COMMENTARIES

The Death of a King

Terence Chong

The passing of King Bhumibol's, a figure of stability, is marked by grief and uncertainty over the economic and political state of the country. The newly crowned King Rama X's actions will set the tone for the monarchy to be above the political squalor or be tainted by it.

Vietnam, ASEAN and the ‘Consensus Dilemma’

Le Hong Hiep

The ASEAN consensus principle constrains Vietnam's efforts to forge a common position among the ASEAN member states on the South China Sea disputes. However, Vietnam and some ASEAN partners can work together to come up with ad hoc mechanisms to address urgent security issues.

Is Malaysia Really out of the Middle Income Trap?

Francis E. Hutchinson

Using international benchmarks for per capita income, Malaysia has declared itself to be out of the Middle Income Trap. A more accurate method would be to base the performance benchmarks on the transition towards higher value-added activities with efficient methods of production, highly-skilled workforce, deeper research capabilities, and efficient business environments.

Bombings in South Thailand

Puangthong R. Pawakapan

While the Thai military government blamed the bomb blasts to the red-shirt conflict, incoming evidence suggests that Muslim separatist movements are involved. The bombings underscore the fact that the military government has failed to address the ethnic-religious conflict and the presence of Asian-based Islamic State (IS) networks in the south.

Duterte’s Aquino Legacies

Malcolm Cook

The ruling by the Arbitration Tribunal on the South China Sea and the U.S.-Philippine Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement are two foreign policy legacies left by the Aquino administration. They will be stumbling blocks to the Duterte administration if it seeks to revise its foreign policy with China and the US.

Myanmar Forum 2016: Key Takeaways

Moe Thuzar

The Myanmar Forum 2016 highlighted the imperatives for the NLD government to restore trust and create conditions that are conducive to doing business in Myanmar. The newly-elected parliament need to repeal and revise outdated laws and develop policies relevant to the country's current needs.

Duterte, Jokowi and ASEAN

Malcolm Cook

The political ascensions of Jokowi and Duterte is a significant challenge to ASEAN unity and centrality. As political outsiders with minimal international experience, their foreign policies are nationalistic and unilateral - focusing more on supporting the administration's domestic infrastructure and nation-building agenda.