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To see off challenges to its dominance, Malaysia’s government exploits Muslim sentiment at every turn. This has been a factor in sodomy charges against opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Malaysia reaches a critical crossroad over state Islamisation

Fuelled by the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, debate about Islam and violence has flared again in Australia. In a predictable cycle of provocation and reaction, governments launch a wide-ranging…
Thailand’s military coup in May is a sign of political malaise without an obvious cure in the absence of a new social contract. EPA/Pongmanat Tasiri

Asian states in crisis can choose more democracy or more conflict

Rather than a new dawn for democracy, political and social reform in the region has led to less representation and more contestation. This has potentially far-reaching consequences. What does the May coup…
Seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild, new research shows.

How wildlife tourism and zoos can protect animals in the wild

Big Ritchie looks up from his pile of bananas, unperturbed by the flock of tourists taking his photo. Sprawled around him, mother orangutans* and their fluffy orange babies groom affectionately, chase…
Relatives of the missing passengers on flight MH370 march on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing. EPA/Rolex dela Pena

Sino-Malaysian friendship will defy public fallout from flight MH370

“Visit Malaysia Year 2014” was expected to bolster Malaysia’s growing Chinese tourism market: Malaysia’s third-largest. Last October, commemorating four decades of close relations, Chinese president Xi…
The proposed railway hasn’t got everyone in Laos excited. LUONG THAI LINH/EPA

High speed rail could bankrupt Laos, but it’ll keep China happy

Despite impressive economic growth rates over the last decade, a third of Laos’s population still lives below the extreme poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Most of the extreme poor Laos are ethnic minorities…
Out of their depth: Malasian prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, and officials face a press conference. EPA/Mak Remissa

MH370 crisis has shown up Malaysia’s democratic deficit

Malaysia has consistently been one of the fastest-growing economies in south-east Asia. Among Asian countries, its level of global economic integration has been surpassed only by Singapore and Hong Kong…
The government of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (pictured centre) has come under fire for its handling of the MH370 disaster. EPA/Ahmad Yusni

Malaysian government tested in a situation it can’t control

In the latest press conference on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has said there is sufficient evidence that the airliner crashed in a remote part of the Indian…
A room in Beijing reserved for relatives of those on MH370. Ng Han Guan/AP

Flight MH370 confirmed lost: experts respond

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, with no survivors. In a press conference, Razak said new information proved…
Malaysia Airlines' comms strategy should be grounded. Andy Mitchell

Government links complicate Malaysia Airlines' crisis response

Even as we learn more about the disappearance of flight MH370, there is still a huge amount to find out about what went wrong. There is no evidence to suggest that the cause of the airplane’s disappearance…
The food is better in Kuala Lumpur. University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

It still makes sense to build an overseas campus

Students have always travelled in search of the best study opportunities and researchers have always collaborated across borders. But until fairly recently, higher education institutions have been stubbornly…
Australia enjoys a privileged relationship with most economies in the Asian region because of the integrated global value chain. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Increasing Australia’s edge through Asian value chains

Australia is facing increasingly stiff competition from developed economies all vying for a share of the growth pie in the East and South Asian region, where Australia has integrated its value chain activities…
Smoke from deliberately lit forest fires is destroying the health of Southeast Asians, and looks set to be a yearly event. EPA/Amriyadi Bahar

Southeast Asian smoke warns of never-ending fires

Look at satellite images from Southeast Asia this week and you will see large areas of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore blanketed by dense plumes of smoke. These smoke plumes have severely degraded ground-level…
The Pakatan Rakyat coalition leader Anwar Ibrahim will need to form ties within Malaysia’s diverse and biased electorate system to defeat the ruling coalition in Sunday’s election. EPA/Shamshahrin Shamsudin

A tale of two coalitions: Malaysia heads to the polls

Malaysia’s general elections on Sunday (GE13) will be a battle of the coalitions, pitting the world’s most successful ruling coalition – the 13 party Barisan Nasional (BN/National Front) - against the…
Independent senator Nick Xenophon’s brief detention and deportation won’t harm bilateral relations but is more about Malaysia’s looming election. David Crosling/AAP

Xenophon’s Malaysian adventure and two looming elections

The detention and deportation of Senator Nick Xenophon from Malaysia yesterday are not likely to present problems for Australia—Malaysia relations. Rather, the Xenophon story is shaped by the domestic…
Rohingya asylum seekers from Myanmar rest at a temporary shelter in the port of Krueng Raya, Aceh, Indonesia. EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak

Houston panel offers a circuit breaker in regional asylum crisis

As we waited for the release of the Houston panel’s report on asylum seekers yesterday, I saw a mixture of high hopes and low expectations from those in attendance at the Parliament House briefing room…

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