Southeast Asian Affairs

Published annually, the Southeast Asian Affairs reports significant trends and developments in the Southeast Asian region. Southeast Asian Affairs provides analyses of political, strategic, economic, and social developments.

Articles from January 2008

ASEAN AT FORTY: A Balance Sheet
In the year 2007, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached its fortieth year of existence. It had been founded on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.As ASEAN evolved over those forty years,...
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM: Making a Concerted Effort
It has been a very busy and auspicious 2007 for Brunei Darussalam. All strata of society appeared united in their combined effort to transform Brunei Darussalam into a more successful and developed model of a Malay Islamic state. Economic and social...
CAMBODIA: A Decade after the Coup
The year 2007 began with a controversy that threatened the credibility of the already fragile Khmer Rouge tribunal and ended with the high-profile arrests of surviving senior Khmer Rouge leaders - Noun Chea, Ieng Sary, his wife Ieng Thirith, and Khieu...
"DEVELOPMENTAL" STATES AND ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE SUB-NATIONAL LEVEL: The Case of Penang
IntroductionWhen electronics manufacturers go to Malaysia, they do not stop in the national capital, Kuala Lumpur, but fly directly to production sites in a distant province, Penang. This small state, near Thailand, with a population of some 1.5 million,...
India's Geopolitics and Southeast Asian Security
IntroductionAs the weakest of the major powers in Asia, India is understandably the least consequential for the ordering of Southeast Asian security. Nevertheless, India's importance for security politics of Southeast Asia is beginning to grow, if only...
INDONESIAN STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES: The Challenge of Reform
The Indonesian Government has been struggling to find ways to manage its more than one hundred state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Only in his last administration did the New Order long-time leader Soeharto realize that there must be a concerted strategy...
INDONESIA'S YEAR OF LIVING NORMALLY: Taking the Long View on Indonesia's Progress
Indonesia's Year of Living NormallyIf, as Christopher Koch famously observed, 1964 was Indonesia's year of living dangerously, 2007 might well be described as Indonesia's year of living normally.1 This would scarcely warrant remarking on if Indonesia...
Introduction
Economic growth in Southeast Asia was estimated at 6.1 per cent year on year compared with 6 per cent in 2006. This was due to better performance in Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia while Vietnam sustained its impressive performance of 2006. Further,...
LAOS: At the Crossroads
IntroductionThere was no diversion in 2007 from the policy directions set down by the Eighth Congress of the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) in March 2006. The Lao People's Democratic Republic will remain a one-party state with old-style,...
MALAYSIA IN 2007: Abdullah Administration under Siege
In the March 2004 general elections, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi won an overwhelming mandate from Malaysian voters and his soaring popularity was confirmed in an opinion poll conducted among peninsular voters in November 2004 when 91 per cent of those...
MYANMAR IN 2007: Growing Pressure for Change but the Regime Remains Obdurate
As Myanmar entered its twentieth year of direct military rule, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) once more spurned its critics and opponents at home and abroad. Facing in September the largest organized anti-government demonstrations in...
RESPONDING TO STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMMES OF MYANMAR'S MILITARY REGIME: An Economic Viewpoint
IntroductionThe Myanmar military regime's harsh crackdown on popular demonstrations in September 2007 has generated intense international condemnation as well as other responses. Most of the criticisms and policy proposals offered in these responses,...
SINGAPORE: Success at Home, Challenges from Abroad
IntroductionThe year 2007 came in an upbeat mood in Singapore. The economy was showing a strong momentum of growth following its good performance in 2006. Singapore had seen a record high of more than nine million tourists.1 In his National Day Rally...
SOUTHEAST ASIA IN 2007: Domestic Concerns, Delicate Bilateral Relations, and Patchy Regionalism
During 2007, issues of domestic stability and internal security continued to preoccupy several Southeast Asian governments, notably in Thailand, the Philippines, TimorLeste and Myanmar. Indonesia, however, seemed considerably more stable: not only did...
THAILAND: State of Anxiety
"Today, Thai people are without hope ... there is no certainty in their lives".1This statement came not from one of Thailand's many academics or social critics, but from a popular young entertainer, Patcharasri "Kalamare" Benjamas. She was writing about...
THE ASEAN CHARTER: An Opportunity Missed or One That Cannot Be Missed?
IntroductionSince the formal adoption of the much-awaited ASEAN Charter in November 2007, opinions have been mixed regarding its impact on the institutional development of the forty-year-old association. From media reports, commentaries and editorials...
THE MALAYSIAN ECONOMY: Developments and Challenges
IntroductionLike many economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia currently faces a number of challenges that could have a significant impact on its economic growth and development.Despite the fact that 2007 was generally seen as a good year economically,...
THE PHILIPPINES: Weak State, Resilient President
Shortly after government forces tear-gassed their way into one of Manila's finest hotels on 29 November 2007 to flush out thirty-odd "rebels" and their civilian supporters, Philippine-focussed e-groups began debating the significance of what became known...
THE REGIONAL ECONOMY: Looking Forward by Looking Back
The year 2007 was a year of anniversaries for Southeast Asia. The two most significant were the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and, more fretfully, the tenth anniversary of the Asian (not Southeast...
TIMOR-LESTE: A Year of Democratic Elections
IntroductionTimor-Leste held its first democratic election in 2007. The political and military crisis of 2006 had brought the country to a "failed state" condition. The dismissal of 560 soldiers from the Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) in 2006, the...
VIETNAM: Arriving in the World - and at a Crossroads
The year 2007 in Vietnam was bracketed by two events that could go down in history as watersheds in the country's post-Cold War life. On 11 January, Vietnam began its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). In December, thousands of Vietnamese...