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.


2022/18 “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 […]



2022/11 “The Biden Administration and Southeast Asia: One Year in Review” by Hoang Thi Ha and Ian Storey


2022 No. 11

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Biden administration’s engagement with Southeast Asia in 2021 was slow to start but picked up momentum in the second half of the year with a series of high-level meetings and visits to the region by senior US officials. President Biden did not call or hold formal in-person meetings with any Southeast Asian […]



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 […]