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The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod |
18 April 2024 | 09:46 p.m. SAST
1-minute read

The Solomon Islands general election held on Wednesday was being closely monitored by Australia, China and the United States for its potential impact on regional security.

The recent signing of a security pact between the Solomon Island government and China has led to concerns that the archipelago may be becoming overly reliant on China from a security perspective.

Research associate at the Centre for Global Dialogue, Sanusha Naidu, discusses how focus has shifted to the potential influence of these security ties with China on voter decisions.

While the election is expected to centre around the incumbent president’s position, there are broader domestic issues at play, including healthcare, unemployment, poverty, and social development.

Meanwhile, the recession in New Zealand is the second in the country in as many years, Naidu reports, and is having dire consequences for the economy.

“The public sector has cut many jobs as a result of a market and economy that’s going through a recession. So amid this technical recession that we’re looking at, which is a thing for a small country like New Zealand, it comes with a lot of structural damage to the economy,” Naidu notes.

Analysts warn that it could lead to further tightening measures and limited job opportunities for workers and job seekers.

In a separate development, Singapore has witnessed unprecedented protests against Israel’s arms deals, in light of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. This unexpected turn of events in the typically sedate city-state underscores the growing global impact of Israel’s onslaught.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets, defying strict laws governing demonstrations.

This signals a shifting social dynamic in Southeast Asia, challenging the government’s stance of neutrality and highlighting the public’s desire to take political risks to address international issues.

“What we saw in Singapore over the last few days, is just what is becoming a serious social dynamic in the Southeast Asian context, where the challenges of trying to be neutral or the challenges of trying to prevent a demonstration taking place is now beginning to challenge strict laws and also challenge the paradigms to a government that views itself as trying to remain neutral or trying to remain static in this whole conflict,” Naidu says.

Listen to the Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.


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