Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?

Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?What was the US President Donald Trump trying to convey with his body language as he sat, with arms tightly folded across his chest, facing down Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was seated opposite him, at the conference table during Najib’s Sept. 12 visit to the White House? Well before Najib had landed in…

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash Line

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash LineOn July 14, Indonesia took a major step forward in confronting China’s South China Sea claims with an announcement that it was renaming a part of the sea in its territory the “North Natuna Sea,” becoming in a single act the most important Southeast Asian nation to stand up to Beijing. That may have come to…

Jailed Viet Dissident is Latest in Rising Crackdown

Jailed Viet Dissident is Latest in Rising CrackdownIn the latest sign of the increasing crackdown against dissidents by Vietnam’s government, Nguyen Van Oai, a citizen journalist and human rights defender, was sentenced earlier this week to five years in prison and four additional years of house arrest for “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” and failing to execute judgments”…

Vietnam’s Conservatives Purge Former PM Dung’s Allies

Vietnam’s Conservatives Purge Former PM Dung’s AlliesGoing into the Vietnam Communist Party's 12th Congress in January last year, outsiders could perceive an epic contest between reformers and conservatives. The conservatives labeled the reformers as “opportunists” and often they were right. The reformers laughed when the conservatives argued that ideology (Leninist, not Marxist) would keep Vietnam safe in a turbulent and threatening…

Exiled Rebel Exhorts Filipinos to Rally Against President

Exiled Rebel Exhorts Filipinos to Rally Against PresidentCommunist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison encouraged a gathering of Hong Kong-based Filipino groups on September 10 to “expand our ranks and broaden the widest resistance" against the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. “You must strengthen yourself for more intense struggle,” he said via a video recording. Under the leadership of…

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The Donald

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The DonaldWhen Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia meets US President Donald Trump at the White House on Sept. 12, as nearly as it can be determined, it will be the first time America’s chief executive has ever met with a foreign leader being pursued by the US Justice Department for corruption. Najib is infamously known…

India’s Modi Strengthens his Cabinet

India’s Modi Strengthens his CabinetNarendra Modi has carried out his most significant government reshuffle since becoming India’s prime minister three years ago, with ministerial moves that strengthen three top posts while at the same time balancing the political interests of different states and illustrating the limited talent available at senior levels. The headline-grabbing appointment is that of Nirmala Sitharaman, 58, who…

With ASEAN Toothless, The Region Needs a New Naval Pact

With ASEAN Toothless, The Region Needs a New Naval PactThe security challenges facing the Southeast Asian region increasingly call into question the relevance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose inability to assert international law stems from its blind hope that Beijing will hold up to its promises, which has been a failed hope indeed given China’s actions in ignoring all the littoral…

India and China in a Water War

India and China in a Water WarWith more than 32 million people hit by floods in four Indian states so far this year, New Delhi is growing increasingly frustrated over China’s refusal to share current river data despite bilateral agreements requiring Beijing to pass on the information for downstream flood control. The data from upper riparian China to lower riparian India…

Malaysia at 60: The Promise Fades

Malaysia at 60: The Promise FadesOn Aug. 31, Malaysia will celebrate – if that is the proper word – the 60th anniversary of its founding with its people subdued and with a government widely regarded as a kleptocacy. It is wracked with a continuing scandal that has robbed the exchequer of an estimated US$11.4 billion lost to fraud and mismanagement…
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