Malaysia and Turkey: Old Friends, New Allies?

By Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jatswan Singh
Posted on January 23rd, 2021

Turkey views Malaysia as its gateway to Southeast and East Asia, and likewise Malaysia sees Turkey as its doorway into the West Asian and European regions.

The United States and Iran: Beyond the Nuclear Weapons Issue

By Mohamed Jawhar Hassan
Posted on October 20th, 2020

There are two international security issues revolving around nuclear weapons today: the US-Iran conflict and the conflict with North Korea. In both cases the roots of the conflicts extend well beyond the issue of nuclear weapons.

Inside the Crime of Sex Trafficking in Sabah, Malaysia

By Ravi Mahalingam and Jatswan S. Sidhu
Posted on October 6th, 2020


The crime of sex trafficking is a phenomenon that affects almost every region of the world. The crime is fundamentally a process of convergence between different individuals with distinct characteristics at a specific time and location. Often, the victim or aspects of victimization receive more attention in sex trafficking research, while other individuals or elements that initiate the crime get little focus. Hence, the purpose of this article is to examine the individuals as well as elements that initiate the crime of sex trafficking in Sabah, Malaysia using the routine activities theory. The qualitative data for this project was collected through interviews with law enforcement personnel from the various Malaysian government agencies, ex-traffickers, former victims, and academicians, as well as government and news reports. By utilizing the routine activities theory, this study demonstrates the applicability of the theoretical construct in anatomizing the macro-level elements, namely the motivated offenders (sex traffickers), the suitable target (trafficking victims), and the absence of capable guardians (corrupt enforcement personnel) that are involved in the crime of sex trafficking in Sabah. In addition, this study implies that routine activities in the commercial sex industry, particularly the demand for sex labor, could initiate the crime of sex trafficking in Sabah.

From the United States to Europe and Asia, a heinous crime that affects millions of men, women, and children as well as human society at large is the anguish of human trafficking, and particularly sex trafficking. A global report on trafficking in persons highlighted that data from 142 countries between 2014 and 2016 shows sex trafficking as the most prevalent form of human trafficking (UNODC, 2018). It is also often constructed as a common form ofmodern-day slavery which occurs when people are forced into the commercial sex trade against their will. The crime typically involves numerous individuals of different ages, genders, ethnicities and nationalities (Salt, 2000). According to Kara (2009), sex trafficking is a phenomenon that is poorly understood by many people, such as international leaders, policymakers, and even academicians, due to its illicit nature. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines sex trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act (United States, 2000). Sabah, a state in East Malaysia and located on the northern part of the Borneo Island, is increasingly becoming a hotspot for the crime of sex trafficking and commercial sex trade (Lee, 2018). The impact of globalization, the growth in world population, and transnational migration have created a pool of ‘slave-able’ people, especially in the developing Southeast Asian states. According to Bassiouni, Rothenberg, Higonnet, Farenga, and Invictus (2010), human traffickers or trafficking syndicates typically target economically competent states with feeble law enforcement because these places offer more conducive operation bases. Moreover, Sabah’s multiethnic culture and fluid social and economic boundaries with the Philippines and Indonesia facilitates the flow of illegal migrants as well as…

CONTACT Ravi Mahalingam  Department of International & Strategic Studies, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Who could move us beyond the US-China dynamic – ASEAN?

By Anthony Milner and Astanah Abdul Aziz
Posted on July 29th, 2020

US-China, US-China – the commentary goes on and on. Who will be dominant? Must rising powers always go to war with established powers? Can the US assemble an Indo-Pacific alliance to balance China? Might the US agree to share primacy? These are urgent questions – but some recent Asian perspectives suggest a growing impatience with what a Japanese analyst calls these “bilateral dynamics”.

No Time for ASEAN Members to Self-Isolate

By Pou Sothirak
Posted on May 21st, 2020

Each ASEAN member state has acted individually rather than collectively, writes Pou Sothirak, Head of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. Knowing that this virus crosses national borders, a regional response makes a lot more sense.

The International Order After COVID-19

By Herman Joseph S. Kraft
Posted on May 21st, 2020

COVID-19 has proven the weakness of ASEAN-led mechanisms, so it’s now time to rebuild a regional security architecture that can contain the more extreme effects of the growing US-China rivalry, writes Herman Kraft, Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines.

COVID-19: An Opportunity to drive ASEAN Institutional Reform

By Aung Zin Phyo Thein
Posted on May 21st, 2020

China is channeling aid to Myanmar, but the virus crisis is a chance for existing multilateral bodies within the Asia Pacific to reset and reshape the foreign policy environment, says Aung Zin Phyo Thein from the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

ASEAN Rises as the West Falls

By Nurliana Kamaruddin
Posted on May 11th, 2020

In contrast to the EU, the virus crisis might actually benefit ASEAN in the long run, says Nurliana Kamaruddin, Senior Lecturer at the Asia-Europe Institute (AEI), University of Malaya

Asia is Uniting Around Virus Crisis

By Kavi Chongkittavorn
Posted on May 4th, 2020

The response to COVID-19 will continue the steady decline of US influence in Asia – and China’s rise, writes Bangkok Post correspondent and senior fellow, Kavi Chongkittavorn.



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Universiti Malaya hari ini telah dikejutkan justeru dirundung rasa amat berdukacita dengan pemergian tokoh Akademik dan Sejarawan Negara, Tan Sri Profesor Emeritus Dr. Khoo Kay Kim.

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