Entries by syukron.subkhi

Institutional Visitation by H.E. Deng Xijun – Ambassador of Chinese Mission to ASEAN

The Chinese Mission’s Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Deng Xijun, and colleagues paid a visit to the ASEAN Studies Center and the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Universitas Gadjah Mada on Friday, November 18, 2022. This visit is intended to keep the Center and Chinese Mission to ASEAN engaged and working together, which has lasted for about 7 years and, hopefully, for many more. The Chinese Mission to ASEAN contributed a number of office equipment that are expected to increase the Center’s productivity in time for Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship the following year as a way to highlight the collaboration between the two institutions.

The Executive Director, Faculty Dean, and H.E. Deng Xijun discussed ways to improve the relationship between the Center, Faculty, and Mission in the near future. Several members of the ASEAN Studies Center UGM staff and researchers have recently obtained scholarships and mobility opportunities from the Chinese government.

H.E. Deng Xijun believes that with the existing engagement and the development of the China-ASEAN Partnership, additional collaboration can be enlisted to promote scientific research and collaboration. Additionally, His Excellency is willing to hear ideas and support with the initiative. H.E. Deng Xijun expects the collaboration could arise several policy recommendations, particularly in terms of the Myanmar Resolution, and support the initial stages of research projects in terms of the studies on decision making during the ASEAN Summit as His Excellency concerned with the situation of Myanmar for the Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship next year.

To wrap up the visit, H.E. Deng Xijun and the staffs were invited to visit the Center’s office in FISIPOL BC Building 2nd Floor Suites 208 and 209. In the office, H.E. Deng Xijun, Dr. Dafri Agussalim, Mrs. Yulida Nuraini Santoso, and others had a brief discussion about future institutional collaboration.

#ASEAN #SoutheastAsia #ASC #ASEANStudiesCenter #PSA#UGM #ChineseMissionToASEAN #China #Chinese#ChineseMission #Visitation #FISIPOL #FISIPOLUGM#BRINGINGASEANCLOSERTOYOU


Report by
Syukron Subkhi
Media and Communication Officer

Bincang ASEAN on Book Launching “ASC Monograph 2021: Advancing Southeast Asia through Gender Mainstreaming”

Gender inequality is a significant issue in Southeast Asia since most countries are patriarchal and gender-based violence is pervasive. Local grassroots movements for gender equality have grown as a result. One of the discourses that advocacy movements promote to policymakers is gender mainstreaming, a globally inclusive method to make gender equality a reality. Alarming gender-based problems, such as gender-based violence brought on by gender inequity, are seen to be resolved by insisting on a broader gender perspective in the policymaking process.

On Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, the ASEAN Studies Center held a webinar series on Bincang ASEAN to launch the latest publication by the center entitled ASC Monograph 2021: Advancing Southeast Asia through Gender Mainstreaming. The webinar is purposed to disseminate the publication and discuss gender mainstreaming efforts in Southeast Asia. All contributors to the monograph will be invited to the webinar to discuss their findings and complete the discourses on Southeast Asia’s effort in mainstreaming gender alongside the editor and the audience.

To debate their findings and round out the discourses on Southeast Asia’s efforts to mainstream gender with the editor and audience, other contributors to the monograph were invited to the webinar. Author of Chapter 4 Vanesha Febrilly gave an account of the government’s intervention in Setu Garment Factory, West Java, Indonesia to protect the reproductive rights of female garment workers. Mia Hyun, the author of Chapter 6, provided an explanation of a situation of violence against women in ASEAN, focusing in particular on the governance framework for policy reform. Last but not least, Durrotul Mas’udah and Syukron Subkhi, the writers of Chapter 11, discussed the negative stigmas that single mothers in Indonesia endure as well as the community that supports them.

Along with the writers, the editorial boards’ H.E. Yuyun Wahyuningrum from the AICHR and Joel Mark Baysa-Barred from Mahidol University have been invited to participate in the conversation as discussants. Their concluding remarks regarding their support for gender mainstreaming, advocacy, and equality in the ASEAN Region brought the discussion to a close.

Regionally, member state collaboration on the eradication of gender-based worrying concerns is limited, notwithstanding ASEAN’s initiative on gender mainstreaming via the ASEAN Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Framework. The gender awareness and commitment of ASEAN member states are also in doubt given Southeast Asia’s patriarchal culture. In the region, efforts to eradicate issues like the violence that is gender-based have not made much success. It inspired ASEAN to take on a bigger role in supporting member nations’ dedication to gender mainstreaming and fostering collaboration to end gender-based challenges.


Report by 
Syukron Subkhi
Media and Publication Officer
ASEAN Studies Center UGM

Circular Economy in ASEAN: A Brief View on Plastics Harmonization and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Inclusion

Written by: Muhammad Rasyid Ridho

On 18 October 2021, ASEAN’s Framework for Circular Economy for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was promulgated at the 20th AEC Council Meeting. It signifies the importance of the circular economy (CE) as part of the AEC. This system is ostensible as an environmental-friendly alternative. However, ASEAN’s decision on this issue after six years of AEC establishment brings a simple question, what does “CE” mean, since it is quite a novel term for this region? Besides, how will this concept fit into the more extensive framework of AEC?

There is plenty of definition regarding CE. The most popular one is from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2012), a restorative industrial economic system to ensure the effective flow means of production and rebuild the used resources. The very purpose of this approach is to “close the loop” of the production process for attaining sustainability of the environment (Winkler, 2011). The “closure” is needed since the “linear economy” prevails as the major production process, which is characterized by “take-make-dispose”, dependent on new material use, and with no concern for the potential value generation of waste, which leads to the accumulation of waste as its negative consequence (Rathinamoorthy, 2019). The basic principles of CE are reduced, reuse, and recycle, sometimes with other additions such as repair, refurbishment, remanufacture, and repurposing.

Indeed, there are already many attempts from Southeast Asian scholars to explain CE. Most of the research is focused on its technical implementation and potential in the future in various fields. The level where it is operated also ranges from the village to the national level. However, despite the different nature or scopes of those research, it is to be noted that several kinds of research from these countries bring out similar tone-related factors of CE adoption and the recommendations. In the factors of adoption or consumption, it includes the willingness of stakeholders, personal attitude, economic cost and benefit, public acceptance or support, government incentives and support, company culture, and consumer demand (Pasaribu, 2006; Ngan et al., 2019; Jan 2022; Gue et al., 2020; Akkalatham & Taghipour, 2021; Piyathanavong et al., 2021; Tseng et al., 2021; Abbasi et al., 2022).

