To Ban or Wear: The Niqab in Indonesian Public Offices


The central government’s proposal to ban the niqab in Indonesian public offices faces pushback from local political leaders and various quarters of the country’s Muslim community.



A Review of the ASEAN Charter: In the Fullness of Time


A long-running review of the ASEAN Charter may yet bear fruit – or it may not.



Indonesia and Covid-19: Worst of Both Worlds


Jakarta is going into a second lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19. This time, it is hoped that the capital will avoid the nightmare scenario: a lockdown that fails to stop community transmission and a further contraction of the economy.



PAS and the “Younger Brother” Conundrum


Six months after Perikatan Nasional grabbed the reins of power, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia has settled into its position as a party in the ruling coalition. The question is whether the rank and file can stomach the party’s second fiddle status.



Muhyiddin Yassin: Sitting Pretty (For Now)


Roiled by political instability in the past few months, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin can afford to take a breather, for now at least. A survey by arguably the country’s foremost pollster shows him in a strong position.



Vietnam’s Online Policing: Taking a Leaf from China’s Playbook


Typically, governments are influenced by sentiments expressed in social media to and adjust their policies accordingly. A string of episodes has demonstrated that Vietnam has taken a leaf out of China’s playbook in steering the online narrative.



Uncle Sam Will Have to Change His Tune After November for Buy-in From Southeast Asia


High stakes in the upcoming US presidential election for Southeast Asia and for American influence and goodwill in the region.



General Prayut’s Failing Premiership: Self-inflicted Wound


The sudden departure of Thailand’s newly-appointed finance minister is a sign that premiership of Prayut Chan-ocha is failing.



India’s Obsession With Thailand’s Kra Canal: Much Ado About Nothing


News that Thailand has “cancelled” its Kra canal project and replaced it with a land bridge has exercised Indian observers. But you cannot scrap a plan that has not been approved and Indian media reports say more about tensions with China along their land border than a centuries’ old Thai canal plan.



Digital Payments Can Accelerate Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity


Digital payment systems have proliferated across Southeast Asia, thanks to various platforms provided by banks, ride-hailing apps and fintech firms. For such payments to truly take off, the region needs to work on facilitating cross-border transactions.