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ASEAN nations set Covid-19 example for wealthier counterparts

Two of Asia’s major economies, Japan and South Korea, have donated $1 million to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) coronavirus relief fund. Although not part of ASEAN proper, the two powers are members of the ASEAN Plus Three trade bloc and have...

Dirty flow: The Covid-19 risk in Southeast Asia’s rivers

If the findings of a new study are to be believed, the novel coronavirus holding the world hostage at the moment poses a greater threat to the health of humans, animals and plants than previously suspected. The study – which still awaits peer-review –...

ASEAN’s Huaren Titans Must Pay Their Dues Beyond COVID-19

In a recently leaked letter, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha made an unconventional appeal to the kingdom’s so-called “five families” to do more for their country during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. These billionaire business clans with tight ties with China control much of Thailand’s...

How ASEAN’s water scarcity will exacerbate the Covid-19 crisis

While the world’s attention is squarely focused on Europe as the global epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, Southeast Asia is also well on track to losing control over the spread of the new pathogen. The governments of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and others – all...

Singapore’s corona-tracking measures invite both acclaim and controversy

singapore garden by the bay
As the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, Singapore has garnered praise for flattening the curve of the virus’s spread. The city-state’s success in flattening the curve has been attributed to a number of factors: the swift introduction of border controls, clear...

Pilgrims gather in Indonesia despite coronavirus fears

More than 8,000 Muslim pilgrims have already gathered in Gowa, in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province, despite a formal request to postpone the event from regional authorities. Authorities are still trying to halt the event, though they admitted that the number of attendees who have...

Monarch atones for Dutch sins in Indonesia

The recent Dutch royal visit to Indonesia saw King Willem-Alexander make an unreserved apology for the violence committed during the four-year independence struggle after the Second World War. King Willem-Alexander recognised Indonesian independence. The Dutch government refused to acknowledge the Indonesian declaration of independence on...

Malaysia closes Singapore border after Covid-19 spike

Malaysia has announced a two-week lockdown to slow the coronavirus after cases shot up. Prime Minister Muhyiddini Yassin said religious organisations, schools, businesses and government offices will shut until March 31.  Malaysia said it would shut its borders to travellers, restrict internal movement, close schools and...

Myanmar unveils huge drugs bust

Large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine have been unveiled to the international media near Myanmar’s border with Thailand inside the so-called golden triangle. The Burmese authorities claim the US$100 million drugs bust has shut down three major laboratories. It allegedly led to the seizure of...

Coronavirus impact continues to spread 

Singapore’s factory activity collapsed last month as the flu-like coronavirus sent sniffles through Asean, disrupting global supply chains. However, the number of coronavirus deaths is still dwarfed by fatalities in road accidents and from the air pollution that envelopes East Asia. Air pollution is largely...

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Bid to put Malaysia under state of emergency rejected

Malaysian King Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin has rejected a proposal to declare a state of emergency to combat the increasing cases of coronavirus amid strong opposition...

Thailand government urged to boost ties with China

Thailand was seeking to deepen its trade relationship with China in a bid to support its ailing economy amid the global pandemic. In a report...

Malaysia seeks reopening of border with Singapore anew

The Malaysian government was planning to reopen its shared border with Singapore as it sought to generate more revenues for the economy that was...