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  • Writer's pictureARS Editorial Staff

ISEAS releases 2022 State of Southeast Asia Survey results where PH tops number of respondents

In a virtual webinar by the ASEAN Studies Centre last 16 February 2022, the results of The State of Southeast Asia 2022 Survey were discussed by a panel of esteemed commentators.

The discussions were spearheaded by ISEAS Director and CEO Mr. Choi Shing Kwok, together with Prof. Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large with the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Zha Daojiong, professor at the School of International Studies and Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development at Peking University; Prof. Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University; and Prof. Everlyn Goh, Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Australian National University and Director of Research at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

The State of Southeast Asia 2022 Survey conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute highlighted the pandemic’s threat to health, and a ‘slow and ineffective’ ASEAN as the top challenge and concern facing the region. The Myanmar crisis is seen as putting ASEAN’s centrality and unity to the test. China continues to be highly regarded as the most influential economic and political power while Japan remains the most trusted major power. Competing spheres of influence in the region and beyond are not far from everyone’s minds.

The survey logged a total of 1,677 respondents across Southeast Asia. The Philippines had the highest participation rate of 23.9% (400 Filipinos), a big leap from the 6.5% participation rate from the previous year.

Highlights of the Report:

  1. Southeast Asia continues to be preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery. The most pressing concern remains the pandemic’s threat to health, followed by unemployment and economic recession (49.8%), and the impact of climate change (37.0%).

  2. Southeast Asians are most concerned that ASEAN is slow and ineffective, and thus cannot cope with political and economic developments (70.1%).

  3. Slightly more than half of the respondents (51.0%) feel that their governments have performed well or adequately in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. The most trusted vaccine brands among Southeast Asians are the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna (54.8%), followed by Chinese brands Sinopharm and Sinovac (18.7%).

  5. The Myanmar crisis has put ASEAN’s centrality and unity to the test, where 37.0% of the respondents approve of ASEAN’s response to the crisis, 33.1% disapprove, and 29.9% remain neutral.

  6. More than half of the respondents (58.5%) welcome the strengthening of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the prospects of tangible cooperation in areas such as vaccine security and climate change.

  7. China’s membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is perceived to create both opportunities and challenges for the region. Almost a third (31.0%) feel that it will reduce economic tensions in the region and help to resolve the US-China trade war while 29.9% disagree.

  8. Japan remains the most trusted major power among Southeast Asians, with 54.2% of the respondents expressing confidence in Japan to “do the right thing” to provide global public goods, followed by the US (52.8%), and the EU (48.5%).

ARS extends its deepest appreciation to every Filipino who participated in the survey: members of the Philippine Government, civil society groups, the private sector as well as professors, students, and staff of universities nationwide. Because of your participation, the Philippines led in the number of respondents per country. Thank you for taking the time and effort to answer the survey.

Launched in 2019, The State of Southeast Asia Survey endeavors to annually gauge Southeast Asian perceptions of geopolitical developments affecting the region, key regional affairs, and ASEAN engagement with Dialogue Partners. Amador Research Services (ARS) served as ISEAS’ partner in the Philippines for the survey, which ran from November 2021 to December 2021.

The report is available for free on ASEAN Studies Centre's website [External Link: ISEAS]. Past State of Southeast Asia surveys may likewise be accessed here [External Link: ISEAS].


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