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.


2023/61 “Malaysia’s 2023 Elections: A Coming Clash of Coalitions in Selangor” by Khairy Jamaluddin


2023 No. 61

The upcoming state elections in Malaysia represent a referendum on the first eight months of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘Unity Government’.


2023/60 “Flexing Censorship Muscles and Leveraging Public Sentiments: How The Vietnamese State Scrambles to Sanitise Its Image Online” by Dien Nguyen An Luong


2023 No. 60

Netflix recently found itself having to entertain requests to censor three shows after Vietnamese authorities deemed their content unacceptable and “hurting the feelings of the people.”


2023/59 “From the Fringes of Defeat: How UMNO President Zahid Hamidi Transformed His Vulnerability into Invincibility” by James Chai


2023 No. 59

Regarded as a shrewd political operator, Zahid Hamidi’s ability to ‘snatch victory from the fringes of defeat’ is remarkable.


2023/58 “Governing the Digital Economy in Thailand: Domestic Regulations and International Agreements” by Antonio Postigo


2023 No. 58

Thailand is among the ASEAN countries that have seen the most rapid growth in digital infrastructure and e-commerce since the COVID-19 pandemic.


2023/57 “Indonesia’s Appointed Leaders and the Future of Regional Elections” by Ian Wilson


2023 No. 57

By the end of 2023, there will be 271 interim regional heads who are appointed rather than elected, accounting for more than half of the regional leadership posts throughout Indonesia.


2023/56 “Backing Startups and Believing in Unicorns: Policy Implications and Challenges for Malaysia” by Tham Siew Yean


2023 No. 56

The Malaysian government’s aspirations to nurture startups and unicorns can be traced back to the establishment of its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1996.


2023/55 “Changing Perceptions in Laos Toward China” by Joanne Lin


2023 No. 55

The State of Southeast Asia 2023 Survey Report has indicated that China’s influence in Laos may be significant, but it is, in fact, slowly waning.


2023/54 “Singapore – Malaysia Economic Ties: Recovering from COVID-19” by Pritish Bhattacharya and Francis E. Hutchinson


2023 No. 54

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Geographical proximity, historic links and comparable outward orientation make Singapore and Malaysia natural trading partners. As seen from a number of matrices, the two nations depend on each other for a range of key goods and services. However, this complementarity is easy to take for granted and really only dates from the mid-1980s, […]


2023/53 “Rice Production and Food Security in Southeast Asia under Threat from El Niño” by Elyssa Ludher and Paul Teng


2023 No. 53

Experts are projecting that El Niño will strengthen towards the end of 2023 and early 2024, affecting winter and spring rice production.


2023/52 “Malaysia’s 2023 State Elections (Part 1): Projections and Scenarios” by Ong Kian Ming


2023 No. 52

Public expectations for the upcoming state elections in Malaysia, expected to take place in August 2023, are that Perikatan Nasional (PN) will likely win control of the Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu state legislatures while Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) will likely secure the Penang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan state legislatures.