News

Southeast Asian view of China’s ‘not so neighbourly’ rise
Dr Munir Majid in International Politics: 'Nowhere in the world has the rise of China had such a massive economic impact as it has in Southeast Asia. Yet over the last few years attitudes towards China in many countries in the region have moved from being positive and benign towards becoming suspicious, perplexed and negative.'

BBC News - Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trial hears closing statements
The UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia has started hearing closing statements, in what officials say is a crucial phase of the trial.

Mari Pangestu the best candidate to lead the WTO
Over the next few weeks, the 159 ambassadors to the WTO in Geneva will assemble to elect a new director-general for the period 2013–17, starting 1 September 2013.

Reducing Malaysia’s debt burden
Malaysia came out of the ‘Great Recession’ relatively little the worse for wear. One hangover, however, is a burden of debt higher than typical emerging markets, in both the public and private sectors.

Asia and the proper governance of international institutions
Improving the governance of international institutions is now a core objective in reform of the global order, following the global financial crisis.

Family Planning spurs development in Asia
Some five to six decades ago, between 1951 and 1965, a rather remarkable chain of events took place in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East: countries began to use family planning programs to address rapid population growth, and many subsequently experienced extraordinary economic growth.

Myanmar's communal violence - when praying is not enough

Thailand bans documentary about Thai-Cambodia boundary dispute
Nontawat Numbenchapol's film about border row and 2011 red-shirt protests deemed 'threat to national security'

US rebalance: potential and limits in Southeast Asia
A central theme of US policy towards Asia during 2012 has been the strengthening of America's military deployments, political relationships and economic partnerships in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam convicts 14 activists of 'anti-state plot'
A court in Vietnam has convicted 14 political activists of plotting to overthrow the communist state.

Can ASEAN Economic Community be a reality by 2015
Dr Majid answers: 'They (ASEAN) should think of the other tracks of community building of integration, which could be described as the bottom up and the functional approach to the integrative efforts overall, not just economic.'

ASEAN: regional stabiliser in Southeast and East Asia?
On 8 August 2012 ASEAN celebrated its 45th year. As a mature regional economic organisation, ASEAN can act as a potential stabiliser in Southeast and East Asia. ASEAN’s internal developments affect developments in the East Asian region, so the association stands to consolidate this influence by promoting the resolution of the South China Sea issue and supporting Myanmar’s transition to democracy and economic development

The defence of narrow seas in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian states are trying to build up toward an unprecedented level of naval modernisation as tensions in the South China Sea test their abilities to find diplomatic solutions to their territorial disputes.

Malaysian politics. No time like tomorrow
Another budget, more cash handouts and more dithering over an election date

The Philippines’ southern insurgency. It could be peace
After 16 years of on-and-off negotiations, the Philippines government and the main Muslim rebel group in the southern region of Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, agreed to the outlines of a peace deal on October 6th.

Cambodia former king Norodom Sihanouk dies aged 89
Norodom Sihanouk, the former Cambodian king who was a key figure through decades of upheaval, has died.

BURMA: The real culprits behind the violence in Rakhine state
US Ambassador to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, has finally spoken out on the ethno-religious riots between Rohingyas and Buddhist people in the Rakhine state....But the problem with shifting the new focus onto popular racism is that it lets the real culprits - the generals and their troops - off the hook.

Burma abolishes media censorship
Burma has abolished pre-publication censorship of the country's media, the information ministry has announced.

ASEAN in crisis: Divided we stagger
On its 45th birthday newspapers and blogs are at last paying ASEAN plenty of attention, though marked more by despair than praise. Some even question its very survival.

The South China Sea: Troubled waters
Long a zone of contention among a number of littoral states, the South China Sea is fast becoming the focus of one of the most serious bilateral disputes between America and China. LONG a zone of contention among a number of littoral states, the South China Sea is fast becoming the focus of one of the most serious bilateral disputes between America and China.

Vietnam’s anti-corruption measures fall short
It should be no surprise that corruption can sometimes occur alongside economic growth in authoritarian regimes.But Vietnam is proving a special case, with the level of corruption even getting worse in the midst of an economic crisis

Global economic slowdown and political uncertainty in Malaysia
The current state of the global economy presents multiple challenges to Malaysia. While the effects will first be felt within the economic sphere, they will also have a significant impact on domestic politics. This will add to the prevailing state of political uncertainty.

