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01.05.20 - 07.05.20 Sup SEAkers!

Updated: May 17


Medics work in a laboratory to check samples taken for new coronavirus testing at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, April 10, 2020.

This Week's News Spotlight:

5G networks planned for Brunei | Cambodia's factory workers in limbo amid coronavirus | Indonesia's manufacturing collapsed in April | Laos' government mulls unemployment package amid economic downturn | Malaysia's citizens will stay vigilant during post-MCO | Myanmar in dillemma over online classes or school suspension | Philippines’ NTC orders ABS-CBN to cease operations | Singapore to distribute ‘better’ reusable face masks to households | Thailand sees a booze rush at shops as ban ends | Vietnam's exports surge in four months despite pandemic


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5G networks planned for Brunei

The first Brunei Darussalam 5G Task Force Plenary Meeting held online.


The first Brunei Darussalam 5G Task Force Plenary Meeting held online yesterday…gathered some 60 key working group members to discuss the objectives of the Task Force and how they can collaborate to achieve the deliverables, a press release stated.


This new development aims to realise the government’s aspiration in ensuring the ICT sector as one of the key catalysts towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035 and in transforming Brunei Darussalam as a Smart Nation.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: 5G technology has been touted as the potential 4thtechnological revolution. 5G is still relatively new in ASEAN and for affluent countries such as Brunei, they can take the lead to explore the potential applications of 5G in their industries, sharing their best practices with the other countries in the region.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Cambodia's factory workers in limbo amid coronavirus

Workers from the garment factory are pushed out of work.

Nearly 2,000 garment workers are now in limbo after their employer You Li International Garment Co Ltd in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city announced a suspension of operations as clothing orders dry up amid the coronavirus pandemic from May 1 to June 30.


The Garment Manufacturing Association in Cambodia in a statement yesterday said to date, 180 factories have halted their operations, with 60 more in the pipeline. The suspensions have left more than 150,000 workers with no source of income without a clear indication of when work will resume.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Although the situation in Cambodia is by and large contained, the Cambodian’s economy is largely dependent on exports. The world is still battling with the virus with no solution in the short run, we are likely to see the other industries in Cambodia suspending their work due to the lack of demand. It is then the onus of the government to provide support for the affected workers , which remains to be seen how much support the government can provide.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Indonesia's manufacturing collapsed in April

Workers sew personal protective equipment (PPE) at a PT Kasih Karunia Sejati factory in Malang, East Java, on April 20.


Indonesia’s manufacturing output and new orders collapsed in April as the COVID-19 pandemic forced factories to close and crushed demand for manufactured goods.

IHS Markit announced on Monday that Indonesia’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of the nation’s manufacturing activities, fell to 27.5 from 45.3 recorded in March, the worst decline in the survey's nine-year history. A number above 50 reflects expansion, while one below 50 indicates contraction.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: We need to put a human side to these statistics. With such a huge drop in the index, the number of workers affected might be in the tens of thousands. Similar to the situation in Cambodia, it is key that the Indonesian government steps in to soften the impact to both employers and employees.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Laos' government mulls unemployment package amid economic downturn

Lao laborers return home to Champasack Province from work in Thailand.


The government is considering measures to be included in an unemployment package to aid those who have found themselves jobless due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


The revised measures come after the National Economic Research Institute (NERI) urged the government to accelerate efforts to aid the jobless, saying state intervention is necessary after the lockdown forced many businesses to suspend operations, and furlough or retrench workers


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Laos has recently announced the easing of their lockdown measure on May 1, life is expected to slowly return to normalcy. Apart from providingfinancial support, this is also a good opportunity for the government to upgrade the skillsets of those unemployed workers, so they can gain employment in higher value added jobs in the future.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!

Malaysia's citizens will stay vigilant during post-MCO

The online survey findings presented in an infographics.

Almost 40,000 respondents (or more than 90%) of a survey carried out by the Department of Statistics Malaysia indicated that they were ready to continue with current safeguards during the movement control order even after the MCO is lifted.


The online survey that was carried out from April 10 to 24 found that 92.9% or 38,455 respondents said they were prepared to adopt such safe measures after the MCO ends.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is a wonderful and informative infographics. Overall, it is heartening that the Malaysians are prioritizing their health first, this makes the job of the government a lot easier because it is not likely the life will go back to normal immediately. The cooperation by the people will be key to ensuring that Malaysia’s post lockdown plans goes smoothly.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Myanmar in dillemma over online classes or school suspension

A lecturer teaches a class in Yangon University’s Hlaing campus. Photo: Zarni Phyo/The Myanmar Times


University students in Myanmar are divided over whether to hold online classes or to suspend the school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the early results of an online survey.


The school year in Myanmar usually starts in June, but there has been concern about whether classes can start as scheduled amid the COVID-19 threat and restrictions on mass gatherings.

“The initial results showed 54pc favoured e-learning while 46pc said they didn’t want e-learning,” Ko Htoo Khant Thaw said.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This poses a conundrum for the government, a classic catch 22 situation for the government. Mass scale return to universities poses a potential risk for a new wave of reflections, e-learning is the probably the way to ensure student’s learning are not hampered. For those affected, the government and the private sector can consider stepping in to provide educational resources such as loaning students laptops etc.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Philippines’ NTC orders ABS-CBN to cease operations

A company vehicle enters the compound of the network giant ABS-CBN in Quezon City.


Philippines' National Telecommunications Commission orders, dated May 5, directed ABS-CBN to stop operating its television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide citing absence of a valid congressional franchise required for the network to continue operating.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Although perfectly sound legally, it is baffling why the license was not renewed. ABS-CBN is an important channel for the people to understand the latest news and to get entertained during the COVID-19 crisis.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!

Singapore to distribute ‘better’ reusable face masks to households

A reusable face mask dispenser at the People's Association.

Singapore residents will be given "better" reusable face masks towards the end of the "circuit breaker" period, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (May 6). This will be Singapore's third nationwide distribution of masks, and the cloth face coverings will have better bacterial filtration capabilities.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: With the recent surge of cases, primary from the migrant workers’ dormitories, many saw this move coming as Singapore has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia now. There are serious concerns on whether the healthcare system is able to cope with the sudden surge, hence an extension of the circuit breaker is a sensible move by the government.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Thailand sees a booze rush at shops as ban ends

The liquor section of the Makro store in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan is busy with customers as sales of alcoholic beverages resume on Sunday.

Liquor sections at supermarkets and convenience stores on Sunday were thronged with customers eager to buy alcoholic beverages after sales resumed for the first time in almost a month.


Shops across the country saw people buying beer, wine and whiskey in bulk as the clock reached 11am, the earliest time alcoholic beverages can legally be sold.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Finally, the Thai can take some comfort in having a ice cold beer to nurse at home while waiting out the extension of the state of emergency, we can cheers to that!

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Vietnam's exports surge in four months despite pandemic

Shipping containers are stacked at a port in Haiphong, northern Vietnam.


Vietnam's export value saw a year-on-year increase of nearly 5 per cent to an estimated US$82.94 billion in the first four months of this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).


Domestic companies generated $26.45 billion from exports during the period, rising 12 per cent year-on-year and making up 32 per cent of the country's total export earnings. Meanwhile, exports of foreign-invested firms hit $56.49 billion, up 1.5 per cent and making up 68 per cent of the total.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: With the ongoing trade war between USA and China, Vietnam is poised to reap the advantages. The exports to USA have increased by 13.4% y-o-y. Also, the exports to China increased by 27% y-o-y. Talk about being a friendly trading partner!

Click HERE to learn more about this news!

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