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"Singapore and Malaysia aiming for High-Speed Rail by end-2026", a Commentary by Francis E. Hutchinson

2016/83 14 December 2016 Yesterday, the Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia witnessed the signing of a legally-binding bilateral agreement to build a high-speed rail (HSR) between their two economic capitals. The agreement signed yesterday is thus the latest step towards the construction of the transport link. In 2013 at…
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"Stumbling Blocks to RCEP", a Commentary by Sanchita Basu Das

2016/82 13 December 2016 The 16 participating countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) concluded the 16th round of negotiations in Indonesia from 2nd to 10th December. In spite of the reports of the snail-paced progress, the chapters on economic and technical cooperation as well as small and medium…
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"Services to Drive Future Growth: Implications for CLMV Countries", a Commentary by Tham Siew Yean

2016/81 13 December 2016The services sector is deemed to drive the future growth of the Asia Pacific region. The importance of services is attributed to its use as inputs in the production of both goods and services. For manufacturing, services are needed to facilitate the shift up global value chains.…
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"Managing the Rohingya Issue through Quiet Diplomacy", a commentary by Hoang Thi Ha

2016/80 12 December 2016 The recent flare-up of the Rohingya problem has grave ramifications on ASEAN unity when Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak broke the silence in condemning the Myanmar government on the ground of “genocide” and questioning Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership credentials. Criticising Najib’s move as interference in…
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"Mayor (President) Duterte", a Commentary by Malcolm Cook

2016/79, 8 December 2016On Sunday December 5, President Duterte, via an SMS message from his Secretary to the Cabinet ‘Jun’ Evasco, ordered Vice-President Robredo “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings” (click here). Tellingly, Secretary Evasco did not say that President Duterte had asked him to send this message, but…
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"Taking Over the ‘Hudud’ Issue: UMNO’s Stroke of Genius", a Commentary by Nicholas Chan

2016/78, 30 November 2016 Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) President Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to allegedly clear the way for Hudud has been lingering in parliament. The bill recently took another twist when Hadi filed a motion to amend the maximum…
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"Thailand’s New King", a Commentary by Terence Chong

2016/77, 30 November 2016 Thailand will soon have a new king. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) held a special session on 29 November to formally acknowledge and invite Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to ascend to the throne of Thailand. The Crown Prince, however, is in Munich where he has been…
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"Bilateral Trade Deals will Gain Prominence instead of Plurilateral Ones", a Commentary by Sanchita Basu Das

2016/76, 29 November 2016As Peru concludes its 2016 APEC Chairmanship, one key message of the Leaders’ Declaration is ‘to support free and open trade and investment, sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region’ (Source: APEC). The annual Opinion Leaders survey conducted by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council…
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"The FTAAP Dilemma", a Commentary by Malcolm Cook

2016/75, 24 November 2016Donald Trump’s victory has made APEC’s Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) aspiration more important and more difficult. Trump’s promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement immediately raises interest in alternatives like the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) process and…
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"Strong Malay Support for Bersih", a Commentary by Ooi Kee Beng

2016/74, 23 November 2016 The Malay turnout at the Bersih demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 19 calling for good governance and clean elections was visible and proportionate enough in relation to Malaysia’s ethnic demographics for accusations that the movement is a conspiracy run by Malaysian Chinese to be dismissed…
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