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.


2022/90 ““Tell China’s Story Well”: Chinese Embassies’ Media Outreach in Southeast Asian Media” by Wang Zheng


2022 No. 90

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since President Xi Jinping assumed office in 2012, China has attached great importance to Chinese discourse power in its foreign policy agenda. In Southeast Asia, China views engagements with local media as a crucial conduit for disseminating its official narratives. This article examines how Chinese embassies in Southeast Asia utilise local media to […]


2022/89 “Sustainability Collaborations between Businesses: Proposing a Roadmap for Cooperation between ASEAN Competition Authorities” by May Loh and Poh Lip Hang


2022 No. 89

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Abiding by competition laws could pose a challenge to business collaborations designed to meet environmental sustainability targets. Surveys of companies show that a majority choose not to pursue sustainability-related collaboration with other companies due to competition law compliance risk. Collaboration between competition authorities is crucial for the achievement of sustainability outcomes across territories. […]


2022/88 “Chinese ‘Debt Traps’ in Southeast Asia: What the Data Say” by Darren Cheong


2022 No. 88

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Utilising novel data on China’s overseas development finance, this article examines whether a Chinese “debt trap” strategy exists in Southeast Asia. China’s development loans in the region are mainly debt-financed, rather than aid-financed, which carry substantially higher interest rates than those of benchmark institutions such as the World Bank, and generate higher returns […]


2022/87 “Can ASEAN and India Share a Common Outlook and Approach in the Indo-Pacific?” by Joanne Lin


2022 No. 87

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Over the past three years, ASEAN and India, as strategic partners, have been finding ways to align their outlook and strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific. As such, identifying common approaches and strategic alignment between the two can help elevate the relations to a higher level. ASEAN’s approach to the Indo-Pacific through the ASEAN […]


2022/86 “The State of Southeast Asia’s Green Recovery Post Covid-19” by Melinda Martinus and Sharon Seah


2022 No. 86

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ASEAN countries are eager to make a quick economic recovery to make up for lost time. It is timely therefore to evaluate their planned trajectories for a green transformation as some actions taken presently could inadvertently lock in their future decisions. ASEAN countries (minus Brunei and Laos) launched a total of US$472.95 billion […]


2022/85 “Peddling Secrecy in a Climate of Distrust: Buzzers, Rumours and Implications for Indonesia’s 2024 Elections” by Yatun Sastramidjaja, Pradipa P. Rasidi, and Gita N. Elsitra


2022 No. 85

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In Indonesia, public debates on political issues are increasingly influenced by “buzzers” or anonymous social media influencers. Undoubtedly serving as their patrons’ cyber-army, buzzers portray themselves as information brokers, claiming to serve the public interest by purportedly revealing secrets gained through their privileged access to political players behind the scenes.   The strong appeal […]


2022/84 “The Undetermined Costs and Benefits of Cambodia’s Engagement with China’s Belt and Road Initiative” by Chanrith Ngin


2022 No. 84

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Cambodia is perceived as a ‘client state’ of China due to its dependence on Chinese aid and investment, particularly within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Lack of agency and debt default are potential pitfalls that Cambodia is perceived to have. Cambodia does have agency to manage BRI projects in that it can […]


2022/83 “Thailand Approaches an Historic Turning Point Amid Political Uncertainties” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2022 No. 83

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Thai Constitutional Court will soon be requested to make a historic ruling on when Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s premiership will reach the limit of eight years specified under the 2017 Constitution. There are three possible outcomes. One possible outcome is that the court decides that General Prayut shall reach the limit […]


2022/82 “New Battle Lines Appear in the Wake of Malaysia’s Historic Enfranchisement Bill” by James Chai


2022 No. 82

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Constitutional Amendment Act 2019 (“CA2019”) was passed by a unanimous vote in the Malaysian parliament. Every political party assumed they had a political advantage by expanding the nationwide voter base from 15.22 million to 21.02 million. In fact, CA2019 has different effects in different parts of the country. To illustrate the impact […]


2022/81 “The Roots of Cambodia’s Actions against Illegal Vietnamese Immigrants” by Jing Jing Luo and Kheang Un


2022 No. 81

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since 2015, the Cambodian government has been addressing the politically and diplomatically sensitive issue of illegal Vietnamese immigrants through methods such as documentation, deportation, eviction, relocation and registration. These actions are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s response to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party’s successful politicisation of anti-Vietnamese sentiments among Cambodian voters. The […]