Major Developments in South Asia, Monday, October 5, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

1. PML-N stages agitation in Lahore, Pakistan. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) launched protests with a rally on Temple Road, Lahore on October 3. Several party workers were gathered there, shouting slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan and ‘National Accountability Bureau-Niazi nexus’. They expressed solidarity with their leaders — Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif. Opposition parties have recently formed a new alliance called Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Although the PML-N has pledged to fully participate in rallies to be taken out under the PDM, it has planned some separate public meetings in Punjab. PML-N leaders alleged that the ruling government had destroyed the country’s economy in two years. They slammed the government for its “revenge” policy against the opposition. Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz is expected to address a party rally at Gujranwala on October 16. The first rally of the PDM has been rescheduled to take place in Quetta on October 18, instead of October 11.

Background: PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was arrested on September 28 after the Lahore High Court rejected his bail plea in a USD 41.9 million money laundering case. A Lahore court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s wife Nusrat Shehbaz and daughter Rabia Imran in a money laundering case.

Assessment: The PML-N is likely to continue protests in Pakistan due to increasing hostilities between the opposition and the ruling government. A political tug of war between opposition parties and the army establishment is set to intensify, as opposition forces form a new united front to address their grievances against the military. PDM will likely stage protest gatherings and rallies for the upcoming weeks. Opposition parties could potentially mobilize people in major cities like Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore. Islamist parties are likely to organize in Balochistan and in Karachi, Sindh. It is important to note that the support for PML-N is waning, as the traditionally older support base has given way to popular support by younger people for Imran Khan.

Advice: Clients in Pakistan are advised to follow the latest developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

2. PPP and MQM-P hold simultaneous rallies in Karachi and Hyderabad, Pakistan. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), staged separate rallies in Karachi and Hyderabad respectively, yesterday. PPP began the demonstration at the Ayesha Manzil area of Karachi under the banner “Karachi solidarity” protest. The rally then proceeded to the Empress Market via Liaquatabad, Teen Hatti, Guru Mandir, Peoples’ Secretariat, and Lines Area. The rally was organized to counter the recent back-to-back political rallies by rivals MQM-P and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).  PPP leader and Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani said, “Today’s rally is against the people who aim at dividing Sindh.” The PPP accused both MQM-P and JI of fueling ethnic tensions in Sindh, particularly in Karachi. PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro said “The conspiracy to divide Sindh is against the spirit of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s ideology.” Political tensions between the two have flared, especially since MQM-P demanded a separate province in Sindh.

Meanwhile, the MQM-P staged a protest in Hyderabad yesterday. The rally started from the Hotel City gate area and ended at the Station road area. The rally was primarily held to protest against the incumbent Sindh government’s perceived failure in governing the province. The party has accused the PPP government of ignoring the rights of the Muhajirs, Urdu-speaking population. They have also accused the government of favoring the native Sindhi-speaking people in various fields, including government jobs.

Assessment: The cracks in Pakistan’s political landscape have resurfaced after back-to-back protests emerged in Karachi in recent weeks. The ongoing rivalry between the PPP and MQM-P over dominance in Sindh is expected to continue. The opposition parties will likely present a united front to oust the incumbent government. Further protests against the government in Sindh are possible in the coming weeks. Similarly, the PPP will likely counter any efforts by the opposition to destabilize the government. Sindh, a traditional stronghold of the PPP, could potentially see large participation in rallies organized by the party in the province. Likewise, both MQM-P and JI too have the potential to mobilize large support. They will likely continue with their demands for a separate province and more rights for ethnic minorities within the province. It is unlikely that the ruling government will give in to their demands, but will possibly look to negotiate with the opposition parties in the face of resistance. Ethnic tensions have the potential to escalate into a large-scale conflict in Pakistan. If protests are carried out, there is risk of formation of new COVID-19 clusters in the country.

Advice: Clients in Pakistan, especially in Karachi, are advised to follow the latest political developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around government buildings, crowded districts and other protest hotspots at the time of the protests. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
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OTHER MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

INDIA

1. Congress party workers staged demonstrations in Guwahati, Assam, to protest against the attack on former party President Rahul Gandhi by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police last week. Several leaders of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress took part in the protest. They burnt effigies of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Police.

2. The Maharashtra Government issued standard operating procedures for restaurants that are set to reopen from today under the ‘Mission Begin Again’ initiative. As per the guidelines, restaurants including cafes, canteens, dining halls, licensed food and beverages units, clubs and bars can reopen with 50% occupancy. Buffet service is not allowed. Face masks are mandatory. People without masks will be denied entry.

3. A personnel of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force, was killed and another was injured in an ambush by suspected militants in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday. The incident took place around 9:00 AM (local time). The militants allegedly detonated improvised explosive devices on the road and fired bullets on the tanker before fleeing from the spot.

4. The air quality in various parts of Delhi has deteriorated, as Rohini and Jahangirpuri areas recorded an average air quality index (AQI) of 206 and 230, which falls under the ‘poor’ category. Similarly, areas like Wazirpur and Delhi Technological University also recorded a poor AQI. The late withdrawal of monsoon and associated stagnant winds are likely to influence Delhi’s air quality negatively by the weekend.

5. A terror attack was averted after four suspected terrorists were arrested in New Delhi’s Daryaganj area on October 2. The suspects were allegedly indoctrinated by a banned terrorist organization, Ansar Ghazwat-Ul Hind, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.

6. Four Afghan nationals were allegedly arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in New Delhi on October 3. The NCB officials busted an international module of drug trafficking and arrested four suspects involved in the crime. They recovered 380 gms of heroin from their possession.

7. Hundreds protested at Jantar Mantar in Delhi against the Uttar Pradesh (UP)’s government’s handling of an alleged sexual assault case and murder, on October 2. Protesters, including politicians and civil society leaders, alleged that the UP authorities were seeking to cover-up the incident that occurred in Hahras in the previous week. Authorities in UP have since suspended the Hathras superintendent and deputy superintendent of police, along with three other officers.

