As a recession looms, President Joko Widodo has unleashed his fury on his ministers for their mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle is rife. Instead of focusing on personalities, however, the emphasis should be on areas which desperately need reform.
The development of ASEAN Single Window in the past 15 years has demonstrated the importance of digitalizing trade procedures to reduce trade costs and boost competitiveness in ASEAN. The enlargement of the ASEAN Single Window to include the grouping’s dialogue partners will reduce trade costs further.
Islamist groups have been on the up on up in Indonesia. However, a failure to foster unity in the ranks will not bode well for their political fortunes.
UMNO’s thumping victory in the recent Chini by-election was not unexpected. The solid Malay support displayed during the poll, however, presages a deeper fissure within the Perikatan Nasional coalition.
Thailand will soon be looking at another cabinet reshuffle. But there is more than meets the eye. The prime minister’s relationship with the ruling Phalang Pracharat Party remains tenuous.
Rising Sino-US rivalry and a rapidly changing geopolitical environment means that smaller states in the Asia-Pacific are increasingly compelled to “choose sides” between the two major powers. They are, however, not short of options.
Australia’s recently-released defence update may be the most consequential document in terms of Canberra’s defence relations with Southeast Asia. Australia is asking its Southeast Asia partners to do more, while offering them more in return.
Some political parties have called on the ruling National League for Democracy to form a coalition government come the November polls. Such a tactic is premature.
A historic slump in Malaysia’s exports has been attributed to the coronavirus sweeping across the region. But the fall is indicative of a deeper, structural weakness in the economy.