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Southeast Asia links: Boat crisis, communist transitions, Najib's e-debate and more

Southeast Asia links: Boat crisis, communist transitions, Najib's e-debate and more
Published 19 May 2015   Follow @elliotbrennan

  • Southeast Asia's ongoing boat crisis has rightly dominated headlines this week. ASEAN is struggling to negotiate the crisis, which is testing the bloc's timid diplomacy and presenting a dilemma for the policy of non-interference.
  • The UN's Ban Ki-moon said he had spoken to leaders in the region appealing for a speedy resolution. It now appears KL-led meetings will occur this week, and a Philippine official said his country is 'open' to sheltering 3000 people. Meanwhile, Naypyidaw acknowledged 'concern' over the crisis.
  • Yala township in Thailand's deep south has been rocked by 36 bomb attacks in the past week. Twenty-two people were injured, though the attacks are thought to be targeted for maximum chaos, not death.
  • Min Zin wrote a lucid piece on the problems facing Myanmar, its political deadlock and what that will mean for the elections. In an excellent companion piece, here's a summary of Myanmar's draft nationwide ceasefire agreement. (Thanks Win.)
  • ISEAS visiting fellow Le Hong Hiep looked at Vietnam's 2016 leadership transition: 'The game seems now to be in Prime Minister Dung's favour, but the final score is far from settled.'
  • The Economist looks at changing times in Laos and Vietnam.
  • Some good news out of Myanmar this week with the Union Election Commission, the once heavily ethnic Burmar-dominated commission overseeing this year's elections, appointing members representing eight ethnic groups.
  • Embattled Malaysian PM posted his counter-offensive to an ongoing e-debate that has seen increasing pressure on him to resign from former PM Mahathir (ST's recap). I explored part of this quarrel in Malaysia's troubled relationship with Islam here.
  • Tensions remain this week around the South China Sea. The US and the Philippines are 'exaggerating' the threat posed by China, says Beijing. Vietnam said it is keeping a close watch on China's oil rig (the one that caused a huge diplomatic fallout in May last year).  Singapore and Vietnam agreed to deepen air-defence cooperation. And Hanoi shrugged off a Chinese fishing ban in the South China Sea.

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