The structural regression of Malaysian manufacturing


Authors: Jayant Menon and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB

Malaysia’s manufacturing sector is reversing to a state reminiscent of its post-colonial stage of development. Regrettably this situation was avoidable.

When the Federation of Malaya gained independence from Britain in 1957, economic conditions were ripe for rapid and sustained growth. Its primary export sector was showing immense potential for expansion. Read more…

No easy solutions in US–China cyber security

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 13 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Greg Austin, University of New South Wales

In late September 2015, the Presidents of China and the United States reached a number of agreements on cyber security, cyber espionage and cyber crime. They provide for a new high-level contact group as well as assurances to investigate and resolve complaints from each other. The agreements are important diplomatic breakthroughs, but they are relatively piecemeal when seen against the bigger picture. Read more…

How war memory continues to divide China and Japan

This huge calligraphy work, displayed at Changchun railway station in September 2015, shows confessions made by Japanese war criminals after World War II. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael Yahuda, LSE

One might think that the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II would lead to further deterioration in relations between China and Japan. But, to the contrary, the Chinese and Japanese leaders, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are exploring the prospects for yet another meeting (they have already met four times in the last three years). It seems that the pragmatic calculations of regime survival, which include economic cooperation and the perils of military conflict, outweigh historical memories, however contrived this history may be. Read more…

ASEAN and a new Asian geo-politics

ASEAN member state economic leaders pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony for the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 22 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Asia has a share in world output that already matches that of North America or Europe. On conservative growth projections, China’s economy could well be bigger than the sum of all the G7 economies in real terms within the next decade. China became bigger than Japan in real terms 20 years ago and is now bigger than Japan in nominal terms, although it is still, of course, a much poorer country in terms of per capita income. Read more…

ASEAN can survive great-power rivalry in Asia

A satellite image, issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, showing an airstrip under construction at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. (Photo: AFP)

Author: Amitav Acharya, American University

Pundits and policymakers increasingly see changing great-power politics in Asia as a challenge to ASEAN. China’s growing military assertiveness in the South China Sea, the US ‘rebalancing’ strategy, Japan’s moves to reinterpret its constitution, and India’s growing military presence and assertive diplomacy all press upon ASEAN’s choices in the region. Read more…

India’s rate cut is both warranted and timely

Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), speaks during a press conference in Mumbai, India, 29 September 2015. The Reserve Bank of India on 29 September cut its short-term lending rate by 50 basis points to 6.75 per cent. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

The decision of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to slash the repo rate (the rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks) by 50 basis points (bps) has surprised many. The RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan, had previously taken baby steps to reduce interest rates, focusing strictly on inflation. Now the repo is at 6.75 per cent, the level of 2011, down from 8 per cent at the start of 2015. But both the domestic and external economic environment warranted big steps by the RBI to induce economic growth. Read more…

Defusing Singapore’s demographic time bomb

An elderly woman listens to a speech by Chee Soon Juan (not in picture), secretary-general of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), at Chua Chu Kang stadium during a rally ahead of Singapore's September 11 election, on September 3, 2015. Campaigning for Singapore's September 11 election began September 1, with a resurgent opposition seeking a greater political role as voters chafe at immigration and high living costs.  AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Author: Tan Teck Boon, RSIS

According to United Nations World Population Prospects 2015, Singapore will become a super-aged society by 2026. By then, one in five people in the country (or 1.25 million) will be aged 65 or above. The median age will exceed 44.9, up from just 18.1 in 1965. When Singapore gained independence in 1965, just 2.65 per cent of the population (or 49,757) were aged 65 or above. Read more…