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December, 2018 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

Partners: Australian Private Sector Engagement in the Pacific, November 2018. The South Pacific is becoming a more strategically crowded and contested space. But, despite the strong aid and defence relations Australia maintains with the island states, there’s been little attention given to date to the role of Australia’s private sector in the Pacific islands region. That’s in many ways surprising. Elements of Australian business have had longstanding connections in the Pacific, and the spread of business across borders is now a powerful international and regional political and economic force. Such business networks knit communities together. Given the crowded and complex South Pacific, there’s now a critical need for the Australian Government and business to get their collective act together in stepping up engagement in the region.

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #20: Electoral Politics and the Malaysian Chinese Association in Johor. Like the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) was known for having its bastion in Johor, with the state containing the highest number of parliamentary seats contested and won by the party. Two features of the MCA stand out: (1) its relative resilience in that its near elimination in other states since 2008 did not occur in Johor until the recent 14th General Elections, and (2) that most MCA presidents had some connections to Johor, either as having been born in Johor, contested in a Johor constituency, been chairman of the Johor state liaison committee, or a combination of three. Although historical institutional linkages such as the New Villages and the Chinese guilds and associations (CGAs) gave the MCA a strong footing in Johor initially, changing political and socioeconomic circumstances gradually eroded the party’s support among the Johorean Chinese...

 

ISEAS

New Caledonia Votes to Retain French Links & France Retains its Indo-Pacific Geo-Strategic Position, November 2018. In the south-west Pacific the French territory of New Caledonia, with a population of about 263,000, held an independence referendum on November 4, 2018. With a high turnout of 80% of eligible voters, 43.6% voted in favor of independence and 56.4% voted in favor of keeping the French link. The 2014 population census breakdown recorded 40.3% Kanaks, 29.2% Europeans, 18.7% other Pacific islanders, 8.6% mixed race and 2.3% other Asians. The challenge for the indigenous largely pro-independence Kanak community had been to push its own 40% block up with pro-independence votes from other non-European communities. Disappointingly for them, they were unable to do this to the extent needed. This result leaves the independence cause in New Caledonia weakened...

 

EWC

The United States and Pakistan Need Each Other for Stability and Peace in Afghanistan, October 2018. A fundamental point underlies the US-Pakistan relationship: Washington seeks Islamabad’s support in the honorable exit from Afghanistan. After 17-years of war, the interests of the United States and Pakistan seem to have aligned in pursuing a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conundrum. This reality presents to the new government in Islamabad with what Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center characterized as a golden opportunity to convince the Taliban to commit to the peace talks and become part of the political process in Afghanistan. Toward that end, the Pakistani government believes it will play a constructive role, including using its influence over the Taliban. Indeed, Islamabad considers peace and stability in Afghanistan as “vital for its own long-term stability and progress,” as emphasized by Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi...

 

EWC

Asia Bond Monitor, November 2018. This publication reviews developments in East Asian local currency bond markets during the third quarter of 2018 and provides outlook, risks, and policy options. Data suggest that local currency bond yields rose in most economies in emerging East Asia between 31 August and 15 October on the back of continued interest rate hikes by the United States Federal Reserve. Highlights of this publication include a special focus on the impact of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative on the region’s bond market development and a detailed presentation of results from the AsianBondsOnline annual bond market liquidity survey.

 

ADB

Risk Mitigation and Sovereign Guarantees for Public–Private Partnerships in Developing Economies, November 2018. Private investors are concerned about the creditworthiness of public–private partnership (PPP) projects in Asia because a large percentage of developing countries are considered risky counter parties. This paper examines the application of credit enhancement, such as letters of credit and partial risk guarantees, and attempts to quantify the benefits of these instruments. It presents the main risks of infrastructure investors in Asia, the severity of which vary by specific project conditions, and the complementary roles of governments and multilateral development banks in mitigating these risks.

