Southeast Asia

Dateline Southeast Asia – November 24 to 30, 2020

Dateline Southeast Asia – November 24 to 30, 2020


Like the rest of the world, Southeast Asia anxiously waits for the arrival of the vaccines that would eradicate the highly-infectious COVID-19. But already countries like Indonesia, the region’s largest, have voiced their anxieties over the logistical enormity of the situation they would face.

How is Southeast Asia ready to vaccinate its population of about 670 million?

We bring you the latest from Indonesia, and across the region, on Dateline Southeast Asia, our dynamic wrap of the latest from 10 countries each week.

Bookmark and refresh this page for updates and analyses of the latest news in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


MALAYSIA: Family cooks up solution to virus woes – pandemic pizza

A Malaysian family have cooked up a tasty solution to their economic woes during the pandemic by opening a backyard pizzeria that has proved a hit in their sleepy village.

Millions of people around the world lost their jobs this year as governments introduced economically damaging lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But one family in a Malaysian village managed to turn a bumper profit during the downturn by opening up an eatery serving wood-fired pizzas from their home. Read the story here.

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse

CAMBODIA: Flood-relief aid from Muslim World League delivered to 1,700 families

Othsman Hassan, president of the Cambodian Muslim Development Foundation, on Wednesday, November 25, delivered donations from Muslim World League (Rabita) to 1,700 families who were affected by the recent floods in Phnom Penh and Kandal province.

A report in the Khmer Times said, aid packages were given to 700 families in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, 550 families in Kandal’s Takhmao city and 450 families in Kandal’s Koh Thom district. Each family received two kilograms of rice, two kilograms of sugar, two liters of cooking oil, 5 cans of sardines, 4 bars of soap, a bottle of dish detergent and one kilogram of salt.

“Although Rabita is a Muslim organisation, its donation is for the people in general, without any discrimination against race or religion,” Othsman said.

Chito de la Vega

LAOS: Dengue fever cases hit 7,928 with 12 deaths

Cases of dengue fever in Laos have reached 7,928 since January, including 12 deaths, according to Lao Ministry of Health.

According to a report from Center of Information and Education for Health under Lao Ministry of Health on Thursday, the highest number of dengue patients were reported in Lao capital Vientiane at 1,823, said the

A total of 921 cases was reported in Bolikhamxay province, while 740 cases were reported in Bokeo province, and 709 cases were reported in Savannakhet province.

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MALAYSIA: Students seeking internet access fall from suspension bridge

According to a report by Malay Mail, 8 students in Ranau, Sabah were badly injured after the suspension bridge they frequent for internet access collapsed on Monday night.

The bridge is one of the few spots in the area that can get the cellular signal needed for surfing the internet. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Joachim Gunsalam suspected that the bridge gave way because all 8 students – who were taking online classes at the time – were bunched up in one spot.

Marguerite de Leon

CAMBODIA: Mass trial of 120 opposition figures begins

A mass trial of more than 120 Cambodian opposition figures kicked off in Phnom Penh Thursday, November 26, amid United Nations concerns the proceedings were politically motivated and violated due process.

The case is linked to attempts by exiled opposition figurehead Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia last year from France, where he has lived since 2015 to avoid jail for convictions that he says are bogus.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is one of the world’s longest serving leaders, maintaining a 35-year grip on power with methods that include jailing political opponents and activists. Read the full story here.

MYANMAR: Rights group accuses army of using kids as human shields in fighting guerrillas

Human Rights Watch denounced the Myanmar army for allegedly using civilians, particularly children, as “human shields” while fighting guerrillas in the troubled western state of Rakhine, said a report by the Myanmar Times.

Citing one of the latest known such incidents, the rights group said two boys lost their lives last month when the military forced a group of farmers to walk as they cleared a path through mines during an operation against the insurgent Arakan Army in Rakhine. A third suffered injuries as the fighting broke out, HRW said.

The army has vowed to investigate the deaths of the two boys, whose identity was undisclosed, although it is known that they belonged to the persecuted Rohingya ethnic group.

THAILAND: Protesters target royal wealth

Thousands of Thai democracy activists rallied in Bangkok Wednesday, November 25, to demand the king give up control of his multibillion-dollar fortune, turning their protest movement directly on the once-untouchable monarchy’s vast wealth.

At least 7,000 demonstrators – many brandishing the yellow toy ducks that have become a symbol of the movement – took to the streets near the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) to protest at the secrecy surrounding King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s financial arrangements.

The demonstration came after police summoned 12 protest leaders for questioning over royal defamation allegations – the first use of Thailand’s draconian lese majeste law in nearly 3 years. Read the full article here.

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Indonesia minister busted in baby lobster graft case

VIETNAM: Look at this magnificent miniature bamboo sculptures