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Mr Thomas Benjamin Daniel

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We cannot afford for Myanmar to unravel any further

Thomas Daniel was quoted in The National Article by Sholto Byrnes,  31 March 2021... Read More

Myanmar deportation won’t affect Malaysia’s regional standing, world ties, say experts

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today Article by Jason Thomas,  26... Read More

BFM Podcast: To deport or not?

Produced by: Sim Wie Boon Presented by: Lyn Mak, Noelle Lim, Roshan... Read More

Malaysia-US ties expected to remain strong under Biden's administration -- Analyst

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. Article by Voon Miaw Ping, ... Read More

US-China Tensions and the Future of ASEAN

This article was first published in the Valdai Discussion Club Managing major power competition... Read More

Malaysia-Australia ties raised to comprehensive strategic partnership

Bilateral ties between Malaysia and Australia were just elevated to a “comprehensive... Read More

Pendakwaan Trump: Tiada siapa mengatasi undang-undang - Penganalisis

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Astro Awani. Article by Nailah Huda, 14 January... Read More

2020 In Review: World News

Produced by: Hezril Asyraaf Presented by: Hezril Asyraaf, Kam Raslan We take... Read More

Malaysia A Price-Taker In Regional Security?

Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Lyn Mak, Roshan Kanesan 2020 was initially thought... Read More

Malaysia’s Regional Security Outlook: Continuity amid Disruption

This article was first published in The CSCAP regional security outlook (CRSO) 2021 annual... Read More

East Asian Summit matters to Asean

The 15th anniversary of the East Asian Summit (EAS) received scant attention... Read More

A US Navy First Fleet in the Indian Ocean, based out of Singapore? Not likely, analysts say

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The US Navy... Read More

Behind the Text – Reaffirming ASEAN’s Spirit

An ASEAN Summit is more than a “mere” biannual affair. It means... Read More

US-China rivalry set to persist whoever wins the White House

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera article. Whoever emerges the winner of... Read More

China’s push lets foreign poachers steal our fish, say experts

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today Article by Ainaa Aiman,  11... Read More

The Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Malaysia

By Thomas Daniel and Ariane Jeffrey The onset of COVID-19 and its resulting... Read More

In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Amid China’s military... Read More

Claim of ‘Malaysian disguise’ for US spy plane baffles experts

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today. Article by Hakimie Amrie Hisamudin, ... Read More

Philippine and Chinese defense chiefs try to ease South China Sea tensions

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asian Review. Article by CLIFF VENZON and... Read More

Asean treads fine line as US-China rivalry, South China Sea loom over annual forum

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The bloc made... Read More

South China Sea clash raises Vietnam-Malaysia tensions after fisherman shot dead

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The incident took place... Read More

Xi vows to revamp AIIB as model for multilateral cooperation

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asian Review article. Article by CK... Read More

Will South China Sea’s rival claimants be emboldened by US policy shift?

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Washington’s tougher line on... Read More

China's own records debunk 'historic rights' over disputed

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera article. Experts say official Chinese documents... Read More

Consider minilateralism in dealing with South China Sea dispute, says analyst

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. Article by Voon Miaw Ping, ... Read More

Guna pendekatan 'minilateralism' tangani isu Laut China Selatan - Penganalisis

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. oleh Voon Miaw Ping,  14 July... Read More

Asean must pay heed to negotiations, outcomes of Code of Conduct

NEGOTIATIONS for the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea... Read More

China blames US hawks for risking 'new Cold War'

Thomas Daniel was quoted by Nikkei Asian Review By CK TAN, Nikkei staff... Read More

COVID-19 highlights the plight of Malaysia’s refugees

Malaysia’s COVID-19-induced Movement Control Order (MCO) has caused severe hardships for refugees... Read More

Effective Middle Powers in Asia Pacific

IN an article I wrote, titled "Rise of the Rest" (ISIS Focus,... Read More

Malaysia shouldn’t use coronavirus as an excuse to reject Rohingya refugees

Fear of forced relocation and the coronavirus pandemic in refugee camps are... Read More

Managing inbound Rohingya: Malaysia's longstanding refugee situation takes on added urgency during the pandemic

By Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin and Thomas Daniel Read in PDF Malaysia is... Read More

Expanding the Military’s Role?

