Special Southeast Asia correspondent/ Head of News, Malaysia
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Jun 25, 2014

Southeast Asia fears militant fallout as Mideast conflict widens

KUALA LUMPUR/BANGKOK (Reuters) – Four gun-wielding rebel fighters sit relaxing on a wall, their faces concealed by scarves and ski masks. All are Indonesians who came to Syria to join the Islamist insurgency, the cameraman says, speaking Indonesian peppered with Arabic phrases.

He pans around and introduces them as a former soldier, a businessman, and a college student, before settling on a boy in his early teens leaning on his AK-47 assault rifle.

Jun 15, 2014

Competing halal standards leave food industry with indigestion

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 (Reuters) – The storm of bad publicity
that hit confectioner Cadbury in Malaysia after its chocolates
tested positive for traces of pork highlights the costly,
religious minefield food companies must navigate as they rush to
tap the surging $1 trillion global halal market.

One of the biggest headaches for corporations like Mondelez
International, Nestle and Unilever PLC
is the lack of a unified standard for what exactly is
halal, or permissible under Islamic law, despite years of
efforts by Muslim authorities to come up with a global
benchmark.

Jun 9, 2014

Malaysia’s PM eases rules on foreign fund managers, corporate bonds

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Prime Minister
Najib Razak announced steps to liberalize the country’s
financial sector on Monday, removing barriers faced by
foreign-owned fund managers and easing ratings requirements for
the corporate bond market.

Najib, speaking at an investment conference in Kuala Lumpur,
said the moves were aimed at boosting investment and encouraging
a “stable and inclusive” financial system as the country aims to
reach developed nation status by 2020.

May 27, 2014

Malaysia, UK firm release satellite data on missing MH370 flight

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s government and
British satellite firm Inmarsat on Tuesday released the
data used to determine the path of missing Malaysia Airlines
flight MH370, responding to mounting calls from
passengers’ relatives for greater transparency.

The data from satellite communications with the plane, which
runs to 47 pages in a report prepared by Inmarsat, features
hourly “handshakes” – or network log-on confirmations – after
the aircraft disappeared from civilian radar screens on March 8.

May 15, 2014

Malaysia says to review all data to pinpoint missing flight’s location

KUALA LUMPUR/SYDNEY, May 15 (Reuters) – Malaysia, China and
Australia have agreed to re-examine all data related to missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to better pinpoint the
search area, Malaysia’s acting transport minister said on
Thursday, as the hunt for the jet enters a new phase.

The three countries also agreed at a meeting in Canberra
last week to undertake a survey to map the ocean floor and
procure more deep-sea search vehicles and other equipment to
scour it, minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala
Lumpur.

Apr 29, 2014

Brunei adopts sharia law, others in region consider it

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The sultanate of Brunei this week becomes the first East Asian country to introduce Islamic criminal law, the latest example of a deepening religious conservatism that has also taken root in parts of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.

Brunei, a tiny former British protectorate of about 400,000 nestled between two Malaysian states on Borneo island, relies on oil and gas exports for its prosperity, with annual per capita income of nearly $50,000. It is the first country in east Asia to adopt the criminal component of sharia at a national level.

Apr 27, 2014

Malaysia cites ‘sensitivities’ as Obama struggles to push trade pact

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Sunday that he and U.S. President Barack Obama had agreed to upgrade bilateral relations but suggested that his country remains far from ready to sign a U.S-led trade pact due to domestic “sensitivities.”

Obama’s visit to Malaysia follows his swing through Japan, where he failed to clinch a trade deal key to the U.S. “rebalancing” back to Asia. Such a deal would have injected momentum into the delayed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

Apr 14, 2014

Searchers consider undersea robot in hunt for MH370

SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 (Reuters) – Australian
officials leading the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines
plane in the southern Indian Ocean are weighing when
to deploy an underwater robot to aid in the hunt, now in its
sixth fruitless week.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared soon after taking
off on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing with 227
passengers and 12 crew on board, triggering a multinational
search that is now focused on the Indian Ocean.

Apr 13, 2014

Officials consider underwater robot launch for Malaysia jet

SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Australian officials leading the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean are weighing when to deploy an underwater robot to aid in the hunt, now in its sixth fruitless week.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared soon after taking off on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, triggering a multinational search that is now focused on the Indian Ocean.

Apr 1, 2014

Malaysia changes last words from missing plane, hunt goes on

KUALA LUMPUR/PERTH (Reuters) – The last words from the cockpit of the missing Malaysian airliner were a standard “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”, Malaysian authorities said, changing their account of the critical last communication from a more casual “All right, good night.”

The correction almost four weeks after Flight MH370 vanished was made as Malaysian authorities face heavy criticism, particularly from China, for mismanaging the search and holding back information.

    • 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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