The Cambodian government’s decision to reject plans for a resort complex next to Angkor Wat stands in stark contrast to another project threatening one of Southeast Asia’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Luang Prabang dam in Laos poses huge risks to the ancient capital, and the case of Cambodia’s “Angkor Lake of Wonder” may offer advocates a way forward.
The Malaysian High Court’s decision to allow Christians to use the word Allah in their publications is commendable. However, the court’s past rulings on the subject and its political relevance for Muslim Malay political leaders indicate that the issue is far from over.
Vietnam has pushed domestic vaccine development in part to reduce reliance on any single foreign source. But its willingness to share vaccine technology and support production abroad may help raise the country’s geopolitical status among the developing world.
Singapore has become a straggler among wealthy nations in terms of its efforts to cut carbon emissions growth. Though the government has become a regional leader on some environmental policies, a new analysis shows its carbon emissions have grown faster than almost any country in the world.
Malaysia’s government declared a state of emergency in January to contain the spread of COVID-19. The decree suspends parliament and postpones any possibility of an election, giving Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s embattled government time to push back against the opposition. However, the move risks further political instability as Muhyiddin may opt not lift the state of emergency as promised.
Thailand is tentatively moving ahead with its long-anticipated plan to link the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea, making shipping between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean faster and cheaper.
Myanmar’s military has been reaching out to ethnic minorities to win support for its coup, with limited success. But the efforts are unlikely to cause lasting shifts in the country’s political dynamics as the military is unwilling to offer ethnic groups autonomy or a federalist union.
Recent actions by Prime Minister Prayuth and the largest party in Thailand’s ruling coalition, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), indicate that they may be unwilling to cede any power to coalition partners like the Democrats. This will only cause further divisions within the ruling coalition and could lead to its collapse.
A new program in the Philippines shows how data tools and mapping can help improve disaster responses and climate adaptation. For countries in Southeast Asia that are highly vulnerable to climate impacts, data sharing is one way to build more equitable responses to climate change and disasters.
Vietnam has announced its candidacy to join the UN Human Rights Council, basing its case mostly on the country’s successful containment of COVID-19. However, when it comes to Vietnam’s own human rights record, the government has done everything to curtail people’s fundamental civil and political rights.