8. As part of easing lockdown measures, states across the country are allowing the resumption of certain activities from today. In Maharashtra, restaurants, bars, and cafes can reopen. In Puducherry, schools can reopen for grades 10-12. Schools in Tripura can similarly operate for grades 9-12. The Kolkata Metro will run for longer, while running more trains from tomorrow. In Chennai, essential staff will be permitted to use local trains.

PAKISTAN

9. Security forces killed two terrorists and arrested one in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, yesterday. The suspects were allegedly involved in attacking security forces and civilians.

10. Karachi authorities sealed nine marriage halls and 171 restaurants for flouting COVID-19-related safety measures yesterday. They also imposed a micro lockdown in the Malir area on October 3, which is to run until October 15. Prime Minister Imran Khan called on Pakistanis to wear masks, citing concerns of a second COVID-19 wave.

11. Authorities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir decided to re-impose a region-wide lockdown “in principle”, yesterday. The full policy will be drafted within two days. Religious and social gatherings will not be allowed, while locals are required to wear masks. Authorities will conduct checks at entry points.

12. Residents of Karachi’s Defense Housing Authority and Clifton locales held a protest at the Press Club on October 3. They threatened to stop paying taxes. They have been demonstrating against the lack of basic facilities since heavy rains in August caused property damages to the area.

13. Seven suspected drug dealers were arrested with a huge contraband in Islamabad yesterday. Police recovered more than 21 kgs heroin, 50 gms of methamphetamine and 81 narcotic pills from their possession. They were allegedly involved in supplying heroin to foreign countries as well as within Pakistan.

14. The Sindh and federal governments agreed to start trial runs of local trains within 12 kms distance during the next two months. This decision was made during a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar. The meeting was held to chalk out a strategy in respect of launching the Karachi Circular Railway project.

BANGLADESH

15. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh relaxed guidelines for Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines on flights to Saudi Arabia until October 24. Previously the airlines had a cap on the maximum number of passengers these flights could take.

16. The Home Minister said that processions for the upcoming Durga Puja will not be allowed across the country. The festival will be celebrated in the last week of October. He also stressed the need for COVID-19 protocols.

17. Mobile financial services transactions declined by approximately 34.3% in August from July. The number of daily average transactions also declined by approximately 13.1%, as compared to the previous month.

18. Jute mill workers held a protest at the Crescent Jute Mill area of Khulna City yesterday. They were protesting the government’s decision to close all state-owned jute mills due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They also demanded arrears. They alleged that the police barred hundreds of them from participating in the protest.

19. At least two Rohingyas were killed and 10 others were injured after a set of clashes at the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar yesterday. Authorities said that two groups of Rohingyas fought over establishing supremacy in the area. Additional security forces were deployed to the scene.

20. Authorities baton-charged migrant workers after the latter broke through one of the entrances of the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. Several workers were injured. The workers subsequently blocked Karwan Bazar Road, disrupting traffic in the area. Migrant workers had been gathered at that venue to secure tickets to go to Saudi Arabia to work. Migrant workers also gathered at the Biman Bangladesh Airlines office in Motijheel.

21. The Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van Owners Workers Unity Council announced that there would be a nationwide goods transport strike from October 12-13. They are calling for the amendment to the Road Transport Act by December 31 this year, among other demands.

SRI LANKA

22. The Jathika Samagi Balawegaya is to launch a protest campaign against the draft 20th amendment from today. The 20th amendment affords more power to the president, allegedly at the expense of democratic institutions. The group is to begin the campaign by distributing leaflets and displaying posters. They have planned a protest in Hyde Park, Colombo, on October 8.

23. All international schools and private schools will be closed from today until further notice. All tuition classes in the districts of Colombo and Gampaha are also similarly suspended. Primary schools will also remain closed.

24. A police curfew was imposed in Veyangoda, Divulapitiya, and Minuwangoda yesterday. This came as a precautionary measure after cases of COVID-19 were detected in the areas. Authorities also increased security in Gampaha.

NEPAL

25. Police arrested a suspect alleged to be involved in Rautahat’s Rajpur bomb explosion that took place 12 years ago. Police arrested the suspect on October 3 with the support from India’s Special Task Force. The suspect had allegedly burnt 23 injured persons in the brick kiln to destroy evidence.

26. Various individuals from the business community, political parties, and social organizations, held protests in Butwal yesterday. The protest was against the central government’s naming of Deukhuri in Dang as the provincial capital of Province 5. Protesters demanded that Butwal in Rupandehi be declared the provincial capital. Protests over the same took place across the province on October 3 as well.

27. Approximately 150 members of the Nepal Resident Doctors’ Association and medical students protested at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu yesterday. The demonstration was to show solidarity with a doctor on hunger strike, and also to voice opposition to the government with respect to healthcare provisions.

Major Developments in East Asia Pacific, Monday, October 5, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

New Caledonians voted against independence yesterday. The provisional final count results of the independence referendum indicate that New Caledonians voted against independence from France yesterday. The anti-independence bloc secured approximately 53.26% of the votes. French President Emmanuel Macron said that “Voters have had their say. They confirmed their wish to keep New Caledonia a part of France.” 85.6% of eligible voters participated in the referendum. This was the second independence referendum since 2018. In that referendum, 56.4% voted against independence, while the remainder voted for it.  The pro-independence side said it would seek a third referendum.

Background: France took over New Caledonia as a colony in 1853. Since then, tensions have been prevalent between the pro-independence indigenous Kanaks and the anti-independence descendants of colonial settlers. In 1998, as per the Noumea Accord, France promised to increase the Kanak’s political power over a 20-year period until New Caledonia decided to remain or leave. A third referendum is allowed by 2022 under the Noumea Accord, if one third of the local assembly votes for it. New Caledonia depends on France for various matters, such as defense and education. Its economy is supported by annual French subsidies worth USD 1.5 billion, large nickel deposits, and tourism.

Assessment: The slightly lower margin with which the anti-independence bloc won in 2020 illustrates the political gains pro-independence parties have made since the 2018 referendum. It will serve to temporarily ease tensions over independence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The results may nevertheless pressure France into ceding more autonomy to placate the seemingly growing anti-independence bloc. It is likely that the New Caledonia assembly votes for the third referendum by 2022.

Advice: Clients in New Caledonia are advised to monitor the related political developments. Strictly follow the guideline issued by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further details.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

EAST ASIA

CHINA

1. China reported 20 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, up from 16 cases reported a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The total number of COVID-19 cases in China now stands at 85,470, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

2. The US released guidance on its immigration laws to deny admission to people with links to a Communist party from being granted permanent residence or citizenship of America. The announcement was made in a policy alert issued on October 2 by the US Citizen and Immigration Services. The law effectively blocks members of the Chinese Communist Party from ever obtaining permanent residency or citizenship of the US.

3. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government is planning to introduce a “health code” system. This system will allow quarantine-free travel among Hong Kong, Guangdong Province and Macao SAR when Hong Kong’s COVID-19 outbreak situation stabilizes.

4. The government is investigating a long-time colleague of Vice President Wang Qishan for alleged “serious violation of laws and party rules.” Dong Hong allegedly worked under Wang until 2017 as a senior disciplinary inspector when Wang was the chief of China’s anti-corruption agency. The Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) said that Dong is under “discipline review and supervisory investigation.”

JAPAN

5. Nearly 3,000 people participated in protest marches in Tokyo on October 3 against the Chinese government’s alleged atrocities and human rights violations. The protesters included Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese people. They marched from the central venue through three different areas of Tokyo.

6. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shortened his trip to Asia after President Donald Trump and other senior officials tested positive for COVID-19. Pompeo will visit Tokyo on October 11, where he will meet counterparts from Australia, India and Japan. The diplomats are set to discuss security amid growing Chinese power.

7. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 108 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. The tally brought Tokyo’s cumulative total to 26,484. Nationwide, the number of cases recorded yesterday was 396 and one COVID-19-related death.

TAIWAN

8. Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wang Ting-yu proposed the amendment of the National Security Act to penalize those engaging in propaganda for foreign forces. Wang introduced an amendment to restrict the Chinese flag, which is often waved in front of Taipei 101 and around Ximending and Xinyi District. The draft amendment will prevent citizens from engaging in any efforts to violate Taiwan’s national identity.

SOUTH KOREA

9. Police mobilized hundreds of buses to block off any political rallies in Seoul on October 3. They parked buses along main avenues and around a central Seoul square to seal them off. They also set up around 90 checkpoints to prevent vehicles from bringing protesters while the subway did not stop at several stations at protest venues.

10. The government plans to maintain tough social distancing measures in greater Seoul this week. It adopted the so-called special antivirus regime starting September 28 and running through October 11. Under the measures, South Korea will continue to ban indoor gatherings of 50 or more people nationwide, along with operations of door-to-door sales businesses. All sports games cannot have spectators. High-risk facilities, such as karaoke rooms, bars and clubs, will remain shut in greater Seoul until this week.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

INDONESIA

11. Labor unions and civil rights groups will hold large-scale protests from tomorrow until October 8 in opposition to the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation. The bill is due to be passed into law in the next plenary session of the House of Representatives. The House and the government have agreed to pass it into law on October 8. Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions Chair Nining Elitos said the hasty and largely “clandestine” deliberation of the bill left the organization no choice but to voice its opposition regardless of the result.

12. A coalition of civil society groups, academics and social organizations has started an online petition urging President Joko Widodo to fire Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto. The minister has been allegedly incompetent in handling the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. The petition was started by the National Network on Domestic Worker Advocacy, the head of students’ executive board of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University and the head of the University of Indonesia’s Student Executive Body.

13. Three men from Waris district in Keerom regency, Papua, were shot with rubber bullets, as police attempted to disperse a gathering which was protesting civil servant recruitment results. The incident occurred on October 1. Protesters claimed that the police had not fired warning shots.

14. Former Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga Uno is set to join the campaign team for President Joko Widodo’s eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka and running mate Teguh Prakoso in the upcoming Surakarta mayoral election in Central Java. The Gerindra Party politician, who ran as party chairman Prabowo Subianto’s running mate in the 2019 presidential election, will join Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri and her daughter, senior PDI-P politician Puan Maharani.

15. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and prominent Muslim groups have urged the government to delay simultaneous regional elections scheduled for December over COVID-19 concerns. LIPI Political Research Center Head Firman Noor said the decision to go ahead with the elections during a public health crisis showed the government’s imprudence.

16. The Law and Human Rights Ministry is revising its temporary ban on foreigners entering Indonesia. Minister Yasonna Laoly said the ministry was finalizing a revision to a ministerial regulation about temporary prohibition of foreigners entering Indonesia amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been effective since April 3.

THAILAND

17. The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) is making preparations for planned protests by various pro-democracy groups at the Democracy Monument on October 14. MPB Commissioner Police Lieutenant general Pakapong Pongpetra yesterday said that police were trying to assess how many people would join the rally. This is to decide the number of police officers to be deployed to maintain law and order.

18. Two leaders of the United Front of Thammasat and the Demonstration group, and a human rights lawyer, have been banned from speaking at a forum on the 44th anniversary of the October 6, 1976 Thammasat University massacre. One of the organizers of the event said on October 3 that the banned leaders were Parit Chiwarak and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa. The reason behind the ban was not revealed.

MALAYSIA

19. Former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dropped hints that he may lead his two-month-old party, as well as the opposition, into the next general election. Yesterday, he revealed that his supporters still want him to continue as an elected representative.

20. Malaysia will not re-impose widespread COVID-19 restrictions on travel despite a recent spike in infections. The country has seen a steady climb in cases in the past week. However, Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government did not see the need to reimpose the lockdown. He said that the majority of cases were being reported in detention centers and isolated districts.

SINGAPORE

21. The country reported 12 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, including two in the community and six imported infections.  The new cases took the national tally to 57,812.

MYANMAR

22. Yangon International Airport extended the suspension of domestic flights until the end of October due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Myanmar Central Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment has also ordered the suspension of international passenger flights until October 31.

23. The Health and Sports Ministry recorded 1,294 new COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 17,794. The total number of deaths stands at 412, and the recoveries made from the virus is 5,195.

24. Two military columns allegedly fired both small and heavy weaponry into the Restoration Council of Shan State territory in Kyaukme Township, Shan State this week. Villagers in the area have remained on alert to leave, as tensions are high.

25. Clashes between the military and the Arakan Army flared for two consecutive days in Minbya Township in Rakhine State. Fighting broke out at a location between Minbya Township’s Maylwan and Pharpyaw villages on September 30, and on Sanwin Hill near Rarmaung Bridge on October 1. A woman was injured and was admitted to Minbya Hospital for medical treatment.

PHILIPPINES

26. Soldiers searching Maguindanao province for Islamic State-linked gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters found improvised bombs and bomb-making devices left by fleeing rebels. The military said the explosives were found in a shanty in Salman village of Ampatuan town on October 3.

27. The country reported 3,190 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing its total confirmed infections to 322,497. The Health Ministry also reported 100 more fatalities due to COVID-19 infections, taking its death toll to 5,776.

VIETNAM

28. The port city of Hai Phong has given approval to Exxon Mobil to build a liquefied natural gas-fired power plant. The city’s People’s Committee said that the USD 5.09 billion plant will be built in two phases, each with a capacity of 2.25 gigawatts. The first will be functional in 2026-27 and the second three years later.

CAMBODIA

29. The country yesterday confirmed it razed a US-funded defense facility on its southern coast. Authorities demolished the US facility on Ream’s naval base last month. The destruction is the latest move in the ongoing controversial expansion of the strategically crucial naval base being developed with Chinese aid.

BRUNEI

30. Brunei marked 10 consecutive days without any new COVID-19 cases reported across the country. The total number of COVID-19 cases remains at 146. One active case is being treated at the National Isolation Center in Tutong District.

TIMOR LESTE

31. President Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres declared the 6th State of Emergency over COVID-19 for thirty days on September 3. The extended state of emergency started yesterday and will end on November 3.

PACIFIC ISLANDS

NEW ZEALAND

32. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today confirmed Auckland will move to alert level 1 this week. Alert Level 1 means that there are no extra restrictions on gatherings and the removal of social distancing requirements in restaurants and bars. Ardern said the Cabinet met via Zoom to review Auckland’s alert level and that all signs point to the city’s COVID-19 cluster being under control. She said there were 179 cases attached to the cluster but there have been no new cases within that cluster for 10 days now.

33. The Ministry of Health reported there is one new case of COVID-19 today in managed isolation. No new confirmed cases in the community were recorded. The country’s cumulative total of COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,499.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

34. Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori said yesterday that studies will be done to assess the environmental and socio-economic impact of four mines in the country. The four mines are the Ramu Nico mine in Madang, Ok Tedi in Western, Porgera in Enga and Sinivit in East New Britain. Mori said officers from the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority would visit the mine sites and surrounding communities to conduct assessments.

35. President-elect Ishmael Toroama of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville named a 14-strong Cabinet lineup from the pool of 39 Members of Parliament elected last month. He included new people, saying promoting young talent helps to create a vibrant environment and encourage innovation. Toroama will head the Inter-Government Affairs, and also Communications and Media.

36. Controller David Manning, the head of the COVID-19 response, has tightened restrictions as the country faces 540 infections. He banned large gatherings, some business activities and mandated that masks be worn on public transport. He said a ban now applies to gatherings of more than 50 people.

FIJI

37. The government commissioned a plan to rebuild infrastructure ahead of the cyclone season. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the government is aware of the need for more resilient homes and schools. He said this because most schools in the country were built decades ago and almost none adhere to current building codes.

38. The government cannot stop importing kava from Vanuatu due to its obligation to respect the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA): Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu. The minister said the country had benefited a lot through the MSGTA that was signed with Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

39. The formation of a low-pressure area is projected to cause moderate to heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms over parts of the country: National Weather Forecasting Centre. Heavy rainfall is predicted over the eastern and interior parts of the larger islands, Lau and Lomaiviti and Yasawa group. Meanwhile, isolated spells of heavy rainfall and cloudy skies are expected elsewhere.

VANUATU

40. A moderate intensity earthquake hit 195 kms northwest of Sola yesterday. The earthquake measured 5.2 on the Richter scale.  It occurred at 2:35 PM (local time), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

41. The country recorded its first case of COVID-19 infections yesterday, eight months since the outbreak. The case was of a student who had been repatriated from the Philippines last week. The student was asymptomatic and is now in isolation with two other close contacts. Meanwhile, frontline staff were also assessed. The patient was one of over 400 nationals stranded in the Philippines after borders were closed. Sogavare said the repatriation operation would continue regardless.

42. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare indicated there would be no national lockdown for now despite the country recording its first case of COVID-19. He said the government had faith in their system, the professional health personnel and frontline staff. Sogavare said, the preparedness and response measure the government worked on implementing over the past eight months had now been activated.

43. The government said it will repatriate citizens stranded in Kiribati if a landing permit is approved in Tarawa. Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Jimmie Rodgers said that at least 28 Solomon Islanders are currently awaiting repatriation from Kiribati. Rodgers said that there is a likelihood for a third repatriation flight to Auckland in November.

44. The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is boosting static security at the two quarantine stations where the repatriated Solomon Islands students from the Philippines are accommodated. The RSIPF will boost security at the Guadalcanal Beach Resort east of Honiara and the Chengs accommodation opposite the King George Sixth National Secondary School in east Honiara. This comes as the government declared the first positive case of COVID-19 case in the country yesterday.

