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Foreword The year 2004 was on the whole a good one for Southeast Asia, though marred towards the end by the tsunami tragedy. There was healthy economic growth, as the region recovered from SARS and benefited from the growth of the American economy as well as strong growth in China. The outcomes of the democratic elections in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines were positive for regional stability. In Indonesia they ushered in a new political leadership while in Malaysia they provided a resounding vote of confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who had succeeded Dr Mahathir Mohamed in late 2003. The tsunami of26 December 2004 was a terrible tragedy in human terms but is not expected to cause any significant dent in overall economic terms. Southeast Asian Affairs has established for itself the reputation of being a valuable repository of information on developments in the year under review. ISEAS will continue to bring out this publication in a timely manner. K Kesavapany Director Institute of Southeast Asian Studies April 2005 ...


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