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

Putusan Baiq Nuril: MA abaikan produk hukumnya sendiri yang ingin lindungi perempuan di pengadilan [Baiq Nuril verdict: Indonesia's Supreme Court ignores its own rules for protection of women in court]

Choky R. Ramadhan, Dosen Hukum Acara Pidana/ Ketua MaPPI FHUI, Universitas Indonesia; Ninik Rahayu, part time lecturer, Perguruan Tinggi Ilmu Kepolisian


Indonesian art is fresh, energetic and lively. Why do we not see more of it? Despite 30 years of close contact with Indonesia by Australian curators and artists; despite goodwill and a lot of government rhetoric about the "importance of the relationship"; despite so many exchanges and residences and lectures, the nuance is still irredeemably "other".

Alison Carroll, Senior Research Fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

Over a month on in post-election Australia: No mercy for refugees in Indonesia: During his time as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Morrison played a key role in designing harsh border protection policies for Australia. They include his infamous "turn back boats" policies that keep refugees stuck in transit countries like Indonesia. Morrison is known to decorate his office desk with a trophy resembling an asylum-seeker boat that bears the inscription: "I stopped these". Now that Morrison and his Coalition won the election, similar policies will be pursued. With Australia applying deterrence policies, Indonesia might have to step up to ensure protection for refugees transiting in the country.

Wayne Palmer, Associate professor, Binus University; Antje Missbach, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Monash University


Asian Development Bank and Indonesia: Fact Sheet: ADB operations in Indonesia cover financing and knowledge partnerships in priority areas such as developing quality infrastructure, boosting human resources, and improving economic governance.
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

Democratization, National Identity and Indonesia's Foreign Policy: This article explores the existing connections between Indonesia's process of democratization, its evolving national identity, and its foreign policy. It reviews how Indonesia has encouraged democratic values and respect for human rights in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and through other institutional means like the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) and the Bali Process to counter human smuggling and trafficking. Yet, despite its initiatives and some accomplishments, insufficient leadership, resource limitations, and ongoing resistance from other Southeast Asian nations have restrained Indonesia's ability to promote democracy and human rights in the region.

Ralf Emmers
ASAN Institute for Policy Studies


Combating disinformation in Indonesia

Treviliana Eka Putri, Lecturer at Department of International Relations, Researcher at Center for Digital Society, Universitas Gadjah Mada;
Dewa Ayu Diah Angendari, Lecturer at Department of Communication Science; Researcher at Center for Digital Society, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Explaining Indonesia's Silence on the Uyghur Issue: The Indonesian government by and large sees the Uyghur crackdown as a legitimate response to separatism, and it will no more interfere in China's 'domestic affairs' than it would accept Chinese suggestions for how it should deal with Papua. The fact that China is Indonesia's largest trading partner and second largest investor adds to its reluctance to speak out, but economic considerations are not the major factor here.
[17-page PDF document]

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict


Jokowi's Triumph in the 2019 Presidential Election and the Future of Binary Politics

Deasy Simandjuntak, Associate Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute



The right to work can empower refugees in Malaysia: According to the UNHCR, by the end of May 2019, there were 173,730 registered refugees and asylum-seekers from various countries in Malaysia. Of these, 68% were men and 32% women. There were also 44,130 children under the age of 18. With no legal status, refugees are not allowed to work, or access education and affordable healthcare.

Aslam Abd Jalil, PhD candidate, The University of Queensland

George Town Caught in the Crises and Chances that Change Offers: The city's development is inevitable. Its inscription as a World Heritage site may help it resist economic decay, but conserving its heritage in its original form may prove impossible. There is a need to explore alternatives to strike a balance between preserving the past and catering to the needs of the future - which industry will drive the city's development, and how it can be properly managed are issues that need to be addressed.

Lim Sok Swan
Penang Monthly


Handling the Intangibles: Heritage Management in George Town: Tourism numbers have risen over the years - Penang registered a record number of visitors in 2017 - and tourism-related outlets have mushroomed in the inner city. At the same time, George Town has seen the migration of its population to the suburbs, which has led many to lament the gentrification effects of the World Heritage listing. Penang Monthly explores the truth of this, and discovers how heritage management is not just about the buildings.

Jeremy Tan and Julia Tan
Penang Monthly

In Search of a Place to Call Home: Malaysia-born Rohingyas are unique in their hybrid characteristic of combining both Malaysian culture and Rohingya ethnic identity. The Malaysian government does not allocate or limit refugees to specific areas, so the Rohingyas are exposed to the local community, allowing them to embrace Malaysian culture, including food and Malay traditions.

Chan Xin Ying
Penang Monthly

Malaya's Ceylonese Connection: When exactly the Ceylonese first came to Malaya will probably remain unknown, as the British categorised them within the general Indian population. Formally, though, Sri Lankans, referred to as Ceylonese, had been settling in Malaya since the nineteenth century. They, together with the Indians, formed an important human resource for the British Crown Colonies.

