Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs

Publisher: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies; Project Muse, Johns Hopkins University Press

Description

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  • 5-year impact
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  • Other titles
    Contemporary Southeast Asia (Online), CSEA
  • ISSN
    1793-284X
  • OCLC
    174081852
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Johns Hopkins University Press

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • On author or departmental server
    • On institutional server (non-commercial, must not directly compete with either the Johns Hopkins University Press or Project Muse, must request prior permission from the publisher)
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • In Open Access Archives, such as PubMedCentral if required by law
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: On 8 March 2008 the opposition parties in Malaysia deprived the ruling National Front coalition of its two-thirds majority of seats and defeated it in five out of thirteen states it contested in. This result led analysts to suggest that electoral politics had breached a new watershed in Malaysia, and that it augured well for the development of a full-fledged two-party system. Political systems which feature electoral turnovers of ruling parties are seen by political scientists to be the sine qua non of democratic politics. This paper argues that March 2008 augurs the beginnings of a new path dependent emergence of a turnover electoral system in Malaysia. Path dependence theory could be used to explain why the National Front increasingly lost its “first-mover advantage” in electoral politics which for decades dominated political and economic institutions which reproduced the racialized political structures. March 2008 represents a rupture and departure from this earlier path dependence. Put differently, the National Front was not able to continue to reap “increasing returns” from its established electoral processes and institutions. This rupture has been reinforced by the fact that in the sixteen by-elections held after March 2008, eight were won by the opposition coalition of the People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat). It has become increasingly clear that newer forms of political processes and sensibilities are being introduced by the opposition coalition. This new trajectory is also one which puts the premium on participatory politics. Such a trajectory need not mean a departure from ethnicized politics but [End Page 101] rather a political shift in the direction of more universal and democratic politics. The overall impact of this new path dependent process is the valorization of electoral democracy in Malaysia.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):101-127.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Explanations for ASEAN’s inability to more successfully influence Myanmar over the last decade have shifted from accusations that the organization does nothing to live up to its on-paper commitments to the belief that what it does is wholly ineffective. The reasons for this ineffectiveness are found in the normative and institutional architecture of ASEAN, specifically its lack of punitive sanction-based compliance mechanisms. Through focusing on ASEAN’s use of public pronouncements to express interests and desires, this article takes issue with such assertions. Specifically, ASEAN has been engaged in a strategy of rhetorical action to promote compliance with regional standards. To date it has been unsuccessful in that attempt not because of a lack of courts and commissions, but because it has been incoherent in its political strategy. At crucial moments ASEAN and its members remained more concerned with creating a unified position against external pressure than on developing a single policy towards Myanmar. This reaction fatally undermined the ability of ASEAN to influence Myanmar as it ensures the regime the continued external political cover from pressure that animated its desire to join ASEAN in 1997. This article suggests that correcting this shortcoming through the development of greater coherence is achievable within the existing ASEAN approach to managing regional affairs.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):1-22.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):300-302.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):136-138.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Since the new government took power in 2011, the citizens of Myanmar have enjoyed a greater degree of freedom than at any time since the military seized power in 1962. This article explains how the recent political changes in Myanmar have come about. In so doing, it argues that the absence of a rigid paramount leader who opposes reconciliation with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the challenges posed by serious economic problems and positive responses from Western countries and pro-democracy leaders in Myanmar have allowed liberals in the government to work together for the further liberalization of the country’s political system. However, Myanmar still has a long way to go before it can become a full-fledged democracy. There still are hardliners in both camps who are unsatisfied with the pace of reforms: hardliners in the government think that the pace of reform is too fast while hardliners in the pro-democracy movement feel that they are too slow. Both groups could still generate instability in the country, prompting a military coup. Myanmar is at the crossroads and the cooperation between all sections of society will allow the country to become a full-fledged democracy.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):197-216.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In Indonesia, democratic transition has led to the ascendance of business in the political arena. A growing number of entrepreneurs-turned-politicians have captured the power of office, taking over positions which had previously been held by bureaucratic elites. In the existing literature, the ascendance of politically assertive business, often through democratization, is associated with the emergence of a less interventionist state. However, despite the expectation that post-Soeharto Indonesia would embark on a swift process of change towards a regulatory form of state, the patrimonial features of the Indonesian state continue to display more fundamental continuity. This article presents an alternative framework through which to better understand changing state-business relations in Indonesia. The article argues that the fall of the Soeharto regime in Indonesia has had the effect of facilitating the transformation of the patrimonial state: from a patrimonial administrative state to a patrimonial oligarchic state. Democratization has changed the old hierarchy of state-business relations over the distribution of patronage. In post-Soeharto Indonesia, business elites are no longer dependent on bureaucratic elites, as the former now enjoys direct access to state resources.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):80-100.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):133-135.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Myanmar’s police forces have received little attention over the years, but they have always played a critical role in the country’s administration and national security. Since the 1962 military coup, the national police force has been overshadowed by the armed forces, but it has continued to evolve and grow. It is now larger and more powerful than at any time in the country’s history, and is considered a key instrument of reform and control by the hybrid civilian-military government which was inaugurated in Naypyidaw in March 2011. This article aims to provide an introduction to this neglected subject. It sketches the historical development of the police as an institution from the beginning of the colonial period to the present day. It then outlines the current structure and organization of the Myanmar Police Force (MPF). This is followed by a discussion of eight broad themes that have characterized policing in Myanmar over the past 185 years. Finally, the article looks at some of the challenges facing the MPF and its likely future under the new government.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):53-79.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):307-308.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although New Zealand is a small state in the South Pacific, it has a great interest in the stability of Southeast Asia, the safety of sea lanes which pass through it and the centrality of ASEAN in the regional security architecture. However, New Zealand has limited hard power capabilities: the country’s military expenditure is extremely modest and its population and GDP are dwarfed by ASEAN as a region and by some Southeast Asian countries. What New Zealand potentially offers Southeast Asia, however, is its soft power. This article identifies five of New Zealand’s soft power assets — students, soldiers, sports, sheep and the silver-screen — and critically examines whether these constitute sufficient resources for New Zealand to engage with Southeast Asia adequately, and make a contribution to regional stability.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):249-273.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):128-132.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the status of contemporary civil society in Vietnam from a process-oriented perspective. It considers civil society in light of its actions and processes rather than by its political and structural affiliations. The analysis takes as a case study the bauxite mines in the Central Highlands. The Chinese-Vietnamese joint venture between two respective state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is seeking $15 billion in investment by 2025 to take advantage of Vietnam’s huge bauxite reserves in order to process aluminum. The project has fomented unprecendented criticism from individuals within the mainstream elite of the Party, as well as environmental scientists, prominent lawyers and citizen bloggers in Vietnam. After a series of contentious policy debates and high-level reviews by various government ministries concerning the project’s sustainability, environmental as well as social impact, the Vietnamese government approved and initiated mining in early 2012. By looking at the various sites of contention, National Assembly debates, and public outcry concerning the case, this paper advances a new conceptual framework for analysing civil society in Vietnam. The bauxite controversy explictly showcases the form that civil society is taking in contemporary Vietnam. I will argue that interactions among the vacillating civil society network that encompasses both grassroots activists and reformist political leaders will guide elite-level policy in Vietnam in such a way that does not pose a direct challenge to the Party’s central authority. [End Page 173]
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):173-196.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):296-299.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Based on data for actual and approved Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from 1989–2011, this paper explores the major trends in FDI in Myanmar, focusing on changes over time in the source and sector of investment. It argues that over the last decade Myanmar’s inward FDI has become heavily concentrated in the extractive and power sectors, while investment in manufacturing, services and other secondary and tertiary sectors has been almost non-existent. This is mostly the result of a poor investment climate, including import and export regulations, a weak judicial system, currency controls and weak property rights. The paper shows that China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand have been the main investors in Myanmar, while Singapore, India and Western countries invested little in the 2000s. This divergence is driven partly by the differing investment patterns of the source countries, yet also reflects commercial and geopolitical realities, sanctions and concerns over energy security. The paper then examines whether and how FDI can lead to economic development in Myanmar, and closes by discussing the importance of recent political and economic reforms for rebalancing Myanmar’s FDI.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):23-52.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sarawak, formerly a British colony prior to the formation of Malaysia, has been ruled by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition for over four decades. Although the BN’s political domination has been robust, it has never been smooth sailing, particularly in the 1960s and mid-1980s. The crises in the 1960s were resolved partly by the timely and swift interventions of the British and the core BN parties based in Peninsular Malaysia, albeit with resistance from local political parties. When a leadership crisis in the Sarawak BN erupted in mid-1980s, the coalition gained firm control over the state apparatus. This enabled the embattled Chief Minister to utilize the state’s resources to fend off opponents, rally the support of the electorate and subsequently retain control of the state. After more than two decades of relatively unchallenged rule, recent events such as the revolt of urban voters, the emergence of a strong opposition coalition and the impending resignation of Taib Mahmud — the most powerful figure in Sarawak and the longest serving Chief Minister in the country — have indicated that a change in political hegemony could be in the making. However, the most important factor that would bring about such a change, a revolt of rural voters, does not seem likely to happen in the near future.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):274-295.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article explores what the academic literature tells us about environmental conservation challenges in Myanmar, and what types of domestic and international mechanisms are suited to address those challenges. It begins by providing background information on rural energy use, environmental legislation, forestry, agriculture and the country’s network of protected areas. It notes, for example, that the country’s protected areas face environmental degradation caused by poverty, corruption, the expansion of agricultural land and population growth. It goes on to argue that planners in Myanmar can, however, utilize a variety of mechanisms to overcome these challenges. Policy-makers can enhance community involvement in protected areas and management schemes through ownership and engagement. They could integrate conservation efforts with income generation, provide education and awareness campaigns for those living near wildlife areas and expand the number and size of protected areas. They could, furthermore, increase penalties against illegal activities within protected areas, offer accelerated staff training and education programmes and similarly consolidate regulatory authority for environmental conservation. Even those outside of Myanmar can prevent environmental destruction. International planners could implement ecosystem payments schemes, involve Myanmar more concretely in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) process, an international agreement launched in 2012, and expand Myanmar’s participation in [End Page 217] the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Lastly, they could advocate international bans on exports of illegal products and strengthen capacity building efforts in the areas of forestry, land use and agriculture.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):217-248.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article examines the link between the legitimation process of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and its adoption of the Doi Moi (renovation) policy. It argues that socio-economic performance emerged as the single most important source of legitimacy for the CPV in the mid-1980s as its traditional sources of legitimacy were exhausted and alternative legitimation modes were largely irrelevant or ineffective. The CPV’s switch to performance-based legitimacy has had significant implications for Vietnam’s domestic politics as well as its foreign policy and has served as an essential foundation for the Party’s continued rule. At the same time, however, it has also presented the CPV with serious challenges in maintaining uninterrupted socio-economic development in the context of the country’s growing integration with the global economic system which is experiencing instability. It is in this context that nationalism, couched in terms of Vietnam’s territorial and maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea, has been revived as an additional source of legitimacy in times of economic difficulties.
    Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):145-172.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):142-144.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(2):303-306.
  • Contemporary Southeast Asia A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 01/2012; 34(1):139-141.

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