Bridget Welsh is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Singapore Management University. She is committed to engagement, fostering mutual understanding and empowerment. Based in Southeast Asia, she is committed to changing the world one day at a time through her public engagement, teaching and research.

A bittersweet victory in Kajang?

Taken from Malaysiakini.com   As expected, the opposition PKR won the Kajang by-election. It did so with a smaller majority in number of voters, 5,379, but a larger share of the overall vote, up from 56.8 percent to 59.1 percent.This was an important win for the opposition. Yet, the results did not send the decisive signal of a growing groundswell of support for Pakatan Rakyat nor did it send a signal of gains for the incumbent BN government, which ordinarily in a time of national crisis would have won stronger support.Rather it points to minor shifts in voting behaviour that suggest both sides need to improve their strategies of engagement with voters.Disjointed campaignKajang is a constituency with a long history of political activism. Close to Kuala Lumpur and one of Malaysia’s national universities, the roots of political activity run deep. In fact one of the striking features of this seat is how few fence-sitters there were, with both sides trying hard to convert the converted.The campaign evolved from a focus on the ‘Kajang Move’ resulting from tensions over the state leadership in PKR to the sentencing of party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. It changed from disadvantaging the opposition to...

Search for MH370 highlights need for trust, unity in Asia

Taken from CNN.com In 2003, the SARS virus epidemic was a wake-up call for Asia, forcing China to increase transparency, fostering closer regional cooperation and bringing human security issues to the fore. The disappearance of MH370 will have a similar transformative effect on regional security, but it will take a different form. In recent years, the focus — driven by the need to protect the waters of approximately a third of the world’s trade, as well as access to energy and resources — has been on sea lanes, concentrating on reducing piracy and enhancing naval cooperation. The United States, India, Japan and China have all ratcheted up their patrols, buttressed by the smaller naval operations of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. But at times the focus on maritime security in Asia has led to tensions. China has resented the encroachment of other powers into waters it views as its own, while spats have intensified between China and its regional neighbors, particularly over islands in the South China Sea. China’s increasingly assertive position has engendered a wariness among countries in the region that has been an undercurrent in the cooperation between neighbors during the current MH370 crisis. Sky security Relatives hoping...

A nation responds to loss of MH370

Taken from Malaysiakini.com   The loss of MH370 will be a defining moment in the country’s history. While attention rightly focuses on comforting families, finding the plane and what has caused this tragedy, the event has shown the depth of caring among Malaysians. Across faiths, ethnic groups and borders, Malaysians have reached out to each other and to friends. Pride has been put aside in accepting international help and social media on the whole has shared more messages of hope than division. In the shared sadness of loss, the tragedy had revealed and reinforced a strong sense of community. The image of an interfaith prayer led by former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was perhaps the most powerful moment over the weekend, as it reflected what had been happening in society itself as Malaysians from all walks of life reached across their differences for those affected by the missing plane. It did not matter what word was being used, as the sentiment was the same. Crises like these reveal character. They tell us who can handle pressure, test leaders and what are the real priorities. The character that was revealed is a society that cares for each other. Despite all of...
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Project Malot Fundraiser 2013 details

In Celebration of a New Year and in the continued spirit of friendship Project Malot Fundraiser 2013 The Irish Graduates Association of Singapore and Project Malot Organizers Invite You to An Irish Musical Extravaganza in Singapore. Featuring the cream of Singapore’s Irish Traditional Musicians on Friday, January 10th From 7.30 pm    (For detailed information...

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Project Malot Update: Expansion and Commitment

Project Malot Update: Expansion and Commitment

Reflections on 2013 As the year draws to a close it is fitting to reflect on the year past. We are happy to report that 2013 was a good year for Project Malot highlighting an expansion and deepening of the commitment to the engagement and education of the community. In 2013 earlier recipients of the...

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A Hero’s Passing: Nelson Mandela Remembered

Twelve years ago I was asked in an interview at JHU-SAIS who I considered to be my hero. As an academic our training is to question and analyze rather than think about who we should put on a pedestal. I nevertheless immediately answered Nelson Mandela. Every leader has her or his shortcomings, and Mandela did...

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Dark clouds hovering over SEA democracy

Taken from Malaysiakini.com As 2013 draws to a close, it has not been a good year for democracy in South-East Asia. Recent news has riveted on the protests in Thailand, where those dissatisfied with the current leadership of Yingluck Shinawatra and her amnesty provisions have taken to the streets rather than opt for a solution...

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Changes in continuity in PAS – the results

Taken from Malaysiakini.com When the results were counted (and recounted) for the PAS party elections, on the surface they suggested the status quo and general expected results. All the incumbents in the central committee won, with some new faces resulting from those who contested from other positions and retirement, and all the senior positions went...

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A new battlefield for PAS: the campaign

Taken from Malaysiakini.com As party elections go, PAS’ are usually among the most civil. In Umno, the mode has been behind the scene attacks, reminiscent of traditional court politics. In PKR, the style is direct attacks, as personality politics is brought into the open. In DAP it is the more of a cold war, with...

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The battle inside PAS: the issues

Taken from Malaysiakini.com Malaysia’s Islamist party PAS heads to its 59th muktamar this week, electing its leadership once again as it does on a biannual basis. The party’s elections have come under the microscope, with attention riveted on the heated contests between the ‘pro-ulama’ and ‘progressives’ or ‘Erdogan’ factions. The decisions made at the muktamar...

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Sweet or sour in Sungai Limau?

Taken from Malaysiakini.com Located in the core of the Malay rural heartland, this second by-election after the 13th general election (GE13) is a critical test for both Umno and PAS. This is not just a contest over who wins the hearts and minds of the rural Malays, but it speaks to ongoing political engagement within...

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The Awakening Book Launch and Reception

                        On Malaysia Day, September 16th, Awakening: The Abdullah Years in Malaysia was launched in Kuala Lumpur courtesy of the Foreign Correspondents Club. The guest of honor was Dato’ Mahadev Shankar, former Court of Appeal judge, founding member of Sukaham and a leading expert...

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