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28.05.21 - 03.06.21 Sup SEAkers!






Smoke rises from the MV X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged vessel, following the chemical blaze last month. Photograph: Sri Lankan air force/EPA


This Week's News Spotlight:

Thailand plans more economic measures to cope with COVID-19 impact | Empty streets, shuttered malls as Malaysia begins third nationwide COVID-19 lockdown | Malaysia scrambles jets to intercept 16 Chinese military planes | Cambodian workers at NagaWorld casino vexed over lay-offs as Hong Kong-listed parent firm reports profits | China to allow couples to have three children in face of demographic crisis


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Thailand plans more economic measures to cope with COVID-19 impact - CNA



The Thai government had previously used stimulus measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.


Thailand will be implementing more economic measures to alleviate its economy while it struggles with its third and most severe COVID-19 outbreak so far. This latest wave of infections has accounted for more than 80 percent of the country’s total cases and deaths.


Without giving details, the state planning agency said that measures will help employees retain jobs at foreign firms, and assistance will be provided for the tourism industry. These measures will be financed by a borrowing of USD 16 billion, which was approved by the king earlier in the week.





Empty streets, shuttered malls as Malaysia begins third nationwide COVID-19 lockdown - CNA



Malaysia’s health ministry published on Monday that daily case numbers might hit 13,000 by mid-June if lockdown measures are not adhered to.


Malaysia’s latest wave of COVID-19 has hit record levels, with thousands of cases each day, spurring a third nationwide lockdown.


From June 1 to June 14, only essential businesses like supermarkets and clinics are allowed to operate. Most schools and shopping malls are closed. Only two people from each household are allowed to leave the house to purchase essentials, and only within a 10km radius.


The latest outbreak has strained the country’s healthcare system, and is partly due to overseas, more contagious variants of the virus. The country also announced on Monday an addition USD 9.7 billion stimulus package to boost economic growth.





Malaysia scrambles jets to intercept 16 Chinese military planes - SCMP



The Chinese aircraft were “flying in tactical formation” near the East Malaysians state of Sarawak.


Malaysia’s foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that he would summon China’s ambassador after the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) scrambled jets to intercept 16 Chinese aircraft that almost violated Malaysian airspace on Monday.


However, China said that the aircraft were part of routine flight training that “do not target any country” and abide by international law.




Cambodian workers at NagaWorld casino vexed over lay-offs as Hong Kong-listed parent firm reports profits - SCMP



NagaWorld remained open for most of 2020 and only closed for four months, from April to July. This year, the casino has been closed since March.


At least 600 workers at Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp, while Cambodia continues to struggle with a tough employment situation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The lay-offs have also left employees frustrated and confused, as NagaCorp reported a net profit of USD 102.3 million at the end of last year. However, NagaWorld cited financial hardship from the pandemic as the reason for the firings.




China to allow couples to have three children in face of demographic crisis - Financial Times



The new policy comes after the slowest population growth rate in decades was reported.


China will introduce a new “three-child policy”, which will allow couples to have three children, in order to address the country’s ageing population and “maintain China’s natural advantage in human resources”. No details were given on when the policy will be implemented.


Demographers have cited rising income levels, increasing urbanisation, and high costs of raising children as reasons for the long-term decline in fertility rates. In the past five years, China’s fertility rate has fallen to 1.3 births per woman. As a result of the country’s previous “one-child policy”, which was lifted in 2015, the UN projected that China’s old-age dependency ratio would double to more than 40 per cent by 2040.

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