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29.05.20 - 04.06.20 Sup SEAkers!


A daughter and mother in a rice paddy near Svay Chek village, outside Phnom Penh, on 7th May 2020.



This Week's News Spotlight:

Brunei in first phase of restrictions de-escalation plan | Cambodia Siem Reap’s tourism hit hard by COVID-19 | Global survey finds people in Indonesia ‘least optimistic’ about COVID-19 situation | Laos approves Singaporean Clean Thermal Project | Malaysia has yet make decision on CMCO | Myanmar mulls $24 million loan to keep national airline afloat | Metro Manila eases to GCQ on 1st June in Philippines | Singapore's factory activity shrinks for 4th month despite uptick in key gauge | Crowds flock as beach reopens in Thailand | Vietnam's beer market expects big changes in 2020


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Brunei in first phase of restrictions de-escalation plan

A customer scans the QR code before entering a shop


Despite no new cases of COVID-19 and no infections for about three weeks, Brunei Darussalam is observing precautionary measures as the virus is still considered a threat.The government is currently in the first phase of the de-escalation plan to lift restrictions by a gradual reduction of social distancing measures.


Meanwhile, safety measures and guidelines, which are now regarded as the “new norm”, are being adapted and practised by the local community to combat the transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing, using hand sanitisers, wearing face masks and gloves, temperature checks and the scanning of a QR code with the BruHealth application


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: We are happy that Bruneians are slowly returning to normalcy, the government should remain vigilant because other countries have seen a sharp spike in the number of cases after removing restrictions


Click HERE to learn more about this news!

Cambodia Siem Reap’s tourism hit hard by COVID-19

Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith discusses the province’s growth and development at a press conference.



In a press conference held at the Council of Ministers regarding tackling the growth and development of Siem Reap, provincial tourism department director Ngov Seng Kak said the coronavirus pandemic has severely affected the province’s tourism and lodging sector.


To date, 18 hotels and 96 guesthouses have permanently closed, 172 hotels and 99 guesthouses have temporarily halted operations with only 40 hotels and 66 guesthouses fully operational.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is a double whammy for the government, apart from rising unemployment, if the supply of tourism sector continues to shrink, it will severely hamper its efforts to accommodate the eventual return of demand of tourists. Hotels and guesthouses take time to set up and current hotels that have closed down now might not be suit for operations when the time comes.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!

Global survey finds people in Indonesia 'least optimistic’ about COVID-19 situation

Vendors set up shop in designated lots on June 2, 2020 to comply with physical distancing rules at a street market in Surabaya.


Indonesians have erred on the side of doubt and pessimism while the government struggles to mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic in the country, according to a recent survey by YouGov.


The global public opinion organization’s latest update on Monday shows that "Perception of government handling of COVID-19" has dropped in Indonesia. Overall public approval of the Indonesian government's COVID-19 response declined from 66 percent on May 11 to 50 percent on May 25, according to the YouGov tracker.


According to the survey, only 19 percent of Indonesians believe that "the national COVID-19 situation was improving", a significant decline from 35 percent recorded in the previous survey.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: It is very difficult to remain positive in Indonesia, the overall trend of new cases is increasing with some large cities such as Surabaya turning into ‘black zone’, the zone gets darker as it records more cases.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Laos approves Singaporean Clean Thermal Project

Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Ms. Khamchanh Vongseneboun (fourth from left) stands next to KMX Vice President Khamthanh Phommathat (fifth from right) during the signing ceremony.


Evolution Power Investment Corporation (EPIC) and Khounmixay Bridge and Road Construction and Repair Company (KMX) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Laos to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a clean thermal fired power plant in Sekong Province, Laos.


The goal of the estimated USD 1.7 billion power project, expected to commission by 2027, is to produce reliable year-round electricity for export to neighboring countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is a good step forward, hopefully this will be a signaller effect to attract more FDI into Laos and create greater employment for the Laotians.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Malaysia has yet make decision on CMCO

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Sabri Yaacob


The public will be informed if the conditional movement control order (MCO), which ends on Tuesday, will be extended or lifted, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.


The Senior Minister (Security Cluster) said there had not been any discussion on the matter yet.

“At this point, I do not know if the conditional MCO will be extended or not because we have not discussed it.


The government had put in place the MCO since March 18 to break the chain of Covid-19 infection.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: The number of cases reported daily are not on a downward trend, it is likely that Malaysia will extend the CMCO to err on the side of caution or keep CMCO and remove a few more of the restrictions.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Myanmar mulls $24 million loan to keep national airline afloat

A passenger jet of Myanmar National Airlines flies over the sky in Yangon, Myanmar.


The government is considering a US$24 million bail-out plan to help Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) cover its operational expenses, U Win Khant, Permanent Secretary of the transport ministry, said during a Myanmar tourism forum on June 1.


MNA is currently burning almost $4.8 million on average a month on operational expenses such as fuel, insurance and repairs. It has so far racked up $24 million in debt it has not been able to pay for over the past five months and is now asking the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Investment (MOPFI) for a loan.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: It will be interesting to observe the decision made by the government, will they bail out the airlines as in Singapore Airlines case or will they not bail out the airlines as in Thailand Airways. Nonetheless, airlines road to profitability will be a long and arduous one.


Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Metro Manila eases to GCQ on 1st June in Philippines

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte


President Duterte has announced that Metro Manila, along with other areas, will shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1 even as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The President said the rest of the country will be placed under modified GCQ (MGCQ) starting June 1.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is a long article. The GCQ has relatively less strict protocols, in particular, public transportation are allowed to operate hence we expect a lot more movement in the city.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Singapore's factory activity shrinks for 4th month despite uptick in key gauge

A manufacturing facility in Singapore.

Singapore’s factory activity remained in negative territory for the fourth consecutive month in May amid the COVID-19 outbreak, although an uptick in the key gauge may suggest the “resilience” of local manufacturers.


May’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) - which rose 2.1 points from the previous month - signals the cautious optimism of manufacturers, said Ms Sophia Poh, the vice president of industry engagement and development at the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM), on Wednesday.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Apart from the weak manufacturing activity, it might be more relevant to assess how the recovery trajectory of global demand, Singapore is extremely dependant on external trade, unless the global demand starts to recover, the PMI index will remain weak.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Crowds flock as beach reopens in Thailand

Traffic on the beachfront road in Bang Saen grinds to a halt yesterday, prompting authorities to order its temporary closure.



Popular beaches were teeming with visitors on the first public holiday on Wednesday since their closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic two months ago, with Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri almost bursting at the seams.


A heavy build-up of traffic was seen heading to the beach on Wednesday morning, a public holiday to mark Her Majesty the Queen's birthday. People seemed to be taking full advantage of the easing of inter-provincial travel restrictions that came into effect at the start of the week.


By mid-afternoon on Wednesday, tailbacks extended more than two kilometres along roads leading to the beach prompting Saen Suk municipal mayor Narongchai Kunplome to order the roads temporarily closed to clear the backlog and regulate visitor numbers.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: As mentioned last week, citizens have to cooperate with the government to prevent a new round of outbreak. The government will need to improve on its policy execution of ensuring social distancing.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Vietnam's beer market expects big changes in 2020

A production line of Sabeco Brewery


Vietnam’s beer market is forecast to see big opportunities this year, as the country has always been held great potential for domestic and foreign beer enterprises. Fierce competition is incoming, as more foreign brands are looking to tap the market. The information was released in the Vietnam Industry Research and Consultancy (VIRAC)’s latest report.


With a population structure among the youngest in the world – 56 per cent of the population is under the age of 30 – Vietnam Beer Association (VBA) predicts that total consumer expenses in Vietnam will double and reach approximately US$173 billion by 2020


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: We will cheers to seeing a larger presence of Vietnamese beer in the market!

Click HERE to learn more about this news!

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