In June, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were enveloped in haze as hundreds of forest fires burned across the island of Sumatra, in the worst pollution crisis to hit Southeast Asia in more than a decade.
Between concluding rounds of negotiations towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major U.S.-proposed free trade agreement, a divisive fight has heated up over the extent to which countries should be allowed to regulate the sale of foreign – potentially far cheaper – tobacco products.
A distance of nearly 9,000 kilometres separates Malaysia from Africa, but that hasn’t stopped the Southeast Asian nation from becoming a key staging post in the illegal trade of ivory from Africa to China.
A draft law being readied for parliament that seeks to offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples could make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise gay marriage.
With a propensity to devour everything in their path and spiral quickly out of control, leaving behind swathes of scorched earth, forest fires are considered a hazard in most parts of the world. In Indonesia, however, fires are the preferred method for clearing large areas of land for massive plantations of commercial crops.
Indonesia's forest fires, a predictable annual ritual, will continue to have serious implications for health and the environment in Southeast Asia unless the government strengthens forest protection, warn environmental groups.
They had voted for “ubah” or change. What the youth of Malaysia got instead seems to be more of the same.
Liberian journalist Mae Azango says she spent a year living “like a bat, going from tree to tree” with her daughter in order to escape religious fanatics who were threatening to kill her for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in her home country last year.
With little sign of a meaningful diplomatic breakthrough on the South China Sea horizons, coupled with a dangerous escalation between Vietnam and China in the disputed waters, the Philippines has faced an added crisis over the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Malaysia is gearing up for a general election in six months and as the campaigns enter the crucial voter-courting phase many observers are wondering if the political ‘tsunami’, which severely weakened the ruling National Front coalition (BN) at the 2008 polls, might be repeated.
For half a century cardiovascular disease has been the largest killer in Western countries, but recently it has started to dominate the health statistics in the South as well. In India coronary heart disease is already the biggest killer, and strokes are about to rise to second place. Globally, cardiovascular disease now kills about 17 million people a year, and a growing number of people are having heart attacks or strokes as early as their 40s or 50s.
Age-old customs and traditions that allow licenced traders to collect and sell marine turtle eggs to locals and tourists alike are driving the creatures to extinction, Malaysian conservationists charge.
Kunasekaran Krishnan (43) is a member of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) who hopes his newly released CD of 10 “revolutionary songs” will help convince voters to back the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) in the general election that is widely expected to be held this year.