Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

A year to forget for Nepal

Author: Sujeev Shakya, Nepal Economic Forum

In Nepal the start of 2016 was sombre. The country was still recovering from the earthquake of April 2015 and reeling under the impact of a blockade at the Indian border at the end of that year. Read more…

Testing the limits of Indonesia’s tax amnesty program

Author: Arianto Patunru, ANU

Indonesia’s tax amnesty program has exceeded expectations. Many observers were skeptical that the Ministry of Finance’s target of 165 trillion rupiah (US$12.5 billion) in tax redemption could be achieved after Indonesia’s central bank gave an initial estimate of around 54 trillion rupiah (approximately US$4 billion). Read more…

Najib fights to retain control after 1MDB scandal

Author: Amrita Malhi, ANU

As 2016 draws to a close, Najib Razak remains Malaysia’s prime minister. This is despite two years of scandal, scrutiny and speculation over funds missing from state development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), including US$800 million that is believed to have passed through his personal bank accounts. Read more…

Mongolia’s disappointing come down of 2016

The Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia (Photo: Reuters/David Stanway).

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

It has been a momentous year both economically and politically for Mongolia. But not in a good way. Just five years ago Mongolia was flying high. It was the world’s fastest growing economy with a wealth of resources to fuel further development, a solidly institutionalised democracy and a young population with a high standard of at least basic education. It seemed like the eternal blue sky was the limit. Read more…

South China Sea dramas distract from bigger problems

US Navy's Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris salutes to crew members of USS Spruance, in Singapore 22 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Author: Sam Bateman, University of Wollongong

Just when the South China Sea seemed to have quietened down, two key players, China and the United States, have embarked on a series of provocative gestures. But the distrust between these major powers in the South China Sea inhibits their ability to deal with more serious issues in the region and the world at large. Read more…

The end of CY Leung

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying walks past China's President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing, 11 November 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College London

CY Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), was always a slightly unusual occupant of the main executive position in the city. Read more…

An end to South Korea’s middle power moment?

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop talks as her foreign minister counterparts listen during a media conference after holding the 8th foreign minister's meeting known as MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia) in Sydney, Australia, 25 November 2016 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray)

Author: Jeffrey Robertson, ANU

The Park Geun-hye administration started with an ambitious middle power foreign policy agenda. But as President Park’s time in office seems set to come to an end, South Korea’s middle power prestige may fall victim to South Korea’s domestic politics. Read more…

The end of Japan’s very long post-war era

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

On 3 November 2016 Japan celebrated the 70th anniversary of its post-war constitution, which has survived unchanged for longer than any other existing written constitution in the world. The occasion was one of mixed emotions. Read more…

Can Laos restore growth while global economic uncertainty reigns?

An agricultural farmer works in a field in Khammouane province, Laos (Photo: Reuters/Aubrey Belford).

Author: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU

Laos is among the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, with growth rates averaging 7 per cent since 2000. But the Lao economy has trended downwards in recent years. Amid global economic uncertainty, it remains to be seen how Laos will manage its macroeconomic policies and export diversification strategy. Read more…

Pedagogy or profiteering? Chinese students in Australia’s higher education sector

Peking University in Beijing, China - one of many Chinese universities that may become more attractive than Australian ones (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Author: Jacinta Keast, China Matters

International students form a crucial part of Australia’s higher education student body. But falling academic standards, isolation and a lack of integration by these international students is creating headaches for Australian universities. Already, comments on the Sydney University Chinese Students Association’s WeChat by Chinese students indicate that a large number of Chinese students believe that the University’s prestige and teaching ability is in decline and that they would not recommend the university to peers. In a poll taken by around 1,400 Chinese international students, only 11 per cent felt that the University was of high quality.

Read more…

Reforming Japan’s dual labour market

Workers inspect a wall at a construction site in central Tokyo, Japan, 18 March 18 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter)

Author: Hiroaki Miyamoto, University of Tokyo

The labour market duality between regular and irregular workers has been deepening in Japan. The number of non-regular workers, including part-time, temporary and contract workers, has increased significantly in the last three decades. In 1984, irregular employees accounted for about 15 per cent of all employees. Read more…

No sign of a sea change for Myanmar’s foreign policy

China's Premier Li Keqiang and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 18 August 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee)

Authors: Dai Yonghong and Zhang Guoxuan, Sichuan University

On 8 November 2015, the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) party won the general election in an overwhelming victory, putting an end to decades of military rule. Myanmar’s democratic progress was welcomed and praised by Western countries and global society alike. Read more…

Sri Lanka’s economy marches slowly into 2017

A customer receives a bag after purchasing from a vendor of a stall at a main market in Colombo, Sri Lanka 30 November, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte).

Author: Dushni Weerakoon, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s meandering economic progress received a boost in November 2016 with the announcement of the proposed 2017 budget. Under the watchful eye of the IMF, reversing flagging revenue collection is finally the centrepiece for fiscal consolidation Read more…

Duterte’s year of living dangerously

Author: Ronald D. Holmes, ANU

Philippine politics in 2016 has been dominated by Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power. With five contenders for the presidency, pre-election polls in early January 2016 indicated that the administration candidate, Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas, would struggle to garner popular support. Read more…

Taiwan’s Tsai expectations

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen leaves the Lopez Presidential Palace in Asuncion, Paraguay, 28 June 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Jorge Adorno)

Author: Sheryn Lee, Macquarie University

In 2016, the tone in Taiwan was set by the results of the 16 January elections. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led by Tsai Ing-wen won an historic election victory with a dominating landslide focused on socio-economic policies. But President Tsai is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Read more…