Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories – 15 June 2017
The Region Today – 15 June 2017
Feud between Singaporean PM and siblings heats up
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings have taken to Facebook to accuse the leader of not only undermining the wishes of their late father, the prime minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990, but also using his position to advance his personal interests.
This is not the first time Lee’s siblings have taken feuds public. On the anniversary of their father’s death last year, Lee’s sister published images of emails on Facebook and accused Lee of attempting to “establish a dynasty.”
“We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or a leader. We have lost confidence in him,” Lee’s siblings wrote in the latest Facebook post.
Opinions are mixed on whether the accusations will politically damage the prime minister, who has enjoyed broad public support. [New York Times]
Cambodia to commemorate PM’s defection from the Khmer Rouge
Officials are planning a ceremony to commemorate Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defection from the Khmer Rouge and the regime’s eventual downfall, according to the a senior official in the Defense Ministry.
Next Wednesday, Hun Sen will travel to what is now Tbong Khmum province, where he commanded a Khmer Rouge unit almost 40 years ago before defecting to Vietnam.
“The ceremony is of historical value,” said Nem Sowath, a director-general in the Defense Ministry. “If there is no Samdech Techo [Mr. Hun Sen], none of today’s achievements would have materialized.” [Cambodia Daily]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: The one and only: Hun Sen
Philippines calls for more help in fight against Islamic State
The continued fighting on Mindanao island in the Philippines between the military and combatants aligned with the Islamic State (IS) has prompted regional neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia to aid the Philippines in their fight, but Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano is calling for more countries to get involved.
“We have asked our neighbors, and the bigger powers and more wealthy powers – whether they are developing or developed – to help,” he said.
Cayetano said, however, that the Philippines would only accept aid with “no strings attached,” further emphasizing a prior decision by the Philippines to reject EU aid that it says attempts to influence internal affairs of the nation. [Asian Review]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Philippines deploys tanks and helicopters in attempt to reclaim southern city
Malaysian authorities urge Grab to implement ‘panic button’ by end of July
Grab, the Malaysia e-hailing taxi service and regional competitor to Uber, was urged by Malaysia authorities to implement a ‘panic button’ to protect riders by 31 July at the latest.
The button will be GPS connected and link to the Royal Malaysian Police. “They expressed their commitment and willingness to implement the panic button application immediately to ensure the safety of passengers,” said Seri Nancy Shukri, a minister in the Prime Minister’s office.
The decision comes after a slew of violent incidents involving Grab, including one in which a driver allegedly raped a passenger. [Malay Mail Online]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Way to Goh
More ancient elephant fossils unearthed in Indonesia
A 70 year-old Indonesian farmer was drilling a well in his field in Central Java province when he was came across a fully intact skull of a 700,000 year old Stegodon dwarf elephant, according to the Sangiran Ancient Human Site Conservation Agency.
The Indonesian islands are flush with diverse species of elephants, some of which date back more than a million years, including the famous Mastodon and Stegodon species. [Daily Sabah]