Welcome to the monthly political compass of Southeast Asia from The Journal Radar! Our monthly political compass aims to give our readers a quick monthly summary and a better understanding of hot political events across Southeast Asian nations.
What to Watch?
As 2023 is predicted to have a lot of challenges, Malaysia’s government showing their effort to support the well-being of the people through various initiatives which were announced under Budget 2023 themed “Developing Malaysia Madani”.
During the announcement, Malaysia’s government unveiled a RM 388.1 billion (USD 68.5 billion) budget as the largest in the country’s history. The budget is seen to set a path for Malaysia’s economic recovery and sustainability while promoting digitalization and automation.
On Feb 14, 2023, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced the Singapore National Budget. The national budget is showing support for Singaporeans, workers, and businesses amid concerns about the slow economy. The budget will support the country’s economic trajectory for the year ahead.
Prior to the budget announcement, Singapore’s government also shared an update on COVID-19 that has reached the lowest level, indicating the country’s steps to return to normalcy.
Following the visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Llyod Austin to the Philippines early February 2023, the two countries reached an agreement for U.S. forces to broaden their military in the country. U.S. forces will have 4 more additional military bases in the country.
The move can be seen as a step to strengthen military cooperation in Indo-Pacific region to counter China and any possibility of confrontation over Taiwan in the future.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Feb 21, 2023, that he planned to dissolve the parliament in early March, paving the way for an election that is likely to take place on May 7. Prayut’s terms are expected to expire on March 23 but he plans to dissolve the House before that.
The upcoming election will mark a new beginning for Prayut’s political career. On the other hand, Prayut might face a tough race against Pheu Thai Party which is associated with Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the daughter of former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
Following the dispute inside PSSI (Indonesia’s Football Association), Erick Thohir was finally chosen as the new chairman of the Indonesia’s FA. Erick also is the Minister of SOE of the Republic of Indonesia.
After being appointed as the chairman, Erick already had a meeting with the president of FIFA to share some future programs. Indonesia also will be the host of World Cup U20 in this year.
By: Putu Radar Bahurekso