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

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 intolerance can persist in democratic countries: the case of Indonesia

Jimmy Daniel Berlianto Oley, Junior Researcher, SMERU Research Institute;
Yudi Fajar M Wahyu, Senior Researcher, SMERU Research Institute

Is Indonesian democracy still trapped in old-style politics?

Dr Donald Greenlees
University of Melbourne


The future of work is here. Indonesia is optimistic but still cluelessia is optimistic but still clueless

Ika Krismantari

THE ONGOING PROBLEM OF PRO-ISIS CELLS IN INDONESIA: Pro-ISIS cells in Indonesia have been emboldened, not discouraged, by ISIS defeats in the Middle East although their capacity to undertake terrorist attacks remains low. Indonesian counter-terrorism police generally have a good handle on extremist networks and as Internet recruitment has increased, their capacity to detect extremist groups online has also grown. But the proliferation of cells remains cause for concern, because it would take only one to slip through the cracks and do serious damage. In the wake of the Sri Lanka attacks, Indonesia needs to be particularly alert to the increased role of pro-ISIS women; possibly enhanced attraction of churches as targets; and the possibility of someone with international jihad experience entering the country.
[15-page PDF document]

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC)


Either Jokowi or Prabowo: Indonesia's foreign policy to remain the same under new president

Dio Herdiawan Tobing, Senior Fellow at the ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Biggest winners and losers in Indonesia's legislative elections

Ella S. Prihatini, Endeavour scholar, University of Western Australia

Jokowi wins Indonesia's election, polls indicate - what does that mean for human rights?

Asmin Fransiska, Lecturer in Human Rights, Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya; Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir; PhD Candidate in politics at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne; Lailatul Fitriyah, Ph.D Student, World Religions and World Church Program, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame


How Indonesia's election puts global biodiversity at stake with an impending war on palm oil

Bill Laurance, Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate, James Cook University; Penny van Oosterzee, Adjunct Associate Professor James Cook University and University Fellow Charles Darwin University, James Cook University



Synergy among Stakeholders is Key to the Sustainability of Cultural Tourism in Penang: This brief examines Penang's development as a tourist destination by exploring interpretations of what cultural tourism is, and seeing them as representations of the core element of Penang's cultural tourism.
[7-page PDF document]

Pan Yi Chieh
Penang Institute

Relau House - A Sino-Venetian Bungalow That Still Exudes Pride of Its Time and Place: Relau, once an agricultural area in the south-western district of Penang Island, is today a large modern residential estate. Vestiges of its past linger on though, most notably in the almost century-old Relau House. This was built by Chung Thye Phin ( 鄭大平 ), a tin mining and planting tycoon.

Wong Yee Tuan
Penang Monthly


The Value of Loving Care: How do we put a price tag on what a homemaker gives up in terms of time, energy and highly possibly a good career? Penang Monthly investigates.

Braema Mathi
Penang Monthly


Women Artists Are Flourishing: In the February-March (overlapping April) field season, the parade of female artists has been astonishing, maybe not so by numbers, but by the diverse backgrounds and less conventional materials, and the stances and issues not normally taken. To start with, there were the women's only group exhibitions...

Ooi Kok Chuen
Penang Monthly

Women in Numbers: Malaysia's 14th general election saw an unprecedented representation of female-elected politicians. However, the overall percentage is still dismally low, as per Malaysia's electoral history. With only 10.9% of parliamentary candidates and 10.8% of state assembly candidates being women, the desired minimum of 30% women representation in government remained unattainable.

Yeong Pey Jung
Penang Monthly


Future-proofing Malaysia's Health Workforce: This brief explores Malaysia's public sector Human Resources for Health (HRH), argues that the current planning process is competently led by technocrats, and provides several suggestions for new thinking and strategies. While doctors are important, this paper also considers the unsung heroes of Malaysia's public healthcare system - such as nurses, paramedics, and pharmacists - and considers solutions for them.
[7-page PDF document]

Dr Khor Swee Kheng
Penang Institute


More Electoral Reforms Needed for a More Democratic Malaysia: Electoral reforms were one of the many promises made by Pakatan Harapan (PH) to the people of Malaysia during the GE14 campaign period. These reforms continue to be promised after PH wrested Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional on 9th May 2018. The first step towards implementing these reforms took place via the appointment of Tuan Azhar Azizan Harun, a practising lawyer, as the new chairman of the Election Commission (EC). The EC now comprises of a law lecturer, former BERSIH 2.0 committee member, and other professionals - a deviation from having the EC as a 'retirement plan' of former civil servants. With this 'dream team' in place, there is hope in electoral reforms for Malaysia.
[3-page PDF document]

Dineskumar Ragu
Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS)

Economic Impact of Granting Refugees in Malaysia the Right to Work: In this paper, we consider the economic impact of granting refugees in Malaysia the right to work. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
[44-page PDF document]

Laurence Todd, Adli Amirullah, Wan Ya Shin
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)

Reviving the Spirit of Federalism: Decentralisation Policy Options for a New Malaysia: Up to 2008, the spirit of Malaysia's federalism had all but faded, given the country's highly centralised institutions and system of political economy. It was only when five states fell to the then national opposition Pakatan Rakyat that same year that the discussion of federal-state relations, especially within Peninsular Malaysia, began to take on a more interesting tone. Over the following ten-year period up to 2018, states - not just those run by the national opposition - began to escalate their claims on a variety of policy issues, ranging to the demands for oil rights in Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak, and Sabah, to self-determination of companies selected to perform waste management services in Penang and Selangor as opposed to these being selected by the federal government.
[28-page PDF document]

Tricia Yeoh
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)


Myanmar's 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics: In late 2020, Myanmar will hold a general election for more than a thousand seats in its Union, state, and regional legislative bodies. The run-up to the election overlaps with two high-level events-the 21st Century Panglong peace conference and the possible repatriation of as many as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees now in Bangladesh-that increase the risk of social tensions deepening. Divisive campaigning will take attention away from the peace process, just as it did during the 2015 election. Communal, religious, and nationalist claims will be center stage, raising the possibility that tensions could boil over. The military and police, however, are ill prepared to address potential violence. This report evaluates the environment in which all these factors intersect and identifies opportunities for mitigating the risk of conflict.
[32-page PDF document]

Mary Callahan with Myo Zaw Oo
United States Institute of Peace


Why is peace failing in the Philippines?

Lesley Ann Daniels, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow AXA Research Fund, Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals

National Accounts of the Philippines: 1st Quarter 2016 to 1st Quarter 2019
[131-page PDF document]

Philippine Statistics Authority



Singapore's Fake News Act: Lessons for India: Singapore passed the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act (POFMA) 2019 on 8 May 2019. Consisting of nine parts and 62 sections, the Act immediately drew the world's attention and bouquets and brickbats flew in thick and fast. Irrespective of whether the act will deliver or not, the Singapore government, faced with a daunting and complex problem, decided to act.

Ashish Chhibbar
India Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA)



THE THAILAND-U.S. DEFENSE ALLIANCE IN U.S.-INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY: After 200 years of diplomatic relations, the time has come for the United States and Thailand to build upon this strong foundation and chart a new course for their alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. This re-examination has hit roadblocks in recent years, as Thailand grapples with the effects of its ongoing coup and the role of the United States in the region is questioned at home and abroad. However, an opportunity has presented itself in the form of the United States's Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP). Both the United States and Thailand could capitalize on FOIP's call for an updated, comprehensive strategy towards the region.
[9-page PDF document]

Kavi Chongkittavorn
East-West Center

TimorTimor-Leste (East Timor)

Civil Society Brief: Timor-Leste: This brief provides an overview of active local and international civil society organizations in Timor-Leste.
[12-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


ASEANASEAN/Southeast Asia

EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS IN U.S.-JAPAN-SOUTHEAST ASIA RELATIONS: Southeast Asia taps the private sector to help finance its more than $3 trillion infrastructure deficit by promoting public-private partnerships (P3). To facilitate transparent and profitable P3 participation by the private sector, most Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have established P3 institutions and ratified legal reforms. Nevertheless, Southeast Asia's initiatives have not been complemented by reciprocal initiatives and reforms by its major economic partners such as the United States to encourage multinational corporation (MNC) participation in P3.

Darren Mangado
East-West Center

Japanese Infrastructure Investment in Southeast Asia: Japan's investment in the domestic construction industry has fallen to less than half its peak in 1992. Given the country's declining population, Japanese construction companies must go global to remain profitable. To what extent the Japanese government and Japanese companies can contribute to meeting the growing infrastructure needs in the region is unclear as Japanese companies have long been operating primarily in Japan. The Japanese government has in recent years passed a series of new laws that encourage private sector participation in financing, building and operating public infrastructure. Through involvement in such public projects, Japanese companies have developed the skills and technologies to build a variety of infrastructures that are resilient to natural disasters and adaptable to various geographical conditions and social and economic development.
[22-page PDF document]

Tomoo Kikuchi, Sayaka Unzaki
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

THE U.S.-JAPAN ALLIANCE AND ASEAN-CENTRIC SECURITY INSTITUTIONS: VIETNAM'S PERSPECTIVE: ASEAN-centered security institutions have long been criticized for being ineffective, especially in light of challenges from China. Despite these institutions' weaknesses, the United States and Japan have long supported them. Two recent trends have altered the U.S.-Japan alliance: declining support for multilateralism within the Trump administration, and Shinzo Abe's effort to strengthen Japan's security capabilities and extend its presence into the "gray zone." How will these trends affect the future of ASEAN-centered security institutions and regional security more generally?
[2-page PDF document]

