Malaysia struggles to escape the middle-income trap


Malaysia’s economic reforms are under question, writes GREG LOPEZ. The term ’middle-income trap’ possibly first entered Malaysia’s official policy lexicon when Premier Najib Razak (pictured below) referred to it as Malaysia’s greatest development challenge. He noted: We have become a successful middle-income economy. But we cannot and will not be caught in the middle income […]


Missing Sombath a test for ASEAN


ASEAN’s weak response to the disappearance of Lao community worker Sombath Somphone, writes KEARRIN SIMS,  raises questions about the strength of the institution’s commitment to human rights. Nowhere in Asia has seen the formation of stronger regional partnerships than those within ASEAN. In 2015 the institution will attempt to undertake yet another step forward in […]


‘Invisible’ Indonesia could show path to Islamic democracy in the Middle East


Long regarded as peripheral to the mainstream Islamic world, Indonesia could have much to teach the Middle East about Muslim democracy, writes  JEAN GELMAN TAYLOR. Scholars and journalists often raise the conundrum: why doesn’t Indonesia have greater importance within the world community of Muslims? Indonesia, with a population of 240 million, is the world’s largest […]


Cambodians continue to struggle in an inequitable society


Corruption and social injustice underlie the recent violent demonstrations in Cambodia, writes JONATHAN BOGAIS. Nineteen governments gathered to sign the Paris Peace Agreements on 23 October 1991, promising a comprehensive political settlement to end the tragic conflict and continuing bloodshed in Cambodia. There was a general consensus that Cambodia was at the end of an historical […]


Afghanistan’s presidential election cause for cautious optimism


Afghans have shown their determination to defy the Taliban and support a democratic future, writes Nematullah Bizhan The Afghan presidential election on 5 April reflected the resilience of Afghan society and its confidence in a legitimate political transition to a peaceful and stable future. It showed that not only is democracy welcome in Afghanistan but […]


Judgment day for whaling?


Australia achieves an unexpected victory against Japan’s ‘research’ whaling program, writes TREVOR WILSON. The International Court of Justice’s 31 March decision against Japan’s much-maligned research whaling program was unexpected, but vindicates the Rudd government’s at-the-time risky decision to launch a case against Japan in the ICJ. The decision was unexpected because most of the arguments […]

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