Cambodia blocks Angkor Wat resort, will Laos stop the dam at its UNESCO site?

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.

Allah row in Malaysia is settled for now but far from over

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.

Singapore trails on climate policy when it could be Asia’s leader

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.

Will Malaysia’s state of emergency cause more political instability?

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.

Myanmar military reaches out to ethnic minorities with little success

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.

Thailand’s ruling coalition may not last long if infighting continues

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.

Should Vietnam become a member of the UN Human Rights Council?

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.