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Other ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Dowry Deaths Have Risen in India? Published 2018. Dowry deaths rose from about 19 per day in 2001 to 21 per day in 2016. While these statistics are worrying, there is a great deal of variation in the incidence of “dowry deaths” across regions and over time. It is indeed alarming that the rise in dowry deaths is unabated despite greater stringency of anti-dowry laws. In 1961, the Dowry Prohibition Act made giving and taking of dowry, its abetment or the demand for it an offence punishable with imprisonment and fine or without the latter. This was an abysmal failure as dowries became a nationwide phenomenon, replacing bride price. More stringent laws followed but with little effect...

 

ASARC

Modinomics: Design, Implementation, Outcomes and Prospects, Published 2018. The present paper presents an analysis of the key elements of Modinomics, defined as “everyone’s participation, everyone’s progress.” It investigates the reasons why Modinomics was necessary, the key elements of Modinomics, and how this policy was implemented, as well as two deep structural reforms under Modi. The paper examines the record of economic growth under Modi as well as new welfare and employment programs to make economic growth more inclusive. Finally, the paper examines medium and long –term growth prospects for India...

 

ASARC

Structural Transformation in South Asia, Published 2018. This paper models the evolution and determinants of the shares of agriculture, manufacturing and services to GDP for 4 South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan) for 55 years: 1960-2014. Determinants of these shares were classified into three broad categories “country fundamentals”, “policy” and decadal dummies. We find that with increase in GDP the share of services rises strongly whereas the share of manufacturing has a more tepid rise with GDP whereas the share of agriculture falls in most cases...

 

ASARC

Asian Economic Integration Report 2018 (Full Report, Highlights). This publication documents Asia’s progress in regional cooperation and integration. It covers the 48 regional members of the Asian Development Bank and analyzes regional as well as global economic linkages. The 2018 report’s special chapter “Toward Optimal Provision of Regional Public Goods in Asia and the Pacific” examines how collective action among countries can help find solutions to growing transnational development challenges. The special chapter also discusses how to best provide regional public goods that transcend the so-called “collective action problem” which occurs when individual interests are too weak on their own to drive cooperation on common issues.

 

ADB

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ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Philippine Defense Cooperation with Russia: A Wake-up Call for the United States? October 2018. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, the Philippines has pursued an independent foreign policy aimed at gaining distance from the United States. President Duterte has called upon China and Russia for assistance in the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), much to the dislike of Washington. It must not be forgotten that the Philippines and the United States have a long-standing military alliance, established in various agreements: the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Military Assistance Agreement, Visiting Forces Agreement, Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement, and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, to name a few...

 

EWC

Promises of the “Book of Hope”: Influences on the New Malaysian Government, October 2018. As Malaysia’s new Pakatan Harapan (translating as “Book of Hope”) Government completes its first five months in office, its challenge has shifted from winning elections to governing the nation. Prior to May 9th, few would have expected that Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto – Buku Harapan or Book of Hope – would guide a new chapter in Malaysian politics. It is likely that its own crafters perceived electoral victory as more a distant hope rather than an assured reality. Yet with the defeat of the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, Buku Harapan has become central to Malaysia’s new direction and priorities, continues to influence Malaysia’s governance, and can possibly alter power sharing arrangements in Malaysian politics...

 

EWC

The Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and Uncertainties for India & Japan, October 2018. The Trump administration has signaled its intention to engage closely with the Indo-Pacific by committing to new strategic investment initiatives and economic cooperation with Japan, India, Australia, and Mongolia. The concept of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy (FOIP) is not new and was originally coined and reflected in Japan's forein policy strategy under the Abe administration. However, India and Japan continue to face some uncertainties over the nature of their engagement with the United States' vision of the FOIP. These uncertainties arise from lack of clarity over whether the FOIP would focus more on economic development or aim to develop into a security-oriented strategy for countering China...

