Sign up | Log in
Testimonials – What our Readers are saying about us
     May-June 2010

Malaysia’s next stop: United Nations Human Rights Council
Malaysia is on its way for the re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) on 13 May. Lately, the Malaysian government has apparently been busy boosting its human rights image in the international level. After the diplomacy exercise on the newlyestablished Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in February and June 2009, Malaysia is now back in action to ‘prove’ its human rights record to the world. We have yet to see the concrete follow-up actions by the government in many areas as promised.
The HRC consists of 47 member-states elected by the majority of the members of the General Assembly. The voluntary pledges and commitments declared by the Malaysian government dated 9 March 2010 contained repetitions of the former pledges made to the HRC (formerly the Commission on Human Rights) in 2006.
On May 3, media freedom report issued by Freedom House ranked Malaysia as ‘not free’ putting it behind neighbours Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. It is ironic that Malaysia is just a footstep away from securing itself to the HRC for its second term: 2010-2013. The last minute pull out of Tehran left Malaysia with no competitors together with Maldives, Qatar and Thailand for the 4 Asian seats.
The main issue, in general, the Malaysians are not well aware with the UN mechanisms and how it works as well as its effect to the country. Becoming a candidate for membership on the HRC will put more pressure on the government to do better at home, but Malaysia has apparently failed to do so during its 2006-2009 term. It is timely for the Malaysian government to seriously thinking of educating the public on human rights if it was sincere in its bid to the HRC. After all, it is the people that matters. The government has been busy impressing the world on its human rights record. But what does it mean? Does the membership to the HRC guarantee the protection of human rights to the people? Certainly not. The laymen are not either concern nor aware with these mechanisms. This is the time to translate those commitments to action in the national level.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) in the past has constantly made suggestion on the need for the government to have a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). A number of countries in the Asia Pacific region have established such Plans. In the Southeast Asia region itself, 3 countries with existing national human rights institutions have established their Plans, i.e. Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.
So does Malaysia deserve to sit in for another term in the HRC? In the ground, it is a straight no. Has there been once, the government shows sincerity in its promotion and protection to the human rights in the country? Deep in our heart, we already know the answer.


Khoo Ying Hooi
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Austria-Destination for all seasons
I enjoyed reading the Asean Affairs Special Country Features (“Spotlight on Austria”Mar- Apr’10) and the previous (“Spotlight on Germany”Nov-Dec’09). I encourage you to publish more of these comprehensive reports which to me is quite unique because it gives relationship of these countries with Asean and how they have evolved over time and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The interviews were excellent and what I liked very much was that they were chosen from different industries and perspectives. I would like to suggest that you also consider some of the important countries within Asean to throw the spotlight on as well. I would like to know more in depth about Asean member countries.

Peter Ubaldo
Los Angeles, USA

A ZERO SUM GAME for US in Asean?
Your cover story, (“Redefining US-Asean Ties amidst the rise of the dragon”Mar-Apr’10) carried interviews with two very aggressive Americans (Ernest Bower, former President of US-Asean Business Council and Director CSIS, Washington and Demetrios Marantis, Deputy United States Trade Representative for Asia) trying to play down the fact of the loss of American influence in Southeast Asia, especially to China in the last decade. They are beating the drums with the fact that Asean and not China and India is the leading destination of US investments in Asia, with three times more than China, and nearly 10 times more than India. 2008 figures of US investments were $173 billion in Asean, $45 billion in China and $16 billion in India.
Yet the fact remains that China has made tremendous strides in trade with Southeast Asia reaching more than $250 billion. And with the China-Asean FTA already in place, the future belongs to China and Asean. The US has lost it share of the influence it once had especially after the Vietnam war in the region. Mr Marantis said in the interview that increased trade between China and Asean is not a zero sum equation for US. There is only so much trade and so much consumption, a finite number which I’m sure Mr Marantis knows but is too proud to acknowledge. The hegemony of the US in this part of world had to be re-balanced and I’m glad that its happening, zero sum or not.

Syafrudin Hatta
Yogyakarta, Indonesia

      Mar-Apr 2010

$10 T GDP and 2B Consumers- EAFTA –the world’s largest trade bloc is coming.
Your cover story (“IN TOP GEAR- Vietnam’s Drive to Market Economy” Jan-Feb ’10) was a fairly balanced article. Vietnam is a study in contrast: UNDP recognises it as one of the rare countries where poverty is receding and similar to China, Vietnam is a “Non Market Economy” and faces a number of allegations and litigations. Assuming the Chair of The Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) comes at a good time for the country and its dynamic Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. 26 countries, including Australia and New Zealand and a recalcitrant India, have now recognized Vietnam as a market economy, even though it is not. Its major investor, the EU and trade partner USA, see no good reason to follow suit. The nation of 86 million has averaged 7.3 percent economic growth in the past decade and its economy has shown remarkable strength in the face of the current global financial crisis. This is a nation of fighters as we all know, that brought a superpower to its knees. As Chairman of Asean, PM Nguyen Tan Dung emphasised in his address in Davos 2010 the need for building an East Asian Community. If realised EAFTA (East Asia Free Trade Area) will be the world’s largest free trade area with more than 2 billion consumers and a total GDP reaching $10 T. EAFTA will be established within the Asean +3 framework and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA). After a tumultuous year of political instability in Thailand, the previous Chair of Asean, one is hopeful that Vietnam will do a better job of steering Asean toward the goals it has set for itself, namely a single market economy by 2015 and acting as a catalyst for the development of the East Asia Trade bloc. The days of western hegemony seems to be numbered and their recognitions of market status of Vietnam or any other country may be less significant than ever before. Yet they will have no choice but to engage the East and may find themselves caught in a time warp of definitions of “Democracy”, “Market Economy”, etc. For the moment though, Vietnam is the darling of the world.

