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  1. Apart from approaching Malaysia for a trilateral partnership (Aukus) involving Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (pix) has asked Australia to contact Brunei, the current Asean chair. Hishammuddin said it was necessary for Australia to reach out to CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) as well as countries adjacent to China to seek their perspectives after a phone chat with his Australian colleague Peter Dutton two days ago. Furthermore, it would appear that Aukus is not something
  2. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has warned of a human rights disaster in Myanmar under military rule and urged the international community to do more to prevent the crisis from worsening. “The national ramifications are horrible and devastating – the regional consequences could be enormous as well,” Bachelet said in a statement released on Thursday. “Before it is too late, the international community must redouble its efforts to restore democracy and prevent further conflict.” Myanmar has been in chaos since the military sei
  3. According to a big real-world trial from Malaysia, Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccination is very effective against serious disease, even though rival vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca demonstrated superior protection rates. The new information is good news for the Chinese company, whose COVID-19 vaccine has been under fire for its efficacy following reports of illnesses among healthcare workers in Indonesia and Thailand who were fully inoculated with the Sinovac shot. According to health experts, 0.011 percent of nearly 7.2 million users of the Sinovac shot required tr
  4. As of Thursday, a total of 19,156,694 people, or 81.8 percent of the adult population in the country, had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (Sept 23). According to the Health Ministry's CovidNow data, 93.3 percent of the adult population, or 21,847,551 people, has gotten at least one dosage of the vaccine as of Thursday. At the same time, as of Thursday, 23,703 people, or 0.8 percent of the country's adolescent population, have finished their Covid-19 immunisation. On Thursday, a total of 326,612 vaccine doses were provided, including 132,562 for first-dose rec
  5. The Ministerial Regulation (Permenkumham) No. 34 of 2021, which allows foreign nationals to enter Indonesia, has undergone a number of reviews, according to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. On Wednesday, the ministry's chief of public relations and general directorate of immigration, Arya Pradhana Anggakara, said, "The regulation is not published abruptly out of the blue, but has undergone examination from many parties, including the COVID-19 Task Force." He said that the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly, signed the Ministerial Regulation No.
  6. Rahmadian Satari and Myrna Kirana, a Jakarta couple, were flying to Bali for a vacation just weeks after Indonesia's second COVID-19 wave peaked in July. "I heard that my office will start having its workers back on site soon after the cases were dismissed," Mr Satari added. "We decided that now would be the best time to visit because Bali was still relatively peaceful." Indonesia's situation has significantly improved on all fronts. The number of active coronavirus cases has dropped from over 570,000 cases in July to around 50,000 cases this week.
  7. Brunei's economic growth is expected to be 3.5 percent next year, up from three percent previously predicted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Brunei's economic growth is lowered to 1.8 percent in the latest ADB update of its main economic book, the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, published on Wednesday (September 22), down from their earlier prediction of 2.5 percent in April this year. Brunei's GDP in the first quarter of 2021 dropped by 1.4 percent year on year, according to the Asian Development Bank, due to losses in government spending, investments, and expor
  8. According to residents and the media, tens of thousands of people have fled a town in western Myanmar after days of conflict between anti-junta dissidents and the military, during which soldiers attacked civilian homes. Myanmar has been in chaos since the military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi's government in February, unleashing a countrywide uprising that the junta has tried to put down. Attacks on junta forces have intensified since MPs expelled by the generals earlier this month called for a "people's defensive war." After being "ambushed" in Thantlang in remote Chin
  9. Malaysia will relax its inter-state travel prohibition once at least 90% of its adult population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, allowing additional tourist locations to reopen to local visitors. It will also lift limitations on certain leisure activities for those who are completely immunised beginning October 1 across the country. "We will enable tourism centres, islands (to reopen), and interstate travel under the condition of reaching 90% adult immunisation according to Health Ministry data," Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Wednesday (Sept 22).
  10. According to recent surveys, economic activity in Malaysia and India, two of the nations most affected by Covid-19 outbreaks in recent months, is projected to rebound faster next year than previously predicted. According to the most recent survey findings compiled by Bloomberg, Malaysia's GDP projection was improved by the most in the region — 85 basis points to a 5.65 percent expansion next year. India came in second, with its GDP predicted to grow at 6.7 percent, which is 80 basis points quicker than the prior forecast. Most Asian countries' growth estimates have been r
  11. Since 2014, the concept of "ASEAN Centrality" has grown increasingly prevalent in every official document produced by the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. Dr. Mely Caballero of Nanyang University in Singapore, an expert on ASEAN, points out that the ten member states that generally represent Southeast Asia have all officially embraced the concept, as have extra-regional countries such as China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and others. The term "ASEAN Centrality" was first associated with the two Master Plans on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), the first of which was publis
  12. Indonesia has worked to close the COVID-19 vaccine distribution gap between developed and developing countries by pressing the matter at the United Nations General Assembly's 76th Session (UNGA 76). Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi continues to push the issue forward in her new responsibilities as co-chair of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Engagement Group, in addition to being a major subject that Indonesia has been battling for since the pandemic struck. "As a result, I will continue to speak out on the topic of vaccine equality for all countries," Min
  13. In the 16 days after the application window for a new travel arrangement began, more than 2,300 tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 have gotten authorisation to enter Singapore. As at 11.59pm on Thursday (Sept 16), 2,241 travellers from Germany and 81 travellers from Brunei have got approval to enter Singapore via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Sept 8 and Oct 22. Vaccinated visitors from the two nations can enter Singapore and go about their business without having to serve a stay-at-home notice period under the scheme. During their journey, they will
  14. Kachin teenagers gathered in downtown Myitkyina to show their opposition to coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s visit to the capital of Kachin State in northern Myanmar. Over a dozen youths organised a flash mob protest against the coup leader during his visit to Myitkyina over the weekend. “Min Aung Hlaing, don’t you feel humiliated to come to Kachin land? Despite the significant presence of junta forces, the youths chanted, "Get out of Kachin Land!" “We cannot welcome a military chief who has slain hundreds of people to our country,” stated a Myitkyina
  15. Malaysian Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said on Tuesday that talks between the two countries on the right to evaluate raw water prices will restart once the COVID-19 pandemic situation in both countries has "fully recovered" (Sep 21). “The water issue between Malaysia and Singapore concerns bilateral diplomatic ties between the two countries,” the minister wrote in response to a legislative query from Kuala Langat Member of Parliament Xaiver Jayakumar on what efforts Putrajaya was taking to fix the issue. “As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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