Malaysia’s failure to build an efficient and functioning public transport system has a price tag: a huge fuel subsidy bill, sizable accumulated public debts and a high level of household debts partly caused by car loans. Policymakers should think out of the box and consider subsidising commuters to take public transport.
This Long Read argues that under the current Joko Widodo presidency, the Shi’as have suffered less harassment and intimidation from the Sunni majority than under previous governments.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting has bagged modest achievements in past years. But it will take a lot more to assert ASEAN’s central role in a region where external powers have grabbed the initiative in forming minilaterals outside the ASEAN ecosystem.
Thailand has a developed Internet and digital infrastructure which has helped many Thais tide through the privations of Covid-19. But more can be done to extend such services to more Thais, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The controversy caused by warnings to Malaysia’s Muslims not to participate in a Japanese-inspired summer festival raises important questions about how Malaysia can sustain its multicultural character against the rising tide of Islamisation.
The recent Indonesian Cabinet reshuffle has seen President Jokowi prioritise political consolidation of power ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.
Recent indications of increased cyberbullying of female Muslim celebrities by vigilante commentators suggest a need for governments and authorities to be more proactive in encouraging moderation in online forums. Failure to control such hostility could lead to serious repercussions on the affected individuals.
The Chinese Communist Party’s outreach to political parties in Southeast Asia, regardless of ideology, underscores the pragmatism in President Xi Jinping’s plan for regional influence.
Cambodia’s 2022 Defence White Paper reiterates longstanding priorities of border security, counterterrorism and domestic stability like its predecessors, but contains an unprecedented focus on cyber defence and ambitious modernisation goals.
Before Southeast Asia embraces wholesale the advent of the ‘Metaverse’, it is a matter of urgency for the authorities to address the current shortfalls in the protection of their citizens’ personal data.
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