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"Pence Sends Early Signs of US’ Renewed Interest in Southeast Asia" by Jason Salim

2017/19, 24 April 2017 US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to four Asia-Pacific countries – South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia – have brought some measure of relief to a region anxious to know if the erstwhile Pacific power was still interested in them. Given that President Donald Trump has…
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"Ahok Defeat Signals Shifting Islamic Grounds" by Charlotte Setijadi

2017/18, 24 April 2017 Incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (affectionately known as Ahok) has been decisively defeated in the Jakarta gubernatorial run-off election that took place on Wednesday, 19 April. While the formal result from the Jakarta Electoral Commission is still pending for another month, quick count exit polls…
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"ACT 355 will Divide Malaysians Even More", a Commentary by Norshahril Saat

2017/17, 11 April 2017 On 6 April, the Malaysian Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, allowed PAS President, Abdul Hadi Awang, to table the Private Member’s Bill to amend ACT 355 (Syariah Courts Criminal Jurisdiction). Mr Abdul Hadi then provided details of his proposal. However, Mr Pandikar postponed…
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"The Trump-Xi Summit and Sino-US Power Transition", by Le Hong Hiep

2017/16, 6 April 2017Speculations of China’s rise and America’s relative decline have been around for some time, and the Trump presidency has rekindled discussions on the prospect of China replacing the US as the most dominant global power. The Trump-Xi summit in Miami, which starts tomorrow, may fuel this perception…
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"President Duterte: The Centralizer", a Commentary by Malcolm Cook

2017/15, 5 April 2017 President Duterte’s “war on drugs”, has garnered a significant amount of criticism internationally for its mounting death toll and human rights abuses. Yet, a politically more worrying dimension of this signature policy has received very little attention outside of the Philippines. From the very beginning, President…
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"UMNO’s U-Turn on RUU 355: What Makes Coalitions Stick in Malaysia?", a Commentary by Nicholas Chan

2017/14, 5 April 2017UMNO’s U-Turn on RUU 355: What Makes Coalitions Stick in Malaysia? Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is not going to table the proposed changes to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), or RUU 355, came as a surprise…
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"Malaysia’s Bank Negara Draws Attention to Youth Unemployment" a Commentary by Lee Hwok-Aun

2017/13, 30 March 2017 Youth unemployment, a chronic issue in contemporary Malaysia, has risen to prominence again courtesy of a somewhat unexpected source: Bank Negara. A feature article within the respected central bank’s 2016 Annual Report, published on 23 March 2017, draws attention to some labour market developments and policy…
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"Chinese Capital Controls and Forest City", a Commentary by Serina Rahman

2017/12, 21 March 2017 Recent news reports highlighting the closure of Forest City showrooms in China led to a flutter of speculation on the survival of Country Garden’s largest international mixed development project in Johor, Malaysia. In actual fact, restrictions on Chinese foreign currency exchange were announced in January 2017.…
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"ASEAN Foreign Ministers Set for a Tough Year Ahead", a Commentary by Hoang Thi Ha

2017/11, 22 February 2017 The annual ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat held in Boracay on 21 February provided a timely platform to discuss ASEAN’s priorities and challenges as the grouping embraces its 50th anniversary this year. The theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” was aptly chosen by the Philippines for…
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"Checking and Balancing President Duterte", a Commentary by Malcolm Cook

2017/10, 9 February 2017From the beginning of President Duterte’s single presidential term in July 2016, many expressed fears that the Philippine system of checks and balances of presidential power would prove lacking again. The Duterte administration quickly claimed super-majorities in both houses of Congress. The Liberal Party, shorn of most…
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