Think Tank (March to April 2019)
Assoc Prof Alan Chong delivering the opening remarks
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Economic Security in ASEAN and Singapore
22 Apr 2019

On 22 April 2019, the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS), RSIS, organised the Economic Security in ASEAN and Singapore Workshop at Orchard Hotel. Following the opening remarks by Acting Head of CMS, Assoc Prof Alan Chong, two expert panels delivered insights on how states can advance economic security — defined as the reliable production and consumption of wealth — in a global economy facing increasing turbulence.

In the first panel, Asst Prof Lee Su-Hyun, CMS, began by detailing how ASEAN needs deeper integration to deal with internal and external challenges such as the US-China trade war, thereby maintaining its global relevance. Subsequently, Asst Prof Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit, CMS, elaborated upon the conditions under which states in the Mekong sub-region use international cooperation to defend economic security.

Meanwhile, Dr Tamara Nair, Research Fellow, Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, RSIS, highlighted how ASEAN’s economic security policies should integrate a gendered perspective, which addresses the different challenges female labour forces face. Assoc Prof Chong then raised how the Internet economy is inextricably linked to security; this link will become more prominent with 5G networks, which are pivotal to economic and military power.

The second panel saw Dr Faizal Yahya and Mr Shazly Zain, Research Fellow and Research Assistant, Institute of Policy Studies, analysing Singapore’s effectiveness in enabling the overseas expansion of its small and medium-sized enterprises for national economic security. Subsequently, Asst Prof Lai Jikon, CMS, detailed how the principles of Islamic finance could offer better financial stability in theory, though its current implementation falls short of doing so.

Dr Henry Chan, RSIS Visiting Senior Research Fellow, then noted that 5G’s impact on ASEAN depends on whether the bloc can effectively apply the technology to improve its economy. Lastly, Mr Han Beomhee, Group Head of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation Group, ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, expounded upon the challenges in further improving the regional financial safety net, including the need for greater ASEAN leadership.

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