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 Event Summary 2018
Myanmar's Rohingya/Rakhine Crisis: Domestic Roots and International Dynamics 
As we are aware, Myanmar's promising reforms from 2011 culminated with elections four years later and a power-sharing agreement between generals and civilians, the latter led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Economic development has risen markedly, albeit from a low base, but fatigue and disillusion have beset democratization under high expectations. Due to the Suu Kyi-led government’s own fault and to intractable ethnic unrest, Myanmar has become a single-issue country revolving around the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in westernmost Rakhine state. Myanmar’s economy is poised to enjoy a prolonged expansion as more capital and labor are deployed on fertile land but the country's democratic politics will be messy and unsatisfactory, leaving its erstwhile supporters in the international community feeling jilted. Against this backdrop, our public forum on this occasion will examine the trends and dynamics of Myanmar's Rohingya/Rakhine crisis.
Southeast Asia-US relations under Trump - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
Widely despised at home and abroad, US President Donald Trump is still in office well over a year into his controversial first term. Daily headlines from the leading media of the world have suggested from the outset that he is likely to be impeached, that his presidency is destined to be derailed due to this or that scandal. In the predominant view of the global intelligentsia more broadly, Mr Trump has been so damaging and toxic to the fabric of American democratic values and to the coherence and longevity of the rules-based liberal international order that has lasted over the past seven decades that he should not be allowed to last a full four-year term.
Thailand's black site: Who is accountable? - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Suddenly Thailand, a name synonymous with coups and democratic struggles, has been mentioned repeatedly by US lawmakers and TV personalities over the last few weeks.
Malaysia's poll ramifications for Thailand - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
It was a vicarious happenstance. When the annual flagship event of Asean's consortium of think-tanks known as the Asia-Pacific Roundtable was scheduled in Kuala Lumpur for May 7-9, not a weekend but the first half of a working week, no one thought it would run into Malaysia's 14th General Election (GE14). But it did, as Prime Minister Najib Razak chose a Wednesday instead of a typical weekend, to stage Malaysia's momentous polls. But the tricky timing failed to help his cause. He lost in a big way that bears far-reaching ramifications for the fate of democracy and authoritarianism in the region and beyond, not least here in Thailand.
Fighting chance for Malaysian opposition - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
It would be hard these days to say anything about Malaysian politics without the risk of being branded as "fake news". But tomorrow 14,940,624 voters will have the last say, as they are expected to cast ballots at 8,989 polling centres throughout the country. Fake news aside, they will decide who is the real prime minister. After all, the leading contestants are both former and current Malaysian prime ministers, both of whom belonged to the same party, Barisan Nasional (the National Front), which has retained power for the past 61 years.

At the polls, the choice is clear -- the incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak or former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is leading the opposition -- Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope). Watching Malaysian politics from Thailand, it is quite amazing that Mr Najib has been able to stay afloat, facing storm fronts from every which way.
Thailand's global standing at a low point - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
When the fourth anniversary of Thailand's coup comes to pass later this month, Thailand's foreign relations will be one of the many costs to be counted from the military government. While the Thai administration of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insists otherwise, Thailand's international standing has sunk to its lowest point. One of the immediate tasks facing the elected government after the poll will be to rectify and restore Thailand's international reputation.
Korean thaw will have Asean impact - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
It was amazing to watch South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un make their historic handshake and then hug and share smiles on Friday at Panmunjom, the truce village located in the Demilitarised Zone that separates the two Koreas. From now on, the simmering tension on the Korean Peninsula, which the world has become used to over the last 65 years, may quickly fade away. The two Koreas have pledged to cease hostilities and cooperate in their denuclearisation efforts.
Five priorities at the 32nd Asean summit - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
When the Asean leaders converge on the Lion City later this month for their 32nd summit, a myriad of challenges awaits their deliberations formally and informally. Here are five key priorities that they are expected to tackle:
Graft gobbling up our dream of democracy - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
Corruption lurks everywhere where power intersects interest. No country is immune to it. At issue is what happens when corruption happens. News headlines against corruption in major Asian countries this week suggest that Thailand is lagging behind in the anti-corruption struggle. Countries can stay behind in all manner of well-being indicators from growth and education to infrastructure and healthcare, but being left behind by the scourge of corruption is ultimately the worst of all.
20-year strategy plan under scrutiny - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
For the first time in its history, Thailand is coming out with a national strategy that directs the country's economic and social development over the next 20 years.
Making sense of Asean's view on Rakhine - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
With Singapore as the chair, Asean's every word and move must be meticulously crafted and choreographed. There can't be any loose ends. There is no exception when it comes to the delicate situation in Myanmar's Rakhine State where violent clashes erupted back in October 2016 have forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to escape to Bangladesh.