Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
18 April 2017
Former Malaysian opposition leader pursues fresh legal action
Two years into his second jail sentence, embattled former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has launched a fresh appeal to overturn a sodomy conviction that he has always claimed was politically motivated.
The former deputy prime minister, who still enjoys broad popular support, is suing the government on the grounds that his conviction was obtained through fraud. [The Star Online]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Anti-Najib alliance brings Anwar Ibrahim back into the crosshairs
Indonesian startup to raise $1 billion to compete with Uber, Grab
Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek is close to securing an additional $1 billion in investment, as it sets its sights on expanding operations across the region, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Backed by major private equity firms such as KKR & Co and Warburg Pincus, Go-Jek is zeroing in on a pre-money valuation of $2 billion. Rival app Grab secured $750 million in a funding round earlier in September, which resulted in a $3 billion valuation. [DEALSTREETASIA]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Uber could face stiff resistance in Cambodia’s crowded ride-hailing market
World’s first Dengue vaccine now commercially available in Philippines
Produced by the multinational pharmaceutical Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine, which is meant to prevent hospitalisation from Dengue for up to four years, will be made available across 108 Watson healthcare stores in the form of a three-part series of injections.
“It took 19 years of research,” Dr. Gene Solante, an expert on infectious diseases, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “If you get bitten, you won’t get the symptoms – headache, fever, decrease in platelet count and abdominal pain.” [The Philippine Daily Inquirer]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Philippines rolls out historic dengue vaccine programme
In Cambodia, communal New Year traditions give way to festivals
Pagodas are no longer the centre of traditional New Year celebrations in Cambodia, according to Pakk Yourng, a social science researcher with a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.
While some have laid the blame for the decline in the popularity of traditional New Year activities squarely at the feet of rising individualism, others say it is a more complicated phenomenon. [The Cambodia Daily]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Pagoda problems: the decline of Buddhism in Cambodia
Work on new Disneyland in Central Java to start in September, official says
Plans are underway to build a 100-hectare Disneyland in Boyolali in Central Java, according to its regent, Seno Samudro. “The first stone will be set in September 2017,” he told Bisnis.com, estimating the cost at more than $3.7 billion.
But while Samudro is adamant the theme park, which he says will be fully funded by foreign investors, will be built, Disneyland have yet to make an official announcement. [Coconuts Jakarta]
Update: Disney has since denied that a Disneyland will be built in Indonesia [Coconuts Jakarta].
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Living large: how Southeast Asia became a leading luxury travel destination