BTS in the Philippines’ Congress? Duterte ally’s plan to name political grouping after K-pop band draws backlash

A former speaker of the Philippines’ House of Representatives has sparked outrage on social media after announcing his intent to form a new political grouping named after world-famous South Korean boy band BTS.Alan Peter Cayetano, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte who was ousted as speaker in October, said he would form the BTS sa Kongreso (BTS in Congress) bloc with six fellow lawmakers – Representatives Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jnr, Dan Fernandez, Raneo Abu, Mike Defensor, Jose…

What Malaysia’s new coronavirus lockdown and state of emergency mean for the public, and for PM Muhyiddin

Malaysia was on Tuesday rocked by the news the nation’s monarch had approved a state of national emergency to stem the spread of a third wave of coronavirus infections.The announcement came just a day after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had announced targeted lockdowns across the country to combat a surge of cases.For several weeks Malaysia has recorded daily cases in the four digits and its total caseload has now risen to nearly 140,000 infections and 555 deaths – depressing statistics for a…

Boeing officials and US aviation experts to visit Sriwijaya Air crash site after Indonesia grants coronavirus waiver

Representatives from Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will leave for Jakarta this week to assist an investigation into Saturday’s crash of a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet, which hurtled into the Java Sea with 62 people on board.The Indonesian government granted a waiver allowing the Boeing and NTSB officials to enter the country during its coronavirus-related travel ban, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named.Indonesian investigators are still…

Coronavirus: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin declares targeted lockdowns

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday imposed partial lockdowns in most parts of the country after a months-long third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic showed no sign of abating.Six regions including the wealthy states of Johor, Selangor and Penang – as well as Kuala Lumpur, the administrative capital of Putrajaya and the federal territory of Labuan – will commence a strict two-week lockdown starting midnight on Wednesday.Residents in these areas are required to shelter in place and…

Singapore puts curbs on corporate transfers for some foreign employees

Singapore is tightening restrictions on intra-corporate transferees, one category of workers brought from overseas offices of multinational corporations, the Straits Times reported.Intra-corporate transferees are a common feature of free-trade agreements worldwide that, for example, allow professionals to move for short periods to set up offices or for temporary projects, the newspaper said.Intra-corporate transferees pass holders make up less than 5 per cent of employment-pass holders in…

Coronavirus: Tokyo cases ease, Vietnam to limit Lunar New Year inbound flights

Tokyo reported 1,494 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the lowest number of daily cases since Tuesday, after Japan declared a limited state of emergency in the capital and three prefectures neighbouring the capital on Thursday to stem a surge in Covid-19 infectionsPrime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday the government will take “a few days” before judging whether it will expand a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic to include Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.The comment…

Indonesia arms maritime force amid growing China encroachment

Indonesia’s civilian maritime force ended 2020 by arming its vessels with machine guns amid continuing incursions by Chinese and Vietnamese fishing boats near Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around its northern Natuna Islands. The move to equip the force, Bakamla, is seen as a delicate balancing act by Indonesia to deal with Chinese incursions without jeopardising growing bilateral ties with Beijing and at the same time defuse potential domestic anger over China’s encroachments, say…

Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air loses contact with plane flying from Jakarta to Pontianak

Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air lost contact with a Boeing 737-500 that left Jakarta at 1.25pm local time for the city of Pontianak in West Kalimantan on Saturday.Adita Irawati, the Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesperson, told This Week in Asia that the last contact they had with the flight SJY 182 was at 2.20pm local time.“At this point, we are investigating and coordinating the matter with Basarnas (the search and rescue agency) and KNKT (the transport safety body). We will release more…