These researches also point out the recommendations such as: putting the commitment into long-term legal, regulation, and masterplan favoring CE with its enforcement; giving incentives in the forms of funding, grants, or tax to practicing-CE enterprises; raising public awareness; coordinating between stakeholders (between government agencies or government-private-society); campaigning awareness; and supporting research and development (Pasaribu, 2006; Ha, Levillain-Tomasini, Xuan, 2019; Wichai‑utcha & Chavalparit, 2019; Adi & Wibowo, 2020; Abdul-hamid et al., 2020; Dung et al., 2020; Dung & Hong, 2021; Hoa & Khanh, 2021; Khor & Teoh, 2021; Taghipour & Akkalatham. 2021; Vân, 2021; Vu et al., 2021; Bueta, 2022; Mangmeechai, 2022). While these researches are conducted in different countries, which automatically only puts emphasis on their respective countries. Thus, there is still a limit on how CE could be seen from a regional perspective. In addition, the other CE common principle that is being implemented in these countries is the 3R (reuse, reduce, recycle) approach (Rahmadi, 2020).

As explained by Anbumozhi and Kimura (2018), while the linear economy is the motor of ASEAN growth, it cannot solve the problem of diminishing natural-nonrenewable resources, inequality, and climate crisis. It has become one of the reasons why the Framework of CE was recently promulgated. Of the strategic priorities contained in the Framework, one that needs to be put into focus is standard harmonization. It is deemed necessary to fulfilling this aspect in the right platform and focus because its absence would be one obstacle to further coordination of regional CE practices, which possibly lead to deeper regional integration in the future (Kojima, 2019).

However, since there are a lot of areas in which sector needs to be great, thus ASEAN perhaps could pick an urgent sector on which it needs to be focused. Regarding this issue, then revisiting the report of Akenji et al. (2019) would be appropriate since their report brings a fresh outlook on regional CE practice, especially on the issue of plastic. He proposes several points regarding the position in which ASEAN could involve, which are: a regional guideline of plastic use; a network of research and development; technical standards for products and recycling; agreement on plastic pollution. Plastic waste has become an issue due to the total ASEAN contribution to plastic waste is 31 million (Trajano, 2022). The timing could not be better; in the same year, ASEAN announced the Framework of CE in AEC and the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021-2025. The framework could serve as a big umbrella, and the action plan complements the specific aspect. Thus, integrating these two frameworks should promote CE as the long-term remedy for the plastic problem.

It is mentioned briefly in the Framework that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are considered on CE practices in ASEAN. The inclusion of SMEs is essential due to their vast numbers in the region, which is approximately 71 million (Tan, 2022). They contribute 97% of total business activity and employ 67% of the working population (Tan, 2022). It is found that enterprises which implement CE practices are more resilient to global economic shocks than others due to their inclination to shorten the supply chain and follow local business situations (Rishanti & Suharyadi, 2020). In relation to the previous discussion, MSMEs need to be catered to in the framework relating to CE and the plastic issue. They need to be supported because it is evidently easier for the bigger company to transition to the CE scheme, while it is another problem for MSMEs due to its perceived high cost. In this regard, then we can revisit OECD’s (2021) suggestion of “greening the SMEs”. The suggestions include capacity support, availability of low-interest financing; incentives through tax exemption or deduction; and government-backed and free consultancy for these MSMEs to give needed information on technical or cost calculation of CE adoption. These are the area where the private sector, MSMEs, and society are essential to tackle the plastic problem at its root while simultaneously creating a circular chain -especially related to plastic- in the region. The intended consequence of MSME inclusion in the CE scheme is more public exposure to CE and a reverse of the known trend that only limited knowledgeable people who are eager to consume CE-based products (Dinh & Nguyen, 2018). Indeed, as a sign of a stronger commitment, the top-down initiatives in form of a more legally binding agreement to translate into national policy serves as the cornerstone for the thriving CE and MSME.


About Writer:

  • Muhammad Rasyid Ridho is an Research Assistant at Centre for World Trade Studies Universitas Gadjah Mada (CWTS UGM). His particular research focuses are international political economy, Southeast Asia, and China. For further inquiries, he could be contacted at rasyid.ridho95@gmail.com


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Amicable Solutions to Philippines’ Sovereignty Claim Over Malaysia’s Sabah

Written by: Arianne Joy Fabregas and Ahmad Amsyar Ahmad Effendy

Before colonial powers arrived in the Southeast Asian region, the Malay Sultanates ruled northern parts of Borneo, i.e., Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao (Norizan Kadir & Suffian Mansor, 2017). When the trade industry flourished in the region, Sir Alfred Dent was persuaded to sponsor a business in Sabah by Baron von Overbeck, the Austrian Consul-General in Hong Kong at the time. They both planned to sell their rights to any interested governments. Therefore, the Sultan of Sulu and von Overbeck signed an agreement on 22nd January 1878, under which the latter obtained three territorial grants, and the Sultan received a total annual tax money payment of 1600 US Dollars (Shaffa Aulia Yasmin, 2022).

Nonetheless, it is also alleged that the Sultanate of Sulu acceded (rather than leased) North Borneo (Sabah as it then was known) to the Overbeck and Dent Company (hereinafter referred to as “North Borneo Chartered Company” or “NBCC”) in conducting business and administering the territory from 1881 until the Japanese Empire invaded and ruled North Borneo since 1942. When Japan surrendered in 1945, the British Empire secured North Borneo as a colony. While the Federation of Malaya achieved independence from the British Empire in 1957, North Borneo remained under British colonial rule (Sabah Tourist Association, 2022). Only in 1963, did it attain self-government through the formation of Malaysia by virtue of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

The agreement between the Sultan of Sulu and Von Overbeck that was signed in 1878 until the time of the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia with the inclusion of Sabah sparked objections from countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. However, it could be acknowledged that legal battles that happened during the advent of the Sabah claims have to arrive at amicable solutions for Malaysia, the Philippines, and ASEAN region as a whole. Firstly, from the early 19th century, the Sultan of Sulu consented to give up his authority over Sulu under the Carpenter Agreement of 1915, although the Sultan kept control of North Borneo and maintained his sovereignty. Meanwhile, to obtain the funds owed to them under the 1878 Grant, the heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram filed a lawsuit in the Borneo court in 1939. The question before the court was who the Sultan’s heirs were and who was entitled to receive money after his passing. They had the sole English translation from the original Malay version by Maxwell and Gibson through their solicitor (who translated the Grant of 1878 as cessation instead of the lease [Malay: “Pajak”] which is inaccurate) (Boncales & Jones, n.d.).

According to Naureen Nazar Soomro (2014), the Philippine government had made repeated attempts to request the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hear the sovereignty claim over Sabah’s case, but Malaysia has not consented to such claim. Although there are many diplomatic and legal attempts to settle the dispute, nevertheless the issue is still affecting both countries’ bilateral relations. Hence, the ASEAN community should recognize the long-standing issue between the Philippines and Malaysia over Sabah could affect its political security sooner or later. Islands in the Sulu and Celebes Seas of the southern Philippines are involved in unofficial trade with Sabah. The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area, the ASEAN subregion economic cooperation pact, is affected by the unrest in this area in terms of trade development. To avoid further conflict from erupting in the ASEAN region, harmonious steps must be taken, as there are potential tensions there as well. Keeping in mind that the ASEAN Charter, a constitution whose existence further stresses the legal personality of ASEAN itself, has been ratified by the ASEAN member countries.

Furthermore, this issue would contradict the ASEAN Community Vision of 2025 on having a united, inclusive, and resilient community. According to ASEAN Secretariat (2015), the ASEAN community foresees to realize having a rule-based community that adheres to international law; has a comprehensive approach to security that enhances the capacity to address effectively; and a community of developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations strengthens engagement with other external parties, reaches out to potential partners, as well as responds collectively and constructively to global developments and issues of common concern.

Nevertheless, both national governments still respect each other’s rights and claim to prevent any further conflict. This can be seen when the latest Constitution of the Republic of Philippines 1987 describes national territory without specific reference to include Sabah as a part of the country as follows:

Article I National Territory

The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, …

On the other hand, Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia 1957 clearly provided that Sabah is one of the States of Malaysia as stipulated below:

Name, States and territories of the Federation

1.(2) The States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.”

Notwithstanding the provisions in both countries’ constitutions as quoted above, it is arguable that if the Sulu Sultanate did not cede or lease its territory in the northern part of Borneo to NBCC before, the present Philippine sovereignty claim over Sabah might not happen and it will be included as one of the Philippine territories today. The 1878 Grant played a crucial role in determining the actual sovereignty status of Sabah in the post-colonial era, and as discussed above, the issue here stemmed from the translation and interpretation of the Malay word “Pajak” (English: “lease”) in the original Grant document which was written in Malay.

Nevertheless, an additional grant entitled “Confirmation by Sultan of Sulu of Cession of Certain Islands dated 22nd April 1903” (hereinafter referred to as “1903 Grant”) manifested the Sulu Sultanate’s intention to cede certain islands surrounding Northeast Sabah and, subsequently, it could also be considered as affirming the legal status of Sabah that has been ceded to NBCC at that point time. Therefore, this issue might have been resolved earlier, even since 1878, if both Sulu Sultanate and NBCC rectified the English translation version by Maxwell and Gibson before acknowledging it to ensure the accuracy of translation of the word “Pajak” to its actual English translated word “lease.” This further step is extremely important to avoid confusion, as happened nowadays when the English-translated version of the 1878 Grant did not reflect the actual meaning of “Pajak” in the original Malay version of the similar Grant.

In conclusion, it is firmly suggested that Malaysia and the Philippines should discuss this matter diplomatically as soon as possible with careful consideration of Sabah’s status quo under Malaysia’s sovereignty and ongoing claim by the Philippines. In addition, the researchers also agree with the recommendations of foreign diplomatic experts and international legal scholars. Wherein they recommend the following: a) to amend the ASEAN Charter of 2007 and provide a provision for the resolution of the Sabah claim to adhere to the international laws; b) provide slick diplomacy with a rigorous attempt to consider Sabah as an independent state for the claim of Sultanate of Sulu prosper and; c) provide unique settings for the three claimants that would eventually resolve the claims.


About Writers: 

  • Arianne Joy Fabregas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communications from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She is currently taking her Juris Doctor degree at Arellano University School of Law, where she is the former Treasurer of the Arellano Law Forensic Guild, the official debating society of the law school, and has joined several debate competitions in her tenure. Moreover, she held the position of Deputy Director for Legal Affairs of GoodGovPH, an organization advocating for good governance and human rights in the Philippines. Aside from leadership positions she has conducted several local and international legal research.
    Contact Information: arjoyfabregas@gmail.com
  • Ahmad Amsyar Ahmad Effendy is a Pupil-in-Chambers who graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) degree from The National University of Malaysia (UKM) and a youth activist based in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. He is currently serving as the International Affairs Vice President at the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM), a prominent local student NGO. He has a keen interest in advocating national unity and global issues among Malaysian students and youths. He also occasionally pens his analysis and thoughts on contemporary legal issues relating to criminal justice, fundamental liberties, constitutional law, and international law.
    Contact Information: amsyarahmed@gmail.com


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  9. Norizan Kadir & Suffian Mansor. (2017). Reviving the Sultanate of Sulu Through its Claim over Sabah, 1962-1986.Akademika 87(3), 125-138. Retrieved from http://journalarticle.ukm.my/11270/1/16225-61636-1-PB.pdf
  10. Sabah Tourist Association. (2022). History of Sabah. Retrieved from http://www.sta.my/sabah_history.cfm
  11. Shaffa Aulia Yasmin. (2022). Clarity of the Sabah Area in The Dispute of Malaysia and The Sulu Sultans Based on International Law. Researchgate. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shaffa-Yasmin/publication/357648763_Clarity_of_the_Sabah_Area_in_The_Dispute_of_Malaysia_and_The_Sulu_Sultans_Based_on_International_Law/links/61d7f938d450060816936112/Clarity-of-the-Sabah-Area-in-The-Dispute-of-Malaysia-and-The-Sulu-Sultans-Based-on-International-Law.pdf
  12. The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987. Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/

An Online Citizen: Revealing Restrictions on the Freedom of Press and Mass Media in Singapore

Written by: Syukron Subkhi

Democracy is continually evolving to keep pace with the changing nature of the world. In the digital era, a new form of democracy has emerged through the transformation of media or other tools used to implement the principles of democracy, such as digitalization. Digital democracy is tied to modernization in a variety of daily life aspects. Accordingly, the internet provides a more open platform to access opinion and expression worldwide rather than traditional mass media.

