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.


2022/56 ““Hit Me Baby One More Time?”—Patriarchalism, Literalism and Androcentrism on the Rise in Malaysia” by Faris Ridzuan and Faizal Musa


2022 No. 56

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Recent controversial comments made by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development and Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) leader, suggesting that husbands could use a gentle but firm physical touch in order to educate recalcitrant wives, set off a furore amongst gender right groups over this apparent condoning […]



2022/55 “It Takes Two to Tango: Vietnam-US Relations in the New Context” by Hong Kong Nguyen and Pham Muoi Nguyen


2022 No. 55

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Shifts in global politics, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, raise questions about the prospects of Vietnam’s cooperative partnership with countries that are imposing anti-Russia sanctions, particularly the United States. Since their diplomatic normalisation in 1995, Vietnam and the US have continuously strengthened their economic ties and deepened cooperation in […]



2022/54 “Analyzing Public Opinion on Moving Indonesia’s Capital: Demographic and Attitudinal Trends” by Burhanuddin Muhtadi


2022 No. 54

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Public support for relocating the Indonesian capital to East Kalimantan is divided. In a national survey conducted in February 2022, 48.5% of respondents support the plan while 44% disagree with it. Although a slight majority of respondents support the new capital city (IKN) initiative, the level of support in 2022 reflects a decrease […]



2022/53 “Uncertainties in Malaysia’s Economic Recovery” by Cassey Lee


2020 No. 53

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The prospects for a more robust economic recovery in Malaysia are being clouded by a number of uncertainties. Bank Negara Malaysia’s minor downward adjustment of a mere 0.2% of Malaysia’s economic growth forecast to 5.3-6.3% seems somewhat optimistic in the light of recent developments. The shift to the endemic phase of Covid-19 will […]



2022/52 “Investment Trends and Industrial Prospects in Indonesia” by Yanuar Fajari and Siwage Dharma Negara


2022 No. 52

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Investment trends in Indonesia in recent years present a mixed picture. Although total investments increased, much of this was driven by a rapid increase in domestic direct investment (DDI) while foreign direct investment (FDI) remained relatively stagnant. The DDI share of total investment rose from 35% in 2015 to 50% in 2021.  In […]



2022/51 “Malaysia’s Bumiputera Development Action 2030: Maintaining Focus, Moderating Ambition” by Lee Hwok Aun


2022 No. 51

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Malaysia’s Bumiputera Development Action 2030 (known by its Malay acronym TPB2030) is a major blueprint. Its genesis can be traced to Pakatan Harapan’s rule; its continuity across changes in Prime Ministers reflects the embeddedness of Bumiputera policies. TPB2030 largely maintains the focus of the Bumiputera Economic Transformation programme, its predecessor, on cultivating dynamic […]



2022/50 “Why Vietnam Might Want to Reconsider its Russia Policy” by Derek Grossman


2022 No. 50

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Russia’s war in Ukraine has put many countries in a tough spot, pitting them between maintaining healthy ties with Moscow and supporting Western punitive measures. One such nation is Vietnam. Despite their close cooperation on military affairs, Vietnam and Russia have been drifting apart for decades. The primary impetus for their cooperation during […]



2022/49 “Asia’s Regional Security Architecture: An Australian Perspective” by Nick Bisley


2022 No. 49

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The regional security architecture established in the 1990s and early 2000s is under considerable challenge in the face of Sino-American rivalry. Some states, Australia amongst them, are exploring new, non-ASEAN-centred ‘minilateral’ means of advancing their security goals in a region which is now viewed more pessimistically than in the past. The Quadrilateral Security […]



2022/48 “Enhancing Regulatory Cooperation for Agricultural Trade in the Greater Mekong Subregion” by Sithanonxay Suvannaphakdy


2022 No. 48

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The intra-regional trade in agricultural products among six countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), namely China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, recorded a robust growth of 10.3 percent per annum before the pandemic and 9.2 percent during the pandemic in 2020. Thailand is the largest exporter, and China is the largest […]



2022/47 “The Russia-Ukraine War and its Potential Impact on Russia’s Arms Sales to Southeast Asia” by Ian Storey


2022 No. 47

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Russia has been the largest exporter of arms to Southeast Asia over the past two decades but since 2014 the value of its defence sales to the region has fallen sharply. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will not only make it difficult for the country’s defence industry to revive sales but will likely lead […]