ISEAS Perspective 2023

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.


2023/91 “The Challenge of “Halal Lifestyle” and Occupational Preferences in Indonesia” by Iim Halimatusa’diyah and Wahyudi Akmaliah


2023 No. 91

The concept of “halal lifestyle”, which is considered to be aligned with Islamic principles, is highly popular in Indonesia today.


2023/90 “Negeri Sembilan Emerges as PH-BN’s Steadiest Stronghold” by Kevin Zhang and James Chin


2023 No. 90

PH-BN performed the best in Negeri Sembilan among the six states which were up for grabs, even better than Penang and Selangor which are long considered as PH’s bastions.


2023/89 “From Political Islam to Islamic Lifestyles: The Changing Public Face of Islam in Indonesia” by Syafiq Hasyim


2023 No. 89

There is a noticeable change in the position of political Islam in Indonesia’s public sphere, especially since the decline of Islamist organisations in the last decade.


2023/88 “How Far Will PAS Deviate from the Ulama Leadership Model, and Why Does it Matter?” by Azmil Tayeb


2023 No. 88

PAS may accommodate leaders and members with different backgrounds, but the top leadership positions are dominated by those versed in Islamic studies.


2023/87 “Continuity and Change: The Limits of Malaysia’s Green Wave from a Four Arenas Perspective” by Kai Ostwald and Steven Oliver


2023 NO. 87

This analysis adopts a macro-level Four Arenas framework to assess what has, and what has not, changed in Malaysia’s electoral outcomes between 2013 and 2023.


2023/86 “The Dilemma of Political Involvement among Muslim Theologians in Indonesia” by Norshahril Saat and Ahmad Muhajir


2023 No. 86

This article discusses whether the religious elite in Indonesia is tilting towards approving direct political participation. With the election season in Indonesia due in early 2024, identity or pietistic politics is gaining more importance than ever.


2023/85 “Abdul Hadi Awang Enhances His Power as PAS President and Drives the Party to the Far-Right” by James Chai


2023 No. 85

This paper seeks to understand how Abdul Hadi Awang has used his influence since 2015 to restructure the Islamic party, PAS.


2023/84 “Political Polarisation Marked Malaysia’s Recent State Elections” by Pauline Pooi Yin Leong


2023 No. 84

The campaign narratives surrounding Malaysia’s six state elections in August 2023 indicate increasing polarisation between those advocating for a secular multicultural approach and those preferring an ethnoreligious orientation.


2023/83 “Civilian Control of Those Close to the Palace: Making Sense of Thailand’s October 2023 Military and Police Reshuffles” by Paul Chambers


2023 No. 83

Thailand’s annual military and police reshuffles, taking effect on 1 October 2023, have as usual involved political considerations, especially ties with the royal institution, pre-cadet class membership and other factionalisms.


2023/82 “Vietnam Seeks Intimate Ties with Cambodia and Laos” by Nguyen Khac Giang


2023 No. 82

• Cambodia and Laos are considered an integral part of Vietnam’s traditional sphere of influence. Both are “special partners” and priorities in Vietnam’s foreign policy.