ISEAS Library Selects

Daily News on the Southeast Asian Region

2 December 2019  (pm) - 3 December 2019  (am)

This is a daily information alert service containing articles and commentaries selected by six ISEAS Library staff from 95 international and regional news sources every weekday morning. These news sources cover Southeast Asia and special topics relevant to the research interest/ direction/ agenda of ISEAS.  If you think your friends and colleagues would find this alert useful, please invite them to subscribe.

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Brunei Darussalam

1 .
Could Britain Really Lose a Military Base in Brunei? Late last week, a report surfaced that Britain risks losing a military base in Brunei following its election results next month... Britain still maintains a strategic military presence in Brunei today in one of the few such arrangements it has globally, and both sides continue to maintain close security ties, with a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation inked back in 2002 including aspects such as visits, exercises, trainings, and education.

2 .
Cambodia's urban goals run into challenge of building Angkor Wat 2.0: CAMBODIA is building both "smart" cities and "liveable" cities under a mishmash of well-meaning plans that aim to attract investment and talent, create new production and service ecosystems, and develop supply chains. There is no shortage of good advice, but funds and a coherent strategy are scarce.

3 .
Cambodia Court Claims 'Adequate Evidence' to Send Kem Sokha to Trial For Treason: The former head of Cambodia's opposition party, Kem Sokha, will have to face trial for treason, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said Monday, despite the easing of restrictions on his house arrest last month and requests by his lawyers to drop his case.

4 .
Chinese money flocks to dollar-based Cambodian economy: At a time when major Asian economies such as China, India, Indonesia and Thailand are struggling with slowdowns, the Cambodian economy remains robust for three main reasons, as seen in the IMF's projection. One is that exports of garments and other products are projected to increase 12% in 2019. Although imports are forecast to expand 16% and raise the current-account deficit to 13% of GDP, that shortfall will be more than offset by foreign direct investments reaching 24% of GDP -- the second contributing factor to the brisk Cambodian economy.

5 .
Int'l Islamic University construction completed in 2020: Jokowi: The work to construct the International Islamic University of Indonesia, as a place of Islamic study, will be completed in 2020, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). "As a National Strategic Project, construction of the campus is expected to be completed by December 2020," Jokowi noted on his official Twitter account as quoted by ANTARA on Monday. The president expects the university to become a place of study and research of Islamic civilization. The government is building a campus, spanning 142.5 hectares of land, in Cimanggis, Depok, West Java in three stages.

6 .
Indonesian government to step up efforts to tackle radicalisation among civil servants: The Indonesian government is stepping up efforts to combat what appears to be growing radicalisation among civil servants, said Vice President Ma'ruf Amin. In a 30-minute interview with CNA, he noted that the affected civil servants were mostly radicalised in college, before they were appointed public officers.

7 .
Singapore-Indonesia ties need to be 'continuously strengthened in every aspect': Vice President Mar'uf Amin: In an exclusive interview with CNA last Thursday (Nov 28), he said potentially destabilising issues in one country, such as terrorism and a weak economy, will end up affecting the other party. "As nearest countries, one country will feel the effect most when another has difficulties, disasters, instability," Mr Amin said in his first international interview after being inaugurated in October.

8 .
212 rallygoers back away from Prabowo, turn to Anies: Sirojudin Abbas, program director for Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), said Anies had long been linked to the 212 rally as the group's main goal had been to ensure Ahok's defeat. As reunion participants came from various Islamic groups across the country, maintaining a good relationship with them would be politically beneficial for Anies, he added.

9 .
Airlangga set to retain Golkar leadership: Airlangga, who is also the coordinating economic minister in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's second-term Cabinet, has claimed to have secured 90 percent support, equal to around 514 of the 559 votes in the congress. For the past few days, he has been visiting various regions to gather support, with candidates required to obtain written statements of support from 30 percent of the party's regency and provincial-level branches.

10 .
Are homeschoolers prone to radicalism? Study highlights Salafism, exclusivity: The researchers said the homeschooling methods followed practices from the Prophet Muhammad's era, regarded by the teaching providers as an exemplary era, when there were no formal schools and mothers were believed to be the first educators at home. These homeschooling methods also focused on tahfidz or memorizing the Quran, while the teachers, including parents and tutors, did not expose the students to other communities and people of other religions.

11 .
Cautious optimism over RI's reforms: Jakarta-based think tank Regional Autonomy Watch (KPPOD) said that such efforts "without deregulation, would be no use" because there are plenty other regulations that say otherwise and that mandate line ministries' licensing power.

12 .
Indonesia's transformed stance toward refugees, asylum seekers: The issue of refugees and asylum seekers traveling to Australia from Indonesia has long been a sensitive aspect of the countries' bilateral relationship. To ameliorate its frustrations, Australia has actively sought to mold Indonesia's foreign and domestic policies on this issue. However under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Indonesia appears to be distancing itself from Australia and devising policy solutions independently.

13 .
Return to IMO poses challenges, opportunities for Indonesia: Indonesia's reelection to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) over the weekend may come as a small victory for the nation's maritime ambitions, but experts have warned that it should be complemented by a robust local industry, especially amid a slowdown in global maritime trade growth.

14 .
Why good women lose elections in Indonesia: During the 2019 elections we and ANU colleagues collaborated with Gadjah Mada University to conduct qualitative research on female candidates' campaigns in 13 locations across Indonesia. We also partnered with Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI) to conduct a nationally-representative survey of 2,200 voters, which measured the sorts of social attitudes we suspected might lie behind women candidates' relative electoral disadvantage.
Sally White and Edward Aspinall
New Mandala, 3 December 2019

15 .
President orders total revamp of state-owned companies: President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has ordered a total revamp of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to improve their management. "I want the management of SOEs to be improved through the total revamp of the existing management," he stated at a discussion with journalists at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday. President Jokowi also does not want a single asset of SOEs to be non-productive. To date, the country has 142 SOEs.

16 .
Indonesia Drops Plan to Establish Own Temasek: New State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir has said he would drop a plan by his predecessor Rini Soemarno to establish a super holding company for state-controlled companies in the mold of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek, and replace it by rearranging the companies into smaller groups with clear core businesses.

17 .
Tame End to Anti-Ahok '212 Movement' Reunion as Anies Urges End to Division: Many in the crowd had wanted to see Rizieq Syihab, the leader of the 212 Movement and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) - one of Indonesia's largest hardline Muslim groups - who had been living in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia for more than two years. In the end, Rizieq did make an appearance, but only on a video screen. He praised the "heartfelt struggle" of Indonesian Muslims three years ago to oust a "tyrant of a leader backed by the central government, major media companies, the General Election Commission, polling agencies and the business entities."

18 .
Indonesian stars Via Vallen and Didi Kempot are keeping Javanese alive in pop culture: In politics, all seven of Indonesia's presidents have had Javanese blood, including the late Sulawesi-born BJ Habibie who was half-Javanese. But how did this happen? How did Javanese, the language of Indonesia's largest ethnic group, stop short of becoming the national language?

19 .
Electoral reform promises to change Malaysian politics: The victory of the Pakatan Harapan coalition in last year's Malaysian general elections - the country's first-ever change of government via an electoral process - raised widespread expectations for long-suppressed reform. One area 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 purpose, offering too many opportunities for governments willing to indulge in electoral malpractice and not enough of the independent checks and balances needed for democracy to thrive. Only a landslide vote for change in the May 2018 elections - on the back of public revulsion at the extent of government corruption - was sufficient to surmount these structural barriers and ensure a peaceful transition of power.
Benjamin Reilly, University of Western Australia
East Asia Forum, 3 December 2019

20 .
Putrajaya kemuka pindaan Perlembagaan, hadkan tempoh jawatan PM [Putrajaya to table constitutional amendment to limit prime minister's tenure]: Pindaan itu bertujuan memasukkan peruntukan tambahan bahawa calon perdana menteri hendaklah seseorang "yang tidak pernah pada bila-bila masa memegang jawatan perdana menteri bagi tempoh dua penggal Parlimen." Syarat itu adalah tambahan kepada syarat sedia ada iaitu seorang ahli Dewan Rakyat "yang pada hemat (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) mendapat kepercayaan majoriti ahli Dewan Rakyat."

Malaysian Insight, 3 December 2019

21 .
Opinion: Is Amanah relevant any more? The role of Amanah was clear in Malaysian politics. Campaign for a moderate and progressive Islam that can be accepted constitutionally and educate the Malay Muslim electorates on the greatness of the Rahmatan lil Alamin concept. Everyone knew that this was going to be an uphill battle the more so that PAS suddenly came into tons of money to place candidates in so many places unprecedented in the party's history.
Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
MySinchew, 3 December 2019

22 .
Demokrasi bukan hanya tugas kerajaan [Democracy is not just a government job]: Selaras Perkara 114 Perlembagaan Persekutuan, SPR merupakan satu badan yang menguruskan proses demokrasi pilihan raya bermula daripada sebelum, semasa dan selepas hari pengundian berlangsung sama ada di peringkat PRU mahupun Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) dan rakyat mahu melihat perubahan terhadapnya perlu direalisasikan segera.

23 .
Malaysia bukan sebuah tamadun [Malaysia is not a civilization]: Tamadun berasal daripada perkataan 'Madinah' kerana kedua-dua mempunyai persamaan tiga huruf iaitu m-d-n. Tamadun terbit daripada perkataan 'madinah'. Apa yang terbayang di minda anda dengan perkataan 'madinah'?

24 .
巫裔领袖对多源流教育的看法 [Malay leaders' views on multicultural education] : 慕加希认同董教总及其他教育组织为国家培育人才的贡献,这也是为什么他会答应出席董总的邀约。要知道, " 董教总 " 对部分人来说,有着 " 极端主义团体 " 的印象,就连首相敦马哈迪在今年 8 月,也公开批评董总是个种族主义的团体,因为该组织每次都谈论华教课题,而非全民课题。在种族与教育课题很容易被炒作的背景下,慕加希莅临独中、为有关华教的研讨会主持开幕,并给予董教总肯定,是相当罕见和值得鼓励的。
练珊恩 .
星洲日報 , 3 December 2019

25 .
Malaysia's Lagging Agriculture Sector: Neglect in favor of industrialization hamstrings an important industry

26 .
A rebuke from Dr M for self-serving PPBM members: Mahathir gave warning to PPBM members to refrain from using the party as a tool to further their own political interests, stressing that they should instead fight for the party as a whole to ensure all would benefit. While he praised the youth and women's wings for their contribution to the party, he added that certain leaders outside those wings were more interested in strengthening their influence in the party.

27 .
In the new Malaysia, no room for the old communist bogey: The prime minister was right when he asked "why must there be so much fuss about bringing back the ashes of communist leader Chin Peng to Malaysia". He noted that "other Communist Party of Malaya leaders such as Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin too had returned to Malaysia without any uproar, and that those who tortured Malaysians in the past - like the Japanese - were forgotten." If truth be told, the furore is all because of the race of the person.

28 .
Mesyuarat MSN sentuh isu sekolah tahfiz [MSN meeting touches on tahfiz school issues]: Menurut MSN dalam satu kenyataan berhubung mesyuarat itu, Dr Wan Azizah menyentuh isu tadbir urus, perundangan, pendaftaran, pemantauan, keselamatan pelajar, kualiti pengajar serta sukatan pendidikan yang perlu diselaras dan melibatkan pelbagai pihak.

29 .
Durian gentrification: don't sniff, it's Malaysia's soft power plan to become Musang King of the world: If the spiky, strong-smelling durian is to be representative of Malaysia's soft power, first it would have to establish a strong brand for the nation internationally... This is Malaysia's fault for it has not tried hard enough to sell its cuisine and agricultural reputation overseas, and it has been underplayed and overshadowed by neighbouring governments' successful global culinary campaigns.
Gaik Cheng Khoo is Director of the University of Nottingham's Asia Research Institute in Malaysia
South China Morning Post, 2 December 2019

30 .
Malaysia flags US-China rivalry and jihadist fighters as key threats in first ever defence white paper: Defence minister Mohamad Sabu told lawmakers in parliament that the other key threats facing the country in the next decade included returning jihadist fighters, tensions surrounding the South China Sea dispute, and cyberterrorism. Tabling the 90-page white paper in the legislature, Mohamad said the document's purpose was to involve ordinary citizens in defence policymaking discussions and flesh out the country's strategic outlook as a "bridging linchpin connecting the Asia-Pacific region with the Indian Ocean".

31 .
Can Myanmar's state-owned banks turn challenges into opportunities? Myanmar's state-owned banks (SOBs) are currently at a crossroads. Following the opening-up of the banking system, the state-owned banks have been pushed to catch up with rapidly-growing private banks, many of which have invested in technology, digitising operations and expanding mobile services.
Diana Del Rosario & Dr Lee Jae Young
Myanmar Times, 2 December 2019

32 .
Mixed Reviews For Aung San Suu Kyi's Plan to Defend Myanmar in Rohingya Genocide Case: Ethnic armed groups - including the Wa, the Mongla, and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) - that have struck peace deals with the government military have issued statements backing Aung San Suu Kyi... But not all ethnic groups are backing the state counselor over the Rohingya genocide case. On Nov. 28, three ethnic armed organizations and their respective political wings, which have not signed the government's nationwide cease-fire pact, issued a statement of support for Gambia's case against Myanmar at the ICJ.

33 .
Myanmar Rights Commission Declines to Conduct Rakhine Abuse Investigation: Myanmar's human rights commission will not investigate alleged abuses committed against civilian detainees in war-ravaged northern Rakhine state, including deaths in custody of the government military, unless the army first finds soldiers guilty of such abuse, two lawmakers who requested probes told RFA's Myanmar Service on Monday.

34 .
As Facebook caves to Singapore censorship, the writing is on the wall: The tech giant's capitulation, while unsurprising, sets an ominous precedent that others would be happy to follow.

35 .
Don't rush promenade: The fight against the city's controversial Chao Phraya Riverside Promenade will intensify later this month when a civil network petitions the Administrative Court for an injunction against the project. Friends of the River (FOR), along with representatives from various agencies, including the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA), will present more evidence opposing this contentious project.

36 .
Elite hide behind phoney shield of 'patriotism': The advent of the latest political campaign against people who chung chart, the unpatriotic lot, or literally people who hate their own country, is thus mystifying.

37 .
2019 breakthrough targets must wait for 2020: There is only one month left of the year and it's safe to say it's been a successful one for Việt Nam with all major socio-economic tasks likely to be achieved. In 2019, the Government defined key tasks focusing on macroeconomic stability, inflation control, and production and trade facilitation to promote growth and boost the economy's competitiveness.

38 .
Security cameras are a rational choice, but are they a solution? Surveillance systems are an understandable choice in an increasingly crime-prone world, but their ability to solve problems that create insecurity is uncertain. In my Master's thesis, I researched the difference in the intention of using child locating devices in Vietnam and Holland. I found that compared to Dutch parents, Vietnamese trust locating devices much more when it comes to ensuring their children's safety while they aren't around.
Why? Apparently, it's because traffic safety and social trust in Vietnam is lower than in Holland. A 2015 global report showed that about 24.5 people out of every 100,000 die in traffic accidents in Vietnam, while the figure is only 3.4 in Holland. Another social trust study by Lars Torpe and Henrik Lolle in 2011 ranked Vietnam at 25th out of 52 countries while Holland was ranked 9th.
ASEAN/Southeast Asia

39 .
ASEAN, Myanmar And The Rakhine Crisis: Two Years On: In 2017 Myanmar established the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine State (UEHRD) to facilitate peacebuilding. Two years on, peace remains elusive. What are the limits and possibilities of what ASEAN Member States can do?

40 .
Southeast Asia's data localisation: Data localisation laws - as they are generally referred to - are laws enacted to ensure data obtained within a country is stored, processed and used locally only and cannot be transferred to another country... Among member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), four countries, namely Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam have data localisation laws. Countries like Thailand and the Philippines have separate data privacy legislation which aren't explicit about data localisation but a broader reading of such laws could see possible application to data localisation.

41 .
Southeast Asia's trans-regional corridor takes shape: The opening of a new bridge between Thailand and Myanmar has pushed Southeast Asia one step closer to the realization of an East-West Economic Corridor, connecting the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. The corridor, which passes through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, is set to reshape the supply chains of the Mekong region, which also includes Cambodia, giving it access to the vast Indian market.
Asia Pacific

42 .
OPINION: China and India's simultaneous slowdowns demand radical change: A pronounced China-India slowdown would place pressure on both countries' political systems. Slower growth means rising unemployment and stagnant incomes, as well as likely further collapses in stressed financial institutions. The wider effect would be felt across Asia too. China's economy is clearly the more important: at around $13.6 trillion, it is five times larger than India's, and more integrated into the global trading system as well.
James Crabtree is an associate professor in practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
Nikkei Asian Review, 3 December 2019

43 .
US vision for global order is vastly different than China's, Trump administration official says: 'For Beijing, international relations is about hierarchy and 'big makes right',' says US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. David Stilwell rejects the idea that Washington is forcing nations in Southeast Asia and elsewhere to choose between competing US and Chinese outlooks
East/South China Sea

44 .
Unity can thwart US designs in S.China Sea: Two US Navy warships, littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords and guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer, trespassed into the waters of the Nansha Islands and the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea on November 20 and 21. The US Navy's planned machinations cannot affect peace and stability in the South China Sea. Washington is using increasing tactics to provoke Beijing in the region. Since the US conducted the first so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea in 2012, the US Navy has been increasing their frequency and scale in this regard.
Chen Zinan
Global Times, 2 December 2019

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) / Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

45 .
Wobbling RCEP Gives Greater Leeway For India-USA Trade Agreement: India opted out of RCEP and now it is Japan, who follows suit. After a long 7 years intensive negotiation among ASEAN 10 + 6 for the world biggest trade block to reign Asia-Pacific region and a challenge to TPP, RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is in tailspin before launching. The reason is China's over-influence in the block.

World Economic Forum

46 .
Davos Reset: New Manifesto Issued for World Economic Forum's 50th Anniversary, Updating the Forum's Guiding Document for the Modern Era: Now on its 50th anniversary, World Economic Forum has updated its guiding document to address the realities of our time - climate change, automation and globalization - while reaffirming its support for a "stakeholder" focused model of capitalism. The new Manifesto will guide the next Forum on Jan. 21- 24, 2020.


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