Mohd Roslan Abdullah
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Anonymous American has done it again (“Opinion” Jan- Feb’10). I never realised that the mighty USA has turned into a banana republic. But after reading this thought provoking article and the previous one (Nov-Dec’09), I’m beginning to agree with the columnist. People like Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein see themselves as masters of the universe doing “GOD’s Work” and thereby they have the right to wreck the lives of millions across the world (Greece’s recent woes have Godman Sachs’ hand behind it) and they own the United States Government and get away with their misdeeds, bordering on crimes against humanity. Their previous Chairman, Henry Paulson (dubbed “King Henry”) oversaw the bailout package that was put together to bail out Wall Street and thereby letting the “Masters of the Universe” get away scott free. This is a charade where the banana republic disguises itself as a democracy and lectures the world in ethics and free market, etc etc. I’m a proud American who feels that this is not the America that our founding fathers bequeathed us as their legacy. We have completely messed up on what made the USA great. I see very little hope and dread the prospect of what lies ahead for this once proud and great nation.

Charles Xavier
New York, USA

The climate time bomb is ticking!
Dr Michael Nobel’s expert commentary was on the mark (“Asean Environment” Jan-Feb’10) where he described COP 15 (Copenhagen Climate Summit in end 2009) as “The Mountain Laboured and Brought Forth a Mouse”. The Copenhagen jamboree produced a huge carbon footprint with over 45,000 delegates attending from all over the world. That, combined with the disappointing outcome of the meeting, must provide fodder for thought on why we need such meetings in the first place. Fighting climate change is up to each nation and as we have seen no consensus on that subject can be arrived at easily. All the doom Sayers and preachers like Al Gore have achieved is fame and Nobel Prizes for themselves. The western industrial model has produced all the climate changes, in the span of a few decades or centuries, that the entire period of human civilization as we know it did not. The rest of the world is gleefully following the model to deliver western standards of living for their citizens. Based on a consumption model, which everybody knows in the long run is unsustainable, where is the consensus. Developed countries are not ready to change their ways and the developing countries are rapidly copying that same consumption model. A climate time bomb is ticking but we are too busy to look at that clock.

Frank Gunther
Copenhagen, Denmark

Next  >>


Mark McClure – Sales Trainer Extraordinaire, One of the Top 5 Sales Gurus! Author of the Ruthless Entrepreneur System. He has closed deals from 10,000 to 100M USD.

“I met the VP Global Marketing for ASEAN AFFAIRS recently in Thailand and he gave me a copy of their publication to read.  When I got to the airport I started to read the magazine and I couldn't put it down.  Great information on all of Southeast Asia, I learned a lot that I did not already know.  Definitely on my must read list now.”

Mr Seshadri Chari
One of India’s leading journalist’s and Editor.

“(…) They (the magazines) are excellent and full of information. I have started talking to my friends in the media here. A number of them have given various ideas and comments. It is possible to distribute this magazine in India”
“I am back from South Sudan where I was with the UN as consultant on governance for almost a year and a half. This too was a wonderful experience. India needs to look East and West at the same time. In fact between South East Asia and Africa, India could be the natural link. It would be a pleasure working together on these ideas through your magazine. “

Philippe MEYER Head of Unit European Commission
“ (…)I looked also at your site, which is well designed.”

Michael Robinet, Vice President, Global Vehicle Forecasts, CSM Worldwide

“(…) I have reviewed you publication and am very impressed.  CSM has subsequently subscribed to ASEAN AFFAIRS (…).
Lastly, your publication has fantastic trade info – keep up the good work!”

David Woo - Singapore
“Must say I am impressed with the revamped effort. Slowly but surely its coming to be what I envisioned it will evolve into soon. Pat yourself on the back la”.
“The other impressive bit is the ads - they are companies that would give the AA platform the critical endorsement”

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Special | Features | News | Magazine | Events | TV | Press Release | Advertise With us

Our Products | Work with us | Terms of Use | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Shipping/Delivery Policy

Version 5.0


Copyright © 2007-2011 TIME INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT ENTERPRISES CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Bangkok, Thailand