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.


2022/21 “Malaysia’s Oil and Gas Sector: Constant Expectations despite Diminishing Returns” by Pritish Bhattacharya and Francis E. Hutchinson


2022 No. 21

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Malaysia has long been dependent on the oil and gas (O&G) sector for a range of purposes. Not least, the state relies on income from the sector to provide a substantial proportion of public revenue. However, while expectations of the O&G sector have been constant, possibilities of endlessly tapping this resource to underpin […]



2022/20 “Agriculture in a State of Woe Following Myanmar’s 2021 Military Coup” by Aung Tun


2022 No. 20

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Myanmar’s agriculture sector has faced serious impacts from the February 2021 coup. Input costs have skyrocketed; border trade has been disrupted by fighting and COVID-19; and shipping is no longer reliable, whether for the import of inputs or the export of the country’s commodities. The main government subsidy to the sector, in the […]



2022/19 “The Intractable Challenges Facing Energy Trade in Southeast Asia” by Ryan Wong and Lee Poh Onn


2022 No. 19

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A cross-border power grid offers Southeast Asian countries the potential of greater energy security, affordability and sustainability, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a more efficient network for distributing energy. The benefits of the grid could be fully realised via a robust multilateral energy trade system with harmonised grid codes, ironed-out wheeling […]



2022/18 “Political Instability and Enhanced Monarchy in Malaysia” by Shad Saleem Faruqi


2022 No. 18

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In relation to the power and functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the Federal Monarch) and the nine State Rulers, the Malaysian Constitution is largely fashioned on the British model of a constitutional monarchy but with local adaptations. Save in some enumerated situations in which royal discretion is explicitly conferred, the King is […]



2022/17 “Southeast Asia Holds Mixed Perceptions of the Biden Administration” by Hoang Thi Ha


2020 No. 17

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The State of Southeast Asia 2022 indicates that Southeast Asians have put more trust in the US under the Biden administration but that the level of trust is uneven among different countries. While Southeast Asians positively acknowledge the Biden administration’s efforts to reinvigorate American leadership in global governance, they are more demanding and […]



2022/16 “The Philippines’ China Policy and the 2022 Elections: Time for a Rethink” by Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby


2020 No. 16

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Foreign policy does not feature prominently in Philippine elections. Instead, its relevance as an election issue depends on how it can be connected with the daily material issues faced by voters. There is some credible basis that the 2022 elections will be subject to foreign interference given the intensity of great power competition […]



2022/15 “Examining Climate-Conflict Links in Southeast Asia” by Darren Cheong


2021 No. 15

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY There has been a recent growth in studies dedicated to uncovering links between climate and conflict in Southeast Asia. This article synthesises the findings of 11 rigorous peer-reviewed studies conducted in various Southeast Asian countries to produce insights on the exact mechanisms linking climate and intra-state conflict in the region. Three mechanisms linking […]



2022/14 “Rising Risks from Cross-ownership between Real Estate Developers and Banks in Vietnam” by Tuan Ho, Tuan Huu Nguyen, Trang Thi Ngoc Nguyen, and Tho Ngoc Tran


2022 No. 14

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since 2010, cross-holdings in commercial banks have been considered by Vietnamese policy makers as a critical issue; this practice encourages non-compliance activities by financial institutions, such as the bypassing of credit risk regulations. By 2019, thanks to banking reforms led by the State Bank of Vietnam, this issue had been effectively managed. However, […]



2022/13 “A Roadmap for Consolidating Jokowi’s Legacy” by Yanuar Nugroho and Hui Yew-Foong


2022 No. 13

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY While Jokowi may have entered his second term with little political constraints in formulating his priorities and shaping his legacy, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted his plans significantly. With about two years left in power, Jokowi needs a viable roadmap and rigorous implementation to achieve significant results for his stated priorities – viz. […]



2022/12 “France’s Third Path” for the Indo-Pacific? Credentials and Challenges” by Eric Frécon


2022 No. 12

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Considering itself part of the Indo-Pacific on the grounds of history and overseas territories, France has released its Indo-Pacific strategy to guide its international action in this region. France has substantive diplomatic and military presence in the Indo-Pacific, with its active naval diplomacy and about 8,000 French soldiers permanently deployed in five military […]