Preveena Balakrishnan
Penang Monthly

Things Gain Value as They Disappear: In Malaysia, the most dominant discourse where conservation of heritage is concerned has been about the losing of Malay land, Malay rights and Malay sovereignty. Our whole country is constructed around that fear of instant cultural change, immediate loss of identity, and permanent subjugation if not extinction. Construction has always followed destruction, and vice versa; and winners have always alternated with losers in a cosmic dance through the ages.

Ooi Kee Beng
Penang Monthly

What We Talk About When We Talk About Heritage: Many speak of making it hip, more inclusive, less high-brow. In other words, more relatable to all, since we live in it.

Julia Tan
Penang Monthly


Truce and Tales in New Malaysia: Happy First Anniversary: Old players in a new game, old friends and new enemies (and vice versa), what has really changed in New Malaysia? Do the practices of power meet the democratic agenda announced during the campaign? How can Mahathir, once seen as an authoritarian leader, maintain his legitimacy as a democratic icon?

Sophie Lemiere
ASAN Institute for Policy Studies

The Feisty History of Penang SCBA: Being elite locals who enjoyed the patronage of the Empire, the Straits Chinese proudly distinguished themselves as the King's or Queen's Chinese. Despite their privileged identity, an organised platform to safeguard their rights as British subjects remained non-existent apart from the more commercially inclined Chinese Town Hall and Chinese Chamber of Commerce. It was not until the formation of the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) of Singapore in 1900 that a formal channel for the aspirations of the Straits Chinese was secured in the colonial setting; Melaka's SCBA was established later the same year.

Koay Su Lyn and Pan Yi Chieh
Penang Monthly

Keepers of Heritage: the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) has been a bastion for Penang's cultural and built heritage since 1986. Focus was primarily on the preservation of single units of heritage buildings, but PHT's advocacy role soon evolved because "we realised that buildings without people are like bodies with souls, and so the preservation of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) also came to form a very important aspect in PHT's advocacy campaign," says current president Lim Gaik Siang.

Regina Hoo
Penang Monthly


Opium's Calculus (Part 1: Abacus Beads): Bobby Anderson, in Part One of a three-part series on opium and insurgency in Tonzang, examines some elements of traditional understandings of insurgency, statebuilding and opium.

Bobby Anderson
Tea Circle

Opium's Calculus (Part 2: The Experience of Northern Chin and Tonzang): In Part Two of a three-part series, Bobby Anderson examines the case of Tonzang and its exception to conditions for opium-funded insurgencies in Myanmar, as outlined in Part One.

Bobby Anderson
Tea Circle


Opium's Calculus (Part 3: An Ordinary Place): In the final part of this series, Bobby Anderson elaborates on the realities of opium-growing areas of Chin state, and their divergence from both existing stereotypes and the triage described in Parts One and Two.

Bobby Anderson
Tea Circle

Myanmar's Democratic Backsliding in the Struggle for National Identity and Independence: Democratic backsliding has also prompted some foreign governments to renew economic and political sanctions. As a result, Myanmar's leaders are turning to China for support. What accounts for the regression of Myanmar's politics and what are its implications? We argue that Myanmar's democratic backsliding stems from its unfinished nation-building.

Jonathan T. Chow and Leif-Eric Easley
ASAN Institute for Policy Studies

Asian Development Bank and the Philippines: Fact Sheet: ADB's country partnership strategy for the Philippines focuses on accelerating infrastructure and long-term investments, promoting local economic development, and investing in people.
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

The 2019 Philippine Elections: Consolidating Power in an Eroding Democracy: The 2019 midterm elections further validated the centuries-old state of electoral play - exclusionary, elite-oriented, and costly. Despite the questionable integrity of its elections, Filipinos often troop the polls in huge numbers with an estimated 75-78 percent voter turnout.

Aries Arugay

A Hit and Run in the West Philippine Sea? The recent incident shows very clearly the strategy of China's psychological operations (PSY-OPS). The Department of Defense for the first time dragged this paramilitary force (People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia under Paramilitary Forces) out of the shadows in 2017 in its annual report on Chinese military power. The Pentagon said the maritime militia is used to "enforce maritime claims and advance China's interests in ways that are calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict." In the 2018 report, the department said that the maritime militia ('Yuen Tai Yu' in Chinese) plays a major role in coercive activities to achieve China's political goals without fighting.

