Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Monday, 14 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in South Asia.

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in SRI LANKA

  • Yesterday two people were shot dead in the Wattala (wat-ta-la) area of the capital city Colombo. The police suspect the shootout was gang-related and the two people killed had connections to the underworld. A machine gun was used in the shootout.
  • Violent clashes between criminal gangs are a major concern for law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka. More than 200 people were killed in gang-related murders in 2018.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of gang-related violence in Colombo and other major cities. Avoid Colombo night-life areas where the gangs are known to be active.


  • Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Saturday that the federal government has decided not to enter into an International Monetary Fund programme for now. He made the statement during an interaction with businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • Pakistan has been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for an economic assistance package since November last year. The statement comes after China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered a generous economic aid of over USD 15 billion to mitigate the economic crisis.
  • Clients are advised to monitor major reforms in taxation and tariffs that the Pakistani government may introduce to tackle the economic crisis. Monitor APAC Assistance alerts and advisories for further updates.


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Today, Paul will look at issues in Timor Leste, PNG and in Thailand.


  • Yesterday a protest was held by pro-democracy activists at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok. The activists were protesting an expected delay in elections and called for elections to be held before March 10, being the 150-day deadline set by the constitution. The activists threatened to hold a rally at the Democracy Monument on Saturday, January 19, if a royal decree announcing the election is not published by Saturday.
  • The pro-democracy group was led by Nuttaa Mahattana, Parit Chiwarak, and Sirawith Seritiwat. The group gave itself the most imaginitative of names “People Who Want Elections”. They were closely monitored by the police.
  • Clients are advised to avoid all political gathering before the elections. More protests are expected and may spread nationwide if major political parties join the protests.
  • We have written an in depth assessment on this issue and its ramifications for our members. Non-members can purchase for view at


  • The Shadow Justice Minister Kerenga Kua says Members of Parliament must put more effort on understanding implications of the Bougainville referendum.
  • Bougainville is expected to hold a referendum on June 15, this year, on whether to retain its autonomy status or become an independent country. After the vote, the national parliament will have the final vote on the matter.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the developments on the referendum and consider its ramifications on operations in Bougainville, especially clients in the resource sector.


  • Last week the National Parliament of Timor Leste approved the amendment to the 2005 Petroleum Activities Law. President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo vetoed the law in December 2018.
  • The amendments of the law will allow Timor-Leste and its public companies to participate in the Greater Sunrise development project. It also changes conditions on the use of Petroleum Fund to finance the oil and gas development.
  • Clients are advised to consider implications of the amendment on business operations in the country.


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