December 2019 — CANVAS

Weekly Report 12 December, 2019

Malaysia  Malaysia will proceed with criminal charges against Goldman Sachs due to the losses caused by Goldman Sachs in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. The losses amount to US$7.5bil (RM31.19bil) from Goldman Sachs alone, which is disputed by a Bloomberg report that speculates Goldman Sachs will ultimately pay less than US$2bil. Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently told Reuters in an interview that Malaysia would prefer to avoid going to court, but only if a reasonable offer could be agreed upon.  On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mohamad announced that he would hand over power to anointed successor Anwar Ibrahim in spite of new sexual assault allegations against him. The world’s oldest Prime Minister at 94 years old, Mohamad told Reuters that he would not hand over before a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries that Malaysia will host in November of 2020. Ibrahim, 72, has been jailed twice on separate counts of sodomy and for corruption.  North Korea  This week, US-North Korean relations have further deteriorated as North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song threatened the United States. The minister confirmed the possibility of North Korea resuming long-range missile tests, as well as shared how “it is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select”. North Korea insists that if the US does not change its position on nuclear negotiations the North will retaliate. So far, the US has not capitulated and maintains its position on nuclear negotiations. Hong Kong On Wednesday, a probe composed of foreign experts that was delegated to objectively investigate police brutality in Hong Kong abruptly quit, citing failure...

Weekly Report 6 December 2019

Myanmar Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi has flown to The Hague for legal hearings, as she faces genocide charges in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Suu Kyi has been accused of orchestrating an offensive with security forces and local Buddhists that systematically killed Rohingya Muslims and forced a large portion of the population to flee. The lawsuit was filed by the largely Islamic Gambia, as a show of religious solidarity with the Rohingya community in Myanmar. Suu Kyi has denied the allegations of genocidal intent and will be attending the hearings in hopes of refuting the conclusions drawn by the international community. Vietnam This week, the The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 (CRI) report noted that Vietnam’s position in terms of climate risk has worsened, moving from 9th place in 2018 to 6th place in 2019. The measure of the global vulnerability ladder is supplemented by Vietnam’s increase in extreme weather events over the last decade. With a reported 226 extreme weather events, killing on average 285.80 people per year and causing annual economic losses of US$2 billion per year, the report painted a grim picture for Vietnam’s future at this week’s 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Madrid.  Malaysia The People’s Justice Party (PKR) of Malaysia has continued to shown signs of fracture, as fights during the PKR Youth Congress were taken to the street this Friday. Though there was a ceasefire between rival groups in the party,  the Youth Congress event saw high levels of hostility within the organization. The fight outside of the political convention resulted in one person needing medical attention. As...

Weekly Report November 29th, 2019

Myanmar This Tuesday, Myanmar’s military began a court martial to try soldiers accused of committing atrocities during a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, according to an Army spokesperson. Myanmar prepares to face genocide charges at an international court in The Hague within the next month. Occurring in 2017 and resulting in a mass influx of Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh, the military crackdown has been labeled by the UN as “executed with genocidal intent”. Under investigation will be soldiers, police and local Buddhists that allegedly razed hundreds of villages in the Rakhine State.  Cambodia The Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has responded positively to diplomatic efforts by the Trump administration. Hun Sen accepted an invitation to the United States for a meeting of Southeast Asian countries and agreed to promote talks between Cambodia and the United States. Additionally, Hun Sen also appeared with the Trump administration’s push for democracy in the region, following a trend of increased liberty in Cambodia in the past few weeks. Despite improvement in freedoms, Hun Sen still intends to rule until 2028 and remains a stringent leader; many see his alleged efforts to foster democracy and human rights as a show to maintain trade relations with democratic countries.  Thailand Thailand confirmed that mandatory conscription in the country will not be abolished due to low numbers of volunteers. The current conscription system targets men over the age of 21 and uses an annual lottery to pick servicemen. Public opinion concerning the system has been unfavorable, but the latest statement from the Thai Deputy PM indicates that conscription will continue.  Laos The Laos economy has been steadily...