Thirty years on, Malaysia’s Vision 2020 still remains a pipe dream. To meet its goal of becoming an industrialized nation, the country needs to review its policies and strategies to align them with the country’s prevailing economic and social conditions.
Faced with economic and strategic challenges, Turkey has turned to Southeast Asia to potentially help revive its economy. Ankara may find support from China in its new push, but building ties with the region will depend on Turkey’s ability to keep religion out of the equation.
A push by the Football Association of Malaysia to ensure its leading clubs become private and cease relying on state handouts was challenging enough before COVID-19 arrived. While the group remains committed to the transition, it must accept that the shift will take longer than anticipated.
Southeast Asia’s autocratic leaders have adored Trump’s transactional approach to foreign policy and at times won trade and defense deals without adequate scrutiny of their poor human rights records. The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will take a tougher stance on democracy and human rights in bilateral deals.
Malaysia and Singapore have finally canceled a fraught high-speed rail line from Kuala Lumpur to the island city-state. The two governments reportedly could not reach an agreement after Malaysia pushed to modify the project yet again over financial concerns.
The recent release of a statement clarifying Malaysia’s stance of non-extradition for Uyghur Muslims may push its carefully managed-relationship with China into uncharted territory.
Kazakhstan is emerging from its Soviet past by making progress in several areas including technological breakthroughs that could have a global impact. Collaborating with Southeast Asia remains a key part of its development strategy.
A series of postponed by-elections in Malaysia are taking on extra strategic significance as the political battle for the country’s leadership continues amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Southeast Asian consumers unable to gain credit or access traditional banks are turning to neobanks. Conditions are ripe for these challengers to traditional financial institutions to make progress, although COVID-19 might threaten their disruptive potential.
The signing of the RCEP points to the potential power of Southeast Asia’s neutrality amid US-China tensions.