Indonesia has given control of its new national agricultural plan over to Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who stands accused of ordering civilian repression, torture and other crimes. The military’s control of the food estates program has increased opposition to the plan as critics voice concerns about the militarization of agriculture.
Articles by ASEAN Today
Foreign investment projects worth billions of dollars are poised to transform Laos’ Vang Vieng in spite of local opposition and the government’s precarious public debt. The area, known for its natural beauty, falls along the route of a new Chinese railway and is one of many projects in Laos under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Efforts to curb illegal fishing in Vietnam have drawn international attention from foreign officials, as the government in Hanoi adopts new measures in line with the recommendations of the European Commission.
The banned Filipino communist party has ordered its armed wing to attack Chinese firms in the country, saying Beijing’s infrastructure projects are displacing thousands and harming natural resources. The party’s actions could complicate Manila’s relationships with Beijing.
Thai protests on October 14 a catalyst for resurgent democracy movement. The date commemorates mass protests in 1973 that led to the ouster of a junta leader, but it’s unclear if this year’s movement can lead to lasting changes.
Two Cambodian rappers face charges of inciting social unrest as the government continues its crackdown on dissent. Their cases, like many others in Cambodia, show the reach of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarianism but also point to the growing role of hip-hop in social movements in Southeast Asia.
As Thailand’s economy cracks under COVID-19, land ownership and access are key to many communities’ ability to ride out the crisis. Amid ongoing popular protests, Thailand must decide how to address its stark wealth gap and the needs of low-income rural communities.
A national mapping project in Indonesia aims to use data to find solutions to land conflicts across the country. But indigenous groups say the government refuses to recognize their maps of traditional territory—throwing the land tenure of over a quarter of the country’s population into question.
The Dawei SEZ in Myanmar, set to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial zone, is progressing once again despite years of instability and uncertainty. The pandemic also makes it nearly impossible for developers and the government to meet with local residents to answer basic questions about the impacts and benefits of the project.
Thailand’s new youth-led democracy movement has held near-daily protests since July, demanding a new constitution, a new parliament and unprecedented reform of the monarchy. Parliament’s recent move to delay its vote on charter reform suggests the government is out of touch and doesn’t realize that the protestors won’t back down.