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26.03.21 - 01.04.21 Sup SEAkers!


A protester holds up the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the Myanmar military coup in Yangon on Saturday, Feb 6, 2021. (AFP/STR)



This Week's News Spotlight:

Myanmar coup: ASEAN split over the way forward | ‘You don’t dislodge people with guns by shouting at them’: quiet talks offer best hope for end to Myanmar violence, say Asean scholars |

Myanmar violence raises pressure on ASEAN to de-escalate crisis | Thailand faces meth trafficking surge after Myanmar coup | Malaysia pays Singapore $76 million over rail cancellation


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Myanmar coup: ASEAN split over the way forward - Taiwan News

Refugees from Myanmar have started fleeing to neighbouring countries like India and Thailand.



Since the military’s coup on February 1, nationwide protests calling for the release of democratic party leaders and arrested demonstrators have ensued. As of March 26, 164 demonstrators have been killed, according to numbers released by officials, but data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that more than 300 casualties have occurred.


The coup has put ASEAN’s diplomacy and reputation to the test, as it is putting the diplomatic weight of the alliance at stake. Furthermore, the crisis has damaged the alliance’s reputation, and a breakup of Myanmar, which is possible, would upend the stability of the region.



‘You don’t dislodge people with guns by shouting at them’: quiet talks offer best hope for end to Myanmar violence, say Asean scholars - SCMP

With increasing death tolls and ongoing violence, support for outside military intervention under the UN’s Responsibility to Protect has gained traction.


To end the post-coup violence, Myanmar should draw on diplomacy instead of seeking UN-led intervention, said four ASEAN scholars at a webinar organised by the National University of Singapore. Any attempt by the international community to invoke the United Nations’ “responsibility to protect” would only worsen the crisis, they added.



Myanmar violence raises pressure on ASEAN to de-escalate crisis - Nikkei Asia

Protesters hold a vigil against the Myanmar coup outside the ASEAN Building in Jakarta in mid-March. © Reuters


Pressure on ASEAN to de-escalate the post-coup violence in Myanmar is mounting, with experts warning that a failure to bring stability to Myanmar would affect the association’s ability to shape the region’s future. Saturday brought the worst bloodshed so far, with more than 100 killed, including children.


Member countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have been pulling diplomatic strings while maintaining ASEAN’s principle of non-interference in individual nations’ affairs.


Thailand faces meth trafficking surge after Myanmar coup - The Jakarta Post

The frontier between Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar makes up the “Golden Triangle”, which is known as the hub of Southeast Asia’s lucrative drug trade.


Thailand’s narcotics bureau has seized more than 80 million “yaba” pills — also known as methamphetamine — in the past six months, a record haul partly due to a supply glut caused by the pandemic.


But with nationwide unrest in Myanmar, the United Nations warns of an even bigger influx of meth, with organised crime groups and allied militias in Myanmar likely working to strengthen their positions while the country was in turmoil. This would likely be done through the drug trade, ramping up synthetic drug production, which is the number one revenue source for insurgent groups and militias located in Myanmar, near the borders with Thailand and Laos.



Malaysia pays Singapore $76 million over rail cancellation - The Jakarta Post


The deal to build the high-speed rail was originally signed in 2016 with then-Prime Minister Najib Razak, but its fate was thrown into doubt after Najib was defeated in elections two years later.


Malaysia has paid Singapore more than $76 million to compensate for the cancellation of a high-speed rail line between the neighbours after years of negotiations.


The 350-kilometre rail line was expected to cut travel time between Singapore and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to ninety minutes, down from the four or more hours by car currently. However, the project was scrapped in December after the two countries failed to agree on changes proposed by the new Malaysian government.

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