SOUTHEAST ASIA AND OCEANIA
The Southeast Asia and Oceania Section of IR Insider publishes breaking news reports and analysis from Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian and Oceanic nations. Topics covered by the Southeast Asia and Oceania Section may range from conferences within ASEAN to the Myanmarese elections and beyond. Our writers Brendan Yap and Ilya Tan produce weekly. Our section editor is Desmond Yeoh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Friday morning, a three-meter-high (10 feet) tsunami triggered by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake unleashed devastation on the Indonesian city of Palu. With a population of 350,000, Palu is located on the island of Sulawesi, one of the hardest hit regions of the Indonesian archipelago.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Australian television program 60 Minutes recently released a video showing appalling treatment of livestock that were exported from Fremantle, Australia and sent to Doha, Qatar.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak calling for the dissolution of parliament on Friday, the 14th Malaysian General Elections will have to take place within the next 60 days.
Last February, two Belarus nationals, Anastasia Vashukevich and Alexander Kirillov, were arrested in Pattaya, Thailand. Now, the two offer what they describe as evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, in exchange for asylum in the US.
A Singaporean parliamentary committee examining potential legislation to weed out “fake news” is coming under fire from activists who claim that the committee had misrepresented their views and threatened those who attempted to give evidence.
Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton recently came under fire for asserting that white farmers in South Africa “should be granted Australian emergency visas” when asked about the current debate over land redistribution in South Africa.
Under the false pretence of helping Filipino workers achieve the American dream, human traffickers have been sending them to other countries such as Russia and Turkey, where they are exploited for manual labor, according to Jalilo Dela Torre, the top representative of the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment in Hong Kong.
Last weekend, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australian Special Summit was held in Sydney. It was the first ever ASEAN Summit in Australia. Before the summit, many Australians took to the streets to protest the Australian government for hosting it
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared his intent to withdraw the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC), subsequent to his accused partaking in a controversial era of violence, drug scandals, and hushed corruption by the international community.
Wearing a black clerical collar, Cardinal George Pell attended the first day of a four week long court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case made against him. Last June, Pell was charged with the sexual abuse of multiple people in his home state of Victoria in Australia. So far, he is the most senior official in the Vatican to be charged with sexual abuse.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the United States on Saturday of being dishonest in their announcement of aid cuts to the Southeast Asian nation, claiming that Cambodia has not received such financial assistance since 2016.
the only ways to escape poverty. While the sport of choice in the United States is football, Thailand’s national sport is Muay Thai.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have now settled into various camps and communities in Bangladesh after being dislocated by Myanmar security forces.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will receive a ceremonial welcome from United States President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump on Friday, during his official visit in the US. Turnbull is leading a large delegation with chief ministers and premiers, as well as business leaders. According to news.com.au, the ceremony will be “the most significant honor bestowed on an Australian PM since John Howard visited in 2006.” Although Trump is largely unpopular in Australia, as an expert in the United States Studies Center located in Australia indicates, it is a great opportunity for Turnbull to improve economic ties between the two countries.
In the last two decades, Indonesia has been able to maintain an environment of relative coexistence among its various ethnic and religious groups. However, attacks in recent years with religious motivations are hinting towards an increase in sectarianism.