Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
19 April 2017
Jakarta readies itself for rocky election conclusion
Jakartans head to the polls today to decide who will become their next governor after a campaign that has exposed deep divisions over religion and vision’s for the city’s future. Going into the vote, the race was neck-and-neck between Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian and ethnic-Chinese incumbent, and Anies Baswedan, a Muslim and former government minister.
Police in the capital city have mobilised a force of 64,000 to protect citizens from intimidation and harassment around the election. [ABC News]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Anies Baswedan: the ousted minister who may be Jakarta’s next governor
Myanmar publisher who pushed boundaries stabbed to death
The publisher of a weekly journal in Myanmar that published articles critical of the military and its friends in the business community was found stabbed to death in what some fear is the latest in a series of politically-motivated assassinations.
Police captain Yin Htwe told Reuters on Tuesday that Wai Yan Heinn was stabbed with a knife 15 times in his chest and stomach while in his office over the weekend. [The Straits Times]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Assassination of Myanmar lawyer suggests divide between government and military
Nearly 300 North Koreans surrender in Malaysia for overstaying
A week after Malaysia issued a stern warning telling North Koreans who have overstayed their work permits to turn themselves in, close to 300 have surrendered themselves to the authorities.
All of the North Koreans had been living in Sarawak state on the island of Borneo, mostly working in construction and coal mining. Four remain, but authorities say they will be leaving soon. [Channel News Asia]
Singaporeans flying high in passport, talent rankings
Singapore is sitting pretty at the top of two recent indexes.
Citizens of the city-state can now claim to have the most powerful passport in the world, thanks to changes in Ukraine’s visa rules, and can lay claim to being the most talented population in the Asian Pacific, and second best in the world. [Channel News Asia / Global Talent Competitiveness Index]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Meet the tutors making millions from Singapore’s ‘educational arms race’
Bangkok to ban its world-acclaimed street food stalls
Bangkok authorities have banned street food from the capital’s major roads in the interests of “order and hygiene”.
Not only is the move expected to have a negative impact on tourism, which makes up an estimated 15% of the country’s economy, Chawadee Nualkhair, a Bangkok-based street food blogger, argued it would hit poor residents the hardest.
“Of course, it would make Bangkok less charming,” she said. “But it also takes a big chunk of cheap options away from working Thais, and closes up an avenue of work for many.” [The Guardian]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Harvesting the food of the future on a Bangkok rooftop