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Commentaries

ASEAN: Toward a common voice
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A united geopolitical voice would give the Association of Southeast Asian Nations a bigger global role, says Simon Tay, the chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its ten member states join in the establishment of...

Plugging gaps in the law to fight haze
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The haze law passed by Singapore last month to punish polluters who cause the haze could have been put to its first test if the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) had stayed above 100 for a few more hours early this week. Many of us in Singapore...

Strong leaders in a fragile Asia
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Not long ago, Asians suffered under weak governments. Japan stumbled through a series of short-lived and unpopular leaders while, in China, the last years under President Hu Jintao saw necessary reforms postponed. In India, after initial high hopes, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ended his term...

Why Asean hasn’t condemned Thailand
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The recent military coup in Thailand that ousted the government of Yingluck Shinawatra has attracted international concern and controversy. The US, the European Union and Australia were vocal in their criticism of the situation, called for elections to be held as soon as possible, and...

Stumbling to map a path through the haze
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It was probably wrong to expect too much too fast when Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) environment ministers met to discuss the haze, caused by fires in Indonesia. Never mind that Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which hosted the meeting, have suffered record-high and hazardous levels...

West hurting only itself with economic sanctions on Myanmar
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Myanmar’s opening up has attracted much interest, not only from its Asian neighbours but also those in the West that once considered the country a pariah state. Recent events, however, suggest that Naypyidaw’s honeymoon with the United States and Europe may be waning over political issues....

Making haze crimes pay
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The newly-proposed fine for haze crimes is a crystal-clear sign of the Government’s determination to stop slash-and-burn tactics used by the agroforestry resource sector in land clearing. Announced in Parliament on Monday after a month-long public consultation, the toughened Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill penalises companies...

Fighting haze: What consumers, firms can do
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Recent warnings of a potential three-month prolonged haze crisis comparable to the severe episodes in 1997 and last year are worrying. Earlier in the year, large numbers of hot spots were already noted in Sumatra. There is also a high possibility of the region entering into...

Reacting to China – and its grand plan
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We now know the reactions in Vietnam to China’s move to begin drilling for oil in the South China Sea that both sides claim. More than 20,000 Vietnamese workers spilled out of control, attacking factories thought to be Chinese-owned, including those at two Singapore-run industrial...