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(Commentary) ASEAN captain Malaysia prepares to set sail into maritime disputes, ‘democratic recession’

2015-01-26 08:34:55       source:Japan Times

By Pavin Chachavalpongpun


January 25, 2015


"Malaysia this year takes over the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. As one of the original founding members of ASEAN, set up in 1967, Malaysia appears to be in the right place, at the right time — controlling the helm of ASEAN in the very year its community-building efforts will be realized.


Last year’s ASEAN chairmanship was a matter of controversy. Myanmar, for the first time since its admission into the club in 1997, volunteered to serve as ASEAN chair, having skipped its rotational chairmanship twice in the past.


It was controversial because some Western governments still doubt Myanmar’s seriousness in promoting political reform. Myanmar was accused of exploiting the ASEAN chairmanship to legitimize the regime of President Thein Sein, which is backed by the 25 percent of Myanmar’s Lower House seats occupied by the military."


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