Having returned to the Malaysian prime ministership, Mahathir Mohamad is implementing a much-welcomed reform agenda and correcting governance ills introduced during his earlier reign. But relations with Singapore are reverting to the pestilent hostilities synonymous with Mahathir’s first turn in power, most recently escalating into a maritime territorial dispute that threatens to destabilise the Straits of Malacca.
Singapore–Malaysia relations in troubled waters
Authors: Abdul Rahman Yaacob and Stewart Nixon, ANU
The soft diplomacy of New Zealand’s new government — exemplified by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who smiled and exuded friendship and compassion throughout 2018, her first full year in power — has so far not been used to implement strategic changes. The year was one of preparations rather than initiatives.
New Zealand policymakers need runs on the board
Author: Gary Hawke, Victoria University of Wellington
Fentanyl, along with heroin and Oxycodone, is a drug synonymous with the United States’ opioid crisis. More than 28,000 overdose deaths in the United States were linked to this powerful opioid or its analogues in 2017. And it is from China where the majority of fentanyl — a drug 100 times more powerful than morphine — comes.
War on drugs calls for bold new strategies, not bilateral blame games
Author: Emile Dirks, University of Toronto
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) continues to extend its term as Thailand’s longest coup regime since the 1960s. Whether junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha will succeed in perpetuating his power will be determined through elections expected in March 2019. Accordingly, Prayuth has sought a balance between power and popular support. The General spent much of 2018 campaigning for the promised election, even as political parties faced a ban on political activities.
Thailand’s elections in 2019 will test Prayuth’s political strategy
Author: James Ockey, University of Canterbury
Sri Lanka plunged into a political crisis in October 2018 when President Maithripala Sirisena suddenly and unexpectedly sacked the sitting prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, his former partner in the National Unity Government formed in January 2015. It could not have come at a worse time for the Sri Lankan economy.
Sri Lanka’s political problems imperil a fragile economy
Author: Dushni Weerakoon, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
The downturn in Chinese economic growth is top news around the world. That’s for good reason. China is the second largest economy in the world. Its much higher than the average world growth rate has been a major factor propping up global growth over the past few decades although the US recovery has done its bit to help in recent years.
What’s really wrong with the Chinese economy and why it matters
Author: Editorial Board, ANU
The victory of Pakatan Harapan in Malaysia’s May 2018 general election led to the shock discontinuation of 61 years of Barisan Nasional rule. It set the country on course for an exciting year.
Buoying Malaysia’s debt-heavy economy
Author: Shankaran Nambiar, Malaysia Institute of Economic Research
Analysts frequently describe India–China relations as experiencing periodic bouts of insecurity that threaten the development of closer ties between the two Asian giants. Major sources of insecurity include an entrenched China–Pakistan alliance that may subsume Indian influence in South Asia; mounting maritime, trade and naval competition in the Indian Ocean region; engrained border disputes; and New Delhi’s apprehension about Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
India and China, two peas in a pod
Author: Chris Ogden, University of St Andrews
The Japanese government lodged a protest with China in December 2018 over Chinese test drilling activities in a gas field near the Japan-claimed median line in the East China Sea. The protest touches on a longstanding controversy over maritime boundary delimitation between China and Japan.
Keeping China–Japan relations afloat
Author: Ren Xiao, Fudan University
All indications are that the Indian economy is poised to do well in 2019. Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld praised India in late 2018 for four years of robust economic growth.
India grows despite inter-government woes
Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU