ISEAS Perspective 2021

ISEAS Perspective provides analysis of specific current events and their significance for the Southeast Asian region. This will be published occasionally, and is aimed at keeping decision-makers in both the public and private sectors informed; as well as scholars, laymen and the interested public. This series undergoes a peer-review process.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/10 “Wang Yi’s Southeast Asia Tour: Significance and Challenges” by Lye Liang Fook


2021 No. 10

China kicked off 2021 by according importance to Southeast Asia and ASEAN with Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s January visit to Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and The Philippines.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/9 “Batam’s 2020 Mayoral Election: Populism, Economic Recovery and Covid – 19” by Ady Muzwardi and Siwage Dharma Negara


2021 No. 9

Batam’s mayoral election on 9 December 2019 was a lopsided contest between a popular incumbent pair, Muhammad Rudi-Amsakar Achmad, and a newcomer pair, Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo-Abdul Basyid Has.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/8 “The Fall of Warisan in Sabah’s Election: Telltale Signs, Causes and Salient Issues” by Arnold Puyok


2021 No. 8

Warisan’s fall from power was mostly due to the party’s inability to address the priority needs of the largely rural Muslim Bumiputera and Kadazandusun voters.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/7 “The South Kalimantan Gubernatorial Election: Oligarchic, Bureaucratic and Dangdut Politics” by Norshahril Saat


2021 No. 7

While an analysis about Pilkada 2020 generally revolves around dynastic politics and identity politics, the South Kalimantan election offers interesting insights into the role of political oligarchy, of bureaucratic partisanship, and of the electoral commission.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/6 “Vietnam’s Role in Regional Peace and Mediation” by Hoang Oanh


2021 No. 6

Vietnam institutionalised in official documents a ‘reconciliation/mediation role’ for its diplomacy even before taking on the 2020 ASEAN chairmanship and the country’s non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/5 “How the 2020 Pilkada Reflected Major Structural Flaws in Indonesian Politics” by Yanuar Nugroho, Yoes C. Kenawas, and Sofie S. Syarief


2021 No. 5

Indonesia's regional elections (Pilkada) was held for 270 regions (municipalities/regencies and provinces) simultaneously on 9 December 2020—with the budget raised by about IDR5.2 trillion (US$370 million) for implementation of health protocols during the elections. Despite wide criticism of the decision to proceed with the elections during the pandemic, high turnouts were achieved, averaging 76%.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/4 “Canals and Land Bridges: Mega-Infrastructure Proposals for Southern Thailand” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2021 No. 4

The idea of a canal across the Isthmus of Kra in Southern Thailand, or the Kra Canal, prevalent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, resurfaced in the late 1990s as the Khlong Thai or “Thai Canal” idea.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/3 “Indonesia’s MUI Today: Truly Moderate or Merely Pragmatic?” by Syafiq Hasyim


2021 No. 3

Despite facing various problems since its establishment in 1975, MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or Indonesian Ulama Council) continues to thrive, and has even extended its influence significantly. The National Congress 2020-2025 has refreshed its leadership and portended changes that would help the organisation’s survival.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/2 “Sino-US Competition in Infrastructure Development: Power Plants in Vietnam” by Le Hong Hiep


2021 No. 2

Vietnam needs to build more power plants to deal with its looming power shortage. Instead of tapping Chinese loans under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it is working with American investors to build a series of power plants using liquified natural gas (LNG) imported from the United States.


ISEAS Perspective 2021/1 “Communist Party of Vietnam Leadership Appointments – The Geography Factor” by Ha Hoang Hop and Lye Liang Fook


2021 No. 1

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) installs its personnel based on criteria such as competence, experience, age limits, gender and geographical origins. The last factor significantly affects the personnel line-up.