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Mr Muhammad Sinatra

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Southeast Asia riding this pandemic wave together

Ramadan spike didn’t result in blame game between Malaysia, Indonesia and could... Read More

To solve problems, listen to our youth

Leaders could do well to tap into youngsters for their perspectives and... Read More

Malaysia in 2021: Year of the vaccine

Article by Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra  first published in Observer Research Foundation... Read More

Indonesia, Malaysia call for Asean meeting to discuss Myanmar coup as Muhyiddin says country has taken a ‘step backwards’

Muhammad Sinatra was quoted by the South China Morning Post Muhyiddin, who... Read More

Buka Laluan Hijau Timbal Balik kepada pelajar, pekerja - Penganalisis

Muhammad Sinatra was quoted in Astro Awani by Isabelle Leong Februari 4, 2021... Read More

Rising cases scupper hopes of Malaysia-Indonesia travel bubble

A friend’s FaceTime session with his father last week began with a... Read More

ASEAN’s New Normal: Change and Continuity in Terrorism Landscape

ASEAN and ASEAN Member States must embrace the elements of change and... Read More

Terrorism Landscape in the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the assumptions that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic is... Read More

COVID-19: The Real Wedding Crasher

With the pandemic projected to last until a vaccine is discovered, perhaps... Read More

Dealing with COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia: Lessons from Negeri Jiran

Article by Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra CSIS Commentaries DMRU-066-EN 6 May 2020 Download as... Read More

Onus on businesses to not depend fully on Penjana

THE latest economic stimulus package Penjana aims to initiate the economic recovery... Read More

Steps Towards Easing of MCO

As we move to the fourth phase of the MCO set to... Read More

Covid-19: Is Indonesia a time bomb?

A recently viral TV interview brought to surface a question that many... Read More

Expanding the Military’s Role?

The MAF has been deployed since 21 March to help patrol and... Read More

2020: ASEAN’s Annus Horribilis

By Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra illustrate Southeast Asia might be facing its... Read More

Book capital: A formula for change

THE people of Malaysia must not let disheartening developments elsewhere in the... Read More

Riding the Gojek wave amid litmus test of perceptions

IT seems that the energetic Youth and Sports Minister is poised to... Read More

Peaceful Process a Sign of Political Maturity

INDONESIA’S 2019 General Election, which saw a rematch between incumbent Joko “Jokowi”... Read More

Vibrant political developments in 2019

WHAT are several developments in Southeast Asia’s political sphere that are worth... Read More

Who Will Win the 2019 Presidential Election?

IN Michael Vatikiotis’ book Blood and Silk, Javanese dewaraja (divine kings) are... Read More

What Indonesia Can Learn from Malaysia’s Election

The commemoration of Indonesia’s 20th year of Reformasi in May this year... Read More

Tough Fight for Jokowi

WITH Malaysia anticipating the 14th General Election next month, Indonesia is also... Read More

A long Election Season Looms for Indonesia

The year 2018 will be an eventful year for Indonesian politics. In... Read More

Struggle Against Extremism Must Continue

THE consecutive fall of Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and Marawi four... Read More

ASEAN Must Deliver Results

THE month of August is regarded as the month of “independence” by... Read More

Changing Landscape of Terrorism in the Region

THERE are three developments that might prove influential in shifting Southeast Asia’s... Read More

Jakarta’s Game of Thrones Enthralls

Malaysia-Indonesia ties have been on a quiet, even keel for most of... Read More

The Terror is Not Over

IN a period where a failed coup attempt, a global fever over... Read More

Stemming the Flow of Islamic State’s Messages

AS we head rapidly towards mid-2016 and beyond, where do we stand... Read More

A More Active Foreign Policy

NEW PHASE: Indonesia is intensifying its relationship with China while enhancing bilateral... Read More

Expected Results Will Take Time

MALAYSIA-INDONESIA TIES: Both countries want closer collaboration in political, economic and cultural... Read More

Domestic Pressure to Shadow Jokowi's KL Visit

Indonesian President cannot afford to be seen as weak especially in dealing... Read More

