Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s Legislature

Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s LegislatureThe Indonesian political sphere has been rocked by what has been called the biggest scandal ever to engulf the House of Representatives, with officials embezzling Rp2.3 trillion (US$171.9 million) from a program to supply the public with smart identity cards. On March 9 the Jakarta Corruption Court put two high-ranking former Home Affairs Ministry officials,…

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim Killing

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim KillingSouth and North Korean diplomats are battling to persuade Malaysian authorities of diametrically different versions of the February 13 Kuala Lumpur International Airport assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam, who had exiled himself out of a well-founded belief he could be murdered. One result may have been to stall the investigation,…

Jakarta Election seen as ‘Battle for Country’s Soul’

Jakarta Election seen as ‘Battle for Country’s Soul’This Wednesday, February 15, Indonesia holds simultaneous local elections involving 101 provinces, districts and municipalities throughout the archipelago. The polls are an important mid-term read on the nation’s mood under President Joko Widodo ahead of 2019 national elections, but the real battle is along the contentious religious lines in Jakarta’s governor’s election. Some are calling…

Beijing Loses Patience with Hong Kong’s Leung

Beijing Loses Patience with Hong Kong’s LeungNew Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key surprisingly quit last week while he was ahead. Hong Kong’s Chief executive CY Leung has surprisingly quit as well, but he was hardly a success. His Beijing bosses evidently decided that he was too much of a liability and the political cost of pushing to win a second term…

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?The mystery is over. After decades of question marks over the Thai royal succession, former Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is now Rama X of the Chakri dynasty. After a period of suspense after his father’s death, the son and heir has been invited to become king, and has accepted. Yet much mystery remains about how the…

Massive Jakarta Rally Aimed at Indonesia’s President?

Massive Jakarta Rally Aimed at Indonesia’s President?On Friday, December 2, Indonesia’s political structure – and even the fabric of the nation as a secular republic – is expected to be further tested by a massive rally aiming to bring tens of thousands of Muslims into Jakarta to protest against the city’s Chinese Christian governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who has been…

TPP: Who Needs Uncle Sam?

TPP: Who Needs Uncle Sam?Can the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) survive without the United States?  That is what Asia is pondering with the election of Donald Trump, who has proclaimed he will pull out of the 12-member pact during his first days in office. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already said that the trade deal “has no meaning” without…

Malaysia Protest Peaceful, Crackdown Continues

Malaysia Protest Peaceful, Crackdown ContinuesMalaysia’s largest anti-government protest in a year saw smaller crowds than a year ago and proceeded peacefully on Saturday with former strongman Mahathir Mohamad calling for the current prime minister’s ouster while a key leader was held without trial for a month under a new security law. Several politicians and activists were also picked up…

Veteran Malaysian Diplomat Sounds Alarm over Tyranny

Veteran Malaysian Diplomat Sounds Alarm over TyrannyOvercome our fear or go quietly into the dark night that awaits us Fear is filling our land. People are becoming increasingly afraid of their government, a government which has been amassing more and more power to harass, intimidate, threaten, punish or imprison those who oppose or disagree with it. The goal is to cow…

Beset by Scandal, Malaysia Sentences Another Critic

Beset by Scandal, Malaysia Sentences Another CriticMalaysia’s 1MDB financial scandal – the biggest in its history – has seen its first conviction but not one that will bring any cheer to those questioning Prime Minister Najib Razak’s pet project, which has run into at least RM50 billion in debt. Instead, the government says it will jail one of its most effective…
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