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

Logistics – the other front in the war on COVID-19

“Amateurs discuss tactics; professionals discuss logistics” is a quote often attributed to... Read More

The other victims of the Coronavirus: Multilateralism and regional cooperation

Economies, travel, healthcare systems, communities and lives are not the only wreckage... Read More

Drastic rethink needed for military

The inaugural Defence White Paper (DWP) and the public relations blitz that... Read More

Asian countries pledge ‘regional solidarity’ with China over coronavirus outbreak

Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed and quoted in an article on Arab... Read More

ASEAN’s Mid-Life Crisis in An Age of Geostrategic Flux

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has come a long way... Read More

ASEAN, Pandangan Indo-Pasifik, dan Upaya Mendamaikan Kawasan

Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Harian Kompas (Indonesian daily) which appeared in... Read More

Buletin AWANI Khas: Iran lancar serangan udara mensasarkan tentera AS

Mr Thomas Daniel was briefly interviewed on Astro Awani last week about... Read More

Soleimani killing: what is Malaysia’s aim in call for Muslim unity?

Mr Thomas Daniel was quoted by the South China Morning post for an... Read More

There is more that binds us

IN a previous article, the author explored the background, scope and key... Read More

BFM PODCAST: A World With More Walls

Produced by: Kelvin Yee, Loo Juosie Presented by: Kelvin Yee, Aiman Rashad,... Read More

Trump Melemahkan AS

Oleh KRIS MADA,  1 November 2019 KTT Asia Timur dimanfaatkan para mitra... Read More

Charting way forward for Asean, Australia and NZ

A CASUAL examination of Asean’s Dialogue partners often sees China, Japan, South... Read More

BFM PODCAST: Where Is Malaysia Now With India?

Produced by: Lee Chwi Lynn Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Kelvin Yee... Read More

At 70, China cheers its past as world braces for its uncertain future

Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed in the following Nikkei Asian Review article.... Read More

China's rising maritime clout

JULY 12 marked the third anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s... Read More

Do Not Take Our Peace Dividend for Granted

THE last few months have been interesting for both professional and casual... Read More

‘America First’ is More Than a Phrase

WHILE much has and will be made of President Donald Trump not... Read More

Malaysia’s May 2018 General Election and Foreign Policy

Article by Thomas Daniel which appeared in Asia Pacific Bulletin (Number 433),East-West... Read More

Key issues impacting Malaysia's security outlook

Throughout its modern history, Malaysia has faced a variety of security issues... Read More

India Must Boost Depth and Durability of ASEAN Ties

Article by Thomas Daniel which appeared in New Straits Times, 20 June... Read More

Issues Impacting Malaysia’s Maritime Security Policies and Postures

Introduction This paper aims to address key issues that impact Malaysia’s maritime... Read More

Can ASEAN be counted on when it matters?

The concept of centrality has seen a resurgence in use during the... Read More

Mahathir stress tests Malaysia-Singapore relations

KUALA LUMPUR -- Relations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are being put... Read More

Mahathir stress tests Malaysia-Singapore relations

KUALA LUMPUR - Relations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are being put... Read More

Rohingya Policy Needed

SINCE violence broke out in Rakhine State, Myanmar, in August, 600,000 to... Read More

South China Sea: Can Asean, China Find Convergence in Dispute?

THE temperament of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea between... Read More

When Abe's Dreams Come True

Exit polls indicate that Shinzo Abe has won a landslide victory in... Read More

They Deserve Work Rights

Employment programme is much welcomed after years of delay Recent announcements by... Read More

Clear Refugee Policy Needed

The latest outbreak of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar against the... Read More

Key Issues and Dilemmas for Brunei and Malaysia in the South China Sea Dispute

Overview and focus In the wake of the tribunal constituted under Annex... Read More

Why We Should Care About Rohingyas

It is almost a year to the climax of last year’s Rohingya... Read More

More Than Just About Regional Disputes

Given the ongoing fallout of Chinese land reclamations in the South China... Read More

‘Project Mausam —A Preliminary Assessment of India’s Grand Maritime Strategy from a Southeast Asian Perspective’

Onset of ‘Maritime Asia’ Maritime travel, trade and even conquest have historically... Read More

