agreement in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s […]

Indonesia’s WSMEs: female entrepreneurship without a safety net

• Editorial

Indonesia’s WSMEs: female entrepreneurship without a safety net

Despite the substantial contribution women-led or -owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) make to the Indonesian economy, their aspirations are not effectively facilitated by policymakers. Three areas require greater attention: increasing the accessibility of information, strengthening the institutional capacity of the Creative Economy Agency, and improving government services at the local level. The International Finance […]

Asean currency crisis: region at risk of a ‘currency crisis stroke’

• Editorial

Asean currency crisis: region at risk of a ‘currency crisis stroke’

The rumblings of a currency crisis in emerging markets is only getting louder. Argentina’s Central Bank raised interest rates to 40 per cent to protect its peso in May 2018. When this did little to help, Argentina took out a $50 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Turkey stated in August 2018 that more […]

RIMCHN a success, but Rimpac 2020 could be Beijing’s worst nightmare

• Editorial

RIMCHN a success, but Rimpac 2020 could be Beijing’s worst nightmare

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and navies from 10 Asean member states carried out a field-training exercise in the South China Sea (SCS) between October 22 and 28 2018. The joint naval manoeuvre followed a joint Asean–China table-top exercise in Singapore on August 2. Together these drills mark the inaugural Asean-China maritime exercise […]

Beijing should not ignore rising anti-China sentiment and neither should Hanoi

• Editorial

Beijing should not ignore rising anti-China sentiment and neither should Hanoi

Since mid-June 2018, numerous anti-China protests have been reported in Vietnam. Demonstrations of this kind have not been seen since the widespread anti-China protests in the country in 2008 and 2014. Protesters rallied to express opposition to the draft law on special economic zones (SEZs) that was to be brought before the National Assembly for […]

Maritime security: Time for Asean to reach beyond low hanging fruit

• Editorial

Maritime security: Time for Asean to reach beyond low hanging fruit

During its year as Asean chair Singapore has continued the association’s work in developing measures to help mitigate tensions in the South China Sea. In recent years communications hotlines between respective foreign ministries have been introduced and the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) introduced. CUES is intended to reduce incidents between the navies […]