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Asean Affairs 15 May 2011
By David Swartzemtruber
AseanAffairs 15 May 2011
These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of May 7-13.
Myanmar wants 2014 chairmanship
Myanmar stole the headlines of the Asean Summit on Friday when it announced that the military-led country and serial human rights abuser had asked to chair the group in 2014.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/asean_news/politics/myanmar_wants_2014_chairmanship
Thai PM Abhisit submits dissolution decree
Kicking off the countdown to the next election late next month or in early July, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has submitted for royal endorsement a decree to dissolve the House of Representatives.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/thailand_news/politics/thai_pm_abhisit_submits_dissolution_decree
Southeast Asia still considering nuclear
As Asean countries discussed alternative sources of energy to prepare for a departure from using fossil fuels, the possibility of turning to nuclear energy was not out of the question, despite the ongoing crisis in Japan.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/indonesia_news/energy/southeast_asia_still_considering_nuclear_this_page
Doubts rise on integrating Asean
Despite President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono proclaiming significant progress in efforts to form an Asean Economic Community by 2015, some Indonesian observers and lawmakers have yet to be convinced about the scheme.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/indonesia_news/economy/doubts_rise_on_integrating_asean
Singapore elections signal change
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged his People's Action Party (PAP) will change the way it governs after returning to power with the smallest margin of popular votes as the opposition won a record number of seats.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/singapore_news/politics/singapore_elections_signal_change
Declining US dollar gives edge to imports
A declining US dollar price on the free market and at commercial banks has given imported goods a competitive edge over their domestic counterparts, Vietnamese industry insiders say.
Ministers agree on border observers
The foreign ministers of Cambodia and Thailand have agreed on a deal calling it a so-called "package solution" to allow the deployment of Indonesian monitors to the disputed border area.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/cambodia_news/politics/ministers_agree_on_border_observers
Asean open to Myanmar leadership, BUT
Indonesia, as the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, says Myanmar still needs to prove its move toward democracy is sincere if it wants to lead the bloc in 2014.
Corruption plagues corporate Thailand
Lax law enforcement has resulted in various forms of corruption among local and international companies and subsidiaries to artificially boost share prices and evade taxes, resulting in severe damage to the economic system, say experts.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/thailand_news/economy/corruption_plagues_corporate_thailand
Mekong dam put on hold
Construction of the controversial Xayaburi dam will be delayed after the Laotian government officially informed its Thai contractor that more study of the environmental impact is required for the $3.8-billion project on the Mekong River.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/laos_news/energy/mekong_dam_put_on_hold
Najib addresses religious uproar
Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday sought to calm the raging debate over Islam's position as the official religion of Malaysia, in the wake of a newspaper report that some Christians and the opposition are plotting to make Malaysia a Christian nation.
San Miguel credit outlook cut
Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) on Wednesday said it has downgraded its credit outlook for the Philippines’ biggest food and beverage maker on the back of the conglomerate’s weaker financial risk profile.
Microfinance increases in Cambodia
Commercial banks in Cambodia said Thursday they welcome a larger role for microfinance institutions (MFI) in thecountry, following an announcement that the National Bank of Cambodia had granted a deposit licence to VisionFund Cambodia.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/cambodia_news/finance/microfinance_increases_in_cambodia
Petronas to build refinery
State-owned oil company, Petronas, will construct a US$20 billion (RM60bil) integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Southern Johor to be commissioned by the end of 2016, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced Friday.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/malaysia_news/energy/petrona_to_build_refinery
Vietnam needs more investment
Vietnam needs US$10-15 billion per year to sufficiently invest in its own infrastructure.
Hot money surges in Philippines
Foreign portfolio investments (FPI) registered net inflows last month amid the Philippines’ favorable credit conditions, the Philippine central bank said on Thursday.
READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/philippines_news/investment/hot_money_surges_in_philippines