Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
10 May 2017
Explosion at mall in Thailand leaves 59 injured; no deaths
A mall in Thailand’s southern Pattani province that has been the target of two previous attacks was hit by two bomb blasts on Tuesday afternoon, leaving 59 injured, including children.
Authorities said the main explosion from a pickup truck parked outside the mall was intended to cause multiple deaths but that action taken by security guards when the suspicious vehicle was detected mitigated the impact.
Military officials denied rumours that the attacks were somehow linked to the Islamic State and said they would hold emergency meetings to scale up security in the restive south. [Bangkok Post]
Indonesian president calls for calm after jailing of Jakarta governor
With Jakarta’s governor sent straight to prison after being sentenced to two years for blasphemy, Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo called for people to have faith in a court system that many say caved to public pressure.
Prosecutors had only recommended probation for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, one of the president’s closest allies, who lost Jakarta’s gubernatorial election last month to Anies Baswedan, an establishment candidate who rode a wave of hardline religious sentiment to victory.
“What is important is that we trust in the legal mechanism to resolve problems that we face,” Jokowi told reporters on Tuesday. “That is the way a democratic country handles differences in public. The government cannot intervene in the legal process.” [Straits Times]
Three more Cambodian peacekeepers dead after attack in Central African Republic
Three Cambodian peacekeepers who had been taken captive were found dead on Tuesday in the Central African Republic after a fourth colleague was shot dead in an attack that is still being investigated, according to a Cambodian official.
“The other three were found dead last night,” said Malinda Kosal, spokeswoman for the UN’s National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces in Cambodia, adding that they were found by churchgoers about 2km from the location of the initial ambush. [SEA Globe]
Malaysia expects to reach high-income status by 2020
A top Malaysian official said the only reason Malaysia had not reached the ‘high-income’ threshold was due to depreciation of the country’s currency, but he said he expected the milestone to be met by 2020.
“As long as Malaysia’s exports grow and despite the current weakening of the ringgit, we are still on track to achieve the target in 2020,” said Idria Jala, who heads the delivery unit within the prime minister’s office overseeing public management.
Malaysia’s gross national income per capita was $10,570 in 2015, falling about 15% short of the high-income threshold, he said. [Public Finance International]
Strange online trends greet Japanese porn star in Malaysia
A breakdown of online analytics since Maria Ozawa, a Japanese actress who is best known for her work in adult films, announced her arrival in Malaysia offers some surprising insight into the habits of web users in some of the country’s most conservative areas.
Among the areas where Google search interest was highest was the state of Kelantan, where shopping lines are segregated by gender and the local government has been pushing for Islamic law. [Quartz]