Opinion: Chinese Filipino Tycoon Kowtows to Beijing

Opinion: Chinese Filipino Tycoon Kowtows to BeijingPhilippine presidential contender Grace Poe is facing possible disqualification both due to her uncertain origins as a foundling and because her loyalty to the nation has been questioned over her former US citizenship, which she only renounced in 2010 after she was offered an official position by President Benigno Aquino III. So what then are…

Opinion: Don’t Expect KL’s Press to Deliver a Malaysiagate

Opinion: Don’t Expect KL’s Press to Deliver a MalaysiagateA writer named Azrul Mohd Khalib, writing on the Malay Mail website, has written a long review of All the President’s Men, the iconic 1976 movie relating the roles of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post in bringing down the disgraced President Richard Nixon in 1974. I do not know…

Opinion: No Indonesian Welcome Mat for the IMF

Opinion: No Indonesian Welcome Mat for the IMFOn Sept.1 and 2, Managing Director Christine Lagarde and the IMF are scheduled to visit ndonesia. While President Joko Widodo and some of his ministers have already rolled out the welcome mat for them, it should be put back in the closet. This is an organization that in part was behind the Indonesian economic crisis…

Opinion: A Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia

Opinion: A Call for Democratic Reform in MalaysiaThis weekend, Malaysia will have a mammoth 34-hour “Bersih 4” rally in the national capital Kuala Lumpur and regional capitals Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia. Hundreds of thousands are expected to color the cities yellow, echoed by the Malaysian diaspora in 56 cities worldwide. “Bersih” means “clean” in Malaysia’s national language. It is…

Opinion: Malaysia’s Broken System

Opinion: Malaysia’s Broken SystemIt is ironic that a chorus of leaders from the United Malays National Organization have accused critics of scandal-scarred Prime Minister Najib Razak of “seeking to destroy parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.” There is no parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.  Malaysia’s government is broken. Every institution that exists in a normal democracy to protect the people does…

Opinion: The Music has Stopped in Malaysia

Opinion: The Music has Stopped in MalaysiaAs Malaysian markets, bonds and the ringgit plunge, futile Bank Negara interventions fail and the last remaining cash reserves melt down day in day out, all we observe from far afield is a multilayered music chair dance going on among the Barisan Nasional and its leading component party, the United Malays National Organization. All of…

Opinion: Who Will Stand Up to Najib?

Opinion: Who Will Stand Up to Najib?The news this week that former strongman Mahathir Mohamad and his one-time rival for power, Tengku Razaleigh, have met in KL to discuss forming a “unity government” to take over from scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak, is predictably tantalyzing to many Malaysians looking for a way out of an intractable political crisis. But simply getting…

Opinion: Malaysia Needs Tengku Razaleigh Now

Opinion: Malaysia Needs Tengku Razaleigh NowThe current parlous state of affairs in our country reminds me of one of my favorite songs from the 1960s, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” only with the Joe Dimaggio reference changed to fit today’s crisis in Malaysia: Where have you gone, Tengku Razaleigh? / A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. (woo woo…

The Threat of Islamic Law in Malaysia

The Threat of Islamic Law in MalaysiaThe political debate in Malaysia appears to be trapped in menace as the specter of Kelantan’s barbaric hudud law, which advocates 7th-century punishments including amputation for theft and stoning to death for adultery, among others, continues to loom over the country. A paper by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, known as Jakim, that was discussed…

Revisiting US Policy toward Post-Coup Thailand

Revisiting US Policy toward Post-Coup ThailandAt a time when US relations with most countries in Southeast Asia are warming, the United States’ ties with its oldest partner in the region are a critical outlier. Thailand-US relations have been in a deep freeze for the past 13 months since Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha ousted an elected civilian government following six months of…