Jumel Gabilan Estrañero & Maria Kristina Decena Siuagan
Geopolitical Monitor

TimorTimor-Leste (East Timor)

Asian Development Bank and Timor-Leste: Fact Sheet: ADB's country partnership strategy for Timor-Leste focuses on removing infrastructure bottlenecks and institutional constraints as well as investing in human capital.
[4-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


ASEANASEAN/Southeast Asia

Identity History: Austronesian Asia? The region known as Maritime Southeast Asia may be better defined by terms that acknowledge the culture, history and global prominence
[The title "Empire of the Winds: The Global Role of Asia's Great Archipelago" has been included in ISEAS Library's acquisitions list for August 2019]

Philip Bowring is a journalist who has been based in Asia since 1973.
YaleGlobal Online


The geopolitics of palm oil and deforestation: Palm plantations are reputed to be a major factor of deforestation. However, despite such widespread perceptions, palm plantations are responsible for only 3% of global deforestation. In Indonesia and Malaysia, deforestation peaked decades ago, and was already decreasing before palm oil started to take off. Palm plantations mostly replaced other agricultural uses.

Jean-Marc Roda, Senior scientist, Cirad.


U.S.-Southeast Asia Trade Relations in an Age of Disruption: In October 2018, the CSIS Southeast Asia Program hosted a small, high-level roundtable discussion on U.S.-Southeast Asia trade relations. The roundtable focused on the current state of play, emerging changes in the region's trade architecture, and implications for U.S.-Southeast Asia relations. Participants included former senior trade and economic officials, business leaders, academics, and diplomats. This report summarizes the key findings and conclusions of the roundtable.
[10-page PDF document]

Brian Harding and Kim Mai Tran
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Korea's New Southern Policy: Motivations of 'Peace Cooperation' and Implications for the Korean Peninsula: the NSP aims to elevate Korea's strategic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including its member countries, and with India par on with Korea's four major diplomatic partners: the United States, China, Japan and Russia. It is a novel attempt to put ASEAN countries and India at the center of Korea's foreign policy agenda, which so far has been almost exclusively dominated by the Korean Peninsula and the role of these four major powers.

Lee Jaehyon
ASAN Institute for Policy Studies


ASEAN & UNSCR 1325: Taking the WPS Agenda Forward (Part-III): Akanksha Khullar explores whether a Regional Action Plan might help overcome the challenges to achieving the goals of UNSCR 1325 in the ASEAN region.
[Links to Part 1 and Part 2]

Akanksha Khullar
Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)


Benefits of Integrated Water Governance: Observations From Cambodia
[11-page PDF document]

H.E. Watt Botkosal, Deputy Secretary General, Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01

Labor Migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region - The Case of Cambodian Migrant Workers in Thailand
[9-page PDF document]

Dr. Deth Sok Udom, Rector, Paragon International University and Senior Fellow, CICP
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


Managing Mekong River Waters Through 4IR
[9-page PDF document]

Dr. Vijay Sakhuja, Former Director of National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi and Visiting Senior Fellow, CICP
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


Mekong Region: Indefinite Endgame Among Major Powers
[7-page PDF document]

Kavi Chongkittavorn, Bangkok Post Columnist, Visiting Senior Fellow, CICP & Senior Fellow, ISIS Thailand
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


Mekong River Cooperation: A Case Study of Hydropower Dams in the Sesan, Srepok and Sekong Basins
[13-page PDF document]

Dr. Mak Sithirith, Water Governance Specialist
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


Metamorphosis of Big Power Rivalry in the Mekong Region
[11-page PDF document]

Gwen Robinson, Lead Editor, JGMS, Visitng Senior Fellow, CICP and Senior Fellow, ISIS Thailand
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


One River: In Search of a Common Vision to Save the Mekong
[12-page PDF document]

Mr. Tom Fawthrop, Freelance Journalist and Researcher specializing on Security Energy in the Mekong Region base in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


Too Many Cooks? Biodiversity and Institutional Diversity in the Greater Mekong Subregion
[8-page PDF document]

Dr. Bradley J. Murg, Lead Editor, JGMS and Visiting Senior Fellow, CICP
Journal of Greater Mekong Studies (JGMS) Issue01


AsiaAsia Pacific

How South Korea and Taiwan grew their economies, while Malaysia and Indonesia trailed behind: The small contribution of TFP to Indonesia's economy closely ties to the country's low investment in research and development. In 2017, Indonesia spent less than 0.2% of its GDP on research and development. Meanwhile, Korea spent 4.55% of its GDP on research and development. Taiwan, in 2016 spent 3.16% and Malaysia around 1.3%

Chairil Abdini, Lecturer in Public Policy and Decision Analysis, Universitas Indonesia, Secretary General of the Indonesian Academy of Science (AIPI).


Global Waste Trade Chaos: Rising Environmentalism or Cost-Benefit Analysis?The paper first looks at a brief description of the global waste trade industry. It then discusses some of the contemporary development in the global waste industry particularly on the issues of waste smuggling and China's plastic waste import ban. It describes related experiences in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
[9-page PDF document]

Margareth Sembiring
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)


Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific: Promoting Economic Diversification and Empowerment: This publication explores how international trade is promoting economic empowerment through the increased participation of women and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
[contains link to full report (119-page PDF document) and highlights (4-page PDF document)]

Asian Development Bank


The Links between Climate Change, Disasters, Migration, and Social Resilience in Asia: A Literature Review
[24-page PDF document]

Kayly Ober
Asian Development Bank


The Money Trees: The Role of Corporate Action in the Fight against Deforestation
[26-page PDF document]



The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: Safeguarding Against Economic Slowdowns and Downturns
[239-page PDF document]

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Asia's Future is Now: This paper provides an overview of Asia's role in four areas: trade flows and networks, the corporate ecosystem, technology, and the Asian consumer.
[20-page PDF document]

McKinsey Global Institute (Oliver Tonby, Jonathan Woetzel, Wonsik Choi, Jeongmin Seong, Patti Wang)
McKinsey Global Institute

Global Study on Homicide 2019: Executive Summary: The Global Study on Homicide is a search for solutions. By bringing together the available data, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime seeks to shed light on different phenomena, from lethal gang violence and the role of firearms to links with inequalities and gender-related killings, and in this way support targeted action.
[46-page PDF document]

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Tackling East Asia's New Environmental Challenge - Marine Plastic Pollution: Marine plastic pollution poses a serious threat to the global marine ecosystem, according to a recent UN report. Southeast Asia and the broader East Asia region are facing the toughest challenge in this regard. There has been growing momentum in East Asia and the international community to look for solutions, evidenced by the inclusion of the issue in the agenda of G20 Summit in Japan this year. This policy report argues that the solution should be comprehensive and multi-sectoral - that includes not only reduction in the use of single-use plastic products but also better waste management, technological solutions, and sustainable economic models. The political will and collective action of East Asian countries can have a global impact through multilateral channels like the UN system and G20 Summit.
[15-page PDF document]

Lina Gong, Julius Cesar Imperial Trajano
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

Navigating the Belt and Road Initiative
[44-page PDF report]

Daniel R. Russel and Blake Berger
Asia Society Policy Institute

The Growth Impact of Disasters in Developing Asia
[31-page PDF document]

Suzette Dagli and Benno Ferrarini
Asian Development Bank


Kiel Working Paper: China's Overseas Lending: Compared with China's dominance in world trade, its expanding role in global finance is poorly documented and understood. Over the past decades, China has exported record amounts of capital to the rest of the world. Many of these financial flows are not reported to the IMF, the BIS or the World Bank. "Hidden debts" to China are especially significant for about three dozen developing countries, and distort the risk assessment in both policy surveillance and the market pricing of sovereign debt. We establish the size, destination, and characteristics of China's overseas lending. We identify three key distinguishing features.
[66-page PDF document]

Sebastian Horn, Carmen Reinhart and Christoph Trebesch
Kiel Institute for the World Economy


World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights: The 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects is the twenty-sixth edition of the United Nations
population estimates and projections. It presents population estimates from 1950 to the present for 235 countries or areas, underpinned by analyses of historical demographic trends. This latest assessment considers the results of 1,690 national population censuses conducted between 1950 and 2018, as well as information from vital registration systems and from 2,700 nationally representative sample surveys. The 2019 revision also presents population projections to the year 2100 that reflect a range of plausible outcomes
at the global, regional and country levels.
[46-page PDF document]

SCSEast/South China Sea

Opinion: US-Philippines Relations at the Root of China's SCS Power Play: Arguably, much of the blame falls on Duterte, whose obsession with anti-Americanism has stalled the improvement of bilateral relations with the U.S. For instance, Washington and Manila seemed to be setting aside their grievances by signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in 2014. Apart from strengthening the alliance, EDCA seeks to serve as a check against China's further actions in South China Sea. Per the agreement, the U.S. was allowed to build new bases and deploy troops on a rotational basis. However, the future of EDCA remains unclear due to Duterte's skepticism over the long-term alliance with the United States. To be sure, Duterte significantly scaled back his threats of eliminating the US-Philippines defense treaty after the United States provided crucial support to Philippine troops in their fight against jihadists associated with ISIL in 2017 in Marawi.

Erik Khzmalyan is a geopolitical analyst specializing in U.S. foreign policy, national security, and strategy. He holds an M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.
Geopolitical Monitor



Geopolitics and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Even though the AIIB is of course an economic and financial institution, its reach and nature must also be analyzed from a perspective of grand strategy. Actually, it can be argued that - well beyond the technical realm of business and mercantile concerns - the AIIB responds to China's goal of developing finance as a tool to advance its interests on the global geopolitical chessboard. According to this multidimensional interpretation, the AIIB pursues five parallel objectives.

Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco
Geopolitical Monitor

Global Economy

Global Economic Prospects: Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment
[182-page PDF document]




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