Low production costs and a nascent domestic market made Myanmar an attractive bet for Thai and Japanese companies. These Thai and Japanese firms that bet on democratization now face uncertain future after the Myanmar coup.
This Week's News Spotlight:
Myanmar military seizes power, detains Aung San Suu Kyi | World Economic Forum in Singapore postponed from May to August | RCEP might drive more foreign investment into ASEAN: Report | Ethnic Vietnamese take Khmer classes to obtain Cambodian citizenship | Foreign direct investments into Malaysia fall; likely due to growing political risk, say experts
Myanmar military seizes power, detains Aung San Suu Kyi - BBC
Myanmar was previously ruled by the military from 1962 to 2011.
On Monday, Myanmar’s military staged a coup and seized power, detaining democratically-elected leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto pro-democracy leader.
The military claims that Suu Kyi’s party was “marred by fraud”, according to the BBC, and has announced replacements for some ministers.
In Myanmar, many residents were reported as being fearful of the coup. Overseas sentiments similarly skew negative, with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemning the coup. Meanwhile, China urged all sides to “resolve differences”, and Myanmar’s neighbours such as Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines called it an “internal matter”.
World Economic Forum in Singapore postponed from May to August - Straits Times
About 3,000 participants gathered in Davos, Switzerland for last year’s edition of the forum.
The World Economic Forum is postponing its annual meeting, which is held in Singapore, from May this year to August due to Covid-19.
Traditionally, the meeting gathers top leaders in politics, business, and academia to discuss global issues in Davos, Switzerland at end-January. This year’s meeting is meant to be the “first global leadership summit” that addresses challenges of recovering from Covid-19.
However, the pandemic drove the meeting to Singapore instead. It was originally planned to be held from May 13 to 16, and then pushed back to May 25 to 28. It will now be held from August 17 to 20 and will be a hybrid conference, with some participants joining virtually.
RCEP might drive more foreign investment into ASEAN: Report - Business Times
Members of the RCEP account for almost a third of the world’s population and is a larger grouping than the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the European Union.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — a trade deal comprising all ten members of ASEAN and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand — might help drive more investment into ASEAN, said UOB in a recent report.
In 2020, foreign direct investment into ASEAN fell by 31 per cent due to the pandemic. Although foreign investment in the region might remain weak this year, the trade deal might improve ASEAN’s prospects due to features like harmonising rules of origin, its integration into global value chains, and its centering on large and established hubs like China, Japan, and South Korea.
Ethnic Vietnamese take Khmer classes to obtain Cambodian citizenship - Khmer Times
About 160,000 ethnic Vietnamese live in Cambodia, mainly concentrated in Phnom Penh and provinces Kampong Chhnang, Purast, Battambang, Kampong Thom, and Siem Reap.
More ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia are taking Khmer language classes to improve their chances of obtaining citizenship.
One of the language programs, initiated by Vietnamese consulate general Vu Ngoc Ly, is a three month course which started on January 25 and runs from Monday to Friday. Other similar language classes have also been piloted.
Foreign direct investments into Malaysia fall; likely due to growing political risk, say experts - Straits Times
Other countries in developing Asia have an average decline in foreign direct investment of 4 percent.
Foreign direct investment into Malaysia has fallen by more than two-thirds to USD 2.5 billion in 2020, according to a United Nations report.
The drop in investment is the worst in the region. Investors are leaving Malaysia due to the country’s unstable political climate. Last month, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government lost its majority in Parliament, the first in the country’s history to do so.
This year, South Korean company Hyundai relocated its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Malaysia to Indonesia, and Japanese firm Panasonic will be closing its solar panel plants in the country.