Beijing Must Alleviate Concerns

A SPATE of initiatives announced over the last two years has seen... Read More

Project Mausam Part 2

This paper is the second part of an essay on India’s Project... Read More

Project Mausam Part 1

This paper is the first of a two part essay on India’s... Read More

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Mr Thomas Benjamin Daniel

Thomas is a Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Security Studies Programme of ISIS Malaysia. His interests lie in the security/strategic challenges and impacts of major power dynamics on ASEAN and its member states, the South China Sea dispute, and Malaysia’s national security and foreign policies. Thomas also looks at the policy implications of refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced persons in Malaysia, and the Malaysian government’s refugee policy of “not having a policy”.

Thomas obtained his Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nottingham (Malaysia) where he graduated with Distinction, completing a dissertation that assessed Malaysia’s responses to China in the South China Sea dispute through the balance of threat approach. He also holds a BA in Communication and Media Management, and a BA Honours in Communication, Media & Culture from the University of South Australia. Previously, he was a public relations practitioner focusing on social media management and media engagement strategies for clients from the government and enterprise technology sectors.


Published Articles

We cannot afford for Myanmar to unravel any further

31 March 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in The National Article by Sholto Byrnes,  31 March 2021 After Myanmar’s military regime marked National Armed Forces’ Day on Saturday by committing their greatest massacre of protesters so far – killing 114 men, women and children – the coup-installed government of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing received another round of international condemnation. US Secretary…

Myanmar deportation won’t affect Malaysia’s regional standing, world ties, say experts

26 February 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today Article by Jason Thomas,  26 February 2021 PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s decision to repatriate more than 1,000 undocumented migrants to Myanmar on Tuesday will have limited effect on its regional standing and ties with international powers, say experts. The European Union and the US have expressed concern over the…

BFM Podcast: To deport or not?

23 February 2021
Produced by: Sim Wie Boon Presented by: Lyn Mak, Noelle Lim, Roshan Kanesan Thomas Daniel, Fellow for Foreign Policy and Security Studies at the Institute Of Strategic & International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia, discusses concerns about Malaysia’s plans to deport some 1,200 Myanmar citizens, and in the long-term, practical strategies to take in and resettle refugees.…

Malaysia-US ties expected to remain strong under Biden's administration -- Analyst

17 February 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. Article by Voon Miaw Ping,  17 February 2021 KUALA LUMPUR, Feb.17 -- Malaysia's bilateral relations with the United States (US) is expected to remain strong and continue to be mutually beneficial under President Joe Biden's administration. Analyst Thomas Daniel said this is because the relationship is largely managed by professional diplomats and technocrats which accounts…

US-China Tensions and the Future of ASEAN

16 February 2021
This article was first published in the Valdai Discussion Club Managing major power competition is nothing new for member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). One of the reasons the organisation came into being was to provide the then mainly non-communist Southeast Asian states an avenue to have a greater say over geopolitical matters…

Malaysia-Australia ties raised to comprehensive strategic partnership

28 January 2021
Bilateral ties between Malaysia and Australia were just elevated to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” at a virtual meeting between the Prime Ministers of both countries yesterday. This marks a deepening of the relationship which had been categorised as a “strategic partnership” since November 2015.  An increasing part of the Asia Pacific’s diplomatic nomenclature, the term…

Pendakwaan Trump: Tiada siapa mengatasi undang-undang - Penganalisis

14 January 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Astro Awani. Article by Nailah Huda, 14 January 2021 KUALA LUMPUR: Pendakwaan kali kedua terhadap Presiden Donald Trump merupakan satu langkah bersejarah buat Amerika Syarikat (AS), serta menjadi satu pengajaran kepada masyarakat global. Pengundian Kongres itu memberi peringatan kepada seluruh dunia bahawa tiada siapa yang kebal daripada undang-undang, jelas Thomas Daniel,…

2020 In Review: World News

28 December 2020
Produced by: Hezril Asyraaf Presented by: Hezril Asyraaf, Kam Raslan We take a look at the biggest international headlines this year with Thomas Daniel - revisiting the global impact of Covid-19, Joe Biden's presidential win in the US, the Hong Kong protests, and China's global standing; and discuss how these events will affect Malaysia come…

Malaysia A Price-Taker In Regional Security?

16 December 2020
Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Lyn Mak, Roshan Kanesan 2020 was initially thought to be a transformative year for Malaysia's regional security outlook, but the twin crises of politics and a pandemic have dampened that outlook somewhat. We speak to Thomas Daniel, Senior Analyst at ISIS Malaysia, about Malaysia's defence positioning in the region, key issues,…

Malaysia’s Regional Security Outlook: Continuity amid Disruption

10 December 2020
This article was first published in The CSCAP regional security outlook (CRSO) 2021 annual publication. Building on key developments throughout 2019, 2020 promised to be an exciting and perhaps transformative year for Malaysia’s defence and regional security outlook. Domestically, 2019 saw the preparation, tabling and adoption of Malaysia’s first ever Defence White Paper (DWP), which looked set…

East Asian Summit matters to Asean

25 November 2020
The 15th anniversary of the East Asian Summit (EAS) received scant attention amid the many statements, declarations, plan-of-actions and other such announcements from the recently concluded 37th ASEAN Summit. Much of the post-Summit coverage and analyses were focused on the organisation’s efforts to manage the global pandemic, and signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,…

A US Navy First Fleet in the Indian Ocean, based out of Singapore? Not likely, analysts say

18 November 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The US Navy Secretary’s proposal raised eyebrows among observers, who say the plan is a ‘trial balloon’ that is unlikely to garner immediate regional support Locating a US naval base in Singapore is also seen as a tricky proposition given the island nation’s efforts to not…

Behind the Text – Reaffirming ASEAN’s Spirit

17 November 2020
An ASEAN Summit is more than a “mere” biannual affair. It means a barrage of associated bilateral and multilateral meetings between the 10 Member States, 10 dialogue partners, additional members of the ASEAN Regional Forum and other observers. This in turn inevitably results in a plethora of statements, declarations, plan-of-actions and other such announcements, which…

US-China rivalry set to persist whoever wins the White House

02 November 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera article. Whoever emerges the winner of the November 3 election, the US is set to retain a tough approach to China.   Article by Kate Mayberry,  02 November 2020 In April 2017, US President Donald Trump entertained his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, his luxury golf resort in…

China’s push lets foreign poachers steal our fish, say experts

11 October 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today Article by Ainaa Aiman,  11 October 2020 PETALING JAYA: China’s dominance in the South China Sea, and the big power rivalry in the area, has led to foreign fishing vessels poaching in Malaysia’s rich marine resources, say experts and fishermen. Thomas Benjamin Daniel, of the Institute of Strategic…

The Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Malaysia

08 October 2020
By Thomas Daniel and Ariane Jeffrey The onset of COVID-19 and its resulting lockdown had a particularly harsh impact on refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, and the movement of irregular migrants making their way to the country.  For context, Malaysian law does not recognise refugees or asylum seekers, and lumps them in a broad definition…

In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable

19 September 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Amid China’s military drills near Taiwan and fears that the South China Sea is becoming a proxy for Washington and Beijing’s deepening rivalry, Asian analysts are considering the worst-case scenario Caught between superpowers clashing in their own backyard, Southeast Asian nations might find staying neutral is…

Claim of ‘Malaysian disguise’ for US spy plane baffles experts

12 September 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today. Article by Hakimie Amrie Hisamudin,  12 September 2020 PETALING JAYA: Defence and foreign policy analysts are baffled by a China think tank’s claim that a US Air Force signals intelligence aircraft had masked itself using a Malaysian code as it flew over the South China Sea. Thomas Benjamin…

Philippine and Chinese defense chiefs try to ease South China Sea tensions

12 September 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asian Review. Article by CLIFF VENZON and CK TAN,  12 September 2020 MANILA/SHANGHAI -- The defense ministers of China and the Philippines met in Manila on Friday, vowing "to avoid misunderstanding" amid tensions in the disputed South China Sea. After low-key visits to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei this week, Chinese…

Asean treads fine line as US-China rivalry, South China Sea loom over annual forum

12 September 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The bloc made clear during the four-day summit that it did not want to be ‘stuck in the tussle between the major powers as that would affect stability in the region’ Disagreements over language surrounding the South China Sea dispute have also delayed the release of…

South China Sea clash raises Vietnam-Malaysia tensions after fisherman shot dead

18 August 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. The incident took place on Sunday after Malaysia’s coastguard attempted to inspect two Vietnamese boats deemed to be engaged in illegal fishing Analysts have raised concerns over the implications for relations within Asean – as well as the region’s ties with China Article by Tashny Sukumaran,  18 August…

Xi vows to revamp AIIB as model for multilateral cooperation

28 July 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asian Review article. Article by CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer,  28 July 2020 SHANGHAI -- Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed on Tuesday to turn the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank into an inclusive platform for the promotion of international cooperation amid the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In…

Will South China Sea’s rival claimants be emboldened by US policy shift?

17 July 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Washington’s tougher line on the contested waterway gives China’s neighbours some leverage in negotiations, observer says But they are expected to carefully balance relations between the two superpowers to avoid getting caught in the middle Article by Holly Chik,  17 July 2020 Washington’s policy shift on the…

China's own records debunk 'historic rights' over disputed

16 July 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera article. Experts say official Chinese documents belie 'nine-dash line' as Beijing asserts dominance in South China Sea. Article by Ted Regencia,  16 July 2020 Having secured an alliance with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a state visit to Beijing in 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping underlined it when he…

Consider minilateralism in dealing with South China Sea dispute, says analyst

14 July 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. Article by Voon Miaw Ping,  14 July 2020 KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 -- As tension continues in the South China Sea over the overlapping territorial claims in the highly contested waters, ASEAN must look for an alternative approach to deal with the issue which can potentially jeopardise the region’s peace and stability. With no…

Guna pendekatan 'minilateralism' tangani isu Laut China Selatan - Penganalisis

14 July 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Bernama article. oleh Voon Miaw Ping,  14 July 2020 KUALA LUMPUR, 14 Julai -- Negara anggota ASEAN perlu segera mencari pendekatan alternatif dalam menangani peningkatan ketegangan di Laut China Selatan berhubung tuntutan wilayah bertindih kerana ia berpotensi menjejaskan keamanan dan kestabilan di rantau itu. Tatkala masih belum ada penyelesaian jelas, penganalisis…

Asean must pay heed to negotiations, outcomes of Code of Conduct

13 July 2020
NEGOTIATIONS for the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea have stalled, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 conclusion target anticipated by Premier Li Keqiang appears increasingly unlikely. Some stakeholders have proposed negotiations via video-conferencing, while others insist on face-to-face meetings. That aside, questions remain on the final output, quality and effective…

China blames US hawks for risking 'new Cold War'

24 May 2020
Thomas Daniel was quoted by Nikkei Asian Review By CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer,  24 May 2020 SHANGHAI -- China's foreign minister on Sunday argued that political forces in the U.S. are pushing the two powers into a new Cold War when they should be cooperating against the coronavirus. Wang Yi also warned the U.S. against trying…

COVID-19 highlights the plight of Malaysia’s refugees

18 May 2020
Malaysia’s COVID-19-induced Movement Control Order (MCO) has caused severe hardships for refugees and asylum seekers in the country. Most work informally and earn daily or weekly wages, with no job protection. Many were made redundant and are now highly reliant on aid from NGOs and well-wishers. Malaysian law lumps refugees and asylum seekers together under…

Effective Middle Powers in Asia Pacific

12 May 2020
IN an article I wrote, titled "Rise of the Rest" (ISIS Focus, 2017), I argued that the changing international order in the Asia Pacific could see middle powers play a greater role in the region. The increasingly competitive United States-China dynamic would be one of its main catalysts. This relationship between the dominant and the…

Malaysia shouldn’t use coronavirus as an excuse to reject Rohingya refugees

24 April 2020
Fear of forced relocation and the coronavirus pandemic in refugee camps are fuelling new waves of Rohingya refugees Malaysia should not turn them away. It is worth noting that the principle of non-refoulement is aligned with values espoused by Islam By Thomas Daniel and Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin This article appeared in the South China…

Managing inbound Rohingya: Malaysia's longstanding refugee situation takes on added urgency during the pandemic

21 April 2020
By Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin and Thomas Daniel Read in PDF Malaysia is once again bracing for an apparent surge of displaced Rohingya arriving by boat. A Reuters report dated 16 April 2020 detailed the Bangladeshi Coastguard rescue of up to 396 Rohingya on a boat originally bound for Malaysia. Another two dozen on board had…

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…

Logistics – the other front in the war on COVID-19

31 March 2020
“Amateurs discuss tactics; professionals discuss logistics” is a quote often attributed to Napoleon. Whether one is managing a battlefield, multinational business, soup kitchen or – as we are now experiencing – pandemic, setting up and maintaining an effective logistics chain is of paramount importance. If neglected or mismanaged, it will have dire consequences for Malaysians,…

The other victims of the Coronavirus: Multilateralism and regional cooperation

25 March 2020
Economies, travel, healthcare systems, communities and lives are not the only wreckage that COVID-19 is leaving in its wake. Predictably, the virus has begun to exacerbate cracks in the existing international multilateral system that underpins much of our global and regional architectures and mechanisms. Some of this can be attributed to systemic flaws underpinning the…

Drastic rethink needed for military

22 February 2020
The inaugural Defence White Paper (DWP) and the public relations blitz that followed indicate ambitious plans to improve the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the broader defence sector. As commendable as the DWP is, the challenge as always lies in implementation. We need to think very carefully about how we are going to shape and…

Asian countries pledge ‘regional solidarity’ with China over coronavirus outbreak

21 February 2020
Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed and quoted in an article on Arab News on the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 held recently in Laos Original source; arabnews.com By NOR ARLENE TAN,  February 20, 2020 KUALA LUMPUR: An intergovernmental group of Asian countries on Thursday pledged support to China in its fight…

ASEAN’s Mid-Life Crisis in An Age of Geostrategic Flux

16 January 2020
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has come a long way since its founding in 1967. The organisation now encompasses almost all Southeast Asian countries and is regarded as one of the most successful regional organisations of its kind. Yet will ASEAN be able to navigate these challenging times of insecurity? If ASEAN were…

ASEAN, Pandangan Indo-Pasifik, dan Upaya Mendamaikan Kawasan

10 January 2020
Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Harian Kompas (Indonesian daily) which appeared in Kompas, 26 December 2019 View in PDF Oleh KRIS MADA,  26 December 2019 Laporan Akhir Tahun ASEAN, Pandangan Indo-Pasifik, dan Upaya Mendamaikan Kawasan Sepanjang tahun 2019, istilah Indo-Pasifik menjadi salah satu pokok hubungan antarnegara di sekitar Samudra Hindia dan Samudra Pasifik. Sejumlah pihak menyampaikan…

Buletin AWANI Khas: Iran lancar serangan udara mensasarkan tentera AS

08 January 2020
Mr Thomas Daniel was briefly interviewed on Astro Awani last week about tensions in the Middle East last week – just after the killing of General Soleimani and Iran’s retaliatory strikes Astro Awani - http://www.astroawani.com/video-dunia/buletin-awani-khas-iran-lancar-serangan-udara-mensasarkan-tentera-1827626  

Soleimani killing: what is Malaysia’s aim in call for Muslim unity?

07 January 2020
Mr Thomas Daniel was quoted by the South China Morning post for an article titled “Soleimani killing: what is Malaysia’s aim in call for Muslim unity?”. External link By Tashny Sukumaran,  7 January 2020   Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad may have come out strongly in support of Iran following Washington’s assassination of one of its top military commanders, but…

There is more that binds us

25 November 2019
IN a previous article, the author explored the background, scope and key issues that defined the trilateral relationship between Asean, Australia and New Zealand. Also highlighted was the role of Track 1.5 and Track 2 diplomacy in charting the growth and evolution of this relationship. This article, will briefly touch on some challenges that could…

BFM PODCAST: A World With More Walls

05 November 2019
Produced by: Kelvin Yee, Loo Juosie Presented by: Kelvin Yee, Aiman Rashad, Kam Raslan We discuss an AFP report which looks at how nationalism seems to be on the rise, 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. BFM 89.9 - https://www.bfm.my/podcast/evening-edition/evening-edition/a-world-with-more-walls   

Trump Melemahkan AS

01 November 2019
Oleh KRIS MADA,  1 November 2019 KTT Asia Timur dimanfaatkan para mitra ASEAN untuk menunjukkan komitmen pada kawasan. AS melepaskan kesempatan itu setelah Donald Trump memilih tidak hadir di KTT. JAKARTA, KOMPAS - Posisi Amerika Serikat di Indo-Pasifik bisa dilemahkan oleh ketidakhadiran Presiden Donald Trump di Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Asia Timur di Bangkok, Thailand, pada akhir…

Charting way forward for Asean, Australia and NZ

30 October 2019
A CASUAL examination of Asean’s Dialogue partners often sees China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and recently, India receive more publicity and recognition compared with Australia and New Zealand. In fact, some analysts have argued that there seems to be a lack of appreciation for the relationship between the three parties. This might seem…

BFM PODCAST: Where Is Malaysia Now With India?

23 October 2019
Produced by: Lee Chwi Lynn Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Kelvin Yee A trade body in India has urged its members not to import Malaysian palm oil, in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statements about the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. We examine what the developments mean for the trade and diplomatic relationships between…

At 70, China cheers its past as world braces for its uncertain future

30 September 2019
Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed in the following Nikkei Asian Review article. BEIJING -- China has much to celebrate as it marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic this week. Over 850 million people have escaped poverty since the government adopted a market-oriented economy in 1979, a feat the World Bank called "remarkable." This stunning…

China's rising maritime clout

31 July 2019
JULY 12 marked the third anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision in the case brought by the Philippines against China’s claims in the South China Sea. While the resulting ruling did not address the question of sovereignty or that of delimitation, it categorically upheld the existing scope of maritime entitlements as stipulated by…

Do Not Take Our Peace Dividend for Granted

22 April 2019
THE last few months have been interesting for both professional and casual observers of Malaysia’s defence sector, mainly because of the upcoming Defence White Paper. Scheduled to be presented to Parliament by October, there have been quite a few articles and discussions on the various ideas of what Malaysia’s defence priorities and postures are, and…

‘America First’ is More Than a Phrase

13 November 2018
WHILE much has and will be made of President Donald Trump not attending the Asean, East Asia summits in Singapore this week, the United States’ approach and interest in Asean and the wider East Asian region needs to be viewed in perspective. Despite initial fears about a Trump administration “disengagement” from the Asia Pacific, it…
Malaysia’s May 2018 General Election and Foreign Policy

Malaysia’s May 2018 General Election and Foreign Policy

07 August 2018
Article by Thomas Daniel which appeared in Asia Pacific Bulletin (Number 433),East-West Center, August 7, 2018 The 14th Malaysian General Elections (GE14) held in May saw the then main opposition alliance of Pakatan Harapan, together with an allied party from East Malaysia, win a surprising 121 of 222 Parliamentary seats, allowing them to form a…

Key issues impacting Malaysia's security outlook

28 July 2018
Throughout its modern history, Malaysia has faced a variety of security issues impacting its threat perception. These were a mix of both external and internal issues, as well as what most security and defence literature would identify as both ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ security issues. In Malaysia and many of its neighbouring countries however, non-traditional security…
India must boost depth and durability of Asean ties

India Must Boost Depth and Durability of ASEAN Ties

20 June 2018
Article by Thomas Daniel which appeared in New Straits Times, 20 June 2018 IT has been four years since India adopted its “Act East” policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Act East aims to accelerate the previous “Look East” policy that had been in place since the 1990s to better connect India with the Asia…

Issues Impacting Malaysia’s Maritime Security Policies and Postures

16 June 2018
Introduction This paper aims to address key issues that impact Malaysia’s maritime security policies and postures. In order to comprehensively outline these issues and their implications, this paper will be divided into three parts. First, it will explore the notion of Malaysia as a maritime nation, focusing on the dependence of Malaysia on its maritime…

Can ASEAN be counted on when it matters?

