Malaysia’s mess is Mahathir-made

Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on July 28 replaced his deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin, who has been critical of Najib's handling of the 1MDB scandal, and sacked his attorney general amid a furore that is threatening his hold on office. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Dan Slater, University of Chicago

At least embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is right about one thing. The current mess in Malaysian politics is the making of his greatest nemesis, Mahathir Mohamad, who led the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist from 1981–2003. What Najib fails to fathom is that Mahathir has not produced this mess by criticising his leadership, but by paving Najib’s path to power in the fashion he did during his decades in office. Read more…

The Philippines’ education investment scores top marks

Filipino pupils return their papers in a classroom during the first day of school at the President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Quezon city, east suburban Manila, Philippines, 02 June 2014.

Author: Jose Ramon G. Albert, Philippine Institute for Development Studies

While the Philippines has had robust economic growth since 2010, even despite a weak global economy, it has had little progress in reducing income poverty. Recognising that some segments of society are left out in growth processes, the Philippine government has made inclusive growth the cornerstone of its most recent Philippine Development Plan. Read more…

Reforms can secure Papua New Guinea’s growth

The Motu stilt village in Port Moresby March 22, 2014. They were rebuilt in all-Australian building materials, corrugated iron and fibrocement and the people have retained many traditional Motu customs. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Paul Holden, PPSDI

Papua New Guinea’s recent period of exponential growth places it among the world’s most rapidly developing economies.

Between 2005 and 2014, PNG’s economy expanded at a real annual rate of 6.6 per cent and income per capita reached US$2,081. Read more…

China’s challenges drive experiment-driven reforms

A Chinese netizen browses an online shopping website owned by, a Chinese startup backed by the Alibaba Group, on his computer in Tianjin, China, 28 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Andrew Sheng, Asia Global Institute; and Xiao Geng, HKU and IFF

Five years ago, few would have expected that China would produce four of the top ten global internet companies (by number of visitors) — Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and Sohu — as well as innovative multinationals like Huawei and Xiaomi. Read more…

Realising India’s economic potential

Indian labourers work at a brick manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 2 March 2015. India's factory output in February grew at its slowest pace in five months as business demands remained dim. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

India is a very large labour-abundant economy with a rapidly growing workforce and its manufacturing sector might be expected to be the primary driver of its economic growth. In fact, the manufacturing sector has contributed little to income growth and its share in total merchandise exports has been declining, as recent OECD analysis points out. Read more…

India still needs to enter the market for reform

Indian workers carry paddy seedlings for planting in a field at village Verka near Amritsar, India, 06 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Alok Sheel, Government of Kerala

There appears to be growing euphoria that it is India’s ‘manifest destiny’ to overtake China and become the fastest growing major economy and a major world power. But unless India successfully introduces productivity reforms and opens its markets, this ‘destiny’ will remain a pipe dream. Read more…

Has China’s transition to ‘new normal’ growth stalled?

Beijing is trying to replace an economic model that has run out of steam after delivering years of blistering growth based on trade and investment in construction and heavy industry. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

On the latest update from the World Bank, Chinese economic growth is expected to decelerate to 7.1 per cent in 2015 and 6.9 percent by 2017. Speaking with a group of global think tank leaders in Beijing on the eve of his departure for Europe, Premier Li Keqiang underlined the importance of navigating the transition to lower Chinese growth through large-scale structural reform. Read more…