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Mr Muhammad Sinatra

Muhammad Sinatra is an Analyst in Foreign Policy and Security Studies division at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. He graduated with a BHSc (Political Science) from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and obtained his MSc (Strategic Studies) from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. During his master's degree, he worked on a dissertation entitled “A Shift in Perspective: The Fallacy of Indonesia-Malaysia 2009 Conflict”. His research interests include Malaysia-Indonesia relations and Prevention/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in Southeast Asia. He has written for such publications as East Asia Forum Quarterly, New Straits Times, The Jakarta Post and The Diplomat. He has also been quoted by South China Morning Post, Al-Jazeera and Arab News. Sinatra is an avid reader and an aspiring photographer, aiming to capture all of Indonesia's magical fantasies one day.


Published Articles

Southeast Asia riding this pandemic wave together

28 July 2021
Ramadan spike didn’t result in blame game between Malaysia, Indonesia and could be a model for post-Covid policymaking. THERE was a time last year when Malaysia was concerned over a possible spike of Covid-19 cases if Indonesian nationals were allowed to enter the country. But what transpired since then was a complete reversal of this…

To solve problems, listen to our youth

07 May 2021
Leaders could do well to tap into youngsters for their perspectives and ideas, instead of excluding them from policymaking. I RECENTLY facilitated a number of university students in an engagement programme organised by Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), an agency under the Foreign Ministry.   Aimed at elevating the youth’s awareness of violent extremism,…

Malaysia in 2021: Year of the vaccine

11 March 2021
Article by Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra  first published in Observer Research Foundation (ORF) India on 11 March 2021 Malaysia’s roller coaster experience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic offers both best practices and cautionary tales to external observers. A strong performance during the quasi-lockdown measure (entitled the Movement Control Order [MCO]) in the first half of 2020…

Indonesia, Malaysia call for Asean meeting to discuss Myanmar coup as Muhyiddin says country has taken a ‘step backwards’

05 February 2021
Muhammad Sinatra was quoted by the South China Morning Post Muhyiddin, who was in Jakarta for a brief visit, said a special meeting was necessary as the turmoil in Myanmar may jeopardise peace and stability of the region He and Joko Widodo also discussed cooperation over palm oil ‘discrimination’ by Europe, the protection of Indonesian…

Buka Laluan Hijau Timbal Balik kepada pelajar, pekerja - Penganalisis

04 February 2021
Muhammad Sinatra was quoted in Astro Awani by Isabelle Leong Februari 4, 2021 KUALA LUMPUR: Antara isu utama yang akan dibincangkan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dalam pertemuan rasmi bersama Presiden Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) dijangka berkaitan pengaturan koridor perjalanan antara dua negara. Menurut penganalisis Institut Kajian Strategik dan Antarabangsa (ISIS), Muhammad Sinatra, melihat kepada…

Rising cases scupper hopes of Malaysia-Indonesia travel bubble

01 December 2020
A friend’s FaceTime session with his father last week began with a surprise query: “Is Malaysia now open to Indonesians?” He told my friend of his plan to spend the December holiday in Kuala Lumpur (and perhaps also to see his stranded son). Though surprising, it reflected the attitude of some Indonesians who adopt the…

ASEAN’s New Normal: Change and Continuity in Terrorism Landscape

17 November 2020
ASEAN and ASEAN Member States must embrace the elements of change and continuity in the terrorism landscape as part of the “new normal” imperatives. By Farlina Said and Muhammad Sinatra At the 11th ASEAN-United Nations (UN) Summit, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin highlighted that the COVID-19 has not been successful in flattening the curve of…

Terrorism Landscape in the COVID-19 Pandemic

20 July 2020
One of the assumptions that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic is that the pandemic has deterred violent extremist groups from pursuing their sinister agenda. This assumption is false. Even as human activities, mobility and interaction have been limited to a certain degree, there is evidence to suggest that violent extremist groups in certain countries…

COVID-19: The Real Wedding Crasher

23 June 2020
With the pandemic projected to last until a vaccine is discovered, perhaps it is necessary to give some thought to how COVID-19 may have changed our lives in a deeper, more profound way.  One possible focus is the practice and concept of weddings – events regarded as an important step towards marriage and family, the…

