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.


2022/66 “Situating the Role Schools Have Played in the Mindanao Conflict” by Jonamari Kristin Floresta


2022 No. 66

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Over the years, formal education has influenced the development of radical views among insurgency leaders in Mindanao. Along with the desire for protection, schools can reinforce radicalism among young people in Mindanao by perpetrating structural violence and through certain micro interactions in schools. Developing understanding attitudes towards people with different beliefs in schools […]



2022/65 “The International Community Needs to Prepare for a Post-Tatmadaw Myanmar” by Anders Kirstein Moeller


2022 No. 65

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Myanmar’s Tatmadaw is facing its largest challenge in over six decades, and there is a small but increasing likelihood that they will lose their grip on power. The Tatmadaw’s combat forces of around 100,000 are stretched thin, facing a vast array of armed resistance groups and engaging in unfamiliar cellularized warfare. Although the […]



2022/64 “Nahdlatul Ulama’s Muktamar 2021 and its Implications: Some Field Observations” by Syafiq Hasyim and Hui Yew-Foong


2022 No. 64

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, and its 34th Muktamar (5-yearly Congress), which elects its leadership and determines its position on pertinent socio-religious issues, held in December 2021, inevitably bears wide-ranging implications for the country. Both the key contenders for NU’s top leadership position, Said Aqil Siradj (incumbent) and […]



2022/63 “The Paradox of Malaysia’s Lowering of Voting Age – Expanded Enfranchisement Devalued by More Unequal Representation” by James Chai


2022 No. 63

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 (“CA2019”), gazetted into law on 10 September 2019, lowered the voting age to 18 years, allowed for younger electoral candidates and introduced automatic voter registration for adults aged 18 and above. The lowering of the voting age added 5.8 million new voters, thereby enlarging the electorate to 21.02 […]



2022/62 “The Shi’as and Freedom of Religion under Joko Widodo’s Presidency” by A’an Suryana


2022 No. 62

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In Indonesia, the Shi’a community’s freedom to practise their religious rights deserves scrutiny, due to longstanding tensions between followers of the majority Sunni sect and the minority Shi’as. The number of Shi’a followers has grown considerably since the Iranian revolution in 1979, and Shi’a foundations, organisations and educational institutions have also increased. Under […]



2022/61 “Weaponizing Ho Chi Minh in Vietnamese Discourse on the War in Ukraine” by Olga Dror


2022 No. 61

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Vietnamese government has appeared sympathetic to Moscow, unwilling to denounce its aggression. Facing criticism from some quarters of the public, Vietnam’s propaganda machine has used social media channels to justify the government’s position. Mắt Thần (Divine Eye), a state-linked Facebook page, has mobilized pro-Russia and anti-Ukraine sentiments by […]



2022/60 “The Endangered Malaysian Artisanal Fisherman: Battered by Climate Change and Covid-19” by Serina Rahman


2022 No. 60

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Malaysia’s artisanal fishermen are beginning to suffer the impacts of climate change, which include more frequent extreme weather, changes in fish species availability and behaviour, and rising sea-levels. These climate change impacts come on top of harmful effects arising from coastal development, reclamation, transboundary pollution and run-off from land, which damage marine habitats […]



2022/59 “Foreign Policy & Disinformation Narratives in the 2022 Philippine Election Campaign” by Aries A. Arugay


2022 No. 59

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY President Rodrigo Duterte is leaving with a mixed record of foreign policy accomplishments where he attempted to shift the focus of the country’s foreign relations away from Western countries despite the lack of solid support from the public and the bureaucracy. While domestic issues dominated the 2022 presidential elections, one foreign policy issue […]



2022/58 “The G20: The Last Defence of Multilateralism?” by Maria Monica Wihardja and Suryaputra Wijaksana


2022 No. 58

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The G20 Summit was created to garner political support and commitment to coordinate monetary and fiscal policies, address global economic challenges, and deliver global public goods, which are goods whose benefits affect all citizens of the world. But, the G20 Summit has shown signs of withering partly because it has traded off its […]



2022/57 “Assessing the Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021-2022)” by Wang Zheng


2022 No. 57

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The year 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and the elevation of ASEAN-China ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Economic ties between China and ASEAN have grown stronger despite continuous disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic and growing tensions in the South China Sea. Data analysis from an original dataset tracking major […]