Indonesia’s KPK’s anti-corruption future is grim

• Editorial

Indonesia’s KPK’s anti-corruption future is grim

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is an anomaly in Indonesia’s corrupt institutional environment. As the KPK Law 30/2002 produced one of the world’s most effective anti-corruption agencies, critics and state powerholders had duplicitously argued for the KPK to be reinvented to function as a government-friendly ‘watchdog’ focusing on corruption prevention. In late 2019 these arguments […]

Continuing Vietnam’s anti-graft campaign beyond Nguyen Phu Trong

• Editorial

Continuing Vietnam’s anti-graft campaign beyond Nguyen Phu Trong

A high-profile feature of current Vietnamese politics is the anti-corruption drive led by Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). As the anti-graft campaign enters its fifth year, Trong has announced that 10 more grand corruption cases will be put to trial in 2020. But should Trong step down […]

Is the South China Sea at a crossroads?

• Editorial

Is the South China Sea at a crossroads?

The South China Sea remains a focal concern within the international community, grabbing headlines and placed firmly on the agendas of many bilateral and multilateral political and academic summits. While likely to remain relatively stable in 2020, worrying developments and uncertainties are on the rise. Though negotiations over the text of the Code of Conduct […]

Political will need to drive Vietnam’s economy forward

• Editorial

Political will need to drive Vietnam’s economy forward

Identified by The World Bank (WB) as among the top three fastest growing economies in East Asia in 2019, Vietnam’s economy last year again demonstrated its resilience in the face of a falling Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index  (PMI) and dwindling business confidence globally. Compared with 3 per cent growth in world gross domestic product (GDP) […]

How electoral reform will change Malaysia politics

• Editorial

How electoral reform will change Malaysia politics

The victory of the Pakatan Harapan coalition in last year’s Malaysian general elections which saw the first-ever change of government via an electoral process raised widespread expectations for long-suppressed reform. In particular need of attention is the electoral process itself. It is widely accepted that Malaysia’s existing ‘rules of the game’ are not fit for […]

Hobbled Indonesian corruption busters show Jokowi is no corruption buster

• Editorial

Hobbled Indonesian corruption busters show Jokowi is no corruption buster

After he won re-election last April, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo was eager to emphasise the liberating effects of not having to worry about re-election. In his second and final term, the President told the Associated Press (AP) he wouldn’t face the same ‘political burden[s]’ he had in his first. While those words might have […]

RCEP: not merely another free trade agreement

• Editorial

RCEP: not merely another free trade agreement

Asean cooperation arrangements and Apec are important international assets. They contribute significantly to shared prosperity and political security in the Asia Pacific by building pillars for trade liberalisation, investment, the movement of people and — most importantly — political certainty and trust. The political foundations of cooperation arrangements in East Asia and the Pacific were […]

Vietnam agriculture: government will & education needed

• Editorial

Vietnam agriculture: government will & education needed

After profound advances in manufacturing and services most observers now believe that Vietnam is well-positioned to meet its principal Vision 2035 goal of achieving upper middle-income status. But sustained agricultural gains are by no means assured and key agricultural officials recognise this. In 2013, the government introduced an ‘agricultural restructuring’ programme and revised the Law […]

Words hurt: time for Asean leaders to speak up on SCS

• Editorial

Words hurt: time for Asean leaders to speak up on SCS

Government officials and heads-of-state in Asean appears to have a collective aversion to speaking up in public about Chinese transgressions and coercion in the South China Sea (SCS). Such reticence is based on misplaced fears of Chinese repercussions and does a disservice to regional interests, undermines deterrence, and needlessly concedes leverage in negotiations with China […]

Fake news: Sri Lanka loses port over Chinese BRI debt

• Editorial

Fake news: Sri Lanka loses port over Chinese BRI debt

Global media and numerous ‘experts’ routinely assert that Sri Lanka was forced to cede a strategically important port to China after being lured into a debt trap by easy Chinese loans. This story has now become part of the wider narrative of how China is using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve its […]

Friends in need: Asean’s financial safety net stigmatised & shunned

• Editorial

Friends in need: Asean’s financial safety net stigmatised & shunned

Singapore and Indonesia signed a $10 billion Bilateral Swap Agreement (BSA) in October 2018 allowing the two countries to assist each other through US dollar loans during financial stress. The move signals a willingness by Asean countries to play a bigger and more direct role in strengthening the region’s financial stability — but there is […]

Uncoordinated efforts leave Cambodia foreign policy lacking synergy

• Editorial

Uncoordinated efforts leave Cambodia foreign policy lacking synergy

Amid shifting global power dynamics and intense pressure from the West, Cambodia’s foreign policy strategy in the coming years will aim to diversify its external relations, with a focus on South and East Asian countries. But in practice Cambodia still struggles to implement an effective foreign policy, stymied by institutional weaknesses. Without much-needed reform, Cambodia’s […]