Malaysia and Singapore are once again at loggerheads: this time over an airspace and maritime dispute as Malaysia pushes for more control over its air and sea territorial borders in the south.Read More
Singapore’s ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), has named Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as the party’s next first assistant secretary-general, a position which is often seen as a stepping stone to becoming the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate.Read More
The never-ending saga of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal took yet another surprising twist when the Auditor-General of Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr. Madinah Mohamad, revealed that all paragraphs mentioning the presence of businessman Low Taek Jho, who is better known as Jho Low, at a 1MDB board of directors meeting were removed from the company’s final audit report.Read More
The former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, has been arrested after being found guilty of seven counts of graft. However, legal experts believe that she could successfully appeal the conviction and not receive any jail time due to her advanced age. If the appeals court upholds the lower court’s ruling, Mrs. Marcos could potentially challenge that decision at the Supreme Court.Read More
The recent by-election in Myanmar saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) lose six constituencies - a sign that local support for the first democratically elected leader of Myanmar is dwindling.Read More
In what could be the worst aviation disaster of 2018, Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, leaving authorities in a desperate scramble to search for survivors.Read More
ASEAN Defense Ministers Step Up Efforts to Combat Terrorism With New Intelligence-Sharing Initiative
All 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to share intelligence in order to combat the rising threat of Islamist militancy in the region, announced Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Defense Minister of Singapore, on Saturday.Read More
In the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc on Sulawesi island and effectively wiped out the city of Palu, the World Bank has announced that it will provide a loan of up to US$1 billion to the Southeast Asian nation. Current estimates have recorded the total physical cost of the earthquake at US$531 million.Read More
Prolonged trade war between the United States and China may pose profound threats to ASEAN and the global economy, warned Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, during an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Oct. 7.Read More
With the European Union (EU) voting overwhelmingly to ban the use of palm oil in transport fuels, the future of Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil farmers is looking increasingly bleak.Read More
While the U.S. is currently battling Hurricane Florence, Southeast Asia faces a natural threat of its own: Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which stormed through the Philippines over the weekend and claimed dozens of lives in its deadly path.Read More
On Sept. 3, 2018, two Malaysian women were caned for having sexual intercourse in a car, placing Malaysia’s ultraconservative anti-LGBTQ laws in the global spotlight. The harsh sentence passed down by the Islamic courts was roundly condemned by many human rights groups such as Amnesty International, who called it “a terrible day for human rights”. In the remarks, the judge added that the caning was “a lesson and reminder … [to] the members of society”.Read More
The leader of the now-defunct Cambodian opposition party, Kem Sokha, has been released from prison on Monday, Sept. 10, after being detained for nearly a year on charges of treason.
Mr. Sokha is the head of the outlawed Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and has been placed in solitary confinement since his arrest in September last year, following a complete crackdown on opposition groups and the media by the Cambodian government.
However, his release is highly conditional - almost resembling a house arrest. The 65-year old is only permitted to travel within a few blocks from his house and is not allowed to meet his party’s former leaders, nor his supporters, or participate in any rallies organized by his party. Sokha is also banned from meeting with any foreign nationals.
According to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Sokha was granted bail due to his health conditions. Mr. Sokha suffers from a myriad of health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes. His family also claimed that jail time has caused his health to deteriorate, resulting in him requiring shoulder surgery.
The Municipal Court emphasized that the case against him would not be dropped. If convicted of treason, Mr. Sokha could face up to 30 years of jail time.
His arrest was widely regarded as a political move by the incumbent Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, to stifle opposition.
In Sept. 2017, Mr. Sohka was accused of treason after the emergence of a video clip of him speaking at a seminar in 2013 about receiving advice from U.S. pro-democracy groups. The CNRP has vehemently denied those allegations.
Shortly after his arrest, the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court of Cambodia, on the grounds that it was plotting with the U.S. to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen, a strongman who has led the Southeast Asian country since 1985.
The CNRP was Cambodia’s largest opposition party, winning three million votes, or roughly 44% of the popular vote, in Cambodia’s 2013 general election. Its abolishment paved the way for Hun Sen’s governing Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to romp to victory in Cambodia’s general elections earlier this year. The CPP ran largely unopposed and won all 125 parliament seats with 77.5% of the vote, turning Cambodia into a one-party state.
On Sunday, April 28, over 1,000 people in the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai publicly protested against a luxury housing development on forested land.Read More
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sunday that the ban on Filipino workers from going to Kuwait is now permanent, intensifying diplomatic tensions between the Southeast Asian country and the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation.Read More
Conditions in Rohingya Refugee Camps “Very Poor”, Repatriation Process Must Commence As Soon As Possible, Says Myanmar Minister
Last Thursday, a senior Myanmar minister expressed his concerns over the “very poor conditions” of Rohingya refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, insisting that the upcoming monsoon season should be the catalyst for the repatriation of the country’s beleaguered Muslim minority.
Indonesia’s largest sulfur mine is rapidly transforming into a tourist destination with many miners quitting their jobs to become tour guides. However, international attention is quickly shifting to the extreme working conditions experienced by the sulfur miners.Read More
The United States is looking to send thousands of Vietnamese immigrants, most of whom are refugees, back to the communist-ruled country, despite the existence of a bilateral agreement between the two nations that protect many of them from deportation, according to the ex-US Ambassador to Vietnam.Read More