Dealing with COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia: Lessons from Negeri Jiran

17 June 2020
Article by Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra CSIS Commentaries DMRU-066-EN 6 May 2020 Download as PDF The story of Malaysia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic thus far is not only an interesting one. It should also be a point of reference to other countries in Southeast Asia which are undergoing this gravest crisis in our time. Once hailed…

Onus on businesses to not depend fully on Penjana

13 June 2020
THE latest economic stimulus package Penjana aims to initiate the economic recovery phase of Malaysia through three thrusts — empowering the people, propelling business and stimulating the economy. Designed to assist industries and citizens affected by the pandemic, the focus of Penjana encompasses the preservation and creation of employment, the fostering of digitisation and the…

Steps Towards Easing of MCO

29 April 2020
As we move to the fourth phase of the MCO set to last until 12 May 2020, what are the socio-economic costs of a prolonged MCO and the current challenges to consider including a post-MCO exit plan? We cover these perspectives in our latest infographic on COVID-19.

Covid-19: Is Indonesia a time bomb?

22 April 2020
A recently viral TV interview brought to surface a question that many have pondered upon: Will the Covid-19 crisis in Indonesia become a time bomb to Malaysia? The short answer to that is yes, Indonesia’s mismanagement of the pandemic will eventually impact Malaysia down the line. The sensationalism of that expression, however, necessitates us to…

Expanding the Military’s Role?

17 April 2020
The MAF has been deployed since 21 March to help patrol and enforce the MCO in response to COVID-19. At the time of writing, the MCO has been extended twice and is now set to end on 28 April 2020. During this prolonged period, some thought should be given to the possibility of the MAF’s…

2020: ASEAN’s Annus Horribilis

09 April 2020
By Zarina Zainuddin and Muhammad Sinatra illustrate Southeast Asia might be facing its greatest external challenge since the foundation of ASEAN.  Interestingly, it did not emanate from the longstanding major power competition, or disputes and disunity between member states – as many have predicted recently. The weight of the COVID-19 challenge is taking its toll on…

Book capital: A formula for change

27 January 2020
THE people of Malaysia must not let disheartening developments elsewhere in the world dampen the optimism of 2020. A number of programmes have been lined up to realise the vision of making it a special year. Apart from the more popular Visit Malaysia 2020 and Wawasan 2020, a lesser-known campaign is perhaps the Kuala Lumpur…

Riding the Gojek wave amid litmus test of perceptions

11 September 2019
IT seems that the energetic Youth and Sports Minister is poised to go after big-ticket items this year. Having played an instrumental role in lowering the voting age in Malaysia, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman now seeks to introduce Gojek, an e-hailing ride service, to Malaysia. Amid its pros and cons, how much do we…

Peaceful Process a Sign of Political Maturity

26 June 2019
INDONESIA’S 2019 General Election, which saw a rematch between incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and challenger Prabowo Subianto, offers a few takeaways that are perhaps more interesting to Malaysia than the republic’s other neighbours. First, Malaysia remains in the orbit of Indonesia’s election consciousness. The trend emerged last year when Pakatan Harapan’s election victory was absorbed…

Vibrant political developments in 2019

18 January 2019
WHAT are several developments in Southeast Asia’s political sphere that are worth looking forward to in the next six months? The first on the radar is Thailand. Following a string of delays in the conduct of a general election, the kingdom will likely see another postponement from the previously designated date (Feb 24). The reason…
Who will win the 2019 presidential election?

Who Will Win the 2019 Presidential Election?

12 September 2018
IN Michael Vatikiotis’ book Blood and Silk, Javanese dewaraja (divine kings) are described to have derived their legitimacy not only from their possession of charismatic aura but also their kesaktian(mystical powers) to bring prosperity to the rakyat and repel any calamity. No one shows the fervour to personify dewaraja as much as Prabowo Subianto in…

What Indonesia Can Learn from Malaysia’s Election

12 June 2018
The commemoration of Indonesia’s 20th year of Reformasi in May this year coincided with Malaysia’s new chapter in democratization and governance. In the 14th general election ( GE14 ) held on May 9, Malaysians voted the reform-oriented Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition into power, replacing the decades-long rule of Barisan Nasional (BN). This historic development in…
Tough fight for Jokowi

Tough Fight for Jokowi

24 April 2018
WITH Malaysia anticipating the 14th General Election next month, Indonesia is also gearing up towards this ritual of democracy that would determine the nation’s future. Indonesia’s presidential post will once again be contested in the 2019 Presidential Election. We can expect the incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to run in the race, despite the mixed…

A long Election Season Looms for Indonesia

20 March 2018
The year 2018 will be an eventful year for Indonesian politics. In June 2018, 171 regional areas will simultaneously take to the polls to elect new mayors, regents and governors. These provincial elections will be followed by the general elections in 2019. The provincial elections are considered an early battleground ahead of the presidential contest…

Struggle Against Extremism Must Continue

27 February 2018
THE consecutive fall of Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and Marawi four months ago produced some respite in the global fight against terrorism. This, unfortunately, is not indicative of the winding down of the threat in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, in particular, continues to face this security challenge from multiple sources. Returning foreign fighters, infiltrators, sympathisers,…

ASEAN Must Deliver Results

09 August 2017
THE month of August is regarded as the month of “independence” by citizens of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. But, how many of us know that yesterday was the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) 50th anniversary? This lack of public awareness is one of the issues facing the regional grouping after 50 years of existence.…

Changing Landscape of Terrorism in the Region

07 February 2017
THERE are three developments that might prove influential in shifting Southeast Asia’s terrorism landscape this year and beyond. These are the establishment of the Islamic State’s satellite caliphate in the southern Philippines, the return of foreign fighters from Syria to their home countries and the employment of female terrorists as occurred in Indonesia late last…

Jakarta’s Game of Thrones Enthralls

19 October 2016
Malaysia-Indonesia ties have been on a quiet, even keel for most of this year. Even the destruction of Malaysian fishing boats and the annual haze failed to ignite sparks between the two countries. Much of that has been due to Indonesia’s preoccupation with domestic politics. Last year, the republic passed Law Number 8/2015 regulating the…

The Terror is Not Over

26 July 2016
IN a period where a failed coup attempt, a global fever over virtual monsters, and an international tribunal’s ruling on a long-disputed piece of sea battle made headlines, news of a recent counterterrorism victory in neighbouring Indonesia quietly slipped into the “international” section of many newspapers. Santoso, Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist, is dead. For years,…

Stemming the Flow of Islamic State’s Messages

31 May 2016
AS we head rapidly towards mid-2016 and beyond, where do we stand on the issues of radicalisation and terrorism? In the first quarter of this year, major Islamic State-instigated attacks rocked the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels, and Jakarta. The fact that IS has expanded its atrocious activities, even close to Kuala Lumpur, suggests that…
A More Active Foreign Policy

A More Active Foreign Policy

27 October 2015
NEW PHASE: Indonesia is intensifying its relationship with China while enhancing bilateral relations with the US With the haze choking our ability to breathe clean air for months now, Malaysians tend to miss the fact that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has just celebrated his first year in office. While his administration has been repeatedly under…

Expected Results Will Take Time

17 February 2015
MALAYSIA-INDONESIA TIES: Both countries want closer collaboration in political, economic and cultural spheres There was a significant absence of public fanfare at the conclusion of President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo's maiden visit to Malaysia, despite some interesting developments that took place not only during, but also in the immediate period preceding and following the visit itself.…
Domestic Pressure to Shadow Jokowi's KL Visit

Domestic Pressure to Shadow Jokowi's KL Visit

02 February 2015
Indonesian President cannot afford to be seen as weak especially in dealing with foreign governments. THE upcoming official visit to Malaysia by Indonesian President Joko Widodo – popularly known as Jokowi – will mark a renewed commitment by both countries to reaffirm and improve their relationship. It is therefore an opportune moment to explore the…
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