Malaysia

The Bakun Dam in 2009. (Wikimedia)

Building dams in Sarawak: Can China and Malaysia ensure sustainable hydropower development?

ISEAS academic Tham Siew Yean notes that it is a win-win situation for Sarawak and China to co-develop dams and produce hydropower for domestic use and export. However, more can be done to safeguard environmental sustainability standards, especially if China means to change its image as a sustainability laggard.
Protesters carrying a large Ukrainian flag and heading to a protest against Russia's war in Ukraine, walk by a mesh depicting an artistic view of Vladimir Putin's portrait, featured in an anti-war exhibition near the Russian Embassy, in Bucharest, Romania, 30 April 2022. (Octav Ganea via Reuters)

Why some Malaysian netizens are pro-Russia and support Putin

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Malaysia’s social media has been abuzz with discussions on the conflict, with different groups expressing both condemnation and support for Russia. Academics Benjamin Y.H. Low and Munira Mustaffa examine pro-Russian sentiments and unpack them for possible explanations for why such views prevail amongst Malaysians, including factors such as religious affiliation, impressions of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and an anti-Western mindset.
A woman gets a shot of Sinovac coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at home, administered by a healthcare worker in Sabak Bernam, Malaysia, 1 July 2021. (Lim Huey Teng/Reuters)

China has conducted an enthusiastic vaccine outreach in Malaysia. Can the US buck up?

While the Pfizer shot is the vaccine of choice in Malaysia and anchors the national immunisation programme, China’s Sinovac vaccine is readily available. Though perceived to be of lower efficacy, China's vaccine remains crucial in curbing the global spread of Covid-19, especially in poorer countries. Malaysian academic Peter Chang examines how American and Chinese vaccines have been distributed and administered in Malaysia and around the world, and looks forward to greater involvement from the US.
A woman receives the Sinovac Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Denpasar, Indonesia's Bali island on 2 September 2021. (Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP)

Has China done well in its vaccine diplomacy in Southeast Asia?

China has supplied 190 million doses of its homegrown vaccines to Southeast Asia. However, although there has been sporadic support, perceptions of Chinese vaccines among the public in the region largely trend negatively, suggesting a non-linear relationship between China’s vaccine diplomacy and its soft power in the region. ISEAS researchers Khairulanwar Zaini and Hoang Thi Ha discuss the complex factors affecting vaccine hesitancy in six Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
This handout photo from the Royal Malaysian Air Force taken on 31 May 2021 and released on 1 June shows a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said was in the airspace over Malaysia's maritime zone near the coast of Sarawak state on Borneo island. (Handout/Royal Malaysian Air Force/AFP)

PLA overflight near Malaysian airspace: A precarious provocation

Malaysian researchers Abdul Razak Ahmad, Kuik Cheng-Chwee and Lai Yew Meng comment that China’s deployment of People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft near Malaysia’s air space last month smacks of hypocrisy and creeping hegemony. They warn that Beijing may not be as benevolent as it wants smaller states to believe.
A garment factory worker receives China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine at an industrial park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7 April 2021. (Cindy Liu/Reuters)

China's efficient delivery of vaccines to Southeast Asia

As Southeast Asian countries look for Covid-19 vaccines to protect their populations, two things matter: reliability and availability. For now, China — rather than Western sources — ticks the correct boxes.
A rapidKL train travels along an elevated track above streets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1 June 2021. (Samsul Said/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies see ASEAN as a bright spot for investment

According to a pulse survey conducted by Standard Chartered, Chinese companies are attracted to ASEAN’s large market and potential as regional production bases. External factors such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP) could also funnel greater Chinese investment into the region in areas such as high-value manufacturing, energy and digital services.
This handout photo from the Royal Malaysian Air Force taken on 31 May 2021 and released on 1 June shows a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Xian Y-20 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said was in the airspace over Malaysia's maritime zone near the coast of Sarawak state on Borneo island. (Handout/Royal Malaysian Air Force/AFP)

Can Malaysia handle intrusions by the Chinese air force?

The 31 May incident, in which 16 Chinese military planes entered the airspace above Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, raises questions about Malaysia's ability to handle such occurrences in the future, says RSIS researcher Wu Shang-Su. He takes a hard look at Malaysia’s airpower capabilities.
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, 1 April 2021. (Hishammuddin Hussein/Facebook)

Malaysia's ‘big brother’ controversy and ASEAN’s dilemma

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein sparked a reaction when he referred to China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi as “big brother”, as some quarters in Malaysia felt that the term was overly deferential. Chinese academic Zhang Jingwei looks at how ASEAN countries are stuck between a rock and hard place in their relations with China and the US.