Special Southeast Asia correspondent/ Head of News, Malaysia
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Apr 22, 2012

As Myanmar awaits easing of sanctions, row brews over MP no-show

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar’s reformist rulers are looking forward to an eagerly awaited easing of European Union sanctions on Monday but celebrations will be muted over a political stalemate delaying Aung San Suu Kyi’s historic parliamentary debut.

A protest by Suu Kyi’s party over a swearing-in vow for its would-be parliamentarians will dent an image of transformation the government wanted to show off on Monday, when the European Union is all but certain to become the first among Western powers to suspend in earnest sanctions that isolated Myanmar for two decades.

Apr 18, 2012
Apr 18, 2012

Malaysia economy “turns the corner”; fiscal reform to be gradual

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysia’s economy has passed the turning point in its drive to reach high-income status by 2020, the head of the government’s economic performance agency said, but politically sensitive fiscal reforms will only be pushed through gradually.

Idris Jala, the colorful chief of the 16-month-old Economic Transformation Programme, said that a 19 percent jump in private investment last year was among clear signs that the plan to double per-capita income to $15,000 was paying off.

Apr 10, 2012
Apr 10, 2012

Malaysia to end indefinite detention in security shake-up

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a new security law on Tuesday that ends indefinite police detention of suspects, fulfilling a pledge to abolish colonial-era legislation that has long been used to stifle political dissent.

The proposal, likely to be passed by the government-controlled parliament, is Najib’s latest move aimed at winning over middle-class, urban voters ahead of what is expected to be a closely fought election that he could call in weeks.

Apr 4, 2012

Southeast Asia fails to tackle sea spat with China head on

PHNOM PENH, April 4 (Reuters) – The Philippines claimed
progress on Wednesday in persuading Southeast Asian leaders to
present a united front to China in a festering maritime dispute,
but the region remains divided over how to tackle its biggest
security challenge.

The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) is under growing pressure to resolve the dispute
following a series of naval clashes over the energy-rich
maritime region claimed by China.

Mar 30, 2012

EU says won’t be pushed into lifting Myanmar sanctions

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Fair elections in Myanmar this weekend will be a major step toward the lifting of European Union sanctions but the bloc will not be rushed by big business into lifting the full range of trade restrictions, its trade commissioner said on Friday.

Whether trade curbs are lifted or not will depend heavily on an international report on forced labor in Myanmar, Karel de Gucht told Reuters in an interview.

Mar 29, 2012
Mar 29, 2012

China influence over Cambodia to be tested at SE Asia summit

PHNOM PENH, March 29 (Reuters) – China’s presence in the
Cambodian capital Phnom Penh is obvious. The city skyline is
dotted by Chinese-funded projects. But the full extent of
Beijing’s influence here will be tested when President Hu Jintao
visits this week ahead of a regional summit.

The timing of Hu’s visit has raised suspicion Beijing may
pressure Cambodia to curb discussions at a Southeast Asian
leaders’ summit on the vexed question of the South China Sea.
Phnom Penh has already said the issue is off the agenda.

Mar 22, 2012

Bali attack plot shows Indonesia terror threat evolving

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – A foiled plot by suspected Islamic militants to attack and bomb targets in Bali, including a bar popular with tourists, marks an escalation of the violent threat in Indonesia as authorities race to stay ahead of rapidly evolving armed groups.

Five men were shot dead in police raids on Sunday on the island where nightclub bombings in 2002 killed 202 people – mostly foreign tourists – and forced the world’s largest Muslim country to confront violent Islamist groups on its soil.

    • 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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