Malaysian Politics

The palace and the players
Malaysia has been rocked by political upheaval since Muhyiddin Yassin became prime minister without a parliamentary vote in March 2020. The country's constitutional monarch has taken a more active role in politics while a power tussle involving veteran politicians Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim continues....more
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Given US interference, Asean’s growing appetite for international arbitration, and little hope of concluding a code of conduct, South China Sea waters can only become more choppy and conflict-prone.
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PM Muhyiddin now has unfettered powers after calling a state of emergency to handle surging Covid-19 cases, the first time one has been declared since racial riots in 1969, but voters will not tolerate a return to authoritarian rule.
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They care for our sick, deliver our food and take our rubbish away, but applauding these workers is not enough – it’s high time we valued them, too.
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Putrajaya’s approach doesn’t poke Beijing in the eye, but still shows it is not oblivious to the plight of Uygurs in Xinjiang.
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China has often been attacked for using debt to entrap partner nations, but loan recipients are most often willing partners rather than passive victims. The sometimes heated reaction to the belt and road is a microcosm of the polarising impact China’s economic and strategic rise has had on the world.
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Manila’s move derives from the defunct Sulu sultanate’s North Borneo claim. The South China Sea ruling shows claims based on historical interpretation are not recognised.
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Hong Kong’s securities watchdog has bared its teeth in many cases of malpractice and should spare no effort to safeguard city’s reputation as a global financial hub.
The US seems to be pushing China to stand down from its claims and occupations or defend them militarily. This ‘put up or shut up’ strategy is risky – unless confrontation really is the aim.
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Containing the pandemic and rekindling the economy are the most pressing priorities as Covid-19 continues to roil the region. There are also opportunities to benefit from supply chains moving away from China and to learn from success stories like Singapore and Vietnam.
Lockdowns and cash hygiene concerns amid the pandemic have fuelled an e-commerce boom, but going completely cashless risks financially excluding many and limits revenue opportunities for merchants.
With American and Chinese universities abandoning any pretence of academic impartiality, Malaysia’s neutrality could provide a base for critical scholarship and impartial research through institutions like Xiamen University Malaysia.
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Any plan to keep building new coal-fired power plants when renewables are cheaper than ever is a dangerous game. Early decisions to move away from coal will help markets make necessary changes and allow time to manage the transition’s impact.
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