 

EWC

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2018Q4, October 2018. Real GDP is estimated to grow by 3.0% in 18Q3, when compared with the same period in 2017, moderate from the 3.5% growth in 18Q2. In 18Q4, real GDP growth is expected to moderate to 2.7% when compared with the same period last year. Comparing to the 3.8% growth in 2017, we expect Hong Kong GDP will moderate to 3.4% in 2018 as a whole, downward revised by 0.6 percentage point comparing to our previous forecast reflecting the impact of rising interest rate and the uncertainty of the US-China trade war...

 

HKU

Monetary Authority of Singapore: Macroeconomic Review, Volume XVII, Issue 2, October 2018 (Full Report, Presentation Slides for Briefing):  

MAS

Singapore Corporate Debt Market Review 2018. Issuance volumes in Singapore’s corporate bond market increased significantly in 2017, on the back of the continued expansion in the global economy and the introduction of MAS’ Asian Bond Grant Scheme. Total debt issued rose 39% year-on-year to SGD 259 billion in 2017, from SGD 186 billion in 2016. Growth was driven by increased issuances of both SGD and non-SGD denominated debt securities. SGD debt securities issued reached a 5-year high of SGD 27 billion, catalysed by strong investor sentiment and issuers seeking to secure longer term funding ahead of the expected rate increases...

 

MAS

2017 Singapore Asset Management Industry Survey, October 2018. At the end of 2017, total assets managed by Singapore-based asset managers grew strongly by 19% year-on-year to reach S$3.3 trillion, up from S$2.7 trillion in 2016. This has outpaced the past five years’ average growth rate of 15%. Singapore has maintained a high level of discretionary3 AUM at 53% in 2017, in line with the past five years’ average. Asset managers continue to view Singapore as a conducive place to conduct portfolio management activity. In 2017, there was a net increase of 55 registered and licensed fund managers. This brings the total number of registered and licensed fund managers to 715...

 

MAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, September 2018. The Singapore economy expanded by 3.9% in Q2 2018 compared with the same period last year, similar to the median forecast reported in the June survey. In the current survey, year-on-year growth in Q3 2018 is expected to come in at 2.1%...

 

MAS

Thematic Review of Credit Review Standards and Practices of Corporate Lending Business, October 2018. Banks are expected to actively manage their credit risks to ensure their credit portfolios remain resilient to vulnerabilities in the external environment. This would entail putting in place adequate credit risk management policies, as well as effective credit review and monitoring processes to identify and manage problem loans at an early stage. With this expectation in mind and against a backdrop of continuing uncertainties in the global macroeconomic environment, MAS conducted a thematic review of selected banks’ credit review standards and processes for their corporate loan portfolios between October 2016 and June 2017. The thematic review focused on assessing the banks’:..

 

MAS

Enforcement, September 2018. This Monograph outlines the approach that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) takes towards enforcement, the role that enforcement plays in the wider objective of financial industry oversight and the key areas of MAS’ enforcement practice and powers across the financial industry. As Singapore’s financial industry grows in size and complexity, it is not possible to prevent all regulatory breaches. MAS recognises the need to have the capability to take swift action to investigate and punish serious misconduct, thereby deterring unethical and illegal behaviour. On 1 August 2016, MAS established a dedicated Enforcement Department to centralise MAS’ enforcement functions and capabilities in order to enhance consistency and expertise in the enforcement functions across the banking, insurance, capital markets and other sectors regulated by MAS...

 

MAS

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reinforcing Indonesia–Australia Defence Relations: The Case for Maritime Recalibration, October 2018. Indonesia and Australia are increasingly important strategic anchors in the Indo-Pacific region, as recognised by the recently announced Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Yet historically, bilateral defence ties between the two countries have been volatile. This Analysis makes the case for a maritime recalibration of Australia’s defence engagement activities with Indonesia to stabilise defence relations. The process of recalibrating defence relations, however, cannot proceed in a historical vacuum. The evolution of Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) with Indonesia since the 1960s is examined in order to understand how the relationship could be recalibrated...

 

Lowy

Batam: Life after the FTZ? October 2018. Once an island of high-tech production and turbo-charged growth, Batam’s economic fortunes have waned of late. The traditional pillars of the manufacturing sector have contracted, investment levels have fallen, the island’s growth rate is below the national average, and unemployment has increased sharply. In response, policy-makers are promoting the development of new sectors to diversify the island’s economic base. There are debates on whether Batam’s status should be changed from a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to draw in more investment. This paper aims to contribute to the debates on how to revitalize the island’s economy...

 

ISEAS

Education in Malaysia Towards a Developed Nation, September 2018 . Education plays a key role in realising Malaysia’s aspirations to be a developed nation. This paper provides a critical assessment of the state of education in Malaysia. The issues that will be discussed in this paper includes the country’s current ethos and philosophy of education, technical and vocational education (TVET), technology and flexible learning, and governance and financing of higher education. The paper also highlights critical omissions in the current Eleventh Malaysia Plan.

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2018 Update and Highlights. Developing Asia's gross domestic product is forecast to expand by 6.0% in 2018 and 5.8% in 2019. Consumer prices for 2018 and 2019 are projected to rise by 2.8%. Growth in developing Asia has so far held up against external headwinds. The forecast for rising inflation is tempered despite higher global fuel and food prices. Downside risks to the outlook are intensifying. Any escalation of the trade conflict could disrupt cross-border production links. While the region is expected to meet the Asian Development Outlook 2018 forecast of 6.0% growth in 2018, the projection for 2019 has been trimmed by 0.1 percentage points to 5.8%. Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, the region is expected to expand by 6.5% this year and 6.3% in 2019...

 

ADB

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2018 (Full Report):
  • Part I: Sustainable Development Goals
  • Part II: Regional Trends and Tables
  • Part III: Global Value Chains

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2017 covers 48 economies: Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taipei, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, and Viet Nam.

 

ADB

Asia Bond Monitor, September 2018. Local currency bond markets in emerging East Asia grew 3.2% from the first quarter of 2018, with government bonds expanded 4.0% and corporate bonds rose 1.8%. Local currency (LCY) bond yields in emerging East Asia diverged due to disparate monetary policy stances across the region and global economic uncertainties. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), yields fell as the central bank reduced the reserve requirement ratios for some banks, while yields rose in Indonesia in response to its central bank’s monetary tightening and in the Philippines where the central bank raised policy rates in May and June...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

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ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2018 (Full Report):
This edition of the Asian Development Review brings together scholars who highlight the need for concrete and rapid actions to adapt to climate change.
The latest Asian Development Review has a special issue on the climate change challenge to Asia’s development. Climate change may reverse the region’s economic development achievements since the second half of the 20th century and improvements in living standards. Eight articles in this issue highlight the need for concrete and rapid actions to adapt to climate change.

  ADB

Going Legit? the Foreign Policy of Vladimir Putin, September 2018. Vladimir Putin’s re-election for a fourth presidential term in May 2018 has enshrined his position as the dominant personality of the post-Soviet era. Over the next six years, there will be few major changes to Russian foreign policy. There is broad consensus in Moscow that this has been outstandingly successful, and that Russia has emerged as a formidable power. But alongside an overall sense of confidence, there is also caution and even anxiety. Putin recognises the importance of tactical flexibility in an international environment that is increasingly fluid and unpredictable. He is also aware that Russia’s foreign policy gains are fragile and potentially reversible, and that the country faces considerable obstacles in its quest to become a rule-maker in a new, post-American world order...

 

Lowy

India's Continental Connect on Indo-Pacific and Quad 2.0, September 2018. No aspect of India’s contemporary foreign policy is debated as much as New Delhi’s approach towards the Quadrilateral consultative forum (popularly known as the “Quad”) vis-à-vis China. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Shangri-La dialogue on June 1, 2018 indicated that he was not deeming the Indo-Pacific as a “strategy” but viewing China and Russia as partners within the purview of India’s strategic autonomy. This has stimulated a debate about whether India’s approach towards Quad 2.0 is China bound or not. Modi’s attempt to rebuild New Delhi’s relationship with China post-Doklam has reinvigorated this debate...

 

EWC

US-China Development Cooperation: New Bilateral Dynamics? September 2018. In recent years, the US-China relationship has been marked by competition. The two powers have been wrestling in the South China Sea and more recently in a trade war, attracting global attention. The development sector is a less well known aspect in bilateral relations. China’s rise as the largest emerging donor is challenging the traditional aid regime led by the United States and other developed nations. Chinese aid-spending has increased dramatically since 2000. Not being a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, China is not bound by the requirements of the institution, and insists on ‘common but differentiated responsibility.’ ...

 

EWC

US-China Technology Competition is about “Self Transcendence”, September 2018. Eric Schmidt, then executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent firm, commented on China's AI ambition on November 1, 2017, in Washington DC: "By 2020 the Chinese will have caught up (to the United States). By 2025 they will be better than us. And by 2030 they will dominate the industries of AI." Not to miss the boat, about one and a half months later, Google announced its first major China move after its search engine left the mainland in 2010 — that it was opening a Google AI China Center in Beijing, its first in Asia, led by the Chinese-American scientist Feifei Li...

 

EWC

Hard News and Free Media as the Sharp Edge of Australian Soft Power, September 2018. In this report, three Asia-Pacific media specialists have produced three perspectives on the history, dynamics and politics of funding of the ABC’s international efforts over the past two decades. They show that, while Australian politicians and ABC leaders themselves have been distracted by domestic and institutional issues, other state-owned media organisations—such as China’s—have expanded their footprint across Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Australian Government decisions over the past decade haven’t just meant that Australia has trod water while this happened—in fact, we have stepped back and silenced broadcasts and local content while others have stepped up...

 

ASPI

Too Big to Ignore. Assessing the strategic implications of China's Belt and Road Initiative, August 2018. This report identifies the management of one conundrum above all else as the key to the BRI’s fortunes from a Chinese perspective: the ability to retain sufficient support from the world’s governments and institutions as a means of both underpinning its business case and heading off the possibility of geo-economic and geostrategic competition...

 

ASPI

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Return to War: Militarized Conflicts in Northern Shan State, July 2018. Myanmar’s internal armed conflict erupted in 1948 just after it gained independence from Britain. The principle armed actors in Myanmar’s civil wars have involved the Myanmar Defense Services, or Tatmadaw, and dozens of armed resistance groups. In 2008, after decades of militarized violence under civilian and then military regimes, the Tatmadaw initiated political reforms which allowed for the transition to a quasi-democratic or hybrid regime. In 2011, the newly elected Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) government commenced engagement with ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in an effort to resolve the long-running civil war. These efforts have been continued by the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government since March 2016....

 

ISDP

Air Warfare Destroyer - The Game-Changer, August 2018 is Robert’s second monograph for the ASPI case studies in defence projects series which brings out the human drama and dilemmas of decision-making in what is a multi-billion-dollar, high-stakes business to equip the Australian Defence Force. Our aim, which he delivers on superbly, is to present a balanced, ‘warts and all’ account of the challenges involved in getting these decisions right. There’s so much more to complex project management than simply cost, schedule and capacity. Robert shows how politics (both big and little p), technology, budgeting and the fallibility of human decision-making all intersect to make the defence capability development and acquisition business one of the most demanding of all public sector tasks...

 

ASPI

Mice that Roar, August 2018. This report argues that over the past five years, there’s been an increase in coastguard and maritime border response capabilities across much of ASEAN. ASEAN states have primarily focused their new capabilities on enhancing physical presence patrols and response within their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Coastguards have become important strategic cushions between navies in ASEAN. Underpinning this regional maritime strategic trend is an assumption that coastguard vessels are less threatening, in terms of their potential use of force, to the captains and crews of other nations’ vessels during unplanned encounters at sea...