04 June 2018
The concept of centrality has seen a resurgence in use during the past few days, featuring prominently in the speeches and comments made during the recently concluded Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defence ministers probably used it during discussions relating to the great power tussle between the United States (US)…

Mahathir stress tests Malaysia-Singapore relations

31 May 2018
KUALA LUMPUR -- Relations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are being put to the test as Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad revisits a delicate territorial issue. On Wednesday, the newly elected Mahathir said Malaysia plans to enlarge some offshore rocks near Singapore, a proposal that could rankle its southern neighbor. Days earlier, the prime minister…

Mahathir stress tests Malaysia-Singapore relations

31 May 2018
KUALA LUMPUR - Relations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are being put to the test as Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad revisits a delicate territorial issue. On Wednesday, the newly elected Mahathir said Malaysia plans to enlarge some offshore rocks near Singapore, a proposal that could rankle its southern neighbor. Days earlier, the prime minister…
Rohingya policy needed

Rohingya Policy Needed

20 March 2018
SINCE violence broke out in Rakhine State, Myanmar, in August, 600,000 to 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, scattered across camps and their outlying communities. It is unknown how many remain in Myanmar, but there are believed to be more than 100,000 internally displaced persons as well as thousands more stuck in pockets between…

South China Sea: Can Asean, China Find Convergence in Dispute?

24 October 2017
THE temperament of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea between the multiple claimants has generally improved compared to a year ago. Back then, heated rhetoric, disdain and even threats were the narrative of the day. This was both in support of, and against, the ruling of a Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal against…

When Abe's Dreams Come True

23 October 2017
Exit polls indicate that Shinzo Abe has won a landslide victory in Sunday’s snap polls. The Japanese government coalition led by his Liberal Democratic Party swooped 312 seats, allowing it to retain a two thirds "super-majority" in the Japanese Diet. The main item on Abe’s agenda – now that he has a firm control of…

They Deserve Work Rights

14 February 2017
Employment programme is much welcomed after years of delay Recent announcements by ministers indicate that the pilot programme that would see up to 300 Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia being given legal employment appears set to commence next month. After years of going back and forth, this is a much welcomed development. To…

Clear Refugee Policy Needed

20 December 2016
The latest outbreak of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar against the Rohingya community has once again highlighted one of Southeast Asia’s most tragic, deplorable and sensitive socio-political conundrums with implications to not just Myanmar but neighbouring nations as well. The Rohingya, depending on whose side of the story one chooses to believe, are either…

Key Issues and Dilemmas for Brunei and Malaysia in the South China Sea Dispute

06 December 2016
Overview and focus In the wake of the tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the South China Sea dispute, there has been an increased – and some would argue more critical – focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its…

Why We Should Care About Rohingyas

26 April 2016
It is almost a year to the climax of last year’s Rohingya refugee crisis, the aftermath of a crackdown by Thai authorities on land-smuggling routes that led to the surge of boats packed with Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and economic migrants crossing the Andaman Sea. Many, if not all, were sailing for Malaysia. Readers will…

More Than Just About Regional Disputes

24 November 2015
Given the ongoing fallout of Chinese land reclamations in the South China Sea and the recriminations from other littoral states and external stakeholders, it was no surprise that the issue was raised again at the 27th Asean Summit. The usual criticisms, accusations and calls for restraint directed towards China were met with the latter’s predictable…
‘Project Mausam —A Preliminary Assessment of India’s Grand Maritime Strategy from a Southeast Asian Perspective’

‘Project Mausam —A Preliminary Assessment of India’s Grand Maritime Strategy from a Southeast Asian Perspective’

21 July 2015
Onset of ‘Maritime Asia’ Maritime travel, trade and even conquest have historically been part and parcel of the interaction among different communities, states and civilisations from South to East Asia. Control of key maritime routes by the ancient Asian kingdoms and subsequent European colonial powers meant control of trade and influence throughout the wider region.…

Beijing Must Alleviate Concerns

26 May 2015
A SPATE of initiatives announced over the last two years has seen China working towards greater influence in the strategic security and trade order of the region. From the "Chinese Dream" to the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, the New Asian Security Concept and progress of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ̶ China's drive to…

Project Mausam Part 2

06 March 2015
This paper is the second part of an essay on India’s Project Mausam. While Part 1 focused on the nature of Project Mausam, this paper seeks to examine its impact on ASEAN and Malaysia in particular. Download

Project Mausam Part 1

06 February 2015
This paper is the first of a two part essay on India’s Project Mausam. Part I focuses on exploring the nature of Project Mausam while Part II will examine its impact on Malaysia and ASEAN and provide recommendations accordingly. Download