Southeast Asia

Dateline Southeast Asia – November 10 to 16, 2020

Dateline Southeast Asia – November 10 to 16, 2020


The government of Aung San Suu Kyi is poised to win the elections in Myanmar, despite condemnation abroad from human rights experts over the treatment of Rohingya people.

Follow the polls in Myanmar, as well as other developments unfolding in this part of the world on Dateline Southeast Asia, our dynamic wrap of the latest in the region 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.


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Thai pro-democracy protesters scale Bangkok monument

Thai pro-democracy protesters scale Bangkok monument

SINGAPORE: PM highlights need to deepen economic cooperation, connectivity in SEA region

ASEAN countries and their key partners should deepen economic cooperation and maintain connectivity to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, November 12.

A report by The Straits Times, said the Singapore leader added that the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal – expected to be signed on Sunday – will reflect the commitment to “uphold a rules-based multilateral trading system and promote regional economic integration”.

Lee and his fellow ASEAN leaders attended 4 summits with key partners via video conference on Thursday as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit hosted by this year’s chair, Vietnam.

Singapore think tank awarded ASEAN prize 2020

ASEAN handed out Thursday, November 1, the ASEAN Prize, its annual regional premier award, to the Singapore-based ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute for promoting greater understanding and awareness of ASEAN, and contributing towards regional cooperation and integration.

The ASEAN Prize 2020 recipient was officially announced at the start of the 37th ASEAN Summit Opening Ceremony. In his keynote speech, Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc congratulated the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute for being awarded this year’s Prize.

Now in its third year, the ASEAN Prize honors the outstanding achievements of individuals or organizations which foster the ASEAN identity, promote the ASEAN spirit, champion the ASEAN way and have significantly contributed towards ASEAN community building efforts.

VIETNAM: ASEAN, India reaffirm ties in 21st century

ASEAN and Indian leaders reaffirmed their commitment to developing bilateral ties in the 21st century during the 17th ASEAN-India Summit held on Thursday, November 12, chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

Based on common values and long-standing ties, both sides highlighted the significance of ASEAN-India strategic partnership to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, according to a report by Viet Nam News.

ASEAN leaders hailed India’s ‘Look East’ policy for deepening ties with the bloc as well as the country’s support for principles and values mentioned in their common documents.

MALAYSIA: ‘Preserve peace in South China Sea’

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Malaysia is firm in its stand that matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully and constructively, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

A report by The Star quoted the prime minister as saying South China Sea issues must be resolved in accordance with the universally-recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea 982.

“Malaysia is of the view that all parties need to work together to ensure South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability and trade… As a coastal state, it is a matter of great significance that our maritime area is safe for international trade to prosper,” he said during the plenary session of the 37th Asean Summit which started Thursday, November 12.

ASEAN urged to adopt human rights-based approach in COVID-19 recovery plans

 An Asian-based rights group urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to adopt a human rights-based approach in its regional recovery framework on COVID-19.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), a Bangkok-based regional network of 81 member organizations across 21 Asian countries issued the statement in time for the ongoing 37th ASEAN leaders summit.

“What is missing constantly in ASEAN related discussion, this 37th Summit included, is sufficient attention towards the worsening human rights situation. Research shows that Members States have not only repressed human rights but used the pandemic as an excuse to implement more stringent and authoritative measures,” said Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.

MALAYSIA: Philippine claim of Sabah baseless and irrelevant

The claims made by the Philippines that Sabah is part of its territory is baseless and irrelevant, says Malaysia Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar.

A report by The Star, says Jaffar old the Dewan Rakyat that the Malaysian Government’s stance on the issue has always remained consistent and clear.

“Malaysia will never entertain, let alone recognise any form of foreign claim on Sabah,” he told Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Bersatu-Beaufort) during Question Time on Thursday, November 12.

Vietnam chairs virtual 37th ASEAN Summit

Vietnam, the ASEAN chair for 2020, hosts the 37th ASEAN Summit, the first time the leaders of the 10-nation economic, regional group will hold a virtual meeting. The event will be held from Thursday to Sunday, November 12-15.

BRUNEI: Sultan joins 37th ASEAN Summit today

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His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will join the virtual meetings of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits from Thursday to Sunday, November 12 to 15.

This will be the first time the 10-nation, regional economic group would hold virtual meetings via a series of video conferences, amid widespread concerns and precautionary measures over the COVID-19 pandemic situation globally.

The Borneo Bulletin said this year’s ASEAN Summit themed ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’ would be chaired by Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Xuân Phúc as the Chair of ASEAN for 2020.

THAILAND: Migrant workers from Cambodia granted extension amid shortage

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Migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar whose work permits expire next year will be allowed to continue working in Thailand for up to two more years.

The Khmer Times reported that permission for the legally registered migrant workers to stay longer was approved at the weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday, November 11, according to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

She said the decision would benefit about 130,000 such migrant workers in Thailand but it only relates to those recruited under a labor agreement signed by the respective countries.