Special Southeast Asia correspondent/ Head of News, Malaysia
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Feb 28, 2013

Thailand agrees to talks with southern Muslim rebels

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Thailand’s government will hold formal peace talks with a major Muslim rebel group for the first time next month, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country’s south that has claimed over 5,000 lives since 2004.

Senior Thai officials and members of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group signed the agreement for the talks in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. However, there was no immediate word whether it would be accompanied by a ceasefire, following an upsurge in violence in southern Thailand, near the border with Malaysia, in recent months.

Feb 17, 2013

CIMB’s Nazir faces headwinds after bold Asia expansion

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Nazir Razak, the chief
executive of Malaysian bank CIMB, says his country is
“at a crossroads” ahead of elections that his brother, the prime
minister, must call within weeks. The same can be said of his
bank.

A $3.7 billion Asia expansion by CIMB, aiming where others
have failed to build a regional powerhouse by tapping
fast-growing markets, is running into stiff headwinds from
competition, rising costs and capital constraints.

Feb 5, 2013

China to invest more than $1.6 billion in Malaysia steel, port

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Chinese firms will invest
more than $1.6 billion to build steel, aluminium and palm oil
processing plants and expand a port in a new industrial zone on
the Malaysian east coast, Malaysia announced on Tuesday.

The Chinese spending is part of total joint investments of
10.5 billion ringgit ($3.5 billion) expected by 2020 in the new
Kuantan Industrial Park as Beijing moves to deepen its ties with
the Southeast Asian nation.

Jan 21, 2013

Malaysia stocks slump as investors wake to election risks

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Malaysian stocks suffered
their biggest drop in 16 months on Monday as investors woke up
to the risks of what is expected to be the Southeast Asian
country’s closest national election.

Speculation that Prime Minister Najib Razak would call the
election has been swirling as far back as 2011, but his window
for going to the polls is narrowing fast ahead of an April 28
deadline for dissolving parliament.

Jan 17, 2013

Run up to tense election puts Malaysia, investors on edge

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian economist Azrul Azwar gave a presentation in Singapore last week that cost him his job.

His analysis, outlining risks for investors from a narrow election victory for Malaysia’s opposition, was reported by a Malaysian online news site as a prediction the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government would fall this year.

Jan 9, 2013

Axiata eyeing deals as Asia cellphone market booms

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Axiata Group Bhd
, Asia’s third-largest mobile services group outside
Japan and China by subscribers, is eyeing deals in Bangladesh,
Indonesia and Sri Lanka, but reckons getting into Myanmar will
be “very tough”, CEO Jamaludin Ibrahim said in an interview.

Axiata, valued at close to $19 billion and with a cash pile
of $2.8 billion, is expanding in the fast-growing Asian telecoms
sector as Jamaludin nips at the heels of Southeast Asian market
leader Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and India’s
Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Dec 19, 2012

Insight: The booming Philippines’ missing link – foreigner investors

MANILA (Reuters) – The gathering had the air of a post-mortem. About 100 executives and government officials listened quietly as Guillermo Luz poked holes in the Philippines’ fairytale economic revival.

Luz, head of the Philippines’ National Competitiveness Council, projected a deck of slides onto two pull-down screens that showed the fast-growing Philippine economy slipping in the World’s Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index to 138 out of 185 countries, near Tajikistan and Sudan.

Dec 18, 2012

The booming Philippines’ missing link – foreigner investors

MANILA, Dec 19 (Reuters) – The gathering had the air of a
post-mortem. About 100 executives and government officials
listened quietly as Guillermo Luz poked holes in the
Philippines’ fairytale economic revival.

Luz, head of the Philippines’ National Competitiveness
Council, projected a deck of slides onto two pull-down screens
that showed the fast-growing Philippine economy slipping in the
World’s Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index to 138 out of 185
countries, near Tajikistan and Sudan.

Dec 2, 2012

Malaysia PM uses Romney defeat to warn divided party

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – When Malaysia’s ruling party gathered for a tub-thumping pre-election rally last week, Prime Minister Najib Razak delivered a stern behind-the-scenes warning: don’t repeat the mistake of Mitt Romney.

Just as the U.S. Republican presidential candidate’s over-reliance on older, white voters lost him last month’s election, so could the dependence of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) on rural, ethnic Malay voters, Najib told delegates at the assembly, according to a senior party insider.

Nov 21, 2012

Analysis: China courts friends in region; for others a show of strength

PHNOM PENH/BEIJING (Reuters) – When U.S. President Barack Obama and more than a dozen leaders arrived in Cambodia for a regional summit meeting this week, only one of them was feted with banners strung from the venue gates.

“Welcome Prime Minister Wen Jiabao!” one proclaimed. “Long live the People’s Republic of China!” read another.

    • About Stuart

      "I cover the politics, economics and people of Southeast Asia from Kuala Lumpur, where I also act as head of editorial for Malaysia and Brunei. I joined Reuters on the Singapore editing desk back in 1997 and have been on the move ever since, from Japan to the Philippines to the U.S.A and then Brazil."
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