ISEAS Perspective 2022

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.


2022/10 “Uncertainty Grows as Anxiety Intensifies among Thailand’s Political Parties” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2022 No. 10

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Political uncertainty in Thailand has intensified with the recent unexplained “expulsion” of 21 MPs from the Phalang Pracharat Party, the largest party in the ruling coalition. Those expelled included Captain Thammanat Prompao, the party’s secretary-general. Thammanat and 17 MPs in his faction will join the Thai Economic Party. They claim they will continue […]


2022/9 “Climate Finance in Southeast Asia: Trends and Opportunities” by Melinda Martinus and Qiu Jiahui


2022 No. 9

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Developed countries were committed to mobilising by 2020 US$100 billion in climate finance annually to assist vulnerable countries. However, the Covid-19 crisis stalled the delivery of the pledge and as of 2019, such climate finance reached only US$ 79.6 billion. For Southeast Asia, a region frequently cited as being one of the most […]


2022/8 “Myanmar’s National Unity Government: A Radical Arrangement to Counteract the Coup” by Moe Thuzar and Htet Myet Min Tun


2022 No. 8

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Myanmar military deposed the National League for Democracy government on 1 February 2021, and by April 2021, it had formed the State Administrative Council (SAC) to run the country. In opposition to this turn of events, democratically elected lawmakers side-lined by the coup quickly formed the National Unity Government (NUG) as an alternative […]


2022/7 “How have Two Years of Pandemic Affected Indonesian Political Life?” by Max Lane


2022 No. 7

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Indonesian political dynamics have not been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. On balance, the government has been perceived as ultimately successful in managing the pandemic. By December 2021, Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths in Indonesia had decreased and stabilised after a major surge in July 2021. By January 2022, 52 per cent […]


2022/6 “Adjusting Towards a Digital Economy: The Critical Role of Labour Mobility” by Jayant Menon


2022 No. 6

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The COVID-19 induced acceleration towards a digital economy may worsen inequalities within and between countries, but it can also be a powerful force for economic inclusion. Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will create new ways for citizens to connect and trade, allow poor countries to leapfrog, improve agricultural incomes, and support […]


2022/5 “Tackling the Challenges of Financial Inclusion and Illegal Lending in Indonesia” by Irni Rahmayani Johan


2022 NO. 5

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Financial inclusion can help poor or disadvantaged groups to improve their standard of living, for example, simply through access to banking services. The Indonesian government aims to achieve a 90% financial inclusion target by 2024. The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected people’s income which has intensified the urgent demand for quick access to […]


2022/4 “Vietnam’s Labour Reforms: Drivers and Implications” by Joe Buckley


2022 No. 4

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Vietnam has a single state-led union federation, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL). However, the 2019 Labour Code legalised worker organisations (WOs) not affiliated to the VGCL. This is the first time the country has allowed any formal freedom of association. WOs are enterprise-level organisations only. They are not unions and are […]


2022/3 ““Reform, Not Abolition”: The “Thai Youth Movement” and Its Demands for Reform of the Monarchy” by Anusorn Unno


2022 No. 3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY While the Thai monarchy is a highly-revered institution, the personal lives of royal family members have long been topics of comment in private settings. This comment was politicised and went public after the 19 September 2006 coup, in which the monarchy was thought to be implicated. Comment on the monarchy is strongest among […]


2022/2 “Malaysia on the Cusp of a New Political Order” by Liew Chin Tong


2022 No. 2

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY[1] The discourse on Malaysia’s political history has been in flux for some time. This paper revisits the series of political, economic and social ideas that have sustained previous eras, which the author terms “political orders”, and explores what is to come. The history of contemporary Malaysia can be split into four such orders: […]


2022/1 ““We are Independent Trolls”: The Efficacy of Royalist Digital Activism in Thailand” by Janjira Sombatpoonsiri


2022 No. 1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Alongside protracted political conflicts offline, Thailand has witnessed information warfare between pro- and anti-establishment forces. This struggle has been asymmetrical in terms of institutional resources and bureaucratic networks. Pro-establishment forces tap into and consolidate the residual infrastructures of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC). Its psychological Information Operations (IOs), which can be traced […]