Southeast Asia

Warming to climate change

Can the new climate change ministry navigate the complex politics of competing interests when tackling the threats of extreme weather? Or is an independent commission answerable to Parliament needed to hold the government to account?

Ways of seeing a ‘moderate Muslim nation’

As long as the global attitude towards religious issues doesn't change, and Malaysians themselves mostly stay silent on these issues, the temptation will always be to smother dissent in the ‘invisibility cloak of religion’.

Malay anxiety, exclusion, and national unity

By drawing stricter boundaries between what is ‘Islamic’ and ‘un-Islamic’, and between who is ‘Malay’ and ‘non-Malay’, the anxiety about 'Malay unity' is addressed in a post-May 9 Malaysia.

Wielding the purse strings of Southeast Asian civil society

Illiberalism at home, and pro-market ideologies abroad, are putting pressure on Southeast Asian civil society organisations' financial health.

The struggle for political Islam in ‘new Malaysia’

The GE14 result reflects PAS' enduring influence, yet the PH parties together with IKRAM and ABIM offer a viable ‘Islamic alternative’ for pious Muslim voters.

A regime change glanced askance

The ‘cari makan’ or a rent-seeking political culture may be the hardest thing to reform in Malaysia, even under a reformist government. And human nature will make this almost impossible to do.

Scratching the itch out east with Warisan

Can former minister and prime minister Najb Razak's ‘good friend’ Shafie Apdal sweep out Sabah's incumbents at GE14, and end up delivering power to Mahathir's opposition?

Sabah and its GE14 deliverance from nationalised identity

Sabah needs leaders and statesmen determined to solve its long overdue need for autonomy, without fear of injuring a federal government's pride.

All the news that’s fit to fake

As Malaysia rushes to its GE14 on 9 May, the new anti-fake news law is primed against the state's critics, emboldening speech vigilantism by outsourced censors linked to the ruling UMNO party.

Lee Morgenbesser on ‘Behind the Façade’

The New Books in Southeast Asian Studies podcast explores the idea that elections can be instrumentalised by dictators to reinforce their rule.

Perspectives on the Past at New Mandala

Welcoming the University of Sydney's Southeast Asian history bloggers to New Mandala.

Terrorist arbitrage in Southeast Asia

Jihadists know how to take advantage of the unique space for mobilisation offered by the Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines triborder area. Governments are still catching up.

The race to save up to 50 shipwrecks from looters in Southeast Asia

How should we respond when heritage is damaged or destroyed?

ASEAN’s myths: creating continuity, rather than change

ASEAN's human rights mechanisms reflect the body's prioritising the interests of national elites. Don't expect it to be of use in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

Rethinking Southeast Asian civil society

It’s past time for us to ditch simplistic ideas of “civil society” and its relationship with democracy in the region.

Southeast Asian cyberspace: politics, censorship, polarisation

The internet is both a factor in, and a victim of, the region’s crisis of democracy.

Old dominance, new dominoes in Southeast Asia

Democracy in the region finds itself in dark days. Can anything save it?

ASEAN and women: empower movements, not just individuals

Programs to increase women’s market competitiveness aren't a substitute for collective action for gender equality.

Women: pillars of justice in Southeast Asia

Pushing for human rights reform in Southeast Asia.

Tough year for human rights in Southeast Asia

2016 was not a good year for the region's civil liberties, writes Bridget Welsh.

Lessons of the Arab Spring for Muslim Southeast Asia

Why Southeast Asia needs a cultural spring.

The east is red

Why Southeast Asia is now firmly in the grip of China.

Travels with Des Ball

Former student Cam Hawker reflects on his time in Southeast Asia with acclaimed scholar Des Ball.