BINUS UNIVERSITY lecturer, Prof. Tirta Nugraha Mursitama, S.Sos., M.M., Ph.D., is currently carrying out a research project in the field of international political economy (IPE). Prof. Tirta is the Department Head of International Relations at BINUS UNIVERSITY for the 2012 – 2019 term in which he is also a senior figure at the university’s International Business and Management study programmes. As part of his latest research initiative, Prof. Tirta is striving to analyse the measures in which the role of the ASEAN Economic Community can be improved amidst dynamic global economic changes; among the research variables that are taken into account include micro-regionalism, cross-border trade, and regional integration. Prof. Tirta has also partnered with the Indonesian Ministry of Education Directorate General of Higher Education (DIKTI) for the research project that is slated for completion in 2020.
Taking into consideration the regional perspective of the research, Prof. Tirta has sought to understand the effects of greater integration between Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia that can encourage non-state actors to push for micro-regionalisation which in turn supports regionalism that is led by the state; the underlying discovery of the research thus far is that the concept of micro-regionalism is a people-oriented approach, therefore, making it more relevant on an individual level. To strengthen his theory, Prof. Tirta thus carried out a field study in Batam which is an area with close proximity to Indonesia’s bordering trade partners and it is also a Special Economic Zone in Indonesia. In spite of steadfast development and being a free trade zone since 1970, Batam has not reached the same level playing field as neighbouring city, Johor Baru, in Malaysia. Upon looking into various variables, Prof. Tirta uncovered that the disconnect between central and local governments create difficulties in the decision-making process which poses a significant impact towards development both on a national and regional level. Previous research discoveries in similar subjects can be accessed by the public through Prof. Tirta’s wide-range of research journals and publications. After the completion of the research in Batam, Prof. Tirta will proceed in carrying out in-depth studies for the areas of Riau, Karimun Jawa, and Natuna Islands.