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  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Corruption has become a perennial issue that has shackled political parties to a groundswell of unpopularity in Indonesia. In the run up towards the 2014 General Elections, it is envisaged that such an issue may jeopardise the electability of certain political parties. This report explores the influence of corruption cases on the elections by first highlighting the current status of competing political parties in the 2014 elections. The report then looks at the notable corruption cases that have an adverse effect on the political parties. The report concludes with four points. First, how utilising the "corruption-card" has become the new weapon of choice among political parties. Second, how the acute problem of corruption signifies that Indonesia's democratic consolidation process is far from over. Third, how shadowy affairs between political parties, their elites and the media can and should be constantly monitored. Lastly, the need to strengthen and continuous evaluation of the Corruption Eradication Committee (KPK) to prevent unnecessary interventions by political parties in the future.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Democratic Party (PD) – the incumbent party that won a majority sweep in the 2009 general elections, conferring Yudhoyono his second presidency – is now experiencing a dramatic reversal of fortunes. The party's electability rate has dipped significantly from its heyday peak of 21 per cent in 2009 to a meagre 7 per cent in 2013. A convention based on democratic proceedings ha s been hatched as part of a last - ditched effort by PD with the express purpose of generating the requisite publicity before legislative elections commence in order to restore confidence among its voters. While the convention has been proceeding apace, its impact on the electorate and on the image of the party as a whole has been disappointing. This report analyses the reasons why PD's novel attempt at a democratic convention failed to rejuvenate the party like its predecessor the Golkar party did a decade a go. Included in the analysis are scenario analyses of the various outcomes of the convention, given the plausible choices that party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may take in consideration of the current dire status of PD.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Li Jianwei
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Although disputes in the South China Sea are in general under control since 2009, developments show that China-Philippines and China-Vietnam are two key relationships that have experienced incidents leading to fluctuating levels of tension in the South China Sea region. This study reviews the evolution of these two relationships in relation to bilateral disputes in the South China Sea and the respective approaches to managing these disputes, with emphasis on the post-2009 period. By comparing the China-Philippines and China-Vietnam approaches, it intends to analyse the differences/similarities and their implication on the management of the South China Sea disputes, as well as their bilateral relations in a broader sense.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Vietnam, Philippines
  • Author: Wai-Mun Chia, Pradumna B. Rana
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia - the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) "Go West" and the recent "New Silk Roads" policies of China; (ii) "Look East" policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia's security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Nadica Pavlovska
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The internet penetration and the consequent creation of hyper-connected reality has exposed the Singaporean population to much more diversity of thoughts and influences. In this environment, efforts to maintain social cohesion and multicultural tolerance among the population is now even more challenging. In light of this, this paper attempts to explore the means available to maintain pro-social behaviour and build a culture of respect online. By assessing the current measures undertaken in Singapore, this paper argues that the majority of the strategies are “mind changing” such as education and awareness raising campaigns. However, by taking into account the specificity of the internet interaction, it is suggested that these strategies could be further enhanced by adopting a “context changing” approach in the online interaction by using specific behaviour influencers such as social norms, priming and messenger approach.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Multiculturalism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Yuddy Chrisnandi, Adhi Priamarizki
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the implementation of Law No. 2/1999 on political parties by former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habbibie, the multiparty system has been championed as the more prominent feature of the rapidly democratized Indonesian political landscape in the post-Suharto era. he implementation of such a law replaced the three-party system that had previously been dominated by the single hegemonic political vehicle of the New Order, Golkar or Golongan Karya [the Functional Groups], for almost 26 years. In the 1999 General Elections (GE), Indonesia witnessed an exuberance of new political parties. A total of forty-eight new political parties joined the 1999 election, the first free and fair democratic election since the 1955 GE. While the number of political parties may seem overwhelming, such a political turnout is not surprising given the degree of plurality of Indonesian society. In the 2004, 2009, and 2014 GE respectively, 24, 38, and 12 national political parties competed.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Farish A. Noor
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Today the term 'data mining' is used in both academic and non-academic circles, though the practice is neither novel nor new. This paper looks at the data collection mission led by John Anderson on behalf of the British East India Company in 1823, and considers if it is possible to collect data in a purely objective, neutral manner. Though John Anderson was careful in his writing, and sought to communicate his findings in a dry, objective fashion, his own subject-position as a functionary working for the East India Company stands out in his account of the mission to Sumatra. This paper argues that the process of data collection is seldom ever a truly neutral enterprise, and that in the framing of the object of analysis, the cultural and socio-economic subject-position of the researcher/analyst is always present, rendering it impossible for there to ever be a truly objective work of research/analysis. In this respect an appraisal of Anderson's work today is also relevant for contemporary scholars who may likewise attempt an 'objective' approach to their work, and it reminds us that the method often constructs the object under scrutiny.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership Plan of Action (2010- 2015) represents the latest effort in a relationship that dates back to 1977, the year that Canada became one of the first countries to be designated a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. According to the Plan of Action, ASEAN and Canada will 'work and consult closely in responding to regional and international challenges, and in building an ASEAN-centred regional architecture which is open and inclusive'. They will also 'promote the development of enhanced ASEAN connectivity which will help foster the building of an ASEAN Community by 2015'.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Canada, Asia
  • Author: Kei Koga
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper, focusing on the 1968-1976 institutional changes of ASEAN, a Third World Security-Oriented Institution (SOI), attempts to develop a theoretical model of institutional transformation by utilizing a punctuated equilibrium model. This theoretical model illustrates interactions between structure and agent to explain both why and how institutional transformation occurs: first, changes in the external security environment foster or hinder SOI's functions, and thus, they trigger internal political discussions among member states; and second, internal political discussions define the direction of SOI's institutional transformation. Focusing on changes in the regional balance of power in Southeast Asia from 1968 to 1971 and from 1972-1976, this paper examines the process of ASEAN's creation of the Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in 1971, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the Bali Concord in 1976.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christopher Freise
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Much attention has been devoted to the Obama Administration's “Pacific Pivot” and the vocal reassertion of an upgraded security, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia by the United States. Commentators have ascribed various rationales to these efforts, including speculation that this is part of a “containment” strategy towards China, a reaction to the US presidential election cycle, or, more benignly, an effort to forestall concerns of American withdrawal from the region. These explanations have some elements of truth, but also fall short of fully describing or understanding the strategic rationale behind these moves.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia