ASEAN Perspectives

Indonesia’s Widodo declares state of emergency as virus toll jumps, but resists calls for lockdown

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesian leader Joko Widodo declared a state of emergency Tuesday as coronavirus deaths in the world’s fourth most populous country jumped again, but he resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown. Widodo’s administration has been heavily criticized for not imposing lockdowns in major cities, including the capital Jakarta, a vast megalopolis home to about 30 million people where most of the country’s virus deaths have been reported. Indonesia’s leader offered few details of […]

Most Malaysia coronavirus cases linked to Islamic gathering

  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia said Sunday that more than half the country’s 428 coronavirus cases were linked to an international Islamic gathering held last month. The Southeast Asian nation announced a spike of 190 new infections over the weekend, mostly linked to a global Islamic event attended by almost 20,000 people. “Of the 428 cases, 243 are participants from the religious event in Sri Petaling mosque,” Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of the […]

Malaysia in turmoil as Mahathir, Anwar vie for power

  by M. Jegathesan / Patrick Lee Agence France Presse KUALA Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia was plunged into a bitter power struggle Wednesday as Mahathir Mohamad sought to form a unity government following his shock resignation, but old foe Anwar Ibrahim also pushed to become premier. The developments deepened a crisis that began when the ruling coalition — which included both men when it stormed to a historic poll victory in 2018 — fell […]

Cambodia PM defends ship docking despite virus diagnosis

  SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AFP) — Cambodia’s strongman premier defended on Tuesday his decision to allow a US cruise ship to dock despite at least one passenger later being diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, while authorities scrambled to track down hundreds that came in contact with her. The Westerdam was turned away by several Asian ports before Cambodia agreed last week to allow its more than 2,000 passengers and crew to disembark. But jubilation dimmed over […]

Implications on PHL tourism industry of novel coronavirus crisis

(Eagle News) — In this interview on ASEAN in Focus weekend edition on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, Joyce Alumno, president of Health Core, talks about the implications on the tourism industry in the Philippines of the current novel coronavirus problem that has affected business not only in Asia, but all over the world. Alumno, a medical tourism advocate, noted that the COVID-2019 scare, would have an impact on the country’s economy, considering that about 12.7 […]

Indonesia criticizes US study that questioned why it has no coronavirus cases

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has criticized a US study questioning why the world’s fourth most populous nation had not yet recorded a case of coronavirus, calling the findings an insult and insisting it was on high alert. The virus has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world — but the Southeast Asian nation of more than 260 million has not reported a confirmed case […]

Panic buying hits Singapore after virus alert raised

  SINGAPORE (AFP) — Anxious Singapore shoppers formed long lines at grocery stores Saturday and cleared the shelves of essential items, after the city-state raised its alert level over China’s coronavirus outbreak. Since emerging late last year, the virus has killed over 700 people and infected more than 34,000 in China, and spread to many other countries. Singapore, which has reported 33 cases, raised its alert level Friday to “orange” — the same as during […]

Asia ramps up defenses against deadly outbreak; more countries clamp down on Chinese visitors

Asian nations have sealed borders and clamped down on Chinese visitors as they try to protect themselves from a deadly virus epidemic. The outbreak has killed 170 people in China, infected over 7,700 more and sparked progressively more urgent precautions around the region. Here are some key measures taken outside mainland China: – Hong Kong – Six of the territory’s 14 mainland crossings were sealed from Thursday as the city took steps to cut the […]

Singapore misinformation law challenged in court for first time

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore’s controversial law against online misinformation was challenged in court for the first time on Thursday as concerns mount it is being used to stifle criticism ahead of elections. The legislation gives authorities the power to order corrections placed next to posts they deem false. Since the law came into force in October, several opposition figures and activists have been ordered to place a banner next to online posts stating that they […]

94-year old Malaysian PM Mahathir again hints he could stay on beyond 2020

  DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Malaysia’s 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad again raised the prospect on Saturday that he could stay in office beyond 2020, declining to give a definitive pledge to step down. Mahathir returned to power last year after dealing a historic election defeat to the corruption-plagued coalition that he once led and which had been in power for six decades. Mahathir led Malaysia for more than two decades before his retirement in […]

British couple vlogging about PHL tourist spots rooting for Filipino athletes in SEA Games

(Eagle News) – A British couple who have been visiting the Philippines since April this year to vlog about the country’s best travel spots, have expressed their support and admiration for Filipino athletes competing in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Matt and Molly of the Youtube Channel “Dabble and Travel” have also watched some of the SEA Games events, including a gymnastics event of Filipino teenager, Carlos Yulo. They were also there to watch the […]

Watch: Various citizens of ASEAN countries commend “magnificent” SEAGames opener at PHL Arena

(Eagle News) — Several citizens of Southeast Asian countries express their positive views about the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, including the opening ceremonies at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena.  They also showed their support for their athletes competing in the various SEA Games sporting events. “The opening ceremony was totally magnificent,” said Zumalia Norzailan, a Malaysian national. Among those interviewed were Filipinos who are working in some of the ASEAN countries. They […]