ISEAS Perspective 2023

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.


2023/5 “Indonesia’s ‘Social Opposition’ Remains Weak but Hopeful” by Max Lane


2023 No. 5

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Over a period of 40 years, NGOs and other activist organisations have emerged as social opposition to a political establishment largely embodied in parliamentary political parties. This social opposition, often still referred to as “civil society”, has developed around opposition to policies in different sectors. This has created the impression that such opposition […]



2023/4 “What to Expect from the Vietnam–South Korea Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” by Huynh Tam Sang


2023 No. 4

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Strengthened mutual trust, growing people-to-people ties, and robust economic cooperation are principal assets guiding Vietnam – South Korea relations today. While bilateral economic cooperation has achieved significant milestones, defence ties remain relatively modest. Vietnam and South Korea have the leverage to strengthen ties further thanks to the comprehensive strategic partnership inked in December […]



2023/3 “The ‘Future-Ready Youth’ of Brunei Darussalam: Meeting National Aspirations through Digital Civic Engagement” by Siti Mazidah Mohamad


2023 No. 3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since the 1960s, the youth in Brunei Darussalam has been regarded as significant stakeholders in the country’s national development. In recent years, they have been lauded as “agents of change” and “future-ready”; the “future-ready youth” narrative anchors Brunei’s national aspirations and development under the Wawasan 2035 (Brunei Vision 2035). This article examines the […]



2023/2 “Will Perikatan Nasional’s Electoral Dominance in Kedah Persist in the Upcoming State Election?” by Azmil Tayeb


2023 No. 2

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The recently concluded 15th General Election in Malaysia saw a better-than-expected performance for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, which managed to win 74 seats, making it the second strongest after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) which gained 81 seats. PN’s strong performance came at the expense of Barisan Nasional (BN), especially UMNO, particularly in […]



2023/1 “Dangerous Unintended Consequences Loom in the Wake of Thailand’s Hasty Legalisation of Marijuana” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2023 No. 1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Thailand has hastily ventured into the legalisation of marijuana and hemp without first putting in place necessary control measures. The push to legalise the two cannabis plants was led by the Bhumjaithai Party, whose leader is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul. Legal ambiguities have led to confusion and […]