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Thomas Daniel

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Amid China concerns, Manila and Hanoi agree to better manage maritime disputes

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Japan Times, 30 January 2024 By Gabriel... Read More

Put defence reforms on the frontline

MALAYSIA’S strategic defence planning and capacities are beset with challenges which have... Read More

BFM podcast: Malaysia & Indonesia on shared boundaries in a relationship

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 10 January 2024. Produced by:... Read More

South China Sea: Philippines risks its Beijing ties with ‘non-starter’ mini code of conduct plan

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 2 December 2023... Read More

China’s control of ports worldwide not a worry, says analyst

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today, 2 December 2023 Beijing... Read More

Southeast Asia fears US neglect, ostracised Muslims and resurgent extremists as Israel-Gaza war rages on

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 21 October 2023... Read More

BFM podcast: PM Thavisin visit sets tone for Thai-Malaysia ties

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 October 2023. Produced by:... Read More

Asean has united to send Myanmar’s junta a message. Can it work with stakeholders to end the crisis?

The decisions reached on Myanmar at the recent Asean summit indicate greater... Read More

Can ASEAN's Troika Model handle Myanmar crisis better?

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani on 13 September 2023. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqDbmB-vv1A[/embed]... Read More

Will China-Philippines tensions make other South China Sea claimants more likely to speak up?

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 13 August 2023... Read More

Asean must secure own future, vision

Risks abound in Southeast Asia but cohesion, resources can blunt threats Asean... Read More

BFM podcast: Spotlight on Malaysia-Pinoy ties

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 27 July 2023. Produced by:... Read More

BFM podcast: Malaysia's foreign policy under the unity government

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 28 June 2023. Produced by:... Read More

Asean turns to ‘reliable’ South Korea to feed growing demand for affordable hi-tech arms

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 1 June 2023... Read More

Timor-Leste growth gets ASEAN push

Thomas Daniel was quoted in China Daily Global, 24 May 2023 By PRIME... Read More

BFM podcast: Myanmar crisis: Asean rhetoric still outweighs action

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 May 2023. Produced by:... Read More

What does it look like for Australia and Southeast Asia to develop a joint agenda for maritime security

Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy & Defence Dialogue The Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy & Defence... Read More

ASEAN urges cool heads on South China Sea as summit ends

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 11 May 2023. Indonesia's Jokowi... Read More

Anwar’s visit to China: Striving for consistency amid global uncertainty

The relationship between Malaysia and China is positive and productive—but sensitive issues... Read More

China Premier Li pledges opening up to world amid U.S. tensions

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 30 March 2023 New market access... Read More

Asia update: how AUKUS impacts Southeast Asia

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by ABC Radio National on 15 March 2023. Produced... Read More

Malaysia buys South Korea fighter jets as ASEAN arms market grows

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 7 March 2023 Southeast Asian countries... Read More

Lower defence funding seen sending Malaysia down slippery slope

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Malay Mail, 15 February 2023 by Keertan Ayamany KUALA... Read More

Defence, strategic lessons from the Russo-Ukrainian war

Malaysia stuck with Russian arms, failure to advocate effectively for own rights... Read More

BFM podcast: Singapore-Malaysia building stronger ties

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 31 January 2023. Produced by:... Read More

Malaysia tidak anggap kehadiran kapal China satu pencerobohan

Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Benar News Menteri Pertahanan berkata aset... Read More

Penganalisis: Malaysia perlu tetapkan dasar luar negara dengan jelas dan segera

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Benar News. by Ray Sherman & Iman Muttaqin Yusof, 6... Read More

Leveraging on trade as geopolitical strategy

Calls to withdraw from FTAs could jeopardise national interests as regional rivalry... Read More

#Talkingpolicy ep 06: Implementing the five-point consensus in Myanmar: A Malaysian perspective

by Thomas Daniel and Yanitha Meena - 2 December 2022  In EP06 of... Read More

#Talkingpolicy EP04: GE15 wishlist

As we head to the polls, experts Jamil A. Ghani, Lee Min... Read More

Myanmar tops Asian summit’s agenda as global issues loom

Thomas Daniel was quoted by Associated Press. by David Rising, 9 November 2022 BANGKOK... Read More

BFM podcast: Do foreign policy issues matter in general elections?

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 4 November 2022. Produced by:... Read More

Malaysia’s upcoming elections could cost Myanmar’s NUG one of its biggest allies

Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Benar News by Iman Muttaqin Yusof, 13 October... Read More

Implementing the Five-Point consensus: A Malaysian perspective

by Thomas Daniel & Yanitha Meena, 10 October 2022 Introduction The violence and... Read More

China’s assertive attitude in South China Sea unlikely to change after party congress

Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Experts say it is... Read More

Will Malaysia change its policy on Myanmar?

Malaysia has been one of the most forthright Asean member states when... Read More

How Malaysia’s polls imperil Myanmar’s revolution

Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Asia Times Malaysian FM Saifuddin Abdullah... Read More

Chinese troops drive away fishing vessels from disputed waters

Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Soldiers repelled a boat... Read More

It’s politicians, bureaucrats who control arms deals, says analyst

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today, 9 August 2022. by Nicholas Chung PETALING JAYA:... Read More

Why is the Myanmar crisis such a challenge for ASEAN?

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera. by Al Jazeera Staff | 3 August 2022... Read More

Is Asean pointless handling the situation in Myanmar?

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 29 July 2022. Produced by: Shazana... Read More

ASEAN keeps firm focus on recovery

Thomas Daniel was quoted in China Daily. by YANG HAN | 29 July... Read More

Asean must recognise hard truths about Myanmar

Regional body must live up to principles, deal with deaths, displacement in... Read More

Asean must play cards right amid competition

Leaders must not lose sight of cooperation and centrality as superpowers pursue... Read More

Post-Duterte: Diplomats, analysts watching how Marcos will handle US-China rivalry

Thomas Daniel was quoted on Rappler, 14 June 2022. At an Asia security summit,... Read More

After Malaysia’s NUG meeting, will Asean approach towards Myanmar shift?

Thomas Daniel was quoted on South China Morning Post, 24 May 2022. Malaysia’s Foreign... Read More

Why Putrajaya prefers quiet diplomacy in dealing with China’s maritime claims

Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Free Malaysia Today, 14 May 2022. by Hakimie Amrie... Read More

China slams planned US economic framework as Biden hosts SE Asian leaders

Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a... Read More

President Biden hosts US-ASEAN Special Summit | Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Thomas Daniel was interviewed on Radio Free Asia, 12 May 2022 President Biden... Read More

BFM podcast: US-Asean summit: Symbolism over substance?

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 May 2022. Produced by: Tan... Read More

Asean-US relationship needs reboot as geopolitical risks evolve

Summit on May 12-13 chance to advance regional prospects, minimise stagnation THE... Read More

Malaysia's relations with the United States and China: Asymmetries (and anxieties) amplified

ISEAS Yusof Ishak, Southeast Asian Affairs 2022 Malaysia's Relations with the United... Read More

Ukraine war: How the battle on Malaysia’s social media has become a propaganda tool for Russia and Ukraine

Thomas Daniel was quoted on the South China Morning Post, 19 March 2022. While... Read More

Assessing the invasion, how war in Ukraine impacts Southeast Asia

Thomas Daniel was quoted on Southeast Asia Globe, 16 March 2022. Regional analysts consider... Read More

BFM podcast: Why is Asean muted on the invasion of Ukraine

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 28 February 2022. Produced by: Shazana... Read More

Indonesia seeks cooperation among ASEAN coast guards

Thomas Daniel was quoted on Radio Free Asia. China’s sweeping claims in... Read More

Philippines, 4 other Asean member-states urged to form coalition in South China Sea

Thomas Daniel was quoted on Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism As tension increases... Read More

Consider This: Diplomacy - Bidens's S.E.A gameplan

Consider This with Sharaad Kuttan & Melisa Idris – 21 December 2021 US... Read More

Anthony Blinken's short trip to Malaysia

Produced by: Arleen Webber Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Shazana Mokhtar, Philip... Read More

How Asean should defend its primacy

As the Asia-Pacific evolves to deal with changing dynamics, more multi- and... Read More

Hubungan AS-China | Hala tuju hubungan Washington-Beijing

Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani on 15 November 2021 Bagi... Read More

ASEAN emergency meeting to discuss barring Myanmar junta chief from summit

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Benar News. Article by Shailaja Neelakantan, 14 October 2021... Read More

South China Sea tensions: why Malaysia’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ approach to China is deliberate

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Although Malaysia has... Read More

China survey ship leaves Indonesia EEZ but another appears off Malaysia

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Radio Free Asia article on 29 September 2021. The... Read More

Uneasiness in Malaysia not ruled out as Australia gets nuclear subs

Thomas Daniel was interviewed in Malaysia Now on 18 September 2021. by Ahmad... Read More

Let’s include more voices in foreign policymaking

AT the start of his second stint as foreign minister, Datuk Saifuddin... Read More

No, America is not exiting the Asia-Pacific anytime soon

Thomas Daniel was quoted in a recent commentary published in The National... Read More

Six years on from the Andaman Sea crisis, the Bali Process on human trafficking isn’t fit for purpose

When hundreds of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants travelling to Southeast Asia... Read More

Consider This: Diplomacy (Part 2) - Asean met Covid-19 challenge?

Consider This with Sharaad Kuttan & Melisa Idris – 15 August 2021 Thomas... Read More

Insight, Ep 14: Fish wars in Asia

Thomas Daniel was interviewed in Episode 14 of CNA's Insight documentary, which... Read More

In age of disruption, foresight and agility trump all

Almost one and a half years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the norms... Read More

BFM Podcast: Moving forward with challenges in migration issues

Produced by: Loo Juosie, Kelvin Yee, Azlyna Mohd Noor Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn,... Read More

To compete with China, the West needs commitment, pragmatism

A KEY outcome from the G7 meeting in Cornwall last month was... Read More

Summon Chinese envoy over airspace intrusion, govt told

Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today. FMT Reporters,  1 June... Read More

Is Asean’s Myanmar five-point consensus workable, and what is next?

Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Asean leaders and... Read More

Agenda AWANI: Next steps for ASEAN on Myanmar

Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani in Agenda AWANI. The special... Read More

Why Asean must deal with the generals

The Asean leaders’ meeting on Saturday in Jakarta looks set to proceed... Read More

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

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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Thomas Daniel

Thomas is a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy and Security Studies programme. His interests lie in the strategic-security challenges of Southeast Asia, including the impacts of major power dynamics on Asean. Within this, he looks mainly at South China Sea dispute, political-security cohesion within Asean and Malaysia’s security and foreign policies. Thomas also focuses on government policies (or lack thereof) to refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced people in Malaysia. He writes and speaks of these issues in local and regional forums and has commented on them in local and international media.

Thomas holds an MA (International Studies) from the University of Nottingham (Malaysia), a BA in Communication and Media Management, and a BA (hons) in Communication, Media & Culture from the University of South Australia. He was a public relations practitioner focusing on media engagement strategies for government and enterprise-technology agencies.


Published Articles

Amid China concerns, Manila and Hanoi agree to better manage maritime disputes

30 January 2024
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Japan Times, 30 January 2024 By Gabriel Dominguez Frustrated with the slow progress in reaching a regional maritime code-of-conduct with China, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is turning to neighboring South China Sea claimant states to boost regional security cooperation and potentially forge a united front against Beijing at a…

Put defence reforms on the frontline

19 January 2024
MALAYSIA’S strategic defence planning and capacities are beset with challenges which have hobbled the armed forces and the country’s capability as an effective deterrent. Many of the causes are beyond the control of the country’s defence planners. Geopolitical tensions in the region further complicate the situation, affecting both the challenges our armed forces face and…

BFM podcast: Malaysia & Indonesia on shared boundaries in a relationship

12 January 2024
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 10 January 2024. Produced by: Anwar Mahbob Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar, Philip See, Anwar Mahbob Indonesia has had strong relations with Malaysia throughout the years. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim even made his first foreign visit there upon assuming office. However, it has not always been smooth…

South China Sea: Philippines risks its Beijing ties with ‘non-starter’ mini code of conduct plan

05 December 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 2 December 2023 A mini code of conduct between the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and other claimant states would likely only serve to infuriate China, analysts say Any attempt to ‘gang up’ on Beijing could also scupper decades-long talks on a broader agreement covering the disputed waterway…

China’s control of ports worldwide not a worry, says analyst

05 December 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today, 2 December 2023 Beijing reportedly controls ports and terminals at nearly 100 locations in 50 countries across every ocean and continent. By Robin Augustin PETALING JAYA: China’s investment in several Malaysian ports should not be cause for concern despite the emergence of a report suggesting it has…

Southeast Asia fears US neglect, ostracised Muslims and resurgent extremists as Israel-Gaza war rages on

23 October 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 21 October 2023 Analysts warn of a spike in Hamas-inspired radicalisation and plummeting interfaith relations as the Middle Eastern conflict continues to escalate Washington’s attention, meanwhile, looks set to remain elsewhere due to a fundamental ‘shift of focus’ – unless China ‘does something really drastic’ By…

BFM podcast: PM Thavisin visit sets tone for Thai-Malaysia ties

12 October 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 October 2023. Produced by: Moh Heng Ying Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar, Wong Shou Ning, Keith Kam Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin embarked on his maiden visit to Malaysia this week after assuming office last month. How might Malaysia-Thailand bilateral relations take shape under his government? Thomas Daniel…

Asean has united to send Myanmar’s junta a message. Can it work with stakeholders to end the crisis?

14 September 2023
The decisions reached on Myanmar at the recent Asean summit indicate greater cohesion among member states and not yielding to the junta’s demands Asean must now remain resolute in resisting the junta’s threats and engage multiple stakeholders to work towards a political solution Asean has been much criticised over its failure to effectively respond to…

Can ASEAN's Troika Model handle Myanmar crisis better?

13 September 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani on 13 September 2023.   Senior fellow Thomas Benjamin Daniel shares insights into how the informal Asean troika can better position the bloc’s long-term response to the crisis in Myanmar. Such an approach was deployed in the run up to Cambodia’s admission to Asean in 1997. He highlights…

Will China-Philippines tensions make other South China Sea claimants more likely to speak up?

13 August 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 13 August 2023 Southeast Asian neighbours may look on with unease at recent incidents between Manila and Beijing, says academic The tensions arise amid discussions over a South China Sea code of conduct and may be a factor in negotiations By Dewey Sim A clash between…

Asean must secure own future, vision

07 August 2023
Risks abound in Southeast Asia but cohesion, resources can blunt threats Asean is facing an existentialist crisis whereby its only certainty is that of uncertainty.   There is the risk of a conflict between China and the United States, the increasing adoption of various Indo-Pacific strategies and the simmering South China Sea dispute –such challenges have…

BFM podcast: Spotlight on Malaysia-Pinoy ties

27 July 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 27 July 2023. Produced by: Moh Heng Ying Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Shazana Mokhtar, Mark Tan President of the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos Jr held a three-day state visit this week. Thomas Daniel of ISIS Malaysia gives us his take on key bilateral issues between the two countries,…

BFM podcast: Malaysia's foreign policy under the unity government

04 July 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 28 June 2023. Produced by: Sharaad Kuttan Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Sharaad Kuttan Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has just returned from a two day official visit to Laos, making this the 11th country that he has visited since becoming Prime Minister.

Asean turns to ‘reliable’ South Korea to feed growing demand for affordable hi-tech arms

02 June 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post, 1 June 2023 Malaysia’s recent purchase of 18 FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea follows other arms sales to the Philippines and Indonesia South Korea is increasingly viewed as a reliable partner country with ‘less political and strategic’ baggage, one analyst says By Maria Siow South…

Timor-Leste growth gets ASEAN push

24 May 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in China Daily Global, 24 May 2023 By PRIME SARMIENTO in Hong Kong Timor-Leste's bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is expected to spur growth in Asia's youngest nation, experts said. Membership in the regional bloc will not only benefit Timor-Leste, but also bring gains to ASEAN. Other Southeast…

BFM podcast: Myanmar crisis: Asean rhetoric still outweighs action

12 May 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 May 2023. Produced by: Sim Wie Boon Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar, Philip See, Mark Tan Indonesia chaired the first Asean Summit of the year this week in the Labuan Bajo. Unsurprisingly, the prolonged conflict situation in Myanmar was one of the key issues in the spotlight, however…

ASEAN urges cool heads on South China Sea as summit ends

12 April 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 11 May 2023. Indonesia's Jokowi laments 'no significant progress' on Myanmar crisis by Norman Goh, Nikkei staff writer LABUAN BAJO, Indonesia -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations concluded its three-day summit on Thursday, calling on all parties to exercise self-restraint in the disputed South China Sea, while…

Anwar’s visit to China: Striving for consistency amid global uncertainty

30 March 2023
The relationship between Malaysia and China is positive and productive—but sensitive issues lie under the surface. This publication is a product of Carnegie China. For more work by Carnegie China, click here. Malaysia’s bilateral relationship with China—its past, present, and, most importantly, future—comes under renewed scrutiny this week as Anwar Ibrahim travels to China. In his…

China Premier Li pledges opening up to world amid U.S. tensions

30 March 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 30 March 2023 New market access measures in store to boost trade and investment, Li Qiang says by CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer QIONGHAI, China -- China vowed Thursday to ramp up trade and investment with new market access measures as it looks to rev up its post-pandemic economy.…

Asia update: how AUKUS impacts Southeast Asia

16 March 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by ABC Radio National on 15 March 2023. Produced by: Phillip Adams Presented by: Ann Arnold The AUKUS announcement could have major implications for Southeast Asia. Many countries have strong ties with China, and walk a delicate balance in their relationships with the US at the same time – and with Australia.

Malaysia buys South Korea fighter jets as ASEAN arms market grows

08 March 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Nikkei Asia 7 March 2023 Southeast Asian countries turn to Asia for affordable high-tech military supplies by NORMAN GOH, Nikkei staff writer KUALA LUMPUR -- Korean Aerospace Industries late last month confirmed that Malaysia had signed off on a 4.08 billion ringgit ($910 million) purchase of 18 FA-50 fighter jets, beating out…

Lower defence funding seen sending Malaysia down slippery slope

15 February 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Malay Mail, 15 February 2023 by Keertan Ayamany KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Malaysia must not deprioritise funding for the Defence Ministry (MinDef) as threats to national security were present and growing, according to an armed forces veteran and two analysts. The rapid advancement of military technology would exacerbate consequences to the…

Defence, strategic lessons from the Russo-Ukrainian war

11 February 2023
Malaysia stuck with Russian arms, failure to advocate effectively for own rights ON 24 February last year, Russian forces invaded Ukraine in what was expected to be a “quick” operation to seize the remaining parts of the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and install a new regime in Kyiv.   Twelve months later, the “special…

BFM podcast: Singapore-Malaysia building stronger ties

06 February 2023
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 31 January 2023. Produced by: Moh Heng Ying Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Chong Tjen San, Shazana Mokhtar Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim concluded a half-day official visit to Singapore, his first as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister. We check in with Thomas Daniel, Senior Fellow at ISIS Malaysia on…

Malaysia tidak anggap kehadiran kapal China satu pencerobohan

28 January 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Benar News Menteri Pertahanan berkata aset negara lebih dari cukup untuk melindungi kawasan tuntutan bertindih di perairan Sarawak. by Iman Muttaqin Yusof & Iskandar Zulkarnain, 25 January 2023. Malaysia pada Rabu enggan memperbesarkan kehadiran kapal pengawal pantai China (CCG) berhampiran Beting Patinggi Ali (Luconia Shoals) di Laut China Selatan di mana berlangsungnya…

Penganalisis: Malaysia perlu tetapkan dasar luar negara dengan jelas dan segera

08 January 2023
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Benar News. by Ray Sherman & Iman Muttaqin Yusof, 6 January 2023 Perdana Menteri baharu Anwar Ibrahim masih belum menyatakan dasar luar negara, dengan penganalisis berpendapat langkah itu amat perlu disegerakan bagi menunjukkan bagaimana Malaysia dapat melindungi kepentingan nasional semasa mengemudi isu persaingan Amerika Syarikat-China di rantau itu. Penolong Profesor Jabatan Sains Politik…

Leveraging on trade as geopolitical strategy

05 January 2023
Calls to withdraw from FTAs could jeopardise national interests as regional rivalry heats up  AS we welcome a new year, the regional geopolitical environment in Asia-Pacific remains in flux and dominated by major power rivalry between China and the United States. Despite more regularised senior-level meetings between the two powers, Beijing’s guarded, strident tone on…

#Talkingpolicy ep 06: Implementing the five-point consensus in Myanmar: A Malaysian perspective

02 December 2022
by Thomas Daniel and Yanitha Meena - 2 December 2022  In EP06 of #Talkingpolicy, experts Thomas Daniel and Yanitha Meena discuss #ASEAN's challenges & options responding to the #Myanmar coup, with a focus on the 5-Point Consensus, extra-regional partners & what this will mean for our new government.   For more on this topic, go here  

#Talkingpolicy EP04: GE15 wishlist

18 November 2022
As we head to the polls, experts Jamil A. Ghani, Lee Min Hui, Harris Zainul, Thomas Daniel, Qarrem Kassim and Ahmad Afandi weigh in on what the next government should focus on domestically and internationally.   by Qarrem Kassim, Thomas Daniel, Harris Zainul, Ahmad Afandi, Jamil A Ghani and Lee Min Hui [vc_toggle title="Click here…

Myanmar tops Asian summit’s agenda as global issues loom

10 November 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted by Associated Press. by David Rising, 9 November 2022 BANGKOK (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders convene in the Cambodian capital Thursday, faced with the challenge of trying to curtail escalating violence in Myanmar while the country’s military-led government shows no signs of complying with the group’s peace plan. U.S. President Joe Biden will…

Malaysia’s upcoming elections could cost Myanmar’s NUG one of its biggest allies

14 October 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Benar News by Iman Muttaqin Yusof, 13 October 2022 Malaysia's upcoming election could cost the Myanmar shadow government one of its biggest allies – Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah. Following Myanmar’s military coup in Feb. 2021, Saifuddin was the first ASEAN foreign minister to contact the parallel, civilian National Unity Government…

Implementing the Five-Point consensus: A Malaysian perspective

14 October 2022
by Thomas Daniel & Yanitha Meena, 10 October 2022 Introduction The violence and political fracture resulting from the February 2021 coup by the Tatmadaw continues to not just destabilise Myanmar but have an impact on its immediate region and ASEAN at large. The regional organisation, and its rotating Chairs, face the dilemma of how to manage…

China’s assertive attitude in South China Sea unlikely to change after party congress

14 October 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Experts say it is likely to continue claiming nine-tenths of the waters and resisting Western ‘interference’. by RFA Staff, 14 October 2022. The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which convenes in Beijing on Oct. 16, is expected to grant an unprecedented third five-year term to…

Will Malaysia change its policy on Myanmar?

13 October 2022
Malaysia has been one of the most forthright Asean member states when it comes to Myanmar and the actions of the junta since the February 2021 coup. However, a confluence of internal and external factors could see changes in both Malaysia’s tone and approach. Much depends on the future of caretaker foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah.…

How Malaysia’s polls imperil Myanmar’s revolution

12 October 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted in the Asia Times Malaysian FM Saifuddin Abdullah has been anti-junta NUG’s strongest advocate in ASEAN and at UN but may soon lose his job by David Hutt, 12 October 2022 Myanmar’s shadow government could lose one of its closest supporters in Southeast Asia after Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Malaysian prime minister,…

Chinese troops drive away fishing vessels from disputed waters

13 September 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Soldiers repelled a boat from an area also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. by RFA Staff, 13 Sept 2022. A newly emerged Chinese military video shows how People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops on China-occupied islands in the South China Sea have been driving away fishing vessels from…

It’s politicians, bureaucrats who control arms deals, says analyst

10 August 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today, 9 August 2022. by Nicholas Chung PETALING JAYA: A defence analyst, describing the local defence industry as a patronage machine, says politicians and bureaucrats and not the military have the final say in arms deals. Thomas Daniel, an analyst with the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, said the armed forces…

Why is the Myanmar crisis such a challenge for ASEAN?

03 August 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Al Jazeera. by Al Jazeera Staff | 3 August 2022 Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are meeting in Phnom Penh, a week after Myanmar’s coup leaders executed four opponents in an act that shocked the world. ASEAN criticised the killings, but the National Unity Government (NUG) of elected…

Is Asean pointless handling the situation in Myanmar?

31 July 2022
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 29 July 2022. Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Keith Kam, Shazana Mokhtar, Wong Shou Ning Myanmar's military government which overthrew the elected civilian government in a coup d'état on Feb 1, 2021, remains in power today and is doing all it can to quash opposition. This includes executing…

ASEAN keeps firm focus on recovery

30 July 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted in China Daily. by YANG HAN | 29 July 2022 Economic priorities expected to draw attention when foreign chiefs meet Efforts to promote sustainable development as part of Southeast Asia's recovery from the pandemic are likely to feature high on the agenda when foreign ministers from the ASEAN grouping meet in Cambodia…

Asean must recognise hard truths about Myanmar

26 July 2022
Regional body must live up to principles, deal with deaths, displacement in member state THE Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM) next week will see more discussions on one of its most intractable conundrums – how the regional organisation manages its relationship with Myanmar’s military junta, which is murdering its own dissenting population. Asean needs to recognise…

Asean must play cards right amid competition

19 June 2022
Leaders must not lose sight of cooperation and centrality as superpowers pursue goals contrary to our interests. The phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is a cliché but there is always a glimmer of truth to it. Such is the case when it comes to the realities and calculus of…

Post-Duterte: Diplomats, analysts watching how Marcos will handle US-China rivalry

14 June 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on Rappler, 14 June 2022. At an Asia security summit, many eagerly await news of Marcos' appointments to the defense and foreign affairs departments by Pia Ranada SINGAPORE – Where a post-Duterte Philippines will place itself within the US-China rivalry in Asia is the subject of much curiosity among diplomats and analysts watching Southeast…

After Malaysia’s NUG meeting, will Asean approach towards Myanmar shift?

24 May 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on South China Morning Post, 24 May 2022. Malaysia’s Foreign Minister this week informally met a member of Myanmar’s opposition NUG party, in a departure from Asean’s policy of seeking consensus among the 10 members The move brings to question just how far stakeholders in the regional bloc were willing to go to…

Why Putrajaya prefers quiet diplomacy in dealing with China’s maritime claims

16 May 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Free Malaysia Today, 14 May 2022. by Hakimie Amrie Hisamudin  PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya is pursuing its “quiet diplomacy” in dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea to prevent harm to the country, according to a foreign policy expert. Thomas Benjamin Daniel, an analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International…

China slams planned US economic framework as Biden hosts SE Asian leaders

13 May 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on the Radio Free Asia Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a centerpiece of US policy, expected to be launched this month by RFA Staff, 13 May 2022. Beijing has slammed the U.S.-proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), calling it an attempt by Washington to lure Southeast Asian countries to “decouple from China.” U.S. President Joe Biden has…

President Biden hosts US-ASEAN Special Summit | Radio Free Asia (RFA)

12 May 2022
Thomas Daniel was interviewed on Radio Free Asia, 12 May 2022 President Biden hosts the US-ASEAN Special Summit this week for the first time since 2016. He is expected to reaffirm the US commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, while also build strong partnership with the ASEAN member countries.

BFM podcast: US-Asean summit: Symbolism over substance?

12 May 2022
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 12 May 2022. Produced by: Tan Chen Li Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar, Tan Chen Li, Khoo Hsu Chuang The US-ASEAN Summit is taking place in Washington DC, the first in-person engagement between the US President and ASEAN leaders since 2017. We discuss expectations for the meeting amid competing geopolitical…

Asean-US relationship needs reboot as geopolitical risks evolve

06 May 2022
Summit on May 12-13 chance to advance regional prospects, minimise stagnation THE lead up to the much-anticipated Asean-United States (US) special summit did not get off to the best of starts. Last-minute delays because of conflicting schedules saw the summit being postponed in March, before being finally locked in from 12-13 May.  Not all Asean…

Malaysia's relations with the United States and China: Asymmetries (and anxieties) amplified

06 May 2022
ISEAS Yusof Ishak, Southeast Asian Affairs 2022 Malaysia's Relations with the United States and China: Asymmetries (and Anxieties) Amplified by Thomas Daniel & Kuik Cheng-Chwee This essay traces recent developments in Malaysia’s asymmetrical relationships with the United States and China. It argues that while Malaysia has responded prudently to the escalating US–China rivalry and uncertainties, some…

Ukraine war: How the battle on Malaysia’s social media has become a propaganda tool for Russia and Ukraine

19 March 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on the South China Morning Post, 19 March 2022. While Ukraine has the lion’s share of international attention, Malaysian observers say local opinion is being shaped by a deluge of pro-Moscow messaging A key reason for the relative success of Russian propaganda in Malaysia is anti-West sentiment in the Muslim-majority country, shaped by…

Assessing the invasion, how war in Ukraine impacts Southeast Asia

17 March 2022
Thomas Daniel was quoted on Southeast Asia Globe, 16 March 2022. Regional analysts consider Russia’s military action and the possible consequences for ASEAN nations Written by Brian P. D. Hannon, Fiona Kelliher, Govi Snell and Ashley Yeong Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the opening of a “special military operation” into Ukraine on 24 February. That technocratic euphemism has blossomed into…

BFM podcast: Why is Asean muted on the invasion of Ukraine

28 February 2022
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by BFM89.9 on 28 February 2022. Produced by: Shazana Mokhtar Presented by: Shazana Mokhtar, Khoo Hsu Chuang The Malaysian government's latest statement on the situation in Ukraine has been criticized by some observers as not going far enough; the same applies for the recent statement issued by ASEAN Foreign Ministers. We discuss…

Indonesia seeks cooperation among ASEAN coast guards

28 December 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted on Radio Free Asia. China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea are disputed by other regional countries. by Radio Free Asia (RFA), 28 December 2021. Indonesia has invited officials in charge of maritime security from five other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet early next year…

Philippines, 4 other Asean member-states urged to form coalition in South China Sea

26 December 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted on Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism As tension increases in the South China Sea and the drafting of the Asean-China Code of Conduct goes ‘nowhere,’ half of Asean’s 10 member-states should unite and craft a framework that will manage tensions in the disputed waters, analysts say. by Carmela Fonbuena, 26 December 2021. It was…

Consider This: Diplomacy - Bidens's S.E.A gameplan

23 December 2021
Consider This with Sharaad Kuttan & Melisa Idris – 21 December 2021 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week embarked on his first visit to Southeast Asia since President Joe Biden took office in January. America’s top diplomat visited Indonesia and Malaysia in a trip that was said to be aimed at shoring up relations…

Anthony Blinken's short trip to Malaysia

16 December 2021
Produced by: Arleen Webber Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Shazana Mokhtar, Philip See Thomas Daniel, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Security Studies Programme, ISIS Malaysia shares whether the recent short trip by the US Secretary of State will elevate US-Malaysia's relations moving forward. BFM 89.9 - https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/morning-brief/anthony-blinkens-short-trip-to-malaysia 

How Asean should defend its primacy

13 December 2021
As the Asia-Pacific evolves to deal with changing dynamics, more multi- and mini-lateral groupings are created alongside them. Southeast Asia is watching the development warily, fearing that Asean might lose its standing as one of the leading convening strategic organisations in the region. There is alsothe fear that these new groupings are not tools of…

Hubungan AS-China | Hala tuju hubungan Washington-Beijing

15 November 2021
Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani on 15 November 2021 Bagi mengupas lebih lanjut mengenai arah hubungan Amerika Syarikat-China sempena pertemuan secara maya antara Presiden, Joe Biden dan Xi Jinping, Astro AWANI bersama Felo Kanan Dasar Luar dan Kajian Keselamatan, ISIS Malaysia, Thomas Daniel.

ASEAN emergency meeting to discuss barring Myanmar junta chief from summit

15 October 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Benar News. Article by Shailaja Neelakantan, 14 October 2021 Southeast Asian foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss barring the Burmese junta chief from an upcoming ASEAN summit, Indonesia’s ambassador to the regional bloc said Thursday. News of the meeting came after the Burmese junta spokesman confirmed that Erywan…

South China Sea tensions: why Malaysia’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ approach to China is deliberate

08 October 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Although Malaysia has pursued a cautious foreign policy towards China, it recently ticked off the giant nation over maritime incursions into its waters Experts say domestic politics compelled Kuala Lumpur to act and a feisty response could have triggered Beijing’s wrath Article by Bhavan Jaipragas, 8 October…

China survey ship leaves Indonesia EEZ but another appears off Malaysia

29 September 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Radio Free Asia article on 29 September 2021. The Da Yang Hao, is now operating in an area that runs through the EEZs of three countries: Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Chinese survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 10 has left Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after almost a month, marine traffic data…

Uneasiness in Malaysia not ruled out as Australia gets nuclear subs

18 September 2021
Thomas Daniel was interviewed in Malaysia Now on 18 September 2021. by Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli There may be some “residual uneasiness” in Malaysia following the announcement of a new defence pact comprising Australia, the UK and the US which will see Australia obtaining the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, an expert says. Thomas Daniel, an analyst…

Let’s include more voices in foreign policymaking

13 September 2021
AT the start of his second stint as foreign minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah spoke about the push for a more open and consultative approach in how Wisma Putra engages its stakeholders. Part of the new approach includes the proposal toestablish a parliamentary select committee on international affairs, which the minister said he will raise with…

No, America is not exiting the Asia-Pacific anytime soon

01 September 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in a recent commentary published in The National (UAE) which focused on the coverage of long-term effects of America's withdrawal in Afghanistan to the Asia Pacific. by Sholto Byrnes,  1 September 2021 It wasn’t so long ago that some analysts were accusing US President Joe Biden of being “confused” when it…

Six years on from the Andaman Sea crisis, the Bali Process on human trafficking isn’t fit for purpose

27 August 2021
When hundreds of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants travelling to Southeast Asia in 2015 died after being abandoned at sea by smugglers, the ‘Bali Process’ forum promised action Yet, years later, little has been done and the roots of the problem remain. Given the inaction of the forum’s co-chairs Australia and Indonesia, perhaps it is…

Consider This: Diplomacy (Part 2) - Asean met Covid-19 challenge?

15 August 2021
Consider This with Sharaad Kuttan & Melisa Idris – 15 August 2021 Thomas Daniel was interviewed on Astro Awani's Consider This in the lead up to the 34th APR, which took place on 17-18 August 2021. The interview focused on key highlights from the programme, and the conversations of consequence that could be expected on developments…

Insight, Ep 14: Fish wars in Asia

03 August 2021
Thomas Daniel was interviewed in Episode 14 of CNA's Insight documentary, which focused on the contest for resources and influence in the strategic South China sea, and if China’s ‘Might is Right’ strategy works best for the region. His remarks (toward the end of the show) focused on how China's escalation dominance, and the important…

In age of disruption, foresight and agility trump all

29 July 2021
Almost one and a half years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the norms and architectures that shape policymaking are in the midst of their greatest disruptive phase since World War 2. Like many countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is in the throes of the worst wave of the pandemic. Health systems are at a breaking point…

BFM Podcast: Moving forward with challenges in migration issues

07 July 2021
Produced by: Loo Juosie, Kelvin Yee, Azlyna Mohd Noor Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Sharmilla Ganesan COVID-19 has complicated migration, with a pause being put on migrant labour flows, and concerns about how this could worsen the problem of human trafficking. First, we find out how the pandemic has affected migration trends in the region. Then, we…

To compete with China, the West needs commitment, pragmatism

05 July 2021
A KEY outcome from the G7 meeting in Cornwall last month was the agreement for the world’s wealthiest liberal-democratic economies to provide “high-quality” financing for vital infrastructure in developing regions. The Build Back Better for the World (B3W) programme is widely seen as the G7’s response to China’s strategic influence through the Belt and Road…

Summon Chinese envoy over airspace intrusion, govt told

02 June 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in Free Malaysia Today. FMT Reporters,  1 June 2021 PETALING JAYA: Wisma Putra should summon the Chinese ambassador to protest the flight of 16 Chinese planes over Malaysian airspace yesterday, insists an army veteran’s group. The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) said today Malaysian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept 16…

Is Asean’s Myanmar five-point consensus workable, and what is next?

25 April 2021
Thomas Daniel was quoted in South China Morning Post. Asean leaders and Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday agreed on five issues, including ending violence and holding constructive talks Analysts say not mentioning the release of prisoners like Aung San Suu Kyi or the role of the National Unity Government may have been…

Agenda AWANI: Next steps for ASEAN on Myanmar

24 April 2021
Mr Thomas Daniel was interviewed by Astro Awani in Agenda AWANI. The special ASEAN Leaders' Meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday to discuss the current crisis in Myanmar. Ibrahim Sani speaks to Thomas Daniel from ISIS Malaysia to discuss the next steps for ASEAN on Myanmar.    

Why Asean must deal with the generals

22 April 2021
The Asean leaders’ meeting on Saturday in Jakarta looks set to proceed despite being beset with multiple challenges. The meeting on Myanmar will only be meaningful if all its leaders attend. At the time of publication, only four have confirmed their attendance. Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who leads one of the two member…

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…
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
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