No place like home. Myanmar's persecuted Rohingyas
August 1st saw the publication of a report that raises serious questions about whether, in the fundamental brutality of its rulers, Myanmar has changed much at all.

Back in the UK at last, Aung San Suu Kyi warns off unethical investors
Huge crowds greeted Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she returned to her old home in Oxford.

Philippines and China Ease Tensions in Rift at Sea
Chinese fishing boats near the disputed Scarborough Shoal off the Philippine coast were heading back to port on Monday after Philippine vessels withdrew from the same area in an easing of tensions in the South China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Burma unrest: UN body says 90,000 displaced by violence
Around 90,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the west of Burma, according to a United Nations body.

Timor-Leste: the parliamentary campaign begins
In Timor-Leste campaigning has begun for the parliamentary elections scheduled for 7 July. Under the country’s semi-presidential system, where executive power is overwhelmingly weighted toward the prime minister, this is the most critical of the three elections scheduled for 2012.

Religious intolerance and law reform challenges in Indonesia
One of the biggest challenges facing the Indonesian government is how to deal with religious intolerance, as sporadic acts of inter-religious violence continue to occur despite the introduction of democracy more than 13 years ago.

Five principles for a new security order in the Asia Pacific
The creation and fate of a new regional security order in the Asia Pacific need to be understood within the wider context of the shifting global balance of power.

Brave New World. Myanmar's Future in Asia
A reformed Myanmar could have a big effect on its neighbours

Third Witness to Massacre in Philippines Is Murdered
A key witness in the deadliest election-related violence in Philippines history has been killed, in what appeared to be an attempt to eliminate or intimidate those who could testify in court against those accused of perpetrating the 2009 massacre, a prosecutor said.

A critical look at the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard
The official ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Scorecard, published by the ASEAN Secretariat in March 2012, stipulated that ASEAN had achieved 67.5 per cent of its targets for the 2008–11 period. While the fourth pillar of the blueprint, ‘integration into the global economy’, was the best performer at 85.7 per cent, the first pillar on ‘single market and production base’ was the worst performer, with 65.9 per cent over the same period.

Suu Kyi warns against 'reckless optimism' on Burma reforms
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned against ''reckless optimism'' over reforms in the country.

Monetary integration in ASEAN+3: the next steps
On 3 May 2012, on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Annual Meeting in Manila, ASEAN+3 took a number of significant steps to further deepen monetary integration in the region.

Burma warns power shortages protesters to 'be lawful'
Burma's reformist military-backed government has warned people protesting against power shortages that they must stay within the law.

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi to travel to forum in Thailand
Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to attend the World Economic Forum in Bangkok next week, leaving Burma for the first time in 24 years.

Malaysian Opposition Leader Denies Protest Charges
The Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges relating to his involvement last month in a protest that drew thousands of demonstrators into the streets calling for free and fair elections.

Transnational crime in the Asian Century
Across the Asian region, crime follows opportunity and is fostered by globalisation, economic growth, conflict and social change. Weak and erratic governance also multiplies the risk of transnational crime by offering potential safe havens for criminals.

No easy fix for insurgency in Thailand’s deep south
The recent bombings in the tourist city of Hat Yai in southern Thailand reflect deep-seated and enduring institutional problems that defy easy categorisation.

Dispute Between China and Philippines Over Island Becomes More Heated
China escalated its quarrel with the Philippines over an island in the South China Sea, halting Philippine bananas at customs for longer inspections and starting an official media campaign that suggested that any claims on the island represented an infringement of Chinese sovereignty.

Malaysia introduces minimum wage for the first time
Malaysia has introduced a minimum wage for the first time in a move to support low income households and amid speculation that the government may call elections soon.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time, in the latest stage of his landmark visit to Burma.

Myanmar Opposition Yields in Oath Dispute
The party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi backed down on Monday in a dispute over Myanmar’s oath of office, agreeing to enter Parliament for the first time and reviving hopes for the country’s reconciliation program.

Cambodia hosts the first ASEAN summit for 2012
Earlier this April, the leaders of the 10 ASEAN states came together in Phnom Penh for the first of two annual summits for 2012.