There is a role for the media and press in overseeing the formation of various government policies and regulations. Media criticism is thought to be more effective in empowering the community to shape policies centered on citizens’ interests. So far, it appears that independent media and press are generating critical voices to influence public opinion against the government. The goal is to ensure and control that the government policies and activities are in accordance with applicable law (Lestaluhu, 2015).

Current Situation on Democracy and Press Freedom in Singapore

One way to exercise one’s democratic right to free speech is through the press and other forms of mass media. According to the 2021 Democracy Index, the indicator of civil liberties -comprises individuals’ fundamental rights and liberties that are protected against any arbitrary measures or other government intervention without due process of law- in Singapore is at the point of 6.18 out of 10, and the country’s average score with four other indicators is 6.23, despite Singapore’s relatively high economic level compared to other ASEAN member countries (Arbar, 2022). In terms of press freedom, Singapore is ranked 141st out of 200 countries on UDI and 66th overall based on an average of the other four indicators. This places Singapore as one of the countries with a faulty democracy system. (EIU, Democracy Index 2021: The China Challenge, 2022).

The Singapore Parliament passed the Foreign Interference Act (FICA) on October 4, 2021. People’s freedom of movement and political participation are at risk under this law, which could be used as ambiguous yet biased laws to weaken the “people power” and ability to influence the ruling government. According to the International Court of Justice, FICA violated international human rights law’s principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality. Unnecessarily sweeping legislation covers a wide range of politically-motivated conduct in Singapore. The FICA Law’s unclear provisions also give the executive branch the ability to interpret and implement the law in any way they see fit (ICJ, 2021).

One of the most damaging aspects of FICA is its ability to allow the executive, through Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), to order the removal or deactivation of online content. The provisions of the FICA Act state:

“Activities carried out in connection with foreign interests and directed at political ends in Singapore may be criminalized if there are indications of communications being conducted in secret or with fraud, including the intentional use of encrypted communication platforms.”

There is a wide range of activities that fall under the umbrella of “activities aimed at political ends,” including social justice advocacy, artistic commentary, academic research, and journalistic coverage by members of the public and private sectors. Singaporeans’ ability to organize and participate in public affairs will be severely restricted by this law, it is clear (ICJ, 2021). This issue will definitely affect the versatility of the democratic advocacy activities, for instance, The Online Citizen that will be discussed in this article.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) believes that punishments for violators of FICA laws are disproportionate and that many of these sentences can be imposed without adequate independent oversight or remedies in cases of human rights violations, which can have long-term negative effects on public discourse. Authorities may fine censored online content, accounts, services, apps, and locations (ICJ, 2021). As a result, UDI Singapore’s political participation and political culture assessment indicators have been lowered from 4.44 and 7.50 to 4.44 and 7.50, respectively. (EIU, Democracy Index 2021: The China Challenge, 2022).

“An Online Citizen”

In order to express and criticize the government’s abuse of power, a documentary film titled “an Online Citizen” was made, which examines how the government of Singapore controls nearly 90% of the country’s media and the information that is widely available there. “An Online Citizen” was produced in 2019 and directed by independent British journalist Calum Stuart, who lives in Singapore. This documentary film features the story of Terry Xu, the Chief Editor of TOC (The Online Citizen), a platform for blogging communities in Singapore. He describes this film as “very observational” to investigate the expression of democracy in Singapore is slightly restrained (in an interview with the New York Times).

Scene from the film “an Online Citizen”

In order to better understand the impact of the film’s production, the film’s director was given permission to focus on examining the effects that were experienced by groups of people or organizations, independent journalists, and media outlets towards the implementation of POFMA (The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act). As a result of the passage of POFMA by the Singaporean Parliament, the political and democratic situation in Singapore has become tenser and more charged than it had been previously. TOC is an excellent choice for the primary subject of a documentary because of the fact that the TOC is a long-standing media community in Singapore that has been active and steadfast in conveying personal freedom and conveying information in Singapore.

“an Online Citizen” managed to accomplish two things at once. The movie demonstrates that TOC, as an independent media community, has limitations in conveying criticism and facts about poor policy-making in Singapore from the perspective of public involvement, as well as the criminalization of journalists and media that are against the government. First and foremost, the Singapore Broadcasting Law’s blocking of this movie shows the government’s unwillingness to accept criticism and opinions from the public because it is feared that it will lead to an increase in public awareness of direct political participation, which could influence policy-making. These facts demonstrate how the current Singaporean government restricts and harms the freedom to express one’s views and take part in politics, both of which are essential components of a healthy democracy.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The rights of freedom of expression and participation in political movement are part of the fundamental aspects of democracy which are stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. As a country that adopted the democratic system for its governance, it is mandatory for Singaporean Government to protect its people to actively participate in political movements. Disobeying the human rights mechanism means that the ruling government fails to implement the commitment to the democratic system.

This issue needs a deep concern and understanding, where the legal systems will be unable to protect the critical voices of its people from the ruling government that has the power in controlling the media and surpass ambiguous laws without truly independent courts. Attempting to embarrass the government’s action is arguably an effective and potent measure of those who favor freedom of expression. Bringing to light instances of legal actions, persecutions, and violations against journalists and their publications in the form of critical and creative approaches may seem modest, but it might mean the difference between freedom and its antithesis.

About Writer

  • Syukron Subkhi is a Media Publication and Research Assistant at ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences majoring in International Relations with a particular focus on human rights, democracy, and development studies. He can be contacted through syukron.subkhi@ugm.ac.id


  1. Lestaluhu, S. (2015, April 2). Peran Media Massa dalam Mengawal Kebijakan Publik di Ambon. p. 2.
  2. EIU. (2022). Democracy Index 2021: The China Challenge. London: The Economic Intelligence Unit.
  3. Arbar, T. F. (2022, February 11). Daftar Terbaru Negara Terkaya Asia Tenggara, RI Nomor Berapa? . Retrieved from CNBC Indonesia: https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/news/20220211090408-4-314601/daftar-terbaru-negara- terkaya-asia-tenggara-ri-nomor-berapa
  4. ICJ. (2021). Singapore: Withdraw Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill. International Court of Justice.


ASEAN Para Games 2022: From Sports to Cultural Diplomacy

Written by: Ferdian Ahya Al Putra

Indonesia should be proud after successfully organizing the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in 2018. Now Indonesia is assigned to host the ASEAN Para Games 2022. ASEAN Para Games is the largest disability sports party or event in Southeast Asia (Kemenko PMK, 2022). This time, the ASEAN Para Games will be held on 30 July – 6 August 2022 in Central Java Province, including Solo City, Semarang City, Sukoharjo, and Karanganyar (Kemenpora, 2022).

Inside the ASEAN’s structure, they have ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sport (AMMS). To support AMMS, ASEAN organized the Senior Officials Meeting on Sports (SOMS). In short, they agreed to assist AMMS in enhancing cooperation in sports or related activities towards balanced sports development in ASEAN; Promoting a healthier lifestyle among citizens of ASEAN Member States through sports, encouraging more interaction among peoples of ASEAN, thus fostering friendship among the ASEAN  Member  States,  as well as contributing to ASEAN integration and community building; Advocating and promoting the role of sports in regional development, peace and stability; and Promoting sportsmanship,  competitiveness and an ASEAN  culture of excellence in sports at the regional and international levels (ASEAN, 2011). This ASEAN Para Games could be one of the programs they organized to achieve the objectives.

Sports Diplomacy Concept

 The ASEAN Para Games can be used as momentum in introducing culture and tourism, especially in Solo or the cities around. This goal is closely related to the term sports diplomacy. In a review published by the European Union, it is understood that Sports Diplomacy is an aspect of public diplomacy, and it can be used as a soft-power tool for an increasing number of purposes (Murray & Prince, 2020). Murray also defined “Sports Diplomacy” as a new term that describes an old practice: the unique power of sport to bring people, nations, and communities closer together via a shared love of physical pursuits (Murray, 2020).

Based on this concept, it can be understood that sport can be a tool to achieve diplomatic goals. The 2022 ASEAN Para Games is an excellent opportunity to attract tourists, especially when Solo is the location for the event. As in Yogyakarta or Bali, both have strong cultural elements which are a big attraction for foreign tourists. Meanwhile, Solo is also a city with cultural tourism. In other words, this event is the right opportunity to introduce Solo to the international scene especially tourists who have come to watch the ASEAN Para Games. The packaging of the ASEAN Para Games this time also cannot be separated from the cultural elements attached to Solo. For example, the 2022 ASEAN Para Games logo also includes cultural elements, namely the illustration of ‘gulungan’ as part of the wayang, a Javanese puppet symbol. A dagger in the logo’s center further emphasizes the event’s cultural element. In addition to the logo, the committee also presented the Rajamala Mascot, which Rojomolo read according to the Javanese accent. Rajamala is known to be unrivaled and is symbolized as the power to resist evil or a negative aura. Rajamala is also a palace heirloom in the form of a can think that symbolizes the greatness of the Surakarta Palace (Jawapos, 2022). This shows that the committee is trying to push cultural diplomacy through sports.

Logo and Mascot of 11th ASEAN Para Games (Foto: Jawapos)

Culture, Tourism, and Culinary in Solo

Talking about culture and tourism, Solo has various cultural sites worth visiting by both local and foreign tourists. In Solo, there are two symbols of royal history: Kasunanan Palace and Mangkunegaran Palace. The Giyanti Agreement signed in 1755 divided the Sultanate of Mataram into two powers, namely the Surakarta Sunanate and the Yogyakarta Sultanate (Darmawan, 2017). While the Mangkunegaran Palace is the place where the kings or dukes of Mangkunegaran reside. This palace was built by Raden Mas Said or Prince Sambernyawa, the founder of Mangkunegaran who holds the title Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya (KGPAA) Mangkunegara I (Ningsih, 2021). In addition, tourists can visit other cultural sites as alternatives, such as the Heritage Batik Keris, the Press Monument, the Nusantara Keris Museum, and so on.

Furthermore, Solo has Batik industrial centers, especially in two Batik villages in the Laweyan and Kauman areas. As we all know, Batik is a world heritage site in Indonesia. The recognition of batik as a world heritage has been in effect since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established Batik as Masterpieces of the Oral and the Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 2 October 2009 (KWRI UNESCO, 2017). In addition to culture, Solo has various distinctive culinary delights with a high taste. The local culinary potential includes Nasi Liwet, Soto, Gudeg, Selat, Pecel, Timlo, Bestik, Tengkleng, and so on. Saeroji and Wijaya (2017) mention that Solo has great culinary potential. They mentioned, for example, that in the Banjarsari sub-district, there are 12 culinary destinations, in Serengan 7 culinary destinations, in Jebres 7 culinary destinations, six culinary destinations in Laweyan, and three destinations in the Kliwon market area. Therefore, visiting Solo is a good opportunity to get to know or buy Batik directly from the industrial center and become a unique attraction for tourists to taste its exceptional cuisine.

Festival in Solo: Solo Batik Carnival (Foto: Instagram/ solobatikcarnival_official)

In other words, this time, the ASEAN Para Games can be an opportunity to introduce Solo’s culture and tourism. Sports expert at Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS), Febriani Fajar Ekawati, M.Or., Ph.D., mentioned that the event has the potential to revive Solo’s economy. The two main sectors that will be affected by the implementation of the 2022 ASEAN Para Games are the industry and tourism sectors. She also mentioned that the benefits of the ASEAN Para Games for the tourism sector could occur in 2 types, tangible and intangible. The tangible benefit refers to the hotel sector that had fallen due to the pandemic, which will be booked for ASEAN Para Games athletes, coaches, and officials. The hotel is full of guests, and the shops around the hotel can also sell daily necessities and souvenirs. The guests will undoubtedly ogle the culinary sector.

Meanwhile, intangible in nature, namely the icon of Solo, will be worldwide. Several international media will report interesting things about Solo so that this city will be known to the broader world community (UNS Public Relations, 2022). This view is also supported by Solo’s mayor, Gibran Rakabuming, who stated that he wants Solo, a small city with a solid cultural background. The world can see how successful it is in organizing sporting events such as the Asean Para Games (Herdyanto, 2022). In addition, Solo is known as a ‘festival city’ where they already host various cultural festivals such as Solo Batik Carnival, Solo International Performing Arts, Festival Jenang (Traditional cuisine display), etc. This will also enhance the attractiveness of Solo itself.

