Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Thursday, 7 February 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia


  • Prime Minister Sheik Hasina said in the parliament yesterday that the government is unable to take any action to ban Jamaat-i-Islaami because there is an ongoing case in the Supreme Court against the organization. Jamaat-i-Islaami is a controversial Islamic organization in Bangladesh.
  • Sheik Hasina said she hopes that the organization is banned by the court and she was happy that its leaders were rejected by the people for spreading radical religious ideology. Jammat-i-Islami was denotified as a political party by the Election Commission last year. In the general elections in December last year, Jamaat-i-Islami had supported the alliance of opposition parties led by the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party.
  • Factional violence within the Jamaat-i-Islami spilled over on to the streets of Dhaka in November last year. More than 100 people were injured in the violence. Sheik Hasina’s comments in the parliament can trigger protests by the supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami and cause disruptions in Dhaka.


  • Yesterday the Supreme Court of Pakistan closed the case on Faizabad sit-in protests in 2017. The court has directed the government and the law enforcement agencies to prosecute any organization which issues an edict or a fatwa that promotes violence or puts people in harm’s way.
  • The Supreme Court had initiated the case after protests by the religious groups including Tehreek-i-Labaik which caused disruptions in Islamabad and other major cities. The religious groups were protesting a change in election rules and oath administered to elected members of National Assembly which they deemed anti-Islam.
  • The Supreme Court verdict criminalized the practice of issuing fatwa by the religious leaders and requires the government to prosecute them. The verdict can potentially trigger nationwide unrest by the religious groups if the government prosecutes their leaders.



Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in INDONESIA

  • Shares of Freeport-McMoRan rose almost 13% in January and is expected to rise further by 27% in total with the stock price at USD 22 from USD 11.46. In 2018, the stocks were down roughly by 35% due to the low price of copper, low production levels and higher production costs.
  • In 2019, the copper prices have bounced back with the bullish attitude of the investors.
  • The company will be announcing its Q1 earnings on April 23. Analysts are forecasting revenue to suffer a decline of 23.3% to USD 3.73 billion in the next fiscal quarter.


  • Yesterday three suspected gangsters were killed in two separate incidents in Manila who were allegedly involved in drugs and illegal arms trafficking. Police recovered .38-caliber handgun, ammunition, and P15,000 (USD 24,174) worth of methamphetamine.
  • Romeo Carlos Jr., the suspected leader of Eman criminal gang involved in various crimes was among the suspects killed. He was killed in an alleged encounter with agents of the Northern Police District’s Special Operations Unit in Manila.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution and be aware of the frequent armed encounters between the police and criminal gangs in Manila.

Also in the Philippines

  • Bureau of Immigration has introduced stricter requirements and procedures for issuing work permits to foreigners to protect local workers. Bureau of Immigration said “no work permit will be issued” to foreign applicants seeking employment in blue-collar jobs.
  • According to the new rules, work permits can be issued to foreigners only if Filipinos are not able and willing to do the job being applied for. The new rules will cover the provisional work permit and the special work permit issued by the Bureau of Immigration.
  • Provisional Work Permit is issued to a foreigner who already has an alien employment permit (AEP) and has a pending work visa application, while a special work permit allows foreigners with tourist visas to work for short-term contracts or for 6 months or less.

Also in the Philippines

  • Yesterday the Department of Health confirmed a measles outbreak in the National Capital Region (NCR). There were more than 860 suspected measles cases in Manila from January 1 to February 2 this year.
  • The Department of Health said the following regions are “under tight watch” for measles: Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Caraga.
  • The Department of Health urged the public to bring all suspected measles cases to the nearest health facility for early treatment and proper case management.


  • Air Asia and Air Asia X have increased their claim to MYR 80 million (USD 19.5 million) against Malaysia Airport Holdings (MAHB). Both carriers are seeking mediation under the Malaysia Aviation Commission Act which allows the commission to arbitrate if the mediation fails.
  • Improper handling of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 caused the shutdown of Terminal 3 and disruption of fuel supply at the terminal resulting in low passenger turnaround for the carriers.
  • Both carriers have refused to collect increased passenger service charges as they claim that the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 does not have the passenger facilities offered by other airports in Malaysia. An increase in passengers traffic by 11.8% was recorded at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 with 2.87 million from 2.57 million a year before.


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