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"Of Sand, Security and Cold Hard Cash" by Serina Rahman

2017/51, 24 August 2017In varying but little noticed reports a week ago, it was announced that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states in India will soon begin importing sand from Malaysia and Cambodia. The reports cited the difficulty that these states have in ensuring enough sand for local construction and development…
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"Peace Process Problems in Muslim Mindanao" by Malcolm Cook

2017/50, 22 August 2017The Marawi City siege is the latest symptom of the profound political alienation of Muslim Mindanao. Both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Duterte administration have publicly stated that the solution to this alienation includes the creation of a Bangsamoro regional autonomous government along the…
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"Vietnam and ASEAN Re-lift the Bar for South China Sea Statements" by Le Hong Hiep

2017/49, 8 August 2017The 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) last week managed to issue a joint communiqué that contains stronger language on the South China Sea than the Chairman’s Statement issued at the 30th ASEAN Summit last April. By emphasizing, for example, “the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the…
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"Will ASEAN and China Move Beyond the COC Framework?" by Jason Salim

2017/48, 8 August 2017There was no shortage of good news for Asean coming out of the 50th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that took place over the weekend in Manila, the Philippines, especially with regards to its relations with China. Not only did the Joint Communique include strong and firm language…
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"ASEAN back on track on the South China Sea" by Hoang Thi Ha

2017/47, 8 August 2017 There was one thing that the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) did not disappoint: bringing ASEAN’s position on the South China Sea (SCS) back on track. In April, Manila set a low bar in this respect by failing to register the regional concerns on land…
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“Huang Jing Case a Test of Nation Building” by Benjamin Loh

2017/46, 7 August 2017 The revocation of the Singapore permanent residency of a prominent US Chinese academic has captured the media headlines both local and abroad. Branded an “agent of influence” of an unnamed foreign country by the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs on 4 August, the revocation is a…
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"ASEAN Convenes High-Level Security Talks Amidst Regional Uncertainties" by Jason Salim and Tang Siew Mun

2017/45, 2 August 2017 The 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and related meetings begin today (2nd August), and will culminate six days later in the Grand Commemorative Celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, coinciding with ASEAN’s founding day on 8 August. However, the meetings to mark this momentous milestone in ASEAN’s…
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"A Futile Call: Making Bahasa Melayu ASEAN’s Official Language" by Tang Siew Mun

2017/44, 31 July 2017The proposal to adopt the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) as ASEAN’s “main and official language” is a non-starter, and even futile. This call, made by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur on 26 July 2017, comes after a similar suggestion by his Communications and…
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"Tioman Island Airport Development Revival – More Expense than Earnings" by Serina Rahman

2017/43, 26 July 2017 During the recent launch of the Tekek Makmur affordable homes on Pulau Tioman, Pahang, it was announced that cancelled airport development plans would be revived. Initially announced in 2003 by then-PM Mahathir Mohamed, the project would entail the reclamation of a 2km long, 45m wide airport…
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"Despite Progress, Challenges Remain for Thailand-China High Speed Rail Project" by Pongphisoot Busbarat

2017/42, 17 July 2017 On 11 July 2017, the Thai cabinet finally approved construction of the country’s first high-speed railway (HSR) after nineteen rounds of negotiation with China, going back to 2014. Under pressure from Beijing, Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha bypassed the legal bottlenecks that had stymied progress on the…
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