CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Singapore"

Singapore’s Election Apparently Delivers Big Result for Ruling Party

by Joshua Kurlantzick
A People's Action Party supporter celebrates the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. Singapore voted on Friday in its most hotly contested general election with the outcome expected to test the long-ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) dominance of politics even though it is bound to win. REUTERS/Edgar Su A People's Action Party supporter celebrates the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. Singapore voted on Friday in its most hotly contested general election with the outcome expected to test the long-ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) dominance of politics even though it is bound to win. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

In the run-up to Friday’s general elections in Singapore, the first since 2011, many foreign analysts, and some Singaporean experts, predicted that the long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) would suffer a significant defeat. After losing its first group member constituency in 2011, the PAP could have lost even more group constituencies to the opposition, led by the Workers Party. Some analysts predicted that the PAP’s share of the popular vote would fall to its lowest point in history, even if the PAP remained in power in Singapore’s parliament.
Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of September 11, 2015

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
singapore-elections-9-11-15 Singapore's Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong (C) celebrates with supporters after the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Ashlyn Anderson, Rachel Brown, Lincoln Davidson, Ariella Rotenberg, Ayumi Teraoka, and Gabriel Walker look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. Singapore’s historic elections. Singaporeans took to the polls today in the first general parliamentary election in the country’s history in which every constituency is contested. The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled the country since it was expelled from Malaysia in 1965 and held more than 90 percent of the seats in parliament prior to the election, won a majority of seats again. Read more »

What to Expect From the Next Government in Singapore

by Joshua Kurlantzick
singapore-elections Secretary-General of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) Lee Hsien Loong takes a selfie with supporters after a lunchtime rally at the central business district in Singapore on September 8, 2015. Singaporeans will go to the polls on September 11. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Singapore’s long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has called a snap election for September 11, well in advance of the five year term it is allotted. As I noted in a piece this week for World Politics Review, the PAP is probably gambling that the outpouring of emotion in Singapore after the death of founding father Lee Kuan Yew in March will reflect well on the PAP and its record of governance, and will help it in the election. The year of 50th anniversary celebrations of the city-state’s independence also may well add a shine to the PAP’s credentials. Read more »

Singapore’s General Election: More Continuity than Change

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Lee-Hsien-Loon-singapore-elections Secretary-General of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) Lee Hsien Loong gestures to his supporters at a lunchtime rally in the central business district in Singapore on September 8, 2015. Singaporeans will go to the polls on September 11. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

In advance of Singapore’s general elections on September 11, both of the major parties contesting the poll argue that this election will be definitive, even historic. At a press conference on September 1, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since the country was formed five decades ago, told reporters, “The country is at a turning point. Question is, in what direction do we now go?” Sylvia Lim, one of the leaders of the Workers Party that comprises the main opposition party (there are also other small opposition parties such as the Singapore Democratic Party), also says the election will be a turning point. Read more »

What Will the TPP Mean for Southeast Asia?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Australia's Trade Minister Andrew Robb (6th R) speaks at a news conference at the end of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting of trade representatives in Sydney, October 27, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) Trade representatives speak at a news conference at the end of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting in Sydney, October 27, 2014 (Jason Reed/Reuters).

With Tuesday’s vote in the U.S. Senate to give President Obama fast track negotiating authority on trade deals, the president is likely to be able to help complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with the United States in the deal, by the end of the year. With fast track authority completed, the United States will be positioned to resolve remaining bilateral hurdles with Japan, the key to moving forward with the TPP. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of May 8, 2015

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Security forces and rescue workers inspect an abandoned camp at a rubber plantation near a mountain in Thailand's southern Songkhla province on May 7, 2015 (Surapan Boonthanom/Courtesy: Reuters). Security forces and rescue workers inspect an abandoned camp at a rubber plantation near a mountain in Thailand's southern Songkhla province on May 7, 2015 (Surapan Boonthanom/Courtesy: Reuters).

Ashlyn Anderson, Lauren Dickey, Darcie Draudt, William Piekos, and Ariella Rotenberg look at the top stories in Asia today.

1. Mass graves of human trafficking camp unearthed in Thailand. Police exhumed twenty-six bodies at a mass grave located in the jungles of Songkhla province this week. Most of the migrants once held at the now abandoned site were Rohingya Muslim refugees from western Myanmar and Bangladesh. According to reports, this camp was made up of “bamboo cages, watchtowers and what Thai police described as a torture room.” Even as the grave was discovered, more than fifty Thai police officers were punished over suspected links to human trafficking networks. The mass grave was hardly the first indicator that Thailand has a booming human trafficking business and it remains to be seen if the Thai government can successfully undertake steps necessary to combat human trafficking. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of March 27, 2015

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Guards lower the national flag to half-mast after the passing of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on March 23, 2015. (Lee Hsien Loong/Courtesy: Reuters) Guards lower the national flag to half-mast after the passing of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on March 23, 2015. (Lee Hsien Loong/Courtesy: Reuters)

Ashlyn Anderson, Lauren Dickey, Darcie Draudt, William Piekos, and Ariella Rotenberg look at the top stories in Asia today.

1. Lee Kuan Yew, founding father of Singapore, dies. Lee Kuan Yew, who transformed Singapore into one of Asia’s wealthiest and least corrupt countries during his time as founding father and first prime minister, died on Monday. Lee was prime minister beginning in 1959, after Singapore gained full self-government from the British, until 1990. While his leadership was often criticized for suppressing freedom, his advocacy of “Asian values” and development models succeeded in making Singapore an international hub of business, culture, and finance. Read more »

Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Future

by Joshua Kurlantzick
lee-kuan-yew-singapore Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew makes a speech during the 12th International Conference on 'The Future of Asia' in Tokyo on May 25, 2006. (Kiyoshi Ota/Courtesy: Reuters)

In the wake of the death of Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, many obituaries lauding Lee’s role in transforming the city-state also have argued that Singapore faces high hurdles to continuing Lee’s revolution. As Forbes’ Joel Kotkin writes, Lee’s achievements during his three decades as prime minister were extraordinary, but in Singapore today the “durability of his legacy is in question.” Read more »

Where the Pivot Went Wrong – And How To Fix It

by Joshua Kurlantzick
pivot and SE Asia President Barack Obama joins hands with leaders, including Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Obama, Myanmar President Thein Sein, and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, during a group photo for the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Naypyitaw on November 13, 2014. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy: Reuters).

Since the start of President Barack Obama’s first term, the United States has pursued a policy of rebuilding ties with Southeast Asia. By 2011 this regional focus had become part of a broader strategy toward Asia called the “pivot,” or rebalance. This approach includes shifting economic, diplomatic, and military resources to the region from other parts of the world. In Southeast Asia, a central part of the pivot involves building relations with countries in mainland Southeast Asia once shunned by Washington because of their autocratic governments, and reviving close U.S. links to Thailand and Malaysia. The Obama administration has also upgraded defense partnerships throughout the region, followed through on promises to send high-level officials to Southeast Asian regional meetings, and increased port calls to and basing of combat ships in Southeast Asia. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of October 31, 2014

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A member of a military rescue team pauses during search operations at the site of a landslide at the Koslanda tea plantation near Haldummulla on October 30, 2014. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Courtesy Reuters) A member of a military rescue team pauses during search operations at the site of a landslide at the Koslanda tea plantation near Haldummulla on October 30, 2014. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Courtesy Reuters)

Ashlyn Anderson, Lauren Dickey, Darcie Draudt, Andrew Hill, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top stories in Asia today.

1. Vietnam and India strengthen defense and energy ties amid territorial disputes with China. The two nations signed a number of agreements following a meeting this week between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Most notably, Vietnam agreed to further open its oil and gas sector to India, while India agreed to provide Vietnam with four off-shore patrol vessels. Prior to his two-day state visit, Dung called for a larger Indian role in the South China Sea, in spite of criticism from China. Both Hanoi and New Delhi are embroiled in territorial disputes with Beijing: Vietnam in the South China Sea and India along the Himalayas. Read more »