 

ASPI

Anti-Money Laundering. A Case Study, July 2018. The Australian Government’s technological monopolies have ended. Technological developments, especially those that have been disruptive, have been driven primarily by private corporations for at least the past 10 years. Meanwhile, legislative responses to those changes, be they disruptive or otherwise, have been increasingly delayed. Acceleration in the development and use of technology has been matched by changes in the capability of those who would do us harm. In the face of rapid social change, governments have lost more than a technological edge, as the very conceptualisations of sovereignty and geographical jurisdictions are being challenged...

 

ASPI

National Security in the Philippines Under Duterte, June 2018. In May 2016, Rodrigo Duterte, the long-term mayor of Davao City, won a resounding victory in the Philippines national presidential election, becoming the country’s first elected leader from the conflict-ravaged province of Mindanao. He has since set in train a highly populist agenda that has seen internal security and stability as the main priority of his tenure. Central to that focus has been countering terrorism, ending longstanding armed insurgencies and addressing violent crime at home, while pursuing a flexible policy overseas that’s aimed at giving him sufficient time and space to deal with pressing domestic concerns...

 

ASPI

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Indonesia's Economy: Between Growth and Stability, August 2018. Views of the Indonesian economy oscillate between optimism that it is set to become the world’s next economic giant and fear of renewed instability. Such views, however, get the story backwards. Indonesian policymakers have consistently prioritised stability over growth. The more concerning issue is that the economy is now heading into its fifth consecutive year of subdued growth. Although growth is solid at about 5 per cent a year, it is inadequate in terms of the job creation and economic modernisation required to meet Indonesia’s development needs and ambitions. The problems are structural...

 

Lowy

ASEAN–Australia Relations: The Suitable Status Quo, August 2018. The first ASEAN–Australia Special Summit held in Sydney in March 2018 led some Australian commentators to advocate for Australia to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Even if Australian membership could be made possible by changing the ASEAN Charter and achieving a consensus among ASEAN member states in favour of membership, it would not serve Australian interests in Southeast Asia as well as Australia’s current dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN...

 

Lowy

Unregulated Population Migration and Other Future Drivers of Instability in the Pacific, July 2018. Unregulated population migration within the Pacific has serious security and stability implications for the region, including Australia and New Zealand. Drivers of unregulated population migration include non‑traditional security challenges such as changing environmental and climatic conditions, disaster management, food and water scarcity, and pandemics. Other drivers include man‑made stresses such as civil conflict and fragile and unstable governments, growing interest from external actors, and organised crime...

 

Lowy

“Americanism, Not Globalism”: President Trump and the American Mission, July 2018. From the end of the Second World War, the dominant current of American exceptionalism in the rhetoric and outlook of US presidents has been the belief that the United States has a special mission to redeem the world by extending liberty and democracy to all peoples. However, President Donald Trump is an exception. He believes that in the post-Cold War era successive administrations in Washington have pursued reckless visions of regional or global hegemony — especially in the Middle East — leaving the home front to languish and the nation open to ridicule...

 

Lowy

Australia-US Convergence on the "Indo-Pacific": AUSMIN 2018, August 2018. The AUSMIN meeting held last month brought together the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defense Marise Payne. Its Indo-Pacific focus was unmistakable. Whereas the 2017 AUSMIN Joint Declaration mentioned the “Indo-Pacific” but once and for the first time at AUSMIN, the 2018 Joint Declaration mentioned the “Indo-Pacific” 11 times; with the “Asia-Pacific,” the previously dominant term of strategic reference, unmentioned...

 

EWC

India-Indonesia Relations and Indo-Pacific Security, August 2018. Though India and Indonesia do have long historical and cultural linkages, strategic partnership has been a recent development. The two share multiple common concerns, one of which pertains to China’s rapid rise and its intentions in the maritime theater. Since 2014, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to boost India’s ties with many Southeast Asian countries as part of its ‘Act East Policy’ which was recently manifest in his visit to Indonesia in late May just ahead of his first-ever speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore...

 

EWC

Malaysia's Development Depends on International and Domestic Support for Maritime Connectivity, August 2018. Southeast Asia consists of two portions, mainland Southeast Asia and maritime Southeast Asia. More than 80 percent of the region’s surface is covered by the ocean, which means that maritime connectivity is crucial for the development of trade and transportation. The region contains several of the world’s busiest international sea lines of communication. Several major ports are located there, namely, the Port of Singapore and Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in Malaysia. The Strait of Malacca receives an average of 80,000 vessels annually...

 

EWC

Unraveling China’s Investments in Malaysia, August 2018. China was not an important investor in Malaysia prior to 2012. However, after the announcement of “One Belt, One Road” (or OBOR) in late 2013 — subsequently renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — Malaysia has increasingly attracted more investments from China. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s China Going Global Investment Index, which ranks 59 major economies in terms of their attractiveness to Chinese firms, Malaysia’s ranking jumped up from 20th in 2015 to fourth in 2017. While the speed at which China’s investment has increased has attracted public attention and concern, there are other dimensions to China’s investment that may not be so obvious to the public eye...

 

EWC

Malaysia's Defense Policy After the 2018 Elections, August 2018. The shocking election win by Malaysia’s opposition coalition in the country’s general elections in May raised the prospect of dramatic changes across Malaysia’s politics, economics, and society. But one of the other key areas of uncertainty is the security realm, and how Malaysia’s approach could shift over the next few years under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government currently led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad...

 

EWC

Malaysia's May 2018 General Election and Foreign Policy, August 2018. The 14th Malaysian General Elections (GE14) held in May saw the then main opposition alliance of Pakatan Harapan, together with an allied party from East Malaysia, win a surprising 121 of 222 Parliamentary seats, allowing them to form a simple majority government. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is once again leading the nation at the age of 92. The Barisan Nasional coalition, which ruled from even before independence, now sits on the opposition bench alongside the Islamist party PAS, while Barisan’s election allies from Sarawak in East Malaysia already have left the coalition to form an independent block of their own...

 

EWC

Myanmar Opens a New Chapter in Dealing with Big Neighbor China, July 2018. Myanmar’s Shan state — the country’s biggest state — has a long border with China, and is on the cusp of becoming the axis of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is home to the famed “Burma Road” which had been a lifeline for the Republic of China before and during WWII — a conduit for US war supplies to the beleaguered Chinese forces holding back a Japanese invasion. And long before it was the “Burma Road” the route had seen trade and invasion from China into Myanmar for centuries. Tea, opium, silver, and lead were among the commodities carried by mule caravans to Yunnan and beyond...

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #19: Agriculture in Johor: What’s Left? Despite decades of industrialization, Johor remains an agricultural powerhouse. The state is Peninsular Malaysia’s largest contributor to agricultural gross domestic product, and its official agricultural productivity is Malaysia’s third highest. Johor’s agricultural strengths lie primarily in product specialization, namely the farming of oil palms, various fruits and vegetables, poultry, pigs, cut flowers, and ornamental fish. Johor’s production clusters have taken decades, if not centuries, to build up their regional dominance. Urbanization, often blamed for diminishing agriculture’s importance, has actually helped drive Johor’s farm growth, even until the present day...

 

ISEAS

SME Policies and Performance in Malaysia, July 2018 This study aims to achieve two major objectives. First, to assess policies and initiatives implemented for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia from the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) to the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) as well as the SME Masterplan (2012-2020). Second, to analyze the performances and contributions of SMEs in Malaysia. The study provides a critical analysis of the adequacy of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan for SME development including whether the targeted goals for SMEs towards 2020 can be achieved...

 

ISEAS

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ADB

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ADB

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ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

  

 
 

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