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  • Author: Tang Siew Mun
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Malaysian security sector is undergoing a major transformation. The Najib administration has broken the mould, implementing a series of reforms that have resulted in the expansion of political space and discourse. Consequently, the polity may become increasingly unstable, unless these reforms are accompanied by the deepening and institutionalisation of the rule of law and the development of a mature political culture. This paper identifies five priority areas for security sector governance (SSG) in Malaysia, namely, independence of the judiciary, advancement of human rights, broadening of political space, rule of law and enforcement, and institutional oversight capacity. The net effect of the security sector reforms (SSRs) is the levelling of the political playing field, which effectively weakens the hands of the incumbents. Herein lies the paradox. The fate and progress of SSR is contingent on a strong government to stay the course of reforms and to prevent a relapse. At the same time, these reforms have the unintended effect of chipping away the Najib administration's political power.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tin Maung Maung Than, Samara Yawnghwe
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Resolving the enduring internal conflict between the central state and the ethnic nationalities in Myanmar is at the heart of the continued development of the country as a whole. However, a solution may require flexibility when it comes to defining the territorial integrity of the country and its national identity. The 1962 coup, which implemented a policy of unification through a centralised authority backed by military force, has had long-lasting consequences in the form of fragmentation and disunity that have tended to be framed as 'rebellion' or 'insurgency' by the central government. The problem of how to turn ceasefires into a successful and genuine peace process is one that Myanmar urgently faces today.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Lorraine Elliott
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Migration and displacement are among the range of pressures on people and their communities likely to arise from the economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change. Despite fragmented data, the climate security literature has focused on the potential for climate change-induced migration to trigger social tensions and conflict within states and across borders. A human security approach seeks to ensure that people are placed at the centre of concerns about mobility and migration in response to climate change. This requires more than identifying those who are vulnerable to migration pressures. It necessitates an understanding of how migration and mobility choices are made, how vulnerabilities can be managed in ways that are participatory and responsive to local needs and circumstances, and how local, national and regional policy responses can strengthen the knowledge base and improve collaborative platforms for action.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Migration
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sheena Kumari
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This research paper examines the predicament of Burmese women refugees in India and explores the complexities of the female refugee experience. Combining theoretical perspectives with personal narratives and oral histories, this paper provides a view of the struggles faced by refugee women as both victims of circumstance and agents of regeneration. More significantly, the case of Burmese refugee women challenges traditional stereotypes and gendered binary constructions of victimhood associated with the refugee experience. Their participation in community based refugee organisations and the larger women's rights movement has provided refugee women with new scope for action, activism, social interconnectedness, cultural nationalism, transnational linkages, and economic and political mobilisation.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Refugee Issues, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: India, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Pavin Chachavalpongpun
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is relatively new to many Southeast Asians, who have traditionally relied on the state for security and therefore faced a sense of hopelessness when such protection was lacking. While the state represented the only institution ensuring human security for the masses in the past, civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have today emerged as indispensable non-state actors campaigning for humanitarian interventions in situations where the state has failed in the provision of human security. Indeed, CSOs and NGOs are playing crucial roles in advocating and championing the cause of R2P despite encountering extensive obstacles, which range from an overwhelming sovereignty- conscious mentality, and an exploitation of cultural pretexts such as Asian values on the part of the state for a justification of its apathetic attitude toward R2P, to a lack of awareness among the people about the significance of R2P to their own security.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: K. U. Menon
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, also known as the swine flu pandemic, was a test of risk communications methodology and processes. Governments were called upon to make tough decisions in the absence of substantive epidemiological data and baffling case fatality rates (CFRs). While New York adopted mitigation measures, Hong Kong and Singapore followed aggressive containment protocols. Recent studies however suggest that the benefits of such measures – achieved at great cost and allocation of resources – are minimal. This review looks primarily at the experience of a small city-state, Singapore, and compares it with two other equally densely populated cities – New York and Hong Kong – and how all three confronted the challenge and the lessons to be drawn from their experience in risk communications. Communicating risk required deft handling by political leaders and officials to persuade people to adopt strict measures. In the wake of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, there were high expectations in Hong Kong and Singapore for visible containment measures to continue in the event of future pandemics even when benefits were known to be minimal. Cultural differences may explain the receptivity of the populace in these countries to the stiff measures put in place to contain the disease. However, this requires further study.
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Evan A. Laksmana
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to explore and assess the implications of climate insecurities for the armed forces of the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular Southeast Asia. It identifies key issues and trends related to climate insecurities – in the areas of mass migration, diseases, natural disasters and the scarcity of water, food and other resources. It then details the implications for armed forces in the region with reference to the strategic, institutional and operational realms, and contends that climate change will become both a burden multiplier and a threat multiplier in the decades to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Migration
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: J. Jackson Ewing
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Indonesia faces pronounced land-use challenges. The sprawling archipelagic state must deal with the legacies of short-sighted land conversions, the need to pursue foreign investment, capital growth and employment generation through profitable land intensive industries, and the rising food demands of a growing and increasingly urban population. Moreover, Indonesia must pursue these already daunting objectives without overly compromising its endowment of forest resources; which provide a range of valuable services both domestically and internationally. This paper explores the intersection of these issues and comments upon some of the most pressing challenges inherent to maintaining food security, protecting the essential services that forest ecosystems provide, and remaining open to capital-producing industries that are land intensive. The paper takes as its point of entry the movement of the Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme into Indonesia's land-use calculus.
  • Topic: Environment, Natural Resources, Food, Foreign Direct Investment, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Youngho Chang, Nur Azha Putra
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Perspective on the Energy Security Policies in Singapore By Youngho Chang and Nur Azha Putra The Singapore government treats energy security as a means towards achieving sustainable economic growth. It is on that note that the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) and National Energy Policy (NEP) reports recommended strategies which are meant to steer the nation towards economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental sustainability. To date, both reports provide the clearest indication of what the future energy security landscape will look like in Singapore. These reports also underline the belief that an efficient energy market would inevitably drive economic growth, and generate wealth and security for the nation. However, energy security should also be about human security as much as it is about economic growth, according to non-traditional security (NTS) literature. The NTS perspective argues that energy security should also account for the welfare and development of individuals, households and communities, among other things. Building upon the NTS discourse, this paper attempts to unpack Singapore's energy policies by tracing and analysing the rationale behind the role of oil in the nation's economic development, and explores its implication for human security.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mely Caballero-Anthony, Paul Teng, Margarita Escaler, Pau Khan Khup Hangzo
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This synthesis provides the main findings of the Food Security Expert Group Meeting which was convened by the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in Singapore on 4–5 August 2010. The Meeting brought together experts from multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and regional organisations, universities, agribusiness firms and relevant Singapore government agencies. The Meeting aimed to examine the context of urban food security relative to global food security and rural food security; explore the development of an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Food Security Management Information System; assist in developing a research agenda on urban food security; and identify possible roles for Singapore in the global food system.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Food
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Juzhong Zhuang, Suphachol Suphachalasai, Jindra Nuella Samson
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: CSoutheast Asia is one of the world's most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its long coastlines, high concentration of population and economic activity in coastal areas, and heavy reliance on agriculture, natural resources and forestry. Climate change is already affecting the region, as shown by the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones in recent decades.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia