The Globe as you know it is changing. Coming June 2019

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To understand more about why you are so important to our member support initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Malaysian PM’s battles have only just begun

By: Greg Lopez - Posted on: January 28, 2016 | Current Affairs

Opinion: While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak might have been cleared of wrongdoing in a financial scandal, more accusations are likely to come, says academic Greg Lopez

[Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was cleared by the country’s attorney general this week of any wrongdoing after nearly $700m was discovered in his personal bank account. The money was a “personal donation” from the Saudi Royal Family, according to the ruling.]

Prime Minister Najib Razak must be commended for his ability to remain composed under pressure and stick to his story. But it is uncertain if those associated with him can do the same. The systematic nature of the leaks that are damaging him and his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), must certainly come from those in the highest echelons of power.

The leaks continue, despite the sacking of the previous deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and the previous attorney general, Abdul Gani Patail, as well as the reshuffling of cabinet ministers. Added to this is the gruesome murder of the deputy public prosecutor,Anthony Kevin Morais, who was investigating corruption in 1MDB [a strategic state fund $11 billion in debt] and the pressure on Malaysia’s top civil servants investigating 1MDB not to mention the direct intervention in investigations into 1MDB. This must certainly be unnerving even for seasoned warriors.

The Sarawak Report and, more recently, the Wall Street Journal have alleged that Najib is involved in activities that are illegal under Malaysian laws and, possibly, international laws. The systematic nature of these allegations as reported by [those newspapers] appears to be built on good journalism, robust investigation and, after Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali’s press conference, authentic data and information.

The government of Malaysia, and certainly the new attorney general, never questioned the veracity of the data and information used by Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal. So the question then becomes: who is feeding these organisations such highly classified information?

It is certainly not the opposition. The opposition does not have the connections within the public sector at such high levels. Neither does it have connections with individuals within government-linked corporations (GLCs) at such high levels. It is common knowledge that only individuals who… UMNO find not objectionable reach the highest echelons of the public sector or GLCs.

The real issue for UMNO is not about resolving corruption. This is a political party built on patronage and that thrives in a political system that relies on patronage. The real issue is whether they can win the next general election and if Najib can be the one to deliver that win.

Judging by the systematic nature of the leaks, it is almost certain that there are groups within UMNO who are not confident that Najib can lead them to electoral success. There are sound reasons for this assessment. Although the electoral system is stacked in their favour, Barisan Nasional (BN) [the ruling coalition] has done badly at the past two general elections – in 2008, by losing the psychologically important two-thirds majority and, in 2013, unbelievably losing the majority of the popular vote. And projections suggest that ­– if there is no further gerrymandering – the BN will lose at the next elections. Most worrying is perhaps that even among Malays, Najib’s approval ratings are now at 31% – the lowest ever in his seven-year administration, with approval ratings for the BN below 50%.

It is entirely plausible that it is groups within UMNO that are hostile to Najib, with access to senior civil servants, who are providing the damaging evidence to Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal. Why are they doing it? The answer is simple: there is simply no room within UMNO to democratically replace its leader. Ever since Razaleigh Hamzah’s unsuccessful challenge for the leadership of UMNO in 1987, there has been no contest for the top post. A succession of changes to the rules by the incumbent has made it impossible for challengers, especially those who lack the adequate resources, to go for the top post.

Najib has also successfully fended off other democratic options such as a vote of no confidence in parliament, here with the abetment of the opposition. They would rather face him than another UMNO candidate not linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Yet, because the leaks are now so damaging, it is impossible to find an exit strategy for Najib. Hence his battle cry of “No retreat, no surrender” is not about saving face, but about ensuring that he is not convicted.

The important question now is how far Najib will go to stop the leaks.

Greg Lopez is a Malaysian research fellow at Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre in Perth, Australia.