September 2021
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Commentaries

More plantations, more haze to come?
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In the wake of record levels of haze, environment ministers from Malaysia and Singapore will be meeting their Indonesian counterpart as soon as July 17 for the Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC). This follows the apology graciously given by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and — more importantly...

Sounding the alarm for collective action
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The haze in Singapore is at a historic level, exceeding the worst seen back in 1997-98, and blankets the global city in a rancid shroud of grey. Neither is Malaysia spared; several parts of the Peninsula register unhealthy pollution readings. Reports again point to land and...

Asia’s rising frontier with Latin America
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In a world where Europe and the United States are struggling, both East Asia and Latin America are outperforming the pack, even if they, too, face challenges. And yet, more than 12 years since it started, the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) has not...

No one nation, whether America or China, can rule Asia
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At their California summit, President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama discussed a long list of disputes, from trade to climate change and cyberhacking. Both were anxious to get along and there will be only small steps forward. The key point to come...

Myanmar’s time has come to deliver on initial promise
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The World Economic Forum convenes in Myanmar this week, it will bring more than just another 1,000 visitors to the once closed and near pariah country. First visits by then US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Barack Obama brought headline attention. Early...

Human Cities
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The tangled web of international organizations that constitutes global governance has become so remote and ineffective that few count on it to deliver results anymore. Now, after decades of turf wars and self-marginalization, international organizations must rally around an increasingly pressing global priority: sustainable urbanization. The...

ASEAN’s balancing act with China
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Clues about the emerging character of the new Chinese leadership are emerging from its interaction with the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN). Following the grouping’s summit last month, China’s new Foreign Minister, Mr Wang Yi, visited the region for the first time. While ties are...

Malaysia’s vote is over, but the drama is just beginning
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Judging by their giddy rally today, markets in Malaysia are beyond relieved that the country’s general elections are over. A win for the incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition, whose main party has led Malaysia since independence, appeared to promise continuity and stability. Prime Minister Najib Razak...

Nations are no longer driving globalization- cities are
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Urbanization has already declared itself the mega-trend of the 21st century, with half the world’s population now living in cities for the first time in human history. While the implications for economic growth have been widely discussed, urbanization’s impact on diplomacy and sovereignty will be...

Hazy issues cast a pall yet again
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The Indonesian economy continues to do well, attracting Singapore investors to look southwards. Yet there was a cloud over the otherwise convivial bilateral retreat held last week between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The haze resulting from fires in the...