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.

Karpal Singh a political man of his times

Taken from Malaysiakini.com Much has been written about the recently deceased Karpal Singh.His skills as a lawyer, his fight for basic rights and contributions to the law, his commitment to his family and his struggle for ordinary people as a humanitarian are just some of the themes raised in the many eulogies and reflections in the past few days since he and his friend and assistant Michael Cornelius lost their lives. The reactions from ordinary Malaysians have reaffirmed the spirit of dignity and humanity that are an integral part of the national character and stand in stark contrast to the uncouth provocative remarks of a handful of individuals who, blinded by insecurity and hubris, revealed how far they have deviated from common decency. I knew Karpal Singh as a politician, and the remarks that follow are some of my observations on his important role in Malaysian political life and his political legacy. A true Malaysian nationalist Karpal’s entry into politics in 1969 coincided with a tumultuous time in Malaysian politics. He had been socialised in the exciting decade of the 1960s, when student politics was active and universities were centres to discuss and debate ideas – sadly an era now...

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...
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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...

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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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