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"Previewing the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Meetings", a Commentary by Jason Salim and Tang Siew Mun

Commentary 2016/53, 5 September 2016 From 5-8 September, leaders from countries constituting 56.7% of the world’s GDP output will descend upon the Lao capital Vientiane as the nation plays host to the ASEAN Summit and its related meetings.Besides the 10 leaders from the ASEAN member states, leaders from eight other…
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"Vietnam, ASEAN and the ‘Consensus Dilemma’" a commentary by Le Hong Hiep

Commentary 2016/52, 31 August 2016During the 38th Singapore Lecture, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang highlighted ASEAN’s importance in shaping regional responses to traditional as well as non-traditional security threats, claiming that it is critical to maintain a “multi-polar, multi-layered regional architecture in which ASEAN plays a central role”. It is…
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"The Importance of Logistics Integration for Accelerating ASEAN Integration in the Digital Era", a Commentary by Tham Siew Yean

Commentary 2016/51, 24 August 2016It was reported in Today online, 23 August 2016, that the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran noted that ASEAN integration has become even more important in the digital era. In this regard, the rise of the digital consumer and the increasing digitalization of…
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"Is Malaysia Really out of the Middle Income Trap?", a Commentary by Francis E. Hutchinson

Commentary 2016/50, 23 August 2016 According to Datuk Seri Idris Jala, the CEO of Malaysia’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), Malaysia is no longer caught in the Middle Income Trap (The Star August 17, 2016). In 2015, the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) was US$ 10,570 per capita, only…
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"The Political Resilience of Prime Minister Najib Razak", a Commentary by Mustafa Izzuddin

Commentary 2016/49, 22 August 2016 On 5 August 2016, Metro TV (Indonesia) aired its interview with Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) Najib Razak. The interview reaffirmed Najib’s resilience in Malaysian politics. Contrary to the wishes of his critics, not least former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib is likely to remain PM…
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"Daw Suu's China Visit: What Are the Talking Points?", a Commentary by Moe Thuzar

Commentary 2016/48, 19 August 2016 Every move by Myanmar’s de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a topic of interest. Her current Beijing visit is no exception, and merits consideration along two main foci. Bilateral Relations are not Binary Bilateral relations since “time immemorial” were calibrated to balance…
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"Mahathir’s Bersatu is Best Understood as an NGO", a Commentary by Ooi Kee Beng

Commentary 2016/47, 19 August 2016 The recent decision by the 91-year-old former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and his closest supporters to form a new political party understandably raised many eyebrows. This incomprehension turned into indignation when it was announced that the party – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) –…
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"Understanding Vietnam’s Rocket Launcher Deployment in the Spratlys", a Commentary by Le Hong Hiep

Commentary 2016/46, 15 August 2016 On 10 August 2016, it was widely reported in the media that Vietnam had quietly deployed an unknown number of EXTRA rocket launchers on five features in the Spratlys. These state-of-the-art mobile rocket artillery systems are reportedly capable of striking runways and military installations on…
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"Bombings in South Thailand", a Commentary by Puangthong R. Pawakapan

Commentary 2016/45, 15 August 2016The string of bomb blasts in several provinces in the upper south of Thailand on 11-12 August has spoilt the Thai government’s celebratory mood over its referendum victory on 7 August. While it is still too early to tell who were behind the attacks and their…
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"The Tanjungbalai Riot and Sectarian Violence in Contemporary Indonesia", a Commentary by Deasy Simandjuntak

Commentary 2016/44, 12 August 2016 The city of Tanjungbalai, 200 km from Medan, North Sumatra, suffered another episode of sectarian violence on the evening of Friday, 29 July 2016, when a group of people burned and ransacked several Buddhist temples. The events seemed to be triggered by a Chinese-Indonesian woman’s…
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