Asia Centre’s Interviews 2020

“Bangladesh Relocating Rohingya Refugees”

On 5 December 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan spoke on Scope with Waqar Rizvi addressing the issue of the Bangladeshi government’s decision to relocate the Rohingyas to the island Bhasan Char.  During the interview, Dr. Ramcharan discussed, among other issues, the concerns of human rights groups that the island was flood-prone and vulnerable to frequent cyclones and hence not suitable to house the Rohingya refugees.

Watch the interview here.

“Bangladesh Relocating Rohingya Refugees To Bhasan Char”

On 4 December 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez spoke on The World with ABC News in Australia to discuss the Bangladeshi government’s decision to relocate Rohingya refugees to the remote island Bhasan Char. During the interview, Dr. Gomez highlighted the concerns of international human rights groups that the island is flood-prone, and its prison-like conditions for the Rohingya refugees including increased surveillance and severe restrictions of movement.

Watch the interview here.

“For Filipino Journalists, Local Politics Can Be a Dangerous Beat”

On 28 October 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez spoke to Voice of America on the situation of threats against journalists in the Philippines. Dr. Gomez explained the Philippines media is experiencing a “publish and perish” phenomenon whereby journalists who publish critical information of the political regime or lead political figures will come under attack.

Click to read the interview here.

“Theatre Of Indirect Communication”

On 19 October 2020, Dr. James Gomez spoke with BFM’s Radio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during which time he discussed the political situation in Thailand where thousands of people in Bangkok continued to take the streets despite a ban on gatherings. Dr. Gomez also addressed possible political reform scenarios.

Listen to the interview here.

“The Pandemic and Civil Society- Southeast Asia and COVID-19”

On 12 October 2020. Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez gave an interview to Asia Society’s Policy Institute where he discussed the impact of COVID-19 on Civil Society in Southeast Asia. Dr. Gomez noted that COVID-19 has impacted the civil society’s ability to assemble. There has also been an increase in the surveillance of citizens.

Watch the interview here.

Why Vietnam Is Asking Other Asian Countries to Help Squelch Fake News

On 1 October 2020, for the Voice of America News. Asia Centre’s, Dr. James Gomez, Identified that Southeast Asian governments normally counter false medical tips with correct information or “increase literacy”, … But when governments come under fire, he said, they tend to strike back against the purveyors of news.

Click to read the interview here.

“Rohingya massacre video confessions and elections in Myanmar”

On 9 September 2020, Dr. James Gomez spoke with ABC TV Australia’s Beverly O’Connor about the video confessions of two Myanmar Army soldiers to the International Criminal Court. Dr. Gomez highlighted that these “confessions” would not impact the elections significantly as opposed to the rising COVID-19 infections in the country. The challenge for Myanmar is if it can hold the elections safely and without compromising free and fair elections due to COVID-19.

Watch the interview here

“Arrival of Rohingya refugees in Aceh, Indonesia”

On 7 September 2020, Dr. James Gomez spoke to Al Jazeera News, from Singapore, on the Rohingya refugees’ and asylum seekers’ arrival in Aceh, Indonesia. Dr. Gomez noted that as this occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, “it’s allowing governments in Thailand, Malaysia and even Indonesian authorities to irresponsibly push back.” He further noted that such actions can be justified on the “anxieties of their citizens around health concerns”. He suggests it’s best to put in place COVID-19 health protocols to receive refugees rather than turning them away.

Watch the interview here.

“Taiwan Accredits Surge of Foreign Reporters, Some Fleeing China”

On 28 August 2020 during an interview with Voice Of America, Dr James Gomez noted that “It (Taiwan) wants to present itself as a value-based country and the values around democracy and human rights have been articulated, and not just for itself,” whilst discussing journalistic freedom in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. “I think it also wants to set an example for others, so it kind of wants to walk the talk,” he added.

Read the article here.

“Thais call for reform after activists’ arrest”

On 10 August 2020, Dr. James Gomez in an interview with BFM 89.9 discussed Thailand’s ongoing youth protests. Dr. Gomez noted, “we can expect this to continue and we can also expect the government to push back”. “Negative campaigning or hate speech … [and] the use of the disease control act and emergency decree combined” are tools used by the government in response to the reform demands.

Listen to the interview here.

“Thai youth protests draw moral support from Hong Kong activists”

On 28 July 2020, in this Nikkei article on the ‘Milk Tea Alliance’ which discussed the Thai and Hong Kong youth protests, Dr James Gomez asks, “Because of social media we are getting more amplification, but are we getting enough action to assert political pressure for change?”.

Read the article here.


“Gomez: Whether Singaporeans want opposition elected worth watching”

On 9 July 2020, Dr James Gomez in an interview with CGTN discussed the general election in Singapore. Dr Gomez noted that the desire for Singaporeans to have opposition party MPs elected would be the key outcome to watch. 

Watch the interview here.

Trump’s nuclear deal exit costly for U.S.”

On 27 June 2020, Tehran Times published an interview with Asia Centre’s Executive Director Dr. Robin Ramcharan, on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the JCPOA. Dr. Ramcharan argued that the May 2018 withdrawal from the Iran Deal weakens U.S. diplomacy. He added,  this decision is motivated by President Trump’s aim to undo former President Obama’s achievements. 

Read the full article here

“Dr. James Gomez on Al Jazeera News on rights of Malaysia’s undocumented workers.”

On 11 May 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez spoke to Al Jazeera on its News Hour commenting on the Malaysian government’s raid against undocumented workers in Kuala Lumpur. Dr. Gomez pointed out that in addition to the federal government, mucipal authorities and employers need to be held accountable for the rights of undocumented workers. He added that the rights of undocumented workers in the largest construction project of the Iskandar region in the southern state of Johor, also requires attention.

Watch the interview here.

“Migrant workers bear brunt of Singapore’s COVID-19 ‘second wave’ “

On 6 May 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez said in Australia’s Green Left, “the COVID-19 pandemic is showing the difficulties faced by vulnerable communities, such as indigenous people, refugees, migrant workers and those working in the informal economy”. 

Read the article here.

Expert says: Coronavirus pandemic requires strong multilateral cooperation

On 24 April 2020, Asia Centre’s Executive Director Dr. Robin Ramcharan was interviewed by the Iranian Labour News Agency on the WHO response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He highlighted the need for a globally coordinated action against the pandemic. Any action based on national interests would be unsuitable. He added, economic sanctions imposed in a time of crisis may only worsen the state of economies already at risk. Moreover, they affect the lives of ordinary people in the country instead of targeting leaders and officials.

Read the full article here

Asian Media Battles Officials to Report on Coronavirus”

On 17 April 2020, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez, in a report by Voice of America – VOA – said, “Internet” “trolls” – some appointed by governments, while others are ideological – disrupt a lot of alternative media messages. He added, emphasizing officials themselves use the term “fake news” to label reports they don’t like.”

Read the article here.

“ASEAN+3 Summit necessary for regional cooperation in addressing dual crisis: Thai experts”

On 13th April, Dr. Robin Ramcharan was asked by the Vietnam News Agency to comment on the recent ASEAN +3 Summit. Dr. Robin Ramcharan noted Vietnam’s proactive chairmanship of ASEAN amidst the COVID-19 crisis has helped to preserve ASEAN unity and cohesiveness.

Read the article here.