Burma leader Thein Sein in Japan to talk investment
Burmese President Thein Sein has arrived in Japan for a five-day visit expected to focus on financial aid and debt relief. His visit, the first to Japan by a Burmese leader in 28 years, comes as EU nations prepare to ease sanctions.

The ASEAN Civil Society Conference: a ‘people-oriented’ ASEAN?
The first of two ASEAN Civil Society Conferences to be held under Cambodia’s chairmanship took place in late March, alongside the first ASEAN Summit for 2012. The Cambodian government’s intervention in this event set a new benchmark for measures employed by ASEAN governments to oust civil society participation from official discussions. This event presented numerous challenges to Southeast Asian civil society groups, and provides insight into the current state of ASEAN-civil society relations.

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Europe
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is planning to travel abroad for the first time in 24 years, officials say. The Norwegian foreign ministry said she was expected to visit Norway in June.

Malaysia pushes for greater ASEAN integration
One of Malaysia’s leading banks, the CIMB Group, released a statement last February in which its chief executive, Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, stated that ‘we have to see ASEAN as a region and produce ASEAN champions’. The statement is significant because CIMB is one of a handful of banks seeking to extend its operations across ASEAN countries. The statement has added significance because Malaysia has a growing services sector which it hopes will help drive the country’s future growth.

Burma poll: Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD sweeps by-elections
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party has won a landslide victory in by-elections, local election officials have confirmed. With partial results announced, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won at least 40 of the 45 seats being contested. Ms Suu Kyi said she hoped the polls marked the start of a new era in Burma.

ASEAN Secretariat needs to play more effective role
THE ASEAN Secretariat needs to play a stronger role within the region in order to be an effective driver of change, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid told The Brunei Times in a recent interview.

LSE IDEAS Event: Ten Reasons why India will not and should not become a Superpower
High annual growth rates in excess of 8%, a rising middle class, and spectacular successes in the software sector have led to much talk, within and outside India, of the country becoming a superpower. It is said that just as the 20th century belonged to the United Kingdom and the United States, the 21st century will belong to China and India. This lecture will argue that there remain deep and pervasive fault-lines within Indian society. Crony capitalism, the collapse of public health systems, a rising Maoist insurgency, rampant environmental degradation--all call into serious doubt India's superpower aspirations. Rather than seek to expand India's influence abroad, the political class and intellectual elite would do well to focus on the fissures within.

Myanmar: Mixing Hope with Realism
Dr. Zarni from the Human Security and Civil Society Unit of the Department of International Development LSE was sceptical and pessimistic about the political changes taking place in Myanmar which have given rise to hope the regime there is embarked …

Asia - Where will it be in the 21st Century?
Video: Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Munir Majid, who heads the Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme, spoke at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association Australia on Tuesday 6 July. In his keynote address on “Asia- Where Will It Be In the 21st Century?” at the University of Adelaide, Dr. Munir identified various qualifications to this being the Asian century, including the geographical extent of Asia that will be going forward, the relative backwardness of Asia in global finance and the lack of intellectual control of the agenda on many strategic international issues.

The Edge: Abuse of power by the media
As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak flew in for his official visit in July, a storm was raging in Britain over the phone-hacking scandal involving the News of the World owned by Rupert Murdoch's powerful News Corp.

The Edge: Singapore catches up with Malaysia
The heading may seem surprising,given how Singapore gives Malaysia a drubbing on so many scores. But in terms of participatory democracy,Singapore has lagged behind Malaysia,even if we are by no means perfect.

The Edge: Politics of human capital
At the New York Stock Exchange this month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak underlined at an investment seminar that the first of 10 reasons to invest in Malaysia was its richly sourced human capital.

"China and the US in Southeast Asia" LSE IDEAS High Level Seminar in Kuala Lumpur
High level seminar on China and the U.S. in Southeast Asia, 1st June 2011, Kuala Lumpur. LSE IDEAS co-director Professor Arne Westad will be the lead speaker in the roundtable discussion to be chaired by Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid will be speaking on Thursday 26th May at the London Business School
The Head of Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme Visiting Senior Fellow Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid will be speaking on Thursday 26th May at the London Business School on Evolving Asia: Growth, Challenges and Opportunities.

