ISEAS Library Selects
Monthly Journal Articles on the
Southeast Asian Region
Extracted from Internet Sources
August 2019

This issue of Monthly Articles Alert contains two articles  attributed to researchers at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. You can click on their names to go to these articles directly.  

This is an information alert service put together by the ISEAS Library that contains links to commentaries, blog and journal articles extracted from Internet sources covering Southeast Asia and special topics relevant to the research interest/direction/agenda of ISEAS.  

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Brunei Darussalam

Asian Development Bank and Brunei Darussalam: Fact Sheet
[2-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Cambodia and Other Southeast Asian Nations Shouldn't Be Stuck with Western Trash: In order to understand how this incident could have been averted, it is important to discuss how so much trash from Western countries got all the way to Cambodia in the first place. A Cambodian government investigation determined that a Chinese-owned company with local Cambodian shareholders imported the large shipment of plastic trash. But how did Western trash end up in the custody of this company?

Naima Green-Riley
Geopolitical Monitor

Concerns over Chinese Naval Base in Cambodia Simmer: Dr Vijay Sakhuja calls for a more measured and balanced assessment of the concerns over the Koh Kong and Dara Sakor projects in Cambodia, and their possible military use by China.

Vijay Sakhuja
Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)

How Cities Erode Gender Inequality: A New Theory and Evidence from Cambodia
[24-page PDF document]

Alice Evans
Center for International Development at Harvard University


Dua babak yang mesti dilalui Jokowi sebelum benar-benar memindahkan ibu kota ke Kalimantan: Analisis hukum [Two chapters Jokowi must go through before moving the capital to Kalimantan]: Untuk mempertanggungjawabkan penggunaan uang rakyat, pemindahan ibu kota harus berdasarkan dan sesuai hukum. ...Jokowi harus melakukan banyak hal. Pertama, ia harus memastikan ada undang-undang (UU) sebagai landasan hukum untuk pindah. Kedua, pemerintah juga harus mengupayakan perubahan UU terkait letak ibu kota negara.

Ari Wirya Dinata, Constitutional Law Lecturer at Faculty of Law University of Bengkulu, Alumnus Pasca-Sarjana Fak Hukum, Universitas Bengkulu


Three benefits of Indonesia's permanent ban on forest clearance: Five years ago, Indonesia was considered one of the world's worst forest destroyers. But a permanent moratorium on new clearance of primary forest and peatland, recently announced by Presiden Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration, may turn that around. The ban, released under a presidential instruction, may save around 66.2 million hectares of natural forest and peatland, an area larger than France, from disappearing.

Nirarta Samadhi, Indonesia's Director, World Resources Institute

Dari Hong Kong ke Indonesia: Bagaimana aksi tanpa kekerasan bisa mendukung demokrasi [From Hong Kong to Indonesia: how non-violent action can support democracy]: Aksi nir-kekerasan masih menghidupi demokrasi di Indonesia hingga saat ini. Salah satunya adalah aksi Kamisan yang rutin dilakukan selama 12 tahun terakhir di depan Istana Merdeka untuk menuntut penyelesaian kasus pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia (HAM) berat masa lalu. Namun bisa dilihat bahwa kekerasan masih terjadi dalam aksi-aksi nir-kekerasan yang terjadi di Indonesia.

Selma Theofany, Researcher, Setara Institute

Jokowi's victory speech: how his diction reveals his political messages: According to my analysis, the high frequency of the word "we" reflected Jokowi's intention to end the highly polarised political climate during the 2019 election. The word "we" pragmatically has a more positive impact on emotional and social relationships between speakers and listeners. By using the word "we", Jokowi was attempting to reduce any psychological distance with his political opponents. He was also inviting his supporters and Prabowo Subianto's supporters to reunite.

Surahmat, Dosen Jurusan Bahasa dan Sastra Indonesia, Peneliti di Pusat Kajian Budaya Pesisir, Universitas Negeri Semarang


Indonesian Islamists and the Post-Election Protests
[22-page PDF document]

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict

Examining the Growth of Islamic Conservatism in Indonesia: The Case of West Java
[20-page PDF document]

Irman G. Lanti, Akim Ebih, Windy Dermawan
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

How do terrorists fund their activities? Some do it legally: JI was thought to be decimated after leaders such as Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and Umar Patek were arrested, and Noordin Top and Azahari killed. The latest arrest revealed JI was using a palm oil plantation business to fund its terrorist activities. Previously, JI's came mainly from illegal activities, such as through robbery and cybercrime.

Sylvia Laksmi, PhD Candidate , Australian National University


Payment System Innovations and Financial Intermediation: The Case of Indonesia
[34-page PDF document]

Alexander Lubis, Constantinos Alexiou, and Joseph G. Nellis
Asian Development Bank Institute


Jokowi's second term: economic challenges and outlook
[16-page PDF document]

Siwage Dharma Negara
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)



Recognising Malaysian Soft Power after May 9, 2018
[7-page PDF document]

Dr Khor Swee Kheng
Penang Insitute

Cut the Queue: A Basket of Solutions for Malaysian Hospitals
[6-page PDF document]

Dr Khor Swee Kheng
Penang Insitute


A New Dawn For Penang's Industrial Parks? The story of Penang's industrial parks began in the 1970s, when then-Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu embarked on a journey to develop an export-oriented manufacturing sector and a re-zoning of industries. This gave birth to Penang's first FTZ (Free Trade Zone) industrial park.

Julian Tan
Penang Monthly

Are Our SMEs Ready for Smart Solutions? Last October, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry introduced the National Policy on Industry 4.0, or Industry4WRD in short, to transform the Malaysian manufacturing industry and its related services to be smarter, more systematic and resilient.1

Regina Hoo
Penang Monthly


Industrial Parks in Numbers: Penang has over 45 years of industrial experience and almost 300,000 persons employed directly in the manufacturing industries. In tandem with the expansion in industrial development, many industrial parks have been developed to accommodate the manufacturing and support services activities in Penang.

Lee Siu Ming
Penang Monthly

Penang's Eurasians - Too Important to Be Ignored: In the early days of Penang, Eurasians turned the wheels of administration for the new settlement. They arrived in Penang with Captain Francis Light and witnessed the first hoisting of the Union Jack on the island on August 11, 1786 as Light took formal possession, naming the place Prince of Wales Island.

Alexander Fernandez
Penang Monthly

Seri Teratai - Saved from the Ravages of Time and Termites: Commissioned in 1919 for Macalister & Co., Seri Teratai is the official residence of the Chief Minister of Penang. Located on Jalan Macalister and initially known as the State Guest House, the building was aptly renamed Rumah Tetamu after the country's independence. Wong Pow Nee - the state's first chief minister - was the mansion's first long-term tenant, living in the double-storey structure throughout his tenure from 1957 to 1969.

Andrea Filmer
Penang Monthly


Should We Aim for A United Nation? Or Simply A Just State and a Healthy Economy?

Ooi Kee Beng
Penang Monthly


The Deep Legacy of Indian Immigration to the Malay Peninsula: The ties between India and Malaya go back millennia. Silappadikaram, a second-century Tamil epic, highlighted that Tamil merchants were operating from a Malay Peninsula port called Tondi, and they used to barter Indian textiles with spices and jungle products. Pattinappalai, another important work of Tamil literature, also mentions the regular travels of Tamil merchants to the peninsula.

Preveena Balakrishnan
Penang Monthly


The Rise of Government and Pension Payments over the Last 10 Years: This unprecedented rise is primarily due to the previous two governments' generous pay adjustments, and cash perks to government servants; and to a rise in the ranks of the civil service. This was probably done to preserve urban Malay voter support prior to the 12th general election (GE12) in 2008 and post-GE12, to lure them back and retain their support.

Penang Monthly


Realising Blue Economy Benefits in Penang
[10-page PDF document]

Gareth Johnstone and Negin Vaghefi
Penang Institute

Asian Development Bank and Malaysia: Fact Sheet
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

OECD Economic Surveys: Malaysia - Executive Summary, July 2019: The latest OECD Economic Survey of Malaysia discusses how boosting productivity and implementing new structural reforms can help Malaysia move up global value chains and reach its goal of achieving high-income country status by 2024. The Survey projects the economy will remain resilient, with growth just under 5% this year and next, but cautions that trade tensions, geopolitical uncertainties and weaker advanced economies are downside risks.
[8-page PDF document]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)



Women's Participation in Myanmar's Peace Process: For years, women in Myanmar have been powerful advocates for comprehensive peace and good governance, calling for reconciliation and democratic transition; demanding legislations that protect women's rights; and leading civil society initiatives for reform. Yet, as Myanmar chugs forward with its ongoing peace process with the numerous Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAO) operating in the country, women's meaningful inclusion in this mammoth exercise is yet to become substantial and comprehensive.

Akanksha Khullar
Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)


Amending Myanmar's Military-Drafted Constitution: The Prime Agendas and Actors: But, the process is complicated and has the potential to unsettle the brittle civil-military equation in Myanmar, which could in turn trigger massive political instability. That said, it is a pivotal step in the ongoing process of democratic transition that could contribute towards consolidating the nascent multi-party system in Myanmar.

Angshuman Choudhury
Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)

Mapping conditions in Rakhine State
[interactive report]

Elise Thomas, Nathan Ruser & Mali Walker
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)


Talking about China in Myanmar: As a direct neighbour to China, Myanmar plays a strategic role in the "Belt and Road Initiative". In order to make this work in Myanmar's highly fractured society, government needs to be more transparent, and parliamentarians and civil society need a greater say in the planning.

Axel Harneit-Sievers
Heinrich Böll Stiftung

Where Top-Down Meets Bottom-Up: Planning and Budgeting in Myanmar: This study is a companion to the State and Region Governments in Myanmar report, looking in greater detail at how planning and budgeting in Myanmar occurs in practice, including differences among state/regions and sectors. The research draws from new fieldwork carried out in three states over three months in early 2019, which seeks to understand how planning and budgeting decisions are being made in four critical sectors.
[76-page PDF document]

Richard Batcheler
Asia Foundation


Asian Development Bank and Myanmar: Fact Sheet
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


India and the Philippines: Time to Go Beyond the ASEAN Framework
[20-page PDF document]

Rahul Mishra
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)


Road Map for Strengthening Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


The Impact of Typhoons on Economic Activity in the Philippines: Evidence from Nightlight Intensity
[28-page PDF document]

Eric Strobl
Asian Development Bank


The Marawi crisis-urban conflict and information operations: The seizure of Marawi in the southern Philippines by militants linked to Islamic State (IS) and the response to it by Philippine authorities provides useful insights to Australian and other policymakers, with relevance for force structure, concepts of operations and the breadth of activity required to deal effectively with the consequences of an urban seizure.
[35-page PDF report]

Charles Knight and Katja Theodorakis
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)


Paving The Way: Philippine Road Planning Becomes More Connected: Across the globe, many studies have shown how having good road networks contribute significantly to a country's development and economic growth. Roads are crucial in facilitating trade, providing access to basic social services, and enhancing people's mobility. This story describes the efforts that led to the issuance of the new Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Guidelines in November 2017, which established an integrated approach to road planning through the Local Road Network Development Plan.
[7-page PDF document]

Asia Foundation


Asian Development Bank and Thailand: Fact Sheet
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Thailand's Inequality: Myths & Reality of Isan: Thailand's wealthiest people have benefited the most from economic growth, and this has increased their control over financial resources, as well as the amount of land they own. And, today, there is quite clear evidence that inequality has risen in key areas such as education, health, and political participation. Isan, Thailand's Northeast region, is the country's largest and most populous region, and has the lowest per capita income.
[112-page PDF document]

Rattana Lao, Thomas Parks
Asia Foundation

TimorTimor-Leste (East Timor)

Timor-Leste Tourism Barometer 2018 : The 2018 Timor-Leste Tourism Barometer is the first of its kind for Timor-Leste. It was developed as a tool to identify opportunities and constraints of Timor-Leste's tourism sector, providing a situational analysis of tourism supply, demand, partnerships, and market outlook. Designed through wide consultation and participation of public and private stakeholders, the Tourism Barometer is intended to be a living document, allowing Timor-Leste's tourism sector to monitor growth and progress. The Tourism Barometer is designed to be updated and published annually, and shared widely with tourism stakeholders.
[52-page PDF document]

Asia Foundation

ASEANASEAN/Southeast Asia

ASEAN Youth Technology, Skills and the Future of Work: The survey finds that ASEAN youths are highly aware of potential disruption and challenges brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the local labour markets, and they are aware they must constantly upgrade their skills. It also details their skills gap, their future career aspirations and their preferences on skills training. The survey was conducted in partnership with Sea.
[17-page PDF document]

World Economic Forum


AsiaAsia Pacific

Unequal Sequel: China's Belt and Road Initiative: China's motives behind the BRI dovetailed with those of many countries which sought foreign direct investment for new infrastructure. Using the BRI to satisfy their desires enabled China to not only keep its infrastructure-building companies busy and create new markets for Chinese exports, but also extend its political and economic influence. Some have argued that one day such influence could bring about a new "Chinese world order." If that is truly the BRI's aim, then it is an appropriately audacious one for an initiative that Chinese President Xi Jinping once hailed as China's "project of the century."

Felix K. Chang is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Foreign Policy Research Institute

Unequal Sequel: China's Belt and Road Initiative: During the spring of 2019, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) notched up some notable successes. In March, Italy became the first major Western country to sign up as a participant. Then in April, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that his country would proceed with the BRI-backed East Coast Rail Link, a railway project across peninsular Malaysia. His revelation at the BRI's second forum in Beijing reversed his government's earlier statements that it would cancel the project. The two successes were much needed after a year or more of unrelenting headwinds for the BRI.

Felix K. Chang
Foreign Policy Research Institute

2019 Shangri-La Dialogue: The Shadow of China: China's participation was remarkable not just for the level of its delegate, the defence minister General Wei Shenghe, but also for the resolve to hold sway in the region that he so candidly declared. Unfortunately, it was not debate that defined deliberations but the impending pay-back for a "hundred years (since the opium wars) of humiliation" and the probability of a breakdown of the status-quo without an alternative.

Vice Admiral (Retd) Vijay Shankar
Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)

Strategy, Independence, and Governance of State-Owned Enterprises in Asia
[22-page PDF document]

Henrique Schneider
Asian Development Bank Institute

China's New 2019 Defense White Paper: This White Paper was issued on July 22nd in both Chinese and English. Unlike China's previous defense white papers - the most recent of which came out in 2015 and was blandly reassuring to the point of being vacuous - the new White Paper picks up the gauntlet that the U.S. threw down in its 2017 National Security Strategy and in 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both of these documents effectively made China the key objective in strengthening U.S. military forces and single it out as America's primary strategic competitor.
[6-page PDF document]

Anthony H. Cordesman
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)


Revenue Statistics in Asian and Pacific Economies 2019
[139-page report]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Indo-Pacific Visions: Giving Solidarity a Chance: This essay recounts the emergence of various Indo-Pacific concepts in recent years and assesses the different regional frameworks articulated by a range of countries.
[18-page PDF document]

Rory Medcalf
National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

Trafficking in Persons Report: June 2019
[538-page PDF document]

Department of State, United States of America
U.S. Department of State


SCSEast/South China Sea

Washington Sleeps While China Makes Waves in South China Sea: On the surface, US policymakers see an approaching geopolitical storm, much like a fast-moving typhoon, stretching across the South China Sea. The soft diplomacy measures undertaken by China and Vietnam at the start of the year, including joint coast guard patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin and the two Vietnam Navy warships attending a fleet review in China to mark the seventieth anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy, are now being eclipsed by Beijing's appetite and strong-armed claim on hydrocarbon resources in the South China Sea. While China continues to protest the US Navy's legitimate freedom of navigation operations in the SCS, the White House offers only muted views about Beijing's troubling actions.

James Borton is an independent foreign correspondent and a newly appointed non-resident fellow of Tufts University Science Diplomacy Center.
Geopolitical Monitor


SpecialAsian Development Bank

Rating Report: Moody's: This document provides an overview of Moody's Investor Service credit rating of the Asian Development Bank, and reflects the bank's healthy financial profile, conservative financial policies, and strong shareholders' support.

Asian Development Bank




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