Based on the concept above, the ASEAN Para Games can help the government to introduce Solo and its tourism to the international view. Relevant parties, from the government to the committee, it is essential to pay attention to the elements contained in the implementation, such as by displaying cultural elements in it or serving special cuisines from Solo for consumption for athletes, officials, journalists, and spectators. It is also important to distribute information about tourism and culinary in Solo along with access if a tourist wants to move from one place to another, for example, through information boards, social media or other digital platforms. This aims to reach the ASEAN pillar, namely the economic pillar, where one of the points to be encouraged is to optimize the tourism sector.

ASEAN Para Games, in this case, is not just a sports party. In a more social realm, this can be an opportunity to strengthen solidarity between ASEAN countries by upholding sportsmanship when competing. This is appropriate with Murray’s argument that sport can bring people and nations closer through sports competition. This is also a place to show off athletes with disabilities. This also emphasizes that sport can be inclusive, which means that everyone has the same opportunity to compete where the motto of this event is “Striving for Equality”. In this context, sport influences the relation among ASEAN members as the concept of sports diplomacy is mentioned. The most crucial point is upholding sportsmanship and fair play value at first, then it will be followed by how sport can strengthen engagement among the member countries of ASEAN.


About Writer

  • Ferdian Ahya Al Putra is a Programme Intern at ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada. He finished his bachelor’s degree at the International Relations Department, Universitas Sebelas Maret, and his master’s degree at International Relations Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada. He is also an LPDP Scholarship Awardee from the Ministry of Finance, Republic of Indonesia. He can be contacted through email: ferdian.ahya.al@mail.ugm.ac.id or ferdianahya@gmail.com


  1. ASEAN. (2011). 4. Advocating and promoting the role of sports in regional development, peace and stability;;. ASEAN. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from http://asean.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/TOR-of-SOMS.pdf
  2. Darmawan, J. (2017). Mengenal Budaya Nasional “Trah Raja-raja Mataram di Tanah Jawa”. Deepublish. https://books.google.co.id/books/about/Mengenal_Budaya_Nasional_Trah_Raja_raja.html?id=Xm85DwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y
  3. Herdyanto, H. (2022, June 21). Wali Kota Solo Inginkan Asean Para Games 2022 Jadi Ajang Untuk Mendongkrak Budaya Solo di Pentas Dunia – Mitra News. Mitranews.net. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.mitranews.net/hot-news/pr-1053717389/wali-kota-solo-inginkan-asean-para-games-2022-jadi-ajang-untuk-mendongkrak-budaya-solo-di-pentas-dunia
  4. Humas UNS. (2022, February 9). Pakar Olahraga UNS Sebut ASEAN Para Games 2022 Berpotensi Bangkitkan Industri dan Pariwisata Solo. Universitas Sebelas Maret. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://uns.ac.id/id/uns-update/pakar-olahraga-uns-sebut-asean-para-games-2022-berpotensi-bangkitkan-industri-dan-pariwisata-solo.html
  5. Jawapos. (2022, June 10). Logo dan Maskot ASEAN Para Games 2022 Diluncurkan. Radar Solo. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://radarsolo.jawapos.com/sport/sport-nasional/10/06/2022/logo-dan-maskot-asean-para-games-2022-diluncurkan/
  6. Kemenko PMK. (2022, March 9). Indonesia Mantapkan Persiapan ASEAN Para Games 2022 | Kementerian Koordinator Bidang Pembangunan Manusia dan Kebudayaan. Kemenko PMK. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.kemenkopmk.go.id/indonesia-mantapkan-persiapan-asean-para-games-2022
  7. Kemenpora. (2022, July 6). 11th ASEAN Para Games 2022 Mengundang Putra-Putri Bangsa untuk Berkontribusi dan Mengasah Talenta melalui Program Volunteer. Kementerian Pemuda dan Olahraga. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.kemenpora.go.id/event/10/11th-asean-para-games-2022-mengundang-putra-putri-bangsa-untuk-berkontribusi-dan-mengasah-talenta-melalui-program-volunteer
  8. KWRI UNESCO. (2017, October 2). Hari Ini 8 Tahun Lalu, UNESCO Akui Batik sebagai Warisan Dunia Asal Indonesia. KWRI UNESCO. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://kwriu.kemdikbud.go.id/berita/hari-ini-8-tahun-lalu-unesco-akui-batik-sebagai-warisan-dunia-asal-indonesia/
  9. Murray, S. (2020, 27 October). Sports Diplomacy: History, Theory, and Practice. oxfordre.com. Retrieved July 2022, 19, from https://oxfordre.com/internationalstudies/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.001.0001/acrefore-9780190846626-e-542.
  10. Murray, S., & Prince, G. (2020, October 27). SPORT DIPLOMACY:. IRIS – Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.iris-france.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/1-TES-D_LiteraryReview-of-a-scholarly-and-policy-recources.pdf
  11. Ningsih, W. L. (2021, October 10). Beda Keraton Surakarta dan Mangkunegaran Halaman all. Kompas.com. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.kompas.com/stori/read/2021/10/10/120000179/beda-keraton-surakarta-dan-mangkunegaran?page=all
  12. Padhi, S. D. S. A. a. F. 2. B. (2011, 1 January). Sports Diplomacy: South Africa and FIFA 2010. Insight of Africa, 3(1), 55-70. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0975087814411132

Welcoming our new partner, Korean Institute for ASEAN Studies – Busan University of Foreign Affairs

Republic of Korea is one of ASEAN’s earliest dialogue partners, having agreed in November 1989 to establish sectoral dialogue relations. ASEAN granted the ROK full Dialogue Partner status at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Kuala Lumpur in July 1991. In 1997, the partnership was elevated to the Summit level in Kuala Lumpur.

As a research-based institution, ASEAN Studies Center (ASC) Universitas Gadjah Mada is well aware of the significance of expanding our institutional outreach and communications in order to generate a more critical and academic approach to the partnership between ASEAN and its dialogue partners. Accordingly, the ASEAN Studies Center UGM welcomed the Korean Institute for ASEAN Studies (KIAS), Busan University of Foreign Affairs (BUFS) to the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM on Friday, July 22, 2022. Dr. Wawan Mas’udi (Dean of FISIPOL UGM) and Prof. Dong-Yeob Kim (Director of KIAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish cooperation between UGM and BUFS. Dr. Wawan, in his remarks, introduced an overview of the history of FISIPOL UGM and elucidated how this collaboration will benefit the future of the faculty, ASC, and KIAS. Prof. Dong-Yeob Kim also expresses his appreciation for the warm welcome and his hope that the collaboration will not only produce results in the scope of mutual interest but also provide future benefits to the people of ASEAN and ROK. The MoU signing ceremony between the two institutions was facilitated by Global Engagement Office (GEO) FISIPOL in the Faculty’s Auditorium.

The ASEAN Studies Center UGM will be the implementing partner for future programmatic events and research projects between the two institutions as a result of this collaboration. In his speech, Dr. Dafri Agussalim, Executive Director of the ASEAN Studies Center at UGM, emphasized the significance of the established cooperation to further develop innovative measures through a critical and academic approach in order to strengthen the relationships between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea. In addition, Dr. Dafri hopes that this cooperation will serve as a forum or platform for officers, students, and researchers from the two institutions to exchange their knowledge and expertise on ASEAN and ROK-related issues.

After the signing of the MoU, Dr. Dafri invited Prof. Dong-Yeob Kim and his colleagues (Prof. Gu Bo Kyung, Prof. Zulfikar Rakhmat, and Ms. Moonsun Park) to visit the ASEAN Studies Center UGM Office in BC Building 2nd Floor suite 208 – 208 and meet several staffs and officer to have a small discussion and easy talk to get to know both institutions better.

Report by
Syukron Subkhi
Media and Publication Officer
ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada

#ASEAN #SoutheastAsia #ROK #RepublicOfKorea#ASEAN_ROK #ASC #UGM #ASEANStudiesCenter

Bincang ASEAN on Disaster Risk Management: Measure the Readiness of Member Countries in Dealing with Disasters

On Friday, July 15th, 2022, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah held a virtual Bincang ASEAN Discussion on the issue of disaster risk management. Rising the theme of “Measure the Readiness of Member Countries in Dealing with Disasters”, the Bincang ASEAN this time attempted to reveal how each of the ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN itself in aiding a disaster-prone area.

This time, we invited Dr. Daniel Petz as a keynote speaker, he is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Graz and has an interdisciplinary research interest in intergenerational climate justice and basic needs. In his presentation, Dr. Daniel Petz briefly explained the current trends, capacities, and challenges that are faced by Southeast Asian countries in disaster risk management. Dr. Daniel argued that ASEAN is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world due to natural hazards, and 7.68% of the global disaster mortalities occurred in the ASEAN region during the period of 2015 – 2020, ironically Southeast Asia contributed to 6.135 of the 79.834 deaths to the disasters that occurred worldwide in the period.

According to this matter, Dr. Daniel explained the cycle of disaster management when a disaster strikes an area. The step-by-step that should be included in the disaster management recycle include preparedness, individual disaster response, response/relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and last but not least mitigation/risk assessment prevention. This cycle of disaster management steps should have a correlation each to make sure that the humanitarian assistance is implemented on the right track. To be well-implemented, this cycle should be supported by the aspect of capacity, which is determined as a combination of all strengths, attributes, and resources available within a community, society, or organization that can be used to achieve agreed goals. This capacity may include infrastructure and physical means, institutions, societal coping abilities, as well as human knowledge, skills, and collective attributes such as social relationships, leadership, and management.

The trends in disaster risk management in Southeast Asia are divided into several sectors including national capacity building (laws and policies, institutional structures, national regional, and local capacity), regional capacity building, climate change adaptation and resilience building, international frameworks, and the challenges itself. To support this, ASEAN has established the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) to provide assistance in dealing with the disasters that occurred in the region. The Centre has also implemented numerous systems and tools to facilitate the ASEAN Member States’ coordinated and collective response to disasters. Since its establishment, the Centre has enacted emergency mechanisms for a total of 36 disasters in seven countries across the region as of March 2021, which includes preparedness and assessment missions on seven occasions. Speaking of the challenges, the regional approach to disaster risk management is limited in the funding and capacities that could be resourced. Also, the challenges that came from the DRM itself on its preparedness, coordination, international standards, localization, integration of DRR, and CCA, and the current situation on the Covid-19 Pandemic.

To conclude his presentation, Tunggul Wicaksono, our research manager moderated and bridged Dr. Daniel Petz’s presentation to be responded to by Septyanto Galan Prakosa as the discussant for this Bincang ASEAN. Tunggul Wicaksono highlighted and has marked some notes that the DRM has evolved with its reduction measures along with the people and communities’ system that was already established. However, the challenges remain at the local, national, and regional levels also in adaptation and resilience building on climate change. In the ASEAN context, the member states agreed to handle the disaster in collective cooperation, and AHS Center has successfully developed training for capacity building, that includes the preparedness and assessment mission.

To enrich the discussion, Septyanto Galan Prakosa, a Ph.D student at Sun Yat-Sen University also joined to give his particular point of view regarding this matter.

“If we compare to other regions or any other regimes of regional organizations, not all of part of the words have a set of actions regarding DRR and DRM respectively. For example, if we compare it with South Asia, they already have this kind of mechanism such as SAARC, however, it is not yet complete or comprehensive as what ASEAN has. Of course, if we compare it with the EU, we still have room to learn. The general idea is, that we have no role model to develop in the first place. Since this area is special, in terms of political relations, economic development, and socio-cultural situation, particularly in terms of disaster management, reduction, and prevention in the area that is prone to disaster. Even though only two countries are most likely struck by disasters, the Philippines and Indonesia, basically how the Philippines protected us from typhoons and how Indonesia saved the rest of the region from the big earthquake that happened alongside the ring of fire. Still, some form of cooperation is a big achievement for us. So, if we want to critique, just remember that ASEAN has the mechanism and alternatives that can be used in response to disasters. If we try to evaluate certain points of disaster management that should be taken into mind about mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery, I want to emphasize the terms of preparedness. Because what we have lacked in ASEAN, blatantly speaking, needs to rethink about is how to harmonize or synchronize the existence of disaster risk with the basic elements of the region, which is the people who live there.”

The discussion also became more interesting with the Questions and Answers session with participants that came from many different backgrounds. The talk was lively as participants were eager to raise questions on the development and regional approach toward disaster risk management in ASEAN.