The Edge: Muslims must help themselves more
At the 4th World Congress of Muslim philanthropists in Dubai last month,it was humbling to learn of the many commendable charitable activities taking place in Muslim communities financed by Muslim money...

Malaysia’s Position as the Global Economy Moves East
IDEAS Senior Fellow Professor Danny Quah analyses how the shifting global economy is impacting South East Asia, and Malaysia in particular.

The Edge: When to get overexcited, when not.
IDEAS Senior Visiting Fellow, Dr Munir Majid reflects on the recent intolerant behaviour of Muslims towards the celebration of Valentines Day. He urges for fellow Malaysians to strive toward the 'Movement of Moderates' seeking national integration and harmony.

Mutual Lessons for Malaysia and the UK
The Edge, 31 Jan 2011: What lessons can Malaysia and the UK learn from each other? Dr Munir Majid shares his views.

The Edge: Malaysian Leaders and Test of History
Which Malaysian leader will stand proud and write a political memoir that is of power and substance? Dr Munir Majid shares his views in the latest edition of The Edge.

The Issue of Regionalism in Asia
1 December 2010: Visiting Senior Fellow Dr. Munir Majid today delivered a lecture on "The Issue of Regionalism in Asia" at the Third International Conference on International Studies in Kuala Lumpur.

The Edge: Obama, the US, China and ASEAN
How will ASEAN survive under the increasing presence of the US and China? Dr Munir Majid believes it is time for ASEAN to undertake a strategic assessment of its capability and raise its game.

Dr Munir Majid at the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investor Seminar
Visiting Senior Fellow Dr. Munir Majid moderated the Ministers’ Panel at the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investor Seminar on 30 November 2010 in Kuala Lumpur.

The Edge: Importance of leverage in world affairs
1 November 2010: Citing neighbouring Singapore as an example, Dr Munir Majid expresses the need for Malaysia to emulate the global affairs efforts of the city-state, perhaps even leveraging on their success.

Indonesia in Mourning...but optimism remains
Latest situation analysis by PhD candidate of the Southeast Asia Programme Hadianto Wirajuda, on the disasters happening in Indonesia including the Wasior flood, Merapi eruption and Mentawai tsunami.

'Humanitarianism, Praxis and Refugees in Malaysia'
SEAP Research Fellow, Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman will be speaking at the University of Oxford - Department of International Development's RSC Public Seminar Series on 20 October 2010.

Situation Analysis: The Real Story in the South China Sea
Emmanuel Yujuico: The US Secretary of State's intervention at the Asia Regional Forum that caused such a stir in the Western media is not all that it seemed.

What's the real story behind the South China Sea dispute?
A new strategic update by LSE IDEAS: Dr Emmanuel Yujuico gives us an insight on the geopolitical issues between ASEAN, China and the US over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

Move away from the Politics of Race
In this latest article in The Edge, Dr Munir Majid addresses the issue of race in Malaysia and how the nation should embrace and benefit from multi-racialism rather than letting it become a divisive factor.

Getting Digital Statecraft Right | Foreign Affairs
Emmanuel Yujuico with Betsy Gelb: As the history of past U.S. efforts to use technology to bring progress to other nations reveals, the United States should focus its current digital diplomacy efforts on small wins, not transformative victories.

Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman at the EUROSEAS Conference 2010
SEAP Research Fellow Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman will attend the 2010 European Association for South-East Asian Studies (Euroseas) conference at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, 26-28 August. She will present a paper titled 'Democratisation in Southeast Asia: Indonesia Through a Gramscian Lens Darkly' on a special panel focused on Indonesian Democracy in Comparative Perspective. EUROSEAS sets itself the task of enhancing the position of Southeast Asian Studies in Europe. The Association stimulates collaboration between the various national institutions concerned with Southeast Asian Studies in order to encourage more interdisciplinary and international research. EUROSEAS will also encourage inter-regional research within Southeast Asia itself.

The Edge: Asia's Key Strategic Imperatives
Whether or not this will be the Asian century depends on how Asia progresses from the economic shift that has taken place in the global economy to managing the key strategic issues in international relations which that shift portends. Dr Munir Majid emphasizes on three such issues: intellectual vitality; greater role in global finance; and leadership in its own integration.

Asia - Where Will It Be in the 21st Century?
Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Munir Majid, who heads the Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme, spoke at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association Australia on Tuesday 6 July. In his keynote address on “Asia- Where Will It Be In the 21st Century?” at the University of Adelaide, Dr. Munir identified various qualifications to this being the Asian century, including the geographical extent of Asia that will be going forward, the relative backwardness of Asia in global finance and the lack of intellectual control of the agenda on many strategic international issues.

The Edge: Malaysia's Quest for Talent
Senior Visiting Fellow, Dr Munir Majid explores the reasons why Malaysia is not quite successful at attracting or retaining quality, cutting edge people.

The Edge Malaysia: What about subsidies?
07 June 2010: Could continuing with subsidies bring Malaysia to a threshold of financial disaster? Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid compares the financial systems and situations with European nations such as Greece and the UK.

The EU debate - ASEAN, the new EU?
Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Munir Majid, Head of the Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme, spoke for the motion "ASEAN should become the next and improved EU" in a Doha-style debate organized by the European delegation to Malaysia on 18 May 2010. The result of the voting by the audience was a 158 to 158 tie.

The Edge: "Najib's Remit: Reset and Reform"
Latest article in The Edge, Malaysia: Senior Visiting Fellow, Dr Munir Majid shares his reviews and thoughts on Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's second year in office.

New Report: Democratisation & New Voter Mobilisation in Southeast Asia
This new report features extracts from papers presented at a workshop held earlier this year. There is evidence of a vibrant phenomenon in the democratic process in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand which makes full use of the offerings of ICT (information and communication technology) while also employing the more traditional means of garnering political support.

The Edge - Malaysia Must Not Lose Its Way
IDEAS Senior Visiting Fellow and regular contributor to The Edge Malaysia, Dr Munir Majid analyses Malaysia's economic position based on the report from the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) on the New Economic Model (NEM) for Malaysia.

The Edge - The Opposition Hobbles Along
Latest article on The Edge by Dr Munir Majid: Far from the promise of March 2008, the opposition is hobbling in the opposite direction into what looks like the sunset. Pakatan Rakyat has shown serious signs that it will fall apart, while the centrifugal PKR is imploding.

Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman speaks on 'Refugees in Malaysia' at Asian Institute, University of Toronto
March 31, 2010: Malaysia presents a notably curious mixture of celebratory and censorious preoccupations with its refugees, or ‘illegal migrants’, as they are termed under the country’s Immigration Act. Dr Hedman explores the social space and political dynamics that shape the 'practical' interventions in the lives of refugees and other Others in contemporary Malaysia.

New Grant from the Association for Southeast Asian Studies UK
Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman, one of the Programme's research fellow, has recently secured a grant from the British Academy-sponsored Research Committee of the Association for Southeast Asian Studies UK (ASEASUK). The grant was awarded in support of a research project titled 'Improving the Lives of (Other) Others: NGOs and Refugees in Malaysia.' This project forms part of Dr Hedman's larger research programme on refuge and governmentality, migration and citizenship, which has also enjoyed generous support by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.

The Edge, Malaysia, March 2010: Malaysia, Never a Dull Moment
Dr Munir Majid reviews the latest series of political issues and their impact on Malaysia, on his regular 'My Say' column on The Edge Malaysia.

Global Financial Crisis: The Way Ahead
Southeast Asia International Affairs Senior Visiting Fellow Dr. Munir Majid spoke on 10 August at the World Capital Markets Symposium organized by Malaysia's Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur. The theme of the Symposium was "Global Financial Crisis – the way ahead" and the panel discussion focused on "Reshaping the world economy." Speakers included Paul Krugman (Nobel laureate, Professor of Economics, Princeton University and a New York Times columnist), Laura D'Andrea Tyson (Professor Haas School of Business and Economic Advisor to President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton) and Raghuram Rajan (Professor of Finance, University of Chicago, former IMF Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to the Indian Prime Minister)

Special Report -Climate Change:Is Southeast Asia Up to the Challenge?
Southeast Asia will be the worst affected among the regions of the world by the ravages of climate change, which could cost the region twice as much as the global average by 2100. This is among the key findings of the ADB (Asian Development Bank) regional study on the economics of climate change which estimates that the total damage is equivalent to losing 6.7 per cent of GDP each year by the beginning of the next century.

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