Asia Centre’s Interviews 2021

ASEAN upgrades ties with neighbors

On 29th October 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez gave interview on the relationship between China and ASEAN that it can be strengthened, noting that “there are so many high level things already going on”.

Read the interview here.

“FICA’s wide reach”

On 6 October 2021, Asia Centre’s Regional Director Dr. James Gomez spoke to BFM Malaysia about the implications of Singapore’s new Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act. Dr. Gomez outlined the wide reach of FICA, discussed the types of foreign “interference” and the consequences for freedom of expression.

To listen to the full podcast, click here

NOTE: At 02:08, the mention a fine of “500,000 Singaporean dollars” for covert political activity on behalf of a foreign partner, is actually “50,000 Singaporean dollars”.

“Expert Says Cambodia Internet Gateway Brings Increasing Fear”

On 2 September 2021, Asia Centre’s Executive Director Dr. Robin Ramcharan was interviewed by VOA Khmer on the new National Internet Gateway (NIG) implemented by Cambodia, after the launch of Asia Centre’s new baseline study: “Internet Freedoms in Cambodia: A Gateway to Control”. Dr. Ramcharan explained that the NIG will increase the fear of surveillance among Cambodians and worsen the already prevalent state of self-censorship. Asia Centre points to the need for proper personal data and privacy protection. 

To listen to the full interview (in Khmer), click here

“As 2022 ASEAN Chair, Cambodia Will Face Major Regional Challenges and Increased U.S. Attention”

On 23 July 2021, Asia Centre’s Regional Director Dr. James Gomez spoke to VOA Khmer about Cambodia’s upcoming chairmanship of the ASEAN, in the context of growing Chinese influence on the country. Dr. Gomez outlined that there will be two main issues that will need to be addressed: violence and conflicting claims in the South China Sea; and the lasting political crisis in Myanmar that emerged from the 1st February Coup. However, how Cambodia approaches these issues remains to be seen.

Read the full article here

“Dr. James Gomez discusses the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thai tourism industry”

On 16 July 2021, Asia Centre’s Regional Director Dr. James Gomez on CGTN discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the opening of three southern islands of Thailand to vaccinated tourists.  Dr. Gomez said that migrant workers play an important part in the Thai tourism sector. Unless these workers as well as Thai citizens and residents are tested and vaccinated the tourism sector will have a challenge to opening up.

Watch the interview here

“Dr. James Gomez explains the causes for the COVID-19 lockdown measures in Bangladesh

On 1 July 2021, Asia Centre’s Regional Director Dr. James Gomez spoke to ABC News on the lockdown enforced by Bangladesh following a dramatic increase of Covid-19 cases. He explained the causes for these new measures and details the rules. Dr. Gomez then discussed the risks weighing on the most vulnerable groups, such as garment workers and Rohingya refugees, at a time when vaccines were still lacking in the country.

Listen here

“Is Asia becoming less democratic?

On 23 June 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez explains how authoritarianism is expanding in Southeast Asia. Catch this podcast recorded on 23rd June 2021 during the La Trobe Uni’s Asia webinar titled “Asia Rising: #166: Is Asia Becoming Less Democratic?”.

Listen to the podcast here

“Thailand begins ambitious mass vaccination program

On the 8 June 2021, Asia Centre’s Director James Gomez spoke to ABC News Radio. He scrutinised Thailand’s delayed vaccination programme amidst rising case numbers in the country, questioning the absence of health workers taking charge of the rollout. Dr Gomez added that cramped migrant worker living conditions and hesitancy from the government to provide non-citizens with vaccines were further matters of contention.

Listen here

“Internet Control and Censorship in Myanmar & Across Far East and Southeast Asia”

On 6 May 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez and Forsea’s Dr. Maung Zarni discussed internet shutdowns in Myanmar and SEA. In the interview, Dr. Gomez pointed to the shift in authoritarian tactics from content censorship to infrastructure control.
To read the article click here
Watch the full discussion click here

“Khin Mai Aung on Civil War In Myanmar

On 21 April 2021, Asia Centre’s Khin Mai Aung was interviewed on The Gist, a digital show on the Indian media platform Strat News Global. She discussed the current status of the Myanmar coup, from the threat of all out civil war, to the opportunity for a more inclusive, tolerant national identity and government under the newly formed National Unit Government, and how the international community – especially regional neighbors in Asia – can support the people of Myanmar and the reinstatement of democracy in the country.

Watch the interview here

“Dr. Robin Ramcharan on In Focus South Asia on protesters killing in Myanmar

On 31 March 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan was interviewed on Focus South Asia hosted by Ejaz Haider of Indus News, Pakistan. Dr. Ramcharan said the military junta should be held accountable for crimes against humanity in line with Article 7 of the Rome Statute. Concerning the border crossings by Karen and other Myanmar communities into Thailand, Dr. Ramcharan said it remains to be seen if Thailand fully upholds it’s obligations under international law.

Watch the interview here

“Interim Govt Plan In Myanmar Must Include Other Ethnic Groups

On 3 March 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez discussed the internet shutdowns in Myanmar on Strat News Global’s podcast. Dr. Gomez explained internet shutdowns are being used by the military junta to curb the mass mobilisation of protesters.

Listen to the podcast here

Vietnam Tapping Hackers to Silence Critics, Experts Warn”

On 3 March 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) outlined Vietnam’s online hack attacks. Dr. Gomez explained that the hack attacks have been used by the authorities to delete criticism and mobilization from activists. He added even though presently the Vietnamese government does not practice shutting down the internet for the entire country, it would do so if the government faced “mass mobilization on a national scale”.

Read the interview here

“As Myanmar’s protesters and military dig in, can Asean, the US or China help the situation?

On 1 March 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez told the South China Morning Post (SCMP), that countries needed to get “past the rhetoric [and] move towards initiating sanctions”. He added that ASEAN had “continued to disappoint with rhetoric-based diplomacy” and had to do more.

Read the interview here

Dr. James Gomez explains why the internet shutdowns”

On 12 February 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez explained on CGTN that many young people in Myanmar are leading the protests as they are the internet generation using social media to mobilise. That is why the military is focused on internet shutdowns. However, these shutdowns have an impact on the economy. Unless the coup ceases, the countries in the region will also feel the impact from the economic fallout of this coup.

Watch the interview here

“Dr. James Gomez: Aung San Suu Kyi No Longer Democracy Icon

On 5th February 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez discussed the situation of Aung San Suu Kyi after the Military takeover in Myanmar. He noted that Aung San Suu Kyi remains an important icon but what happened recently has affected her credibility as the icon of Myanmar democracy. The international community hence are careful to link her to calls for a democratic change. Apart from ASEAN, larger countries such as China, India, Japan and South Korea need to speak up more firmly and to help resolve the situation in Myanmar.

Watch the interview here

Dr. James Gomez on CGTN on the Myanmar military coup

On 2nd February 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez discussed the Myanmar military coup on CGTN’s The Link.  He commented that political powers in the region need to speak up on developments in Myanmar and hold the military accountable instead of focusing on their business interests and being silent.

Watch the interview here

“Dr. James Gomez on ABC Australia on the coup d’état in Myanmar”

On 2nd February 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez discussed the coup d’état in Myanmar over ABC Australia. He explained the situation of overturning the election results in Myanmar using the state of emergency law was similar to developments in Malaysia. COVID-19 has contributed to an erosion of democracy in Southeast Asia, Dr. Gomez added.

Watch the interview here.

“Challenges to the Thai economy during the COVID-19 pandemic”

On 9th January 2021, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez discussed “the” challenges to the Thai economy during the COVID-19 pandemic on CGTN’s Asia Today. In the interview, Dr. Gomez explained how dependence on tourism has adversely affected the economy of Thailand. Even with efforts to switch to an emphasis on local tourism, it has not been effective due to continuing COVID-19 infections.

Watch the interview here.