#ASEAN #SoutheastAsia #ASEANStudiesCenter #ASC #UGM#DRM #DisasterRiskManagement #Webinar #BincangASEAN#BringingASEANCloserToYou


Report by:

  • Syukron Subkhi (Media and Publication Officer)
  • Vanya Gerina A. (Programme Intern)

NACT Working Group Meeting 2022 | ASEAN-China Partnership: Mainstreaming the ASEAN Blue Economy to Accelerate Post-pandemic Recovery

In light of the difficulties in setting up a strong and fair legal framework, ocean exploitation is likely inevitable. ASEAN and China must build on the platform’s long-term potential and unlock the platform’s capabilities that are still underdeveloped for regions that rely heavily on the marine ecosystem. The partnership between the two parties was established at the ASEAN Summit in October 2021 in order to respond to this issue. The ASEAN Leaders’ Blue Economy Declaration is a manifestation of the ASEAN-China Partnership on Blue Economy. This shows a strong commitment to promoting sustainable development, particularly in the marine economy, as well as an effort to strengthen multilateral cooperation.

To generate a broader critical measure on this issue, the Network of ASEAN-China Think-Tanks held o Working Group Meeting on the mainstreaming of the ASEAN Blue Economy to Accelerate Post-Pandemic Recovery. Co-hosted by NACT China which is represented by the China Foreign Affairs University and NACT Indonesia which is represented by ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada, the working group meeting took place on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, through an online platform meeting in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

A representative of the blue economy expert from each of the 10 ASEAN member states and China represented by the NACT country coordinators have been invited to attend the meeting. Meeting participants are expected to gain an understanding of the Blue Economy and what it means for ASEAN member states and China, as well as identify best practices from each NACT representative, the main goals of this working group meeting. There are a few other objectives for the meeting, which include identifying possible strategic plans that ASEAN and China can use as the foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation.

The meeting was opened by the welcoming remarks from the Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada (Dr. Dafri Agussalim) as the country coordinator for NACT Indonesia. In his remarks, Dr. Dafri highlighted

“The importance of this meeting to be conducted is not only to gather and exchange constructive ideas, but also functioned as a platform to generate long term solutions on some critical issues surrounding the region, and most importantly on the cooperation with one of ASEAN dialogue partner, China”

To facilitate each representative and manage the discussion is conducted with a constructive and effective flow, the meeting was separated into three-panel sessions in accordance with the three pillars of ASEAN Community Vision 2025. The first-panel session raised the theme of “The Politics and Security of the Sea under the Blue Economy” under the Political and Economic Cooperation pillar. Moderated by Dr. Yang Yue, a Deputy Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, China Foreign Affairs University, the session was managed to feature a representative from NACT Lao PDR, represented by Ms. Haknilan Inthalath that delivered a presentation entitled “ASEAN-China Partnership in Blue Economy Development to Accelerate Post-pandemic Recovery”. Continued by a presentation from Prof. Su Hao, a representative of NACT China. He delivered a presentation entitled “Deepening the China-ASEAN Partnership on Blue Economy by Increasing Political Conditions and Consolidating Security Foundation”.

During the discussion, both presentations elicited strong reactions from the audience in terms of politics and maritime security in the context of blue economy cooperation. Mr. Than Tun, the representative of the NACT Myanmar from the Institute of Sciences and International Security Myanmar observed and respond to the issue by recalling the ASEAN-China pledges to promote the economic growth, in this matter, the political and security approach should be determined as the important aspects to support this implementation. The first panel of the meeting was closed with the discussion and concluded with the need for ASEAN and China to take joint action for those challenges (piracy, illegal fishing, and pollution), not only individual actions by certain countries.

The second panel of the meeting raised a theme on the pillar of Economic Cooperation, entitled “Economic Development and Technological Advancement”, and was moderated by Ms. Yulida Nuraini Santoso, M.Sc, a Managing Director of ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada. The second-panel session started with the presentation from Dr. Li Feng the other representative of NACT China, who delivered a presentation entitled “Blue Economy to Boom Economy”. Continued by Dr. I Made Andi Arsana the representative of NACT Indonesia presented his thoughts on “Geospatial Clarity towards Blue Economy: Challenges in Maritime Zone and Boundary Definition for Effective Utilization of Ocean Resources”. Dr. Lim Tai Wei from NACT Singapore as the next panelist explained his research on Singaporeans’ perspective on the economic development and technological advancement in the blue economy cooperation. Next, NACT Thailand was represented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thamasak Yeemin from Ramkamhaeng University presented the perspective of Thailand regarding the technological advancement for the blue economy development. Representatives from NACT Vietnam, Dr. Le Trung Kien, and NACT Cambodia, Amb. Pou Sothirak, and the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace’s Dr. Henry Chan, continued the discussion by explaining their points of view and perspectives.

Last but not least, Dr. Falikul Isbakh from the University of Gadjah Mada’s Department of Sociology moderated the final panel discussion. In the context of blue economy cooperation, the third-panel session addressed the socio-cultural issue of “Maintaining Environmental Conservation.” “Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation on Marine Environmental Protection: A Perspective from the Philippines” was delivered by NACT Philippines representative Mr.  Edcel John Ibara, followed by Prof. Li Xia, the third NACT China representative. “Committing Science to Sustainable Resource Management” was the final presentation given by Prof. Dato’ Noraieni Mokhtar of the NACT Malaysia at this NACT Working Group Meeting 2022. There was a productive discussion between the panelists about the opportunities for ASEAN and China in the context of blue economy cooperation before concluding the panel session.

Professor Guo Yanjun, Director of the Institute of Asian Studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, delivered the closing remarks to the NACT Working Group Meeting 2022. According to Professor Guo Yanjun, ASEAN and China are taking advantage of the many opportunities to develop and collaborate on an economic partnership in the blue economy as a way to speed up the post-pandemic recovery process. Professor Guo Yanjun hopes that ASEAN-China cooperation on the blue economy will be one of the most vigorous and promising cooperations in ASEAN Community Vision 2025’s three pillars.


Report by
Syukron Subkhi
Media and Publication Officer

2022 Asian Studies+ President Forum

On Monday 9th May 2022, The ASEAN Studies Center represented by Dr. Dafri Agussalim as our Executive Director accompanied Ir. Panut Mulyono the Rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada to attend the virtual meeting on the 2022 Asian Studies+ President Forum hosted by National Chengchi University, Taiwan.

This forum has the objective to invite presidents and rectors from each university participant to present and share their universities’ current developments and prospects for Asian Studies. Besides, the forum is purposed to engage all the participants to exchange ideas on the vision and possibility of establishing a global alliance for Asian Studies in the future.

ASEAN Studies Center UGM has been established in 2013, since then the center has contributed to and generated many publications and policy recommendations for the development of the Southeast Asian region. Hopefully, the meeting will be able to extend our network in ASEAN Region and dialogue partners to enhance the academic approach to the development of ASEAN Community.

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