Huy Pham Quang
East-West Center


The Fall of Singapore: Answers about Malaysia from the Past

Julia Tan
Penang Monthly


What Do the Recent Elections in Indonesia and Thailand Mean for Democracy in Southeast Asia? Indonesia and Thailand, the two largest economies in Southeast Asia and two pillars of regional diplomacy and cooperation, have moved in opposite directions in recent decades on the democratic spectrum. Thailand was one of the earliest democracies in Southeast Asia, after large protests in the streets of Bangkok in 1992 ended nearly six decades of military rule and ushered in a period of stable democratic rule, culminating in a widely heralded 1997 constitution that appeared to solidify Thailand's democratic transition. Democracy in Indonesia emerged later in the decade after the decades-long authoritarian ruler Suharto stepped down in the wake of the economic turbulence caused by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Inter-Korean Relations in 2018 and Beyond: New Realities, New Challenges
[183-page PDF document]

Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace


AsiaAsia Pacific

Is the Belt and Road Initiative a Chinese Geo-political Strategy? The Belt and Road Initiative is broadly misunderstood. There is an argument, frequently made, that BRI is China's geopolitical strategy, like the Marshall Plan or the New Silk Road Project/Program. However, BRI, in fact, is a strategy for Chinese domestic development as well as an initiative for inclusive globalization and global governance. With the goal to build Community of Shared Future, BRI with the theme of mutual connectivity, aims to embrace peace, security and prosperity globally while at the same time being confronted with some serious challenges. The misreading of BRI stems from a wide range of reasons, especially BRI reflects Chinese He-he (和合) culture going beyond the Western divide and rule culture. BRI is a geo-economical and geo-civilizational rather than a geo-political strategy.

Yiwei Wang & Xuejun Liu
Asian Affairs

Development Effectiveness Report 2018: Private Sector Operations: This report highlights the Asian Development Bank (ADB) private sector operations' development results in 2018 and major contributions to ADB's Strategy 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
[36-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Fintech for Asian SMEs: This book identifies and develops ideas on how to utilize new technologies to promote SME finance. It could encourage financial institutions and investors to develop new credit risk analysis tools, increase credit supply, and encourage sustainable growth for SME sectors. In addition, the book explores the ways policy makers and market participants could maximize the benefits while mitigating potential risks arising from the new digital era. The messages are important for the public and private sectors in Asia.
[215-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

Leveraging Trade for Women's Economic Empowerment in the Pacific: This publication provides insights on how trade can be leveraged to enhance economic opportunities for women in the Pacific.
[80-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Pacific Economic Monitor: May 2019: This publication provides an update of developments in Pacific economies and explores topical policy issues to date.
[52-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Transit-Oriented Development Policies and Station Area Development in Asian Cities: Many metropolitan cities in Asia are planning and implementing extensive investment in mass transit networks and thus are now on the threshold of becoming transit cities or car traffic saturation cities. The promotion of transit-oriented development (TOD) policies will be a key to the progression to transit cities.
[14-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

Many Across the Globe Are Dissatisfied With How Democracy Is Working; Discontent is tied to concerns about the economy, individual rights and out-of-touch elites
[61-page PDF document]

Richard Wike, Laura Silver and Alexandra Castillo
Pew Research Center

2018 Development Effectiveness Review: This publication examines the performance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in achieving the goals of Strategy 2020, one of the institution's long-term planning documents.
[118-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

Basic Statistics 2019: Basic Statistics 2019 presents development indicators for 46 economies in Asia and the Pacific, including Niue as the newest member of the Asian Development Bank. It also includes a selection of economic, environmental, and social indicators used globally to track progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
[6-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Impact Evaluation of Transport Interventions: A Review of the Evidence: This publication reviews 91 impact evaluations of transport interventions in developing countries, summarizes findings on outcomes, identifies evidence gaps, and proposes ways forward.
[110-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank


Strengthening Regional Surveillance and Financial Safety Net Mechanisms in Asia: Workshop Highlights: This report shares highlights from a workshop on regional economic surveillance and financial safety nets in Asia, which was held in Manila on 14 August 2018.
[56-page PDF document]

Asian Development Bank

China's Belt and Road: The new geopolitics of global infrastructure development: Ahead of China's second Belt and Road Summit in late April 2019, Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones convened seven Brookings scholars-Amar Bhattacharya, David Dollar, Rush Doshi, Ryan Hass, Homi Kharas, Mireya Solís, and Jonathan Stromseth-to interrogate popular perceptions of the initiative, as well as to evaluate the future of BRI and its strategic implications.
[26-page PDF document]

Amar Bhattacharya, David Dollar, Rush Doshi, Ryan Hass, Bruce Jones, Homi Kharas, Jennifer Mason, Mireya Solís, and Jonathan Stromseth


The Implications of U.S. Policy Stagnation toward the Arctic Region
[6-page PDF document]

Heather A. Conley and Matthew Melino
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)




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