NEW CALEDONIA

45. The management of the country’s response to COVID-19 and measures taken to control it will be tested in France’s Constitutional Court. Pro-independence parties challenged the decisions by the French High Commission, arguing that they violated the Noumea Accord which had transferred health care into the domain of the local government.  They said under the pretext of a French national emergency, several decrees were issued which took away the country’s powers as enshrined in the French constitution. The parties raised three alleged violations with France’s top administrative court and the Council of State. A ruling is expected in two months.

46. A law was proposed by the pro-independence parties to restrict the sale of existing property to citizens only. They said foreigners should only be allowed to obtain property if it was new construction. They said such a law would help young locals obtain property near town centers as they currently struggled to compete with potential buyers from overseas. The proposed law would exclude thousands of French citizens living in the country from being able to buy existing housing. The Real Estate Confederation criticized the proposal to ban foreigners from being able to buy existing properties in the country.

SAMOA

47. Member of Parliament (MP) for Lotofaga, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, called for a vote against the leadership of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party in the 2021 General Election. Mata’afa urged the people to vote against the leadership to prevent them from reshaping the judiciary and threaten the rule of law. She said the proponents of the bills aiming to change the Lands and Titles Court, played a “culture card” to win favor with the community even though they will not elevate Samoan culture as promised.

PALAU

48. Leaders of five Micronesian nations said they will withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum if their nominee is not chosen as Secretary-General. The threat to withdraw from Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands was contained in a communiqué (directive) signed by the leaders at the end of their meeting in Koror. The communiqué was also signed by the President Tommy Remengesau Junior, who stressed that until the issue was resolved, “we will suspend our participation in the upcoming forum meetings.”

TONGA

49. Around 37 earthquakes occurred within Tonga in the month of September, according to the Tonga Geological Services. The highest magnitude for earthquakes in September was 5.6 on the Richter scale and the lowest was 4.

MARSHALL ISLANDS

50. Government officials confirmed that planning was underway to repatriate a group of 15 people using United Airlines’ October 30 flight from Honolulu to Kwajalein Atoll. This includes the First Lady who has been stuck in Hawai’i since the borders were closed in early March.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

51. French prime minister Jean Castex assured the French Polynesian government of continued financial support from France. Castex met the visiting French Polynesian delegation, led by the President Edouard Fritch, who arrived in Paris for the first visit since the COVID-19 outbreak. The overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu will prepare the renewal of the development contracts which are due to expire at the end of the year. The two leaders discussed an additional loan to support French Polynesia’s budget.

52. The spread of COVID-19 cases in French Polynesia has accelerated, with almost 100 new infections being recorded in a day. Of the 2,026 total cases, 1,964 were recorded after the borders were reopened and mandatory quarantine requirements were abolished in July. While most cases were detected in Tahiti, the virus reached several outer islands, including Raivavae and Arutua.

GUAM

53. Guam recorded its 50th COVID-19 related death on October 2 at Guam Memorial Hospital. The deceased was an old woman with underlying health conditions. Guam has a total of 2,617 cases of COVID-19, including 680 active infections.

54. Around 40 residents held a pro-life protest in the ITC intersection yesterday afternoon. They held signs in support of their cause and chanted slogans. The administration announced last year that it intends to recruit doctors to provide abortions on Guam, which has given rise to anti-abortion and pro-choice rallies.

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

55. The country will allow people to fly from New Zealand to New South Wales and the Northern Territory, and avoid mandatory quarantine, beginning October 16. Australia and New Zealand closed their borders in March in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. Officials said the risks are now low enough to justify a “travel bubble”.

56. The state of Victoria recorded nine new COVID-19 cases and no COVID-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours. Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average is now at 11.6, while regional Victoria’s rolling average is 0.3.

Major Developments in South Asia, Friday, September 25, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

1. Tamils in Sri Lanka to protest ban on memorial events. Tamil political parties will participate in a hunger strike tomorrow and have called for a complete shutdown of Tamil areas on September 28. They will protest against the government’s ban to hold a memorial for Tamil Eelam revolutionary Thileepan, who died on September 26, 1987. Several magistrates, at the request of the police, have banned remembrance of Martyr Thileepan who died after a hunger strike. A letter was signed by Tamil National Alliance, Tamil Makkal Thesia Kooddani, and Tamil National People’s Front addressed to President Gothabaya Rajapaksa. They jointly urged him to lift the ban on remembering Tamil Martyrs. However, there was no response from the President for the letter.

Background: Rasaiah Parthipan, commonly known as Thileepan, was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist Tamil militant organization in Sri Lanka.  He became the LTTE’s political leader for Jaffna peninsula. He died while on hunger strike, to secure a five-point charter of demands. This included the setting up of an LTTE-dominated Interim Administrative Council for the Tamil dominated province as part of the India-Sri Lanka Accord. A statue of Thileepan built behind Nallur Kandaswamy Temple was destroyed multiple times in 1996, 2007 and more recently by the army on March 21, 2010.

Assessment: Thileepan memorial events will likely see heightened tensions in Tamil Eelam regions of Sri Lanka. Tamil political parties may continue with the events in spite of a ban by the government. It is likely that Tamil protesters will face arrests for violation of the ban. Clashes between the police and Tamil groups are possible tomorrow. The issues of alleged discrimination against the Sri Lankan Tamils have largely remained unsolved. The re-election of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party has strengthened Sinhala majoritarianism in the country. The Northern and Eastern Provinces continue to remain highly militarized with 16 of the 19 divisions of the Sri Lankan Army reportedly still stationed there. Routine and random searches are probable in Tamil minority-dominated areas.

Advice: Clients in Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, are advised to be aware of the political developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around protest hotspots. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

2. Protests planned in Karachi, Pakistan on September 27. The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party has planned to hold demonstrations in Karachi, Sindh on September 27. The protests are scheduled to take place in the Shahrah-e-Quaideen area of the city.  The JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said that his party plans to launch a series of protests against the incumbent government’s policies from next month. Protest participants aim to denounce controversial economic policies of the government, as well as ongoing power cuts in Karachi, among other issues.

Assessment: The JI has a strong hold in Pakistan’s society, especially in the city of Karachi. The protest may see a large participation despite COVID-19 related restrictions on public gathering. Similar protests in the past have seen large participation. Protest organizers may likely mobilize support ahead of the protest. Opposition parties and its supporters may possibly join the movement to criticize the incumbent government. Authorities are likely to deploy additional security personnel to sensitive locations and along the march. There will be a risk of violence, especially if police personnel employ forceful dispersal tactics. The protest marches will also cause travel disruptions in the vicinity of the protest site. Further protests over these and related issues are likely to be held over the coming months. If protests are carried out, there is possibility of the emergence of a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

Advice: Clients in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, especially in Karachi, are advised to follow the latest political developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around government buildings, crowded districts and other protest hotspots at the time of the protests. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
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OTHER MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

INDIA

1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation amended provisions regarding baggage limit on domestic flights yesterday, giving airline carriers the freedom to decide on it as per their internal policy. Airlines will now be able to reset the domestic check-in baggage limit back to 15 kgs.

2. Houses of 14 Christian families were allegedly vandalized by mob across five villages in Chhattisgarh’s Kondagaon district yesterday. According to witnesses, a mob of around 2,000 people attacked the houses as the ‘Christian families did not follow the local tribal culture’. They also thrashed members of the community in Kakdabeda, Silati and Singanpur on September 22 and 23. A police force was deployed to prevent further escalation.

3. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it is necessary to ensure stability on the ground while India and China work towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops in all friction areas in eastern Ladakh. The MEA spokesperson said that disengagement is a complex process which would require mutually agreed “reciprocal actions”, and the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo.

4. Several business groups welcomed the contentious and long-delayed labour reforms passed by the parliament this week. The new reforms are aimed at making hiring and firing workers easier and imposing restrictions on trade unions. Meanwhile, the All India Trade Union Congress said it will launch nation-wide protests against the labour code.

5. Indian Railways’ Central Railway zone began operating additional services of Mumbai suburban trains to the existing 355 services from yesterday. Central Railway increased the number of daily special suburban services from 355 to 423 to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

6. The Communist Party (Marxist) will hold rallies at 1,000 places across Kerala today in protest against the privatization of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. They are seeking to garner more opposition to the deal.

7. Approximately 30,000 contract and outsourced health workers went on strike yesterday in Karnataka. They demanded job regularization, an increase in salary, and job security.

8. The Election Commission (EC) will likely announce the schedule for the Bihar Legislative Assembly election 2020 today. The EC will hold a press conference in New Delhi at 12:30 PM (local time).

PAKISTAN

9. A fresh travel advisory was issued for international passengers to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections in the country: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). According to a spokesperson of CAA, the new standard operating procedures will come into force with immediate effect and remain in force till December 31. Passengers shall be required to install the contact tracing ‘Pass Track App’ from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Meanwhile, passengers travelling from category B countries require a negative COVID-19 Real-time polymerase chain reaction not older than 96 hours prior to commencement of travel to Pakistan.

10. A low-cost Turkish carrier, Pegasus Airlines, will launch its flight operation to and from Pakistan. The Kurtköy-based airline’s first flight to Pakistan will take off from a Turkey airport today and touch down at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. Pegasus will operate four flights on the Pakistan-Turkey route in a week.

11. The Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif banned members of his party from holding individual, private or delegation-level meetings with the country’s military leadership. Sharif said, if necessitated by national security or constitutional requirements, such meetings in the future will be approved by the party’s leadership and will be made public.

12. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) staged a protest in Karachi, Sindh yesterday. They demanded that a new province be carved out of the present Sindh province for administrative purposes. MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui warned that the party will hold more marches in October and November in order to mobilize masses for the cause.

13. The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested two suspected terrorists during a raid conducted in Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab yesterday. The CTD officials recovered explosive material from their possession. The suspects had allegedly planned to target sensitive installations.

BANGLADESH

14. The government has approved more flights to Saudi Arabia so that Bangladeshi expats working in the country can return. Approximately 35,000 Bangladeshi workers are seeking to reach Saudi Arabia by October 17, which the Saudi government made the deadline for visa and work permits for Bangladeshis. Migrant workers have been gathering at the office of the Saudi Arabian Airlines in Dhaka to secure tickets.

15. Floods were reported in low-lying areas in Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, and Kurigram, yesterday. The Teesta River is flowing above danger levels in some places. Thousands of homes have been flooded.

16. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) fixed the maximum interest rate on spending through banks’ credit cards at 20%, as per a circular issued yesterday. It will go into effect from October 1. Banks cannot charge more than five percent interest on top of the rate for a consumer loan. BB alleges that several banks are violating their regulations and overcharge interest.

SRI LANKA

17. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold a virtual summit tomorrow. The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations, including defense and security issues. This is the first virtual summit-level interaction by Prime Minister Rajapaksa with a foreign leader since becoming Prime Minister last month.

18. The owners of the New Diamond supertanker which caught fire with a cargo of two million barrels of oil aboard have agreed to pay USD 1.84 million for Sri Lanka’s help in extinguishing fire. The interim claim is for services provided by the Sri Lankan navy, air force, ports authority and Marine Environment Protection Authority after the fire from September 3 till September 15.

19. The Unemployed Graduates Association held a protest in Colombo yesterday. They demanded the government provide 10,000 jobs that were previously promised. Meanwhile, container drivers at Colombo port went on strike yesterday to protest against inefficiencies in the customs yard.

NEPAL

20. At least 11 people were killed in landslides in Syangja and Palpa Districts yesterday. Meanwhile, landslides disrupted vehicular movement along the Prithvi Highway at more than 15 places. Authorities are conducting relief operations.

21. Authorities reported at least 1,497 new COVID-19 cases in the country yesterday. The highest number was recorded in Kathmandu. Seven districts in the country have more than 500 cases, while six districts have zero active cases.

22. The Cabinet signed an agreement with Israel on September 22 which will pave the way for Nepalis to work in Israel. The first phase of the agreement will provide work to approximately 500 Nepalis, mostly in the nursing sector.

23. Dozens of people gathered to protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu over the alleged encroachment of Nepalese territories by China in the northern Humla district. It is alleged that China has illegally constructed around 11 houses on the Nepalese territory in Lapcha, Humla district.

Major Developments in East Asia Pacific, Friday, September 25, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

1. Protests against omnibus bill held in Indonesia yesterday. Protests were held against the omnibus bill on job creation across the country yesterday. Around 3,000 workers protested in Karawang, West Java; 20 in Jakarta; 200 in Medan, North Sumatra and hundreds in Semarang, Surabaya, Bengkulu, Medan, and Makassar, among others. Activists had initially sought a permit for 30,000 people to rally in Jakarta but the police only allowed around 20 people to gather. Workers’ groups and farmers’ groups predominantly led the protests. They called for the withdrawal of the controversial bill. In Bengkulu and Makassar, authorities arrested dozens of protestors allegedly scuffling with security forces trying to disperse them. President Joko Widodo called on the parliament to finish deliberations on the bill by the end of the month or early October. Workers’ groups stated they would hold more protests.

Background: The Omnibus bill contains 15 chapters and 174 articles in total on more than 1,000 pages. It primarily seeks to revise 79 prevailing laws and more than 1,200 articles. The bill seeks to discard minimum wages and attract private investment. The bill also proposes to revoke protection for temporary workers to gain permanent status after two years of service and one year of prolongation. This affects job security and social security benefits such as pensions and severance pay. The Omnibus bill scraps the city-level determination of minimum wage, meaning that the lower, provincial wage would be the new nationwide standard. The bill has been opposed by labor unions, observers and non-governmental organizations who claim the bill would undermine labor rights, weaken environmental protection and only benefit employers and corporations, among other issues.

Assessment: The sustained opposition to the omnibus bill is likely to continue over the coming weeks, especially as the government seeks to formalize the bill into law soon. Further demonstrations are thus likely to be held against these developments across the country. There is a risk of violence from potential clashes between protesters and security forces. Protests may also disrupt travel in their vicinity.

Advice:  Clients in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta and other major cities, are advised to monitor latest developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around government buildings, crowded districts and other protest hotspots at the time of the protest. Cooperate with the local police in case of road blockades. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

2. Sabah state elections to be held tomorrow in Malaysia. The Sabah state elections will be held tomorrow. Voting in urban areas will run until 5:00 PM (local time), and 1:00 PM in rural areas. The Election Commission expects preliminary results to come out hours after voting closes. Seventy-three assembly seats will be contested by 447 candidates. At least 1.2 million individuals are eligible to vote. The Governor of Sabah called for snap elections after dissolving the state assembly in July. This was following claims by the leaders of both the government and opposition coalition that they had a parliamentary majority and could form the government. Health protocols for COVID-19 are in place.

Assessment: The elections are likely to be a close contest between the Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional candidates, who are each trying to form the Sabah government. The election will also indicate the coalitions’ support from the public on a national level. The large number of candidates may dilute bigger parties’ support bases. There is the possibility of arguments and low-level scuffles between supporters of opposing parties, especially at polling booths. Authorities are likely to increase security to prevent such incidents and also to enforce COVID-19 protocols. There is also the possibility of rallies and protests, especially as the results are coming in, which carry similar risks.

Advice: Clients in Malaysia, especially in Sabah, are advised to follow the latest political developments. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
___________________________________
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

EAST ASIA

CHINA

1. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was arrested yesterday for “unlawful assembly” over a 2019 demonstration against a government ban on face masks that was imposed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 23-year-old pro-democracy figure said on Twitter he was also being held for violating the anti-mask law, which has since been ruled unconstitutional.

2. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute said it had identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. The number of facilities is around 40% greater than previous estimates and, according to Australian researchers, has been growing despite China’s claims that many Uighurs have been released.

3. The country will allow the entry of foreign nationals holding three categories of valid Chinese residence permits starting September 28, the Foreign Ministry announced. The new rule allows foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion to enter China with no need to apply for new visas.

4. Chinese media reported that the country has banned two Australian scholars from entering China. Professor Clive Hamilton and Alexander Joske would be refused entry in accordance with the country’s Entry and Exit Law. The ban came after Australia cancelled the visas of two Chinese scholars.

5. China reported eight new COVID-19 cases yesterday, compared with seven cases disclosed a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 85,322, while the number of total deaths remained unchanged at 4,634.

JAPAN

6. Japan and South Korea must cooperate to counter any threat from North Korea, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told South Korea’s president yesterday. In a 20-minute telephone conversation, , Suga also called for the two neighbors to repair their strayed relations. “I told President Moon that we cannot leave our current very difficult relations where they are now,” Suga said.

7. All Nippon Airways Co and Japan Airlines Co said yesterday they will soon resume some of the flights to China that they suspended after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The moves came as Chinese authorities eased restrictions on flights, the two carriers said. Currently, the two Japanese carriers have been only allowed to serve one route each for trips to and from mainland China. ANA operates between Narita and Shanghai, and JAL between Narita and Dalian.

8. The Tokyo metropolitan government yesterday reported 195 new cases of COVID-19, up 136 from the previous day. The tally brought Tokyo’s cumulative total to 24,648. The number of reported new cases nationwide was 472. Nine COVID-19 related deaths were also reported.

TAIWAN

9. The country’s main weapons developer announced yesterday it was conducting two days of live-fire missile tests off Taitung County. The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology said there was “no ceiling” for the height of the missile tests, while their reach stretched 300 kms into the Pacific. Defense experts speculated the tests centered on Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missiles or Sky Bow III surface-to-air missiles.

10. Three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies expressed support for its participation in the United Nation (UN) on September 23. Speaking via pre-recorded video, the leaders of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Paraguay stressed the importance of Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

SOUTH KOREA

11. The country’s new COVID-19 cases stayed over 100 for the second straight day yesterday. The country added 125 more COVID-19 cases, including 109 local infections, raising the total caseload to 23,341, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

INDONESIA

12. Activists and workers held rallies across the country yesterday to protest against the Omnibus Job Creation Bill. About 3,000 workers protested in Karawang, West Java, 200 in Medan, North Sumatra, hundreds in Surabaya, East Java, and around 20 outside the parliament in Jakarta. Activists had sought a permit for 30,000 people to rally in Jakarta, but the police had only allowed around 20 people.

13. The Indonesian police have allegedly arrested about 200 demonstrators at different locations across Nabire regency. The United Liberation Front in West Papua said there had been a march on the local police headquarters in Nabire to demand those being held were released. The demonstrations were to protest an extension of the Special Autonomy laws, first introduced in 2001.

14. A coalition of educational institutions voiced its opposition to the educational provisions in the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation yesterday. The coalition includes the academic branches of the country’s two largest Muslim groups, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah. In a statement, the coalition said that including educational issues in the Omnibus Bill would risk attaching irrelevant baggage to education and could force it to disproportionately serve the demands of the market.

15. Papua Regional Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said recent terror acts carried out by separatist armed groups have affected airlines’ flights. “Airlines are reluctant to transport the military (TNI) and police personnel, he said. He added that the armed groups issued threats that went viral on social media on September 19. “In the video, the armed groups said personnel from the TPNPB (National Liberation Army of West Papua) and OPM (the Free Papua Organization) will not hesitate to fire aircrafts carrying security forces.”

16. The General Elections Commission (KPU) has banned crowd-pulling activities during the campaign period in the upcoming simultaneous regional polls. The prohibition was arranged in the newly revised KPU regulation on holding the regional elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, signed by the commission yesterday.

17. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) supervisory council has declared the commission’s chairman, Firli Bahuri, guilty of an ethics violation for displaying a “hedonistic lifestyle”. The council’s panel of ethics said that Firli had failed to show exemplary action in his daily behavior, as mandated by KPK Supervisory Board Regulation No. 2/2020. The panel also pointed out Firli’s negligence in recognizing that his attitudes and actions were inherent to and reflected his position as a KPK personnel.

18. The two provincial administrations in Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan have declared a state of emergency due to floods. Dozens of districts in the two provinces have been flooded over the past 15 days.

19. The Jakarta administration has extended large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the capital by two weeks to further suppress virus transmission. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan claimed that the capital had seen a decline in active cases since it reimposed the stricter rules on September 14.

20. The country recorded 4,643 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the national total to 262,022. The country also reported 128 new deaths resulting from the disease, bringing the death toll to 10,105.

THAILAND

21. The parliament voted yesterday to delay making a decision on whether it will amend the constitution, as demanded by anti-government protesters. The parliament opted instead to set up a committee to study the process of the constitutional amendment first. “The vote to accept a motion for constitutional changes is effectively delayed to November,” pro-government lawmaker Chinnaworn Boonyakiat said.

22. Thousands of Thais protested outside parliament yesterday as lawmakers debated amendments to the constitution. Protesters demanded a rewrite of the 2017 constitution.

23. The country began legal action yesterday against Facebook and Twitter for ignoring requests to take down content. The Digital Ministry filed legal complaints with cybercrime police after the two social media companies missed 15-day deadlines to fully comply with court-issued takedown orders from August 27.

24. The Meteorological Department yesterday said heavy rain will continue in the country until September 29. The rainfall has caused runoff and floods in several provinces in the North from September 23The weather bureau said that rain would continue due to a monsoon trough above the lower North, Central Plains and Northeast.

25. A Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) panel yesterday said the government should extend the emergency decree for another month. The decision will be discussed by the CCSA on September 29 before being considered by the Cabinet the following day.

26. The government yesterday reported two new cases of COVID-19, raising the national total to 3,516. Both patients are quarantined returnees from the US.

MALAYSIA

27. The King, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, reportedly plans to hold an audience with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim soon. Anwar claimed that he has strong majority support among lawmakers to form a new government. There is no exact time set for the meeting yet.

28. Foreigners arriving in Malaysia through various entry points must now pay the full MYR 4,700 (USD 1,127) fee for the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday. Previously, both Malaysians and non-Malaysians were mandated to pay MYR 2,100 (USD 504) for accommodations and food for the two-week quarantine period at a hotel or in government provided rooms. However, foreign nationals will now need to pay an additional MYR 2,600 (USD 624) for operational costs. The government will continue to subsidize the operational costs for Malaysians, he said.

29. Malaysia confirmed 71 new COVID-19 infections yesterday as Sabah continued to lead the number of cases with 63. The Health Ministry reported no emergence of new clusters. It said only two cases were imported from abroad, while the rest were local transmissions. No fatalities were reported, which means that the COVID-19 death toll in the country remained at 133.

SINGAPORE

30. The city-state reported 15 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. There were no new cases in the community, the Ministry of Health said. Five of the cases were imported, all of whom had been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore.

MYANMAR

31. Over 220 factories in Yangon Region have filed for complete closure, temporary closure or redundancy starting from the end of this month, amid the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak. According to the list, there are about 40,000 to 50,000 workers who were employed by these factories.

32. The Department of Civil Aviation announced that international flights will remain suspended till October 31. The extension comes after the country began to experience a high resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

PHILIPPINES

33. Three government soldiers pursuing Islamic State-linked gunmen in Maguindanao province were injured when an improvised bomb went off in Ampatuan town yesterday. The injured troops were a part of the units pursuing members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

34. The Department of Agriculture said yesterday it had detected new African swine fever outbreaks in six provinces. New outbreaