ISEAS Library Selects

Daily News on the Southeast Asian Region

6 December 2019  (pm) - 9 December 2019  (am)

This issue of Daily News Alert includes the following commentaries and citations attributed to researchers at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. You can click on their names to go to these articles directly.
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.

The Library usually releases the Daily News Alert around 3pm. If you have not been receiving our Daily News Alert in your inbox, your email system could be treating this alert as spam. You may add "" and "" to Safe Senders List (white list) through your email platform. The detailed self-help steps are available on our Library FAQ webpage
As part of the Library's ongoing efforts to make this reading experience more convenient for users, you can click on any of the links below to directly access the subject of your immediate interest.
Country Studies
Southeast Asia Countries
Brunei Darussalam
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
To view the full articles, please click on the hyperlink.  For those that require passwords (usually assigned to a particular PC in the Library) due to subscription restrictions imposed, please feel free to visit the Library during its  operating hours  
The Library hopes to continue providing timely and relevant information that will meet your research needs. We appreciate and value your feedback on our selection. Simply reply to this email or use our  online feedback form .   If you do not wish to receive our Daily News Alert, please click here   to unsubscribe. 

1 .
What's Next for Kem Sokha's Trial in Cambodia? The most probable outcome is, indeed, that Kem Sokha will stand trial and be convicted, but then will be swiftly handed a royal pardon... It is even possible that the government will move to prosecute Kem Sokha but hold out the option of a pardon in a quid-pro-quo with the European Union: if the EU keeps Cambodia in the EBA scheme, it will free him; if EBA status is withdrawn, he will remain jailed.

2 .
Editorial: Cambodia's political outlook for 2020: Constant, robust reform on the agenda: Constant and robust reform is the most important source of legitimacy and stability and, more importantly for the ruling CPP, to maintain its power base. To win the support and heart of the people, the CPP-led government must deliver reform results and fairly distribute the fruits of growth. From now, it needs to focus more on the quality of growth in addition to the quantity of growth.


3 .
Business must improve integrity in antigraft drive: The substance of the warnings of the police chief and attorney general against extortion by their members can be a starting point to follow up with proactive steps, including in the business community, who either individually or collectively, as the KPK data show, are often part of the web of corruption and targets of extortion.
Heru Prasetyo. Cofounder of Indonesia Business Links and former country managing director of Accenture Indonesia
Jakarta Post, 9 December 2019

4 .
Editorial: Good governance matters: Erick has won praise for streamlining the bureaucracy within his ministry, but instilling good corporate governance at state companies should top his agenda if he really means sweeping reforms. Too long have SOEs enjoyed privileges from the government and have had to return the favor as evident in the rampant practice of SOEs becoming cash cows of government officials or politicians.

5 .
Meneropong Ekonomi 2020 [Observations on the 2020 economy]: Pemerintah dan Bank Indonesia (BI) relatif berhasil dalam mengendalikan inflasi. Pemerintah pun cukup berhasil dalam menjaga daya beli masyarakat, khususnya kelompok masyarakat ke bawah, sehingga pertumbuhan konsumsi rumah tangga (RT) masih terjaga. Tingginya jumlah kelompok masyarakat kelas menengah juga menjadi penopang penting dalam menjaga pertumbuhan konsumsi RT.
Sunarsip, Ekonom dan Akademisi
Republika, 9 December 2019

6 .
Polemik Pencabutan Materi Khilafah-Jihad Kurikulum Madrasah [Polemic on the withdrawal of khilafah-jihad material from madrasah curriculum]: Ketua Umum DPP Persatuan Guru Madrasah Indonesia (PGMI) Syamsuddin termasuk dalam golongan yang menolak rencana itu. Syamsuddin menilai, jika ingin menangkal paham-paham radikal, caranya bukan penghapusan materi secara total. Sebab, jika hal itu dilakukan, menurut dia, akan menutupi sejarah yang pernah terjadi dalam peradaban Islam.

7 .
Indonesia must get future-ready: The quickly evolving landscape and potential requirements on the country's skilled workforce is becoming a major concern. Indonesia, ASEAN's largest economy, could be running out of time to equip its people with the necessary skills, attitudes and knowledge to stay competitive.
Said Irandoust
ASEAN Post, 8 December 2019

8 .
Jokowi says no to another term: While initially keeping quiet on the subject, last Monday the media quoted Jokowi as saying that Indonesia's lawmakers should stop attempting to amend the 1945 Constitution and instead focus their attention on fighting "external pressures" and improving the economy. In a Twitter post, the president made his opposition to the idea of extending the term limit of the presidency as clear as day. "My position is clear: I disagree with the suggestion to extend the presidential term limit to three periods. This will only cause problems for me," he said.

9 .
Controversial Criminal Code revision made legislative priority again: The latest draft of the KUHP revision, a copy of which was seen by The Jakarta Post, still includes 14 controversial articles that had sparked the protests, including articles to restore a ban on insulting the President that had been repealed by the Constitutional Court, as well as stipulations on morality that criminalize, among other things, consensual sex by unmarried people, cohabitation and the promotion of contraception.

10 .
Indonesia-India Agree on Aceh-Andaman Connectivity Development: Indonesia and India have agreed on a plan of action to develop the connectivity between Aceh - Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the first joint task force meeting held in Banda Aceh on December 7. The action plan has covered six areas of cooperation namely trade and investment, infrastructure development in Sabang, connectivity development, marine and fishery, tourism and exchange of culture, science and technology, acting Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah said in a statement here on Sunday.

11 .
Will Indonesia wind the clock back to the New Order? Joko Widodo begins his second term contemplating the legacy he will bequeath as Indonesia's seventh president and with precious little time to do it. His inauguration on 20 October marked the start of what, according to the current constitution, is a final five-year term. In reality, he probably has no more than three years before the electoral cycle overtakes his administration, leaving him in lame-duck territory.
Donald Greenlees
Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 7 December 2019

12 .
Indonesia's democratic paradox: Indonesia's 2019 elections confirmed both the country's status as a competitive electoral democracy and the trend of decreasing democratic quality. In this article, we investigate this seemingly paradoxical pattern by highlighting four political arenas directly associated with the elections... In analysing these themes, we argue that while the co-existence of Indonesia's competitive elections with illiberal trends appears contradictory, the two are in fact interrelated.
New Mandala, 7 December 2019

13 .
Jokowi solidifies his position through Golkar leadership election: Jokowi wanted Airlangga to keep hold of the Golkar leadership, analysts say. The senior minister is seen as more loyal to the President, who remains a political outsider despite being a card-carrying member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the nation's largest party, with which he has had disagreements over several key political issues.

14 .
Public lack faith in Jokowi's ability to solve past human rights abuses: Survey: The highest skepticism occurred when it came to the kidnapping of prodemocracy activists between 1997 and 1998, with around 65.5 percent of respondents saying they did not believe the cases could be resolved. Some 50.3 percent of respondents doubted that the government could resolve the 1965 tragedy ─ which saw the killing of hundreds of thousands of members and sympathizers of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI)


15 .
Digital tax hurts Malaysians, not FB or Google: Unfortunately, the digital tax will not hurt FB and Google even though it will earn the government some revenue. This is because the tax is not paid by these tech giants. It will be paid by Malaysian consumers. FB and Google will only be tax collection agents for the Inland Revenue Board. In the case of FB and Google, their principal revenue is advertising, so, if a Malaysian advertiser used to pay, let's say, RM100,000 for a campaign, it now has to pay a 6% digital service tax that these social media platforms will collect. Similarly, a Malaysian who subscribes to Netflix or Spotify will now have to pay an extra 6% on top of the subscription fee.

16 .
In victory, Anwar shows magnanimity: ...taking action against Azmin and his group of 23 leaders is harder than it looks, said analysts. "Anwar won't sack them for now. Perhaps he can suspend their positions for refusing to follow party instructions. "But a three-year suspension, for instance, would be a big blow to their careers," said Universiti Malaya Malay studies lecturer Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi.

Malaysian Insight, 9 December 2019

17 .
Umno shakes off GE14 loss, raring to claw back power: This year, leaders and delegates firmly stated what they want from Umno - for the party to build up its machinery and membership, and solidify its pact with PAS. The Barisan Nasional lynchpin explicitly rejected back-room deals to form a government with Pakatan Harapan members, and committed itself to winning the 15th general election on its own merits.

Malaysian Insight, 9 December 2019

18 .
Kerajaan PH kuat jika parti komponen stabil [The PH Government will be strong if the component party is stable]: Mereka menyifatkan Kongres Nasional PKR di Dewan Pusat Dagangan Antarabangsa (MITC), Ayer Keroh, Melaka sebagai pentas drama politik paling panas pada tahun ini.

19 .
Tun M dan abu mayat Chin Peng [Tun M and Chin Peng's ashes]: Menurut Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dalam blognya pada 2013, Chin Peng tidak pernah memohon untuk pulang ke Malaysia, justeru tidak sewajarnya abu mayat beliau dibawa pulang.

20 .
Mahathir to look into claims of 'hidden state' in M'sian civil service aimed at sabotaging govt: Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday (Dec 8) he will look into allegations of the existence of a 'deep state' within the civil service aimed at sabotaging the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. He said, in a Bernama report on Sunday, that if there was merit to such claims, the government would be able to handle and contain the problem. "I don't know if such a thing is taking place but if a 'hidden state' exists, I think we can contain it, no problem.

21 .
社论:马国公正党两派之争激化 [Factional rivalry in Malaysia's PKR intensifies]: 安华和阿兹敏在全国代表大会上公开决裂,公正党分裂的可能性加大。阿兹敏在全国代表大会开幕仪式上暗呛安华,公正党不是靠一个人创建的。一山不能容二虎,未来阿兹敏有可能带着一班支持者出走,加入现有政党或另组新党,如果掌握 50 席的公正党正式分裂,它将失去马国国会最大党的地位。

22 .
Fit for royalty: Malaysian Queen passionate about reviving Pahang handwoven fabric: The weavers were making Tenun Pahang, a fabric unique to the east coast state and one that holds a special place in the heart of Malaysian Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah. Tenun is the Malay word for weave.

23 .
60% of manifesto promises carried out, says Guan Eng: Lim said the people should give the government time to resolve the country's financial problems and stabilise the economy. "Reforms take time. After 60 years of rule by the previous government it's impossible to make changes in three or four years. We need to reassure the people that we have not forgotten the promises we've made to them" , Guan Eng said when opening the Federal Territories DAP convention.

24 .
Sabah PPBM sets claim to contesting Kimanis by-election: Sabah PPBM today announced its intention to contest in the forthcoming Kimanis by-election and asked that Pakatan Harapan national leaders give it a shot. State PPBM liaison committee secretary Ronald Kiandee said Sabah PPBM felt it should contest in the by-election as the party's Kimanis division had been very active on the ground since PPBM spread its wings to Sabah in April.

25 .
Berhati-hati cadangan gabung FGV [Be careful on the decision to merge FGV]: Pada penghujung pemerintahan Barisan Nasional (BN), nilai saham FGV jatuh merudum daripada harga terbitan RM4.55 seunit pada tahun 2012 kepada RM1.61 pada 8 Mei 2018.

26 .
Dakwah di medan kewangan [Preaching in the financial field]: Kita sangat beruntung kerana sebagai rakyat Malaysia, kita sebenarnya mempunyai banyak pilihan dalam dunia kewangan Islam, namun masih ada ruang dakwah kerana bukan semua masyarakat Islam menggunakan produk kewangan Islam walaupun diberi pilihan.

27 .
Timbang penyatuan untuk perkukuh industri pembinaan kapal: Anthony [Consider the merge to strengthen the shipbuilding industry: Anthony]: "Penggabungan dan pengambilalihan sepatutnya berlaku secara semula jadi, kami (kerajaan) tidak mengambil tindakan atau keputusan untuk memaksanya. Kami mengambil pendekatan secara manual," kata Anthony kepada Bernama dalam temu bual baru-baru ini.

28 .
PKR's Anwar-Azmin power struggle deepens, threatening future of Malaysia's ruling party: The party's worsening internal politicking was motivated by political gain and distracted from the goal of serving the public, said Harris Zainul, a researcher at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia... For the party to recover from both internal strife and poor public perception, key PKR members would "need to understand that their current state of party politics is undermining the coherence and stability of the wider coalition", Harris said.

29 .
安华的恶梦剧场 [Theatre of Anwar's nightmares]: 希望联盟去年推翻国阵政府实现变天,许多人都寄望马来西亚能走向更光明的未来,没想到在落实选前诺言的过程中,重当首相的马哈迪连忽悠的话都懒得编,多次表示选前没想过可以执政,所以开出了难以兑现的承诺。马哈迪所在的土著团结党,也不管盟党的反对,胜选后便积极吸纳巫统败将,努力壮大自己。土团党本就是巫统的裂变体,选后积极拉拢巫统党员,使得土团党更加巫统化;最近又积极参与马来人尊严大会,不断推动种族主义议程。

30 .
Lessons from Malaysia's Tanjung Piai by-election: Most observers have concluded that the Tanjung Piai by-election result is a ringing endorsement of the alliance between UMNO and Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS). But this is not quite true. For decades, PAS has been weak in Johor where the PAS candidate for Tanjung Piai received only 6.6 per cent of the vote, making PAS's contribution to BN's vote share in the by-election barely more than 4 per cent. Johor continues to be an UMNO stronghold and the victory came down to the formidability of UMNO's electoral machinery.
Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman and Prashant Waikar, NTU
East Asia Forum, 7 December 2019

31 .
Goodbye, Vision 2020: While it is uncertain whether Mahathir will continue with his Vision 2020, he has launched a new initiative called the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030). SPV 2030 is an effort to make Malaysia a sustainably developed country with fair distribution of economy and equitable growth at all levels of income, regions and supply chains by 2030. It looks like a rehash of Vision 2020, but is shared prosperity achievable? SPV 2030 may turn out to be just another feel-good marketing policy which will not solve the growing discontent over share of the economic pie under Pakatan Harapan. For East Malaysians, shared prosperity means giving back what is rightfully theirs under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

32 .
PNS bantu tingkat industri francais tempatan [PNS helped to improve the local franchise industry]: Ketua Pegawai Operasi (Sokongan Perniagaan) PNS, Azlina Juliani Abd Jalil berkata, bertepatan dengan program Bizfrancais@Kelantan, ia menandakan satu lagi inisiatif pihaknya dalam bentuk kerjasama bersama rakan strategik untuk menjana pertumbuhan ekonomi seterusnya mewujudkan lebih banyak peluang pekerjaan dan keusahawanan terutamanya bidang francais, khususnya di negeri ini.

33 .
本国穆斯林为何仇视犹太人 [Why are Malaysian Muslims anti-Semitic]? 马来西亚的外交政策从不承认以色列到反对犹太人,始于 1980 年代的马哈迪政权。早在他还是副首相之时,就曾于 1981 1 月在沙地阿拉伯的一场演讲中呼吁 " 以武力从犹太人手中夺回巴勒斯坦人的土地 " ;两年以后更发表 "" 犹太人和以色列垄断国际媒体 " 的言论。

Malaysian Insight, 6 December 2019

34 .
Opinion: The chicken game: There aren't many options for Azmin. If he wants to set up a new party, he will have to do everything from scratch. Given his abated popularity and lack of a strong grassroots base, it will not be easy for any new political party to survive, in view of the already saturated political market now.
MySinchew, 6 December 2019

35 .
Curb healthcare costs: WHILE news that more than 10,600 new permanent posts have been approved for the Health Ministry brings cheer to Malaysians seeking treatment at government hospitals and clinics, we must ask ourselves what could we all do as responsible citizens to curb our "exploding" healthcare costs. While bosses at the Health Ministry could pat themselves on the back for successfully securing these extra jobs and bringing smiles to job-seekers, we could well understand the headache generated at the Finance Ministry which has to cough up billions more to pay for this.

36 .
Opinion: Can the SPV bridge the poverty gap? The New Economic Policy (NEP) was supposed to overcome these weaknesses over the last 50 years since the NEP was introduced in 1970, but we have sadly not fully realised our national aspirations. Why have we been less successful? It's mainly because, in implementing the NEP, we executed our economic growth and anti-poverty policies on mostly race-based considerations. Although we aimed for the eradication of poverty - regardless of race, this vital principle was neglected gradually over time.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is chairman of the Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies
Sun Daily, 4 December 2019

37 .
Dec 4, 1974 - a turning point: THIS date was a turning point for higher education in Malaysia. Dec 4 remains a dark spot in the history of education because it could be directly linked to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971. The UUCA was tightened to curtail student activism following the Baling incident in December 1974 where thousands of university students of all races gathered in Baling, Kedah, to show solidarity with rubber tappers struggling to earn a living after the decline of rubber prices.
Dzulkifli Abduk Razak
Sun Daily, 3 December 2019


38 .
Thailand delays deporting family of Rakhine insurgent leader: Thailand will delay the deportation of the wife and children of the top commander of the Arakan Army insurgent group that is fighting Myanmar's army while authorities carry out a full investigation, Thai officials said on Sunday. Hnin Zar Phyu, 38, the wife of Major General Tun Myat Naing, 41, their 11-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son were arrested in northern Thailand last Wednesday and charged with illegal entry after Myanmar revoked their passports.

39 .
Grassroots fear stoked by Chinese-funded port and SEZ in Myanmar's Rakhine: Myanmar has declared Rakhine state, associated by many worldwide with the military's 2017 bloody crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, open for business but locals fear they are being left out as new rules restrict traditional practises.

40 .
Thousands in Myanmar rally behind Suu Kyi ahead of Hague court date: ...domestically "The Lady" remains revered, and the resolve of her supporters has only hardened in the lead-up to the ICJ hearing scheduled for December 10-12.

41 .
Myanmar leader departs for The Hague in ICJ case: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has left for The Hague, Netherlands, on Sunday, to defend Myanmar against Gambia's case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention. Gambia's case stemmed from the Tatmadaw's (military's) massive crackdown in northern Rakhine State in 2017 that forced over 700,000 Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. The international community accused Myanmar of perpetrating systematic abuses against the Muslim minority, including murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities.

42 .
Is China dictating Myanmar's vision for its future - fact or hysteria? When the original criticism claimed that China was deliberately destabilizing the northern parts of Myanmar currently marred by civil unrest did not undermine China's BRI, the criticism has now shifted to questions as to who is developing Myanmar's future vision. It is ironic that claims around this civil unrest and Rohingya issue led to a reduction in western investment and tourism in Myanmar as USA led sanctions took effect.

43 .
Over 50% of Myanmar to have access to electricity by December: More than 50 percent of the whole country will have access to electricity by December this year, and efforts are being made to further develop power supply sector as a budget of over K600 billion has been approved for the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, said chief engineer Thura Aung Bo from the Rural Electrification Programme.

44 .
Bangladesh: Rohingya Rights Group's Office Padlocked, Power Lines Snapped: A Rohingya rights group involved in documenting alleged atrocities suffered by refugees who fled violence in Myanmar closed its headquarters in Bangladesh after authorities shut down electric service for undisclosed reasons, a senior leader of the group said Friday... Ayas said he could not explain what led to the closure, but acknowledged that his group had been under pressure since it helped organize an August protest rally attended by an estimated 200,000 people at the refugee camp.

45 .
Refugees in Myanmar's Shan State Fear Losing Untended Land to China Projects: Seng Tu, an IDP living in the Kutkai refugee camp and a member of the IDP farmland committee, told RFA's Myanmar Service that fellow refugees are very concerned and want a freeze on the Chinese projects. "The government is planning projects like reservoirs or agricultural zones on our land without our knowledge," he said. Nang Sai, a resident of the Namtu camp and a member of the IDP farmland committee, said that IDPs cannot simply return home.

46 .
Three areas where Myanmar can democratise security: The government and economic institutions in Myanmar were under the tight grip of the armed forces during nearly 50 years of military rule. Despite ongoing unrest and violence in many parts of the country that have rightly grabbed international attention, as of 2019, limited positive trends towards a more accountable security and justice sector can be seen, and Saferworld's latest report looks at opportunities to broaden democratic and public oversight.


47 .
With candor and with courage: "The recent uncovering of the massive fraud perpetrated against the public health insurance system proves that corruption is pervasive," thundered President Duterte in his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22 this year. "Huge amounts of medical funds were released to cover padded medical claims and imaginary treatment of ghost patients. I am grossly disappointed."

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 December 2019


48 .
研究员辛克莱博士: 淡米尔人早在 700 年前 或已在新加坡留下足迹 [Dr Sinclair: Tamils already in Singapore 700 years ago]: 尤索夫伊萨东南亚研究院前客座研究员伊恩 · 辛克莱博士解读岩石文字内容,发现其中一句 "kesariva" 很有可能是 "parakesarivarman" 的一部分,即公元 11 世纪至 13 世纪南印度淡米尔朱罗王朝,某些王者使用的称号。

49 .
Deep tunnelling works for Cross Island Line will be tough but environment should still be priority: Experts: Building the Cross Island Line tunnel 70m below ground - the height of a 25-storey public housing block - comes with added challenges such as higher pressure from the soil, increased construction costs and a higher risk to worker safety, experts said. Though the deeper dig will not be easy, experts believe that Singapore has the skills and experience with previous underground projects to pull off this engineering feat, they added.


50 .
Bananas sell out in our monkey house: A banana that is worth an eight-digit figure? To most people, that is insane and unbelievable. But to the opposition parties, especially Pheu Thai and Future Forward, the outrageously-priced banana has become a subject of investigation. Banana was a term first used by Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, the muscleman of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, for handling the small parties which joined the government coalition. He was quoted to have said that, in order to tame the monkeys, he had to feed them with bananas occasionally.

51 .
Education needs change: The reaction of policymakers to the results of the international 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) examinations has shown that it is not only the Thai education system that needs change. Released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last week, the results show that Thai students underperform in reading, mathematics and science compared to most countries participating in the evaluation.

52 .
How Christianity consolidated royalist, Buddhist "Thainess": The relationship between Christmas-in its hyper-materialistic, non-confessional shape-and Bangkok's enchanted capitalism is not insignificant. On one level, it symbolically encapsulates the history of Christianity in Thailand as a scarcely acknowledged force for the spread of Western modernity. Perhaps less intuitively, Christianity has also operated as a force supporting the consolidation of royalist Thai ethno-nationalism.

53 .
The Price of Recycling Old Laptops: Toxic Fumes in Thailand's Lungs: The e-waste industry is booming in Southeast Asia, frightening residents worried for their health. Despite a ban on imports, Thailand is a center of the business.


54 .
HCM City could become fintech hub: experts: Lam Nguyen Hai Long, chairman of the HCM City Computer Association, said: "There are eight reasons HCM City can become the country's fintech hub. "It is now the driving force of the national economy. The city has a large number of software and technology firms, hi-tech parks and technology incubators. It is also the place for fintech companies to start up.

55 .
Vietnam struggles to meet car localization target: Vietnam's 20-year auto industry is still far away from meeting its localization target to better compete with regional competitors.

56 .
Why are so many Vietnamese risking their lives with human traffickers to reach the UK? "We try to do some research on the returnees in Vietnam, because they are more willing to speak," Barber says. "We have seen in the sending areas of Vietnam some development, there is remittance money, mostly from the UK." According to the World Bank, overseas workers sent nearly US$16 billion in remittances to Vietnam last year - a rise of 130 per cent over the past decade.

ASEANASEAN/Southeast Asia

57 .
South Korea As A Middle Power For ASEAN : Recent challenges in its relations with major powers, the growing importance of Southeast Asia, and South Korea's middle power aspirations provide much context for the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit last week in Busan. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK ties, it was the biggest international conference hosted by South Korea under the Moon Jae-in government. While it may not have the size and heft of the great powers, Seoul possesses several advantages that make it a good fit for the 10-member bloc eager to deepen and diversify its partners. Hence, as it implements its New Southern Policy, ASEAN is expected to rank high in Seoul's foreign policy priorities.

58 .
Why Facebook and Google must do more in Southeast Asia to combat fake news: The tech giants should take down more disinformation and make it less lucrative to produce it. Meanwhile, credible media outlets need the funds to counter disinformation, and populations the tools to recognise it.
[Link to the 7-page ISEAS Perspective, "Combating Fake News in Southeast Asia"]

59 .
How Italy Is Deepening Its Relationship With ASEAN: A series of initiatives organized by prominent members of Italy's elite has developed new links with ASEAN states.

60 .
Southeast Asia leaps ahead in high-tech financial services: Growth in e-money transactions in Indonesia is among the fastest in the world. E-money, including e-money cards, was issued 257 million times as of the end of September, according to figures from the country's central bank. That is roughly a fivefold increase from the end of 2016. For comparison, banks have issued around 170 million ATM cards in total.

61 .
Southeast Asia's modern-day plague: In an e-mail correspondence with The ASEAN Post, Serina Abdul Rahman, Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute, stated that "ASEAN nations have distinct and different ways of managing their forests - independent of ASEAN as an organisation. Most manage their forests through a forestry department - often at the expense of indigenous folk who might not have the paperwork to lay claim to their ancestral land."

62 .
Vietnam aims to boost ASEAN consensus as chairman: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, also head of Vietnam's ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM), speaks to Vietnam News Agency about the country's ASEAN chairmanship role in 2020.

AsiaAsia Pacific

63 .
India and Australia: Reciprocity, mutuality, and promise: Similar to the IES (India Economic Strategy), we need publicly available, industry-focused economic engagement strategies with China and Indonesia, even though we've proceeded down the FTA route. Where is the blueprint for business engagement with these countries? We now have one with India, and India for the first time will have a blueprint for economic engagement with another nation.
Interpreter, 9 December 2019

SCSEast/South China Sea

64 .
Why Indonesia and Hong Kong must resolve issues faced by domestic workers: Sooner or later, as the relationship between the two increases and expands, Indonesia and Hong Kong will realise that issues such as the treatment of foreign workers represent an obstacle to the improvement of their partnership and they will acknowledge that more robust and serious efforts need to be taken - including being more transparent about them.
Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat, Ramadha Valentine, Dimas Permadi
South China Morning Post, 8 December 2019

65 .
A Shockingly One-Sided Report To The US Congress On The South China Sea Issues: The US Congressional Research Service (CRS) is Congress's public policy think tank providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate. In its own words, its research is supposed to be "objective" and "free of built-in bias." But this is certainly not the case with its recent Report entitled "U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South and East China Seas: Background and Issues for Congress." Indeed it is riddled with misunderstandings, misrepresentations of fact and just plain bias. First of all, the Report is based on a false fundamental premise. It asserts that "a key element of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II is the principle that force or coercion should not be used as a means of settling disputes between countries."


66 .
BRICS Summit Results Indicate Increase In Union's Potential In World Politics

Global Economy

67 .
The US and China beware: trade war tariffs are a double-edged sword: Moreover, any attempts to further hike punitive tariffs would devolve into a mutually destructive cycle of retaliation, and eventually drag the US and China into a full-blown trade war. Such a scenario would lead to the decoupling of the world's two largest economies and a disruptive shake-up of the global supply chain, which would create a long-term threat not only to global prosperity, but also to world peace.


The info alert is sent to subscribers in the afternoon of Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays). After preliminary selection and collation cut-off around noon, the Library will proceed with the final selection and formatting, which typically will take about 2 hours, before its release around 3 pm or, in the event of special issues being sent, 4 pm. If you have not been receiving past issues regularly, you may want to check your email configuration that may have blocked the delivery.

You may also like to view the immediate past two weeks' issues via the ISEAS Library webpage:

All Back issues of info alert are available at ISEAS Library.

Best effort has been made to ensure the external links provided are valid as of the collation/published date. However, it is still possible that the host servers to the news/articles may be unavailable due to heavy internet traffic or other administrative and technical reasons.
We welcome your suggestions to help us improve the quality of the service. Please take a moment to give us your feedback via the  online feedback form.