Southeast Asia

The End of Malaysia’s Multi-Ethnic Coalition?

For decades, the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has narrowed the ethnic and religious divides in Malaysia. In the run-up to the next general elections, however, Prime Minister Najib Razak is intensifying cooperation with the Islamic party PAS, alienating large parts of his coalition and the population. The first quarter of 2017 indicated that Malaysia’s economy […]

Is Cambodia Becoming the Sick Man of Southeast Asia?

Lack of transparency, accountability and judicial independence as well as widespread corruption seem to be unalterable elements of Cambodia’s development process. Could the reform bottleneck harm the country’s economic prospects and how far will the regime go to stay in power? Sometimes odds and ends are enough to reveal the whole picture. In April 2016, […]

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar: Into Unchartered Waters

Transition talks in Myanmar are entering their finale phase. While many issues remain unresolved between the military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, further democratization is possible in the Southeast Asian country. Myanmar is entering unknown terrain these days. For the first time since the historic victory of the oppositional National League for Democracy (NLD) […]

Rohingya refugee camp in Myebon in Rakhine State of Myanmar © Evangelos Petratos EU/ECHO, Myebon, June 2013 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A New Refugee Crisis Looming?

Southeast Asia is seeing persecuted minorities fleeing their homeland. As in Europe, lack of political consensus has exacerbated the situation – and a new wave of migration is just about to start. 2015 will be remembered as the year of mass migration. This year, the world has endured an unprecedented flood of haunting images. The […]

Construction works in Ethiopia © Simon Davis/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Is Geothermal Power the Answer to Indonesia’s Energy Demand?

Indonesia has the largest geothermal reserves in the world. Yet, the government’s failure to manage its natural resources effectively and reform its regulatory environment remains an obstacle to fully tap into the country’s renewable energy wealth. The 17,500-island archipelago of Indonesia is home to about 260 million people, making it the 4th most populous country on […]

Women in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka © Brett Davies (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What is Holding Women Back in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka has fared well in recent years by promoting health and education opportunities for women. Yet the country still fails to translate these achievements into female economic participation. The teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of India. Today, five years after the end of an almost […]

© m a c s f via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Tyranny of the Establishment

Asia’s growing middle-income population flexes its political muscle. Yet, reactionaries among them stand in the way of democratization, as recent developments in Thailand and Indonesia have shown. If forecasts are anything to go by, Asia will account for two thirds of the global middle class population in 2030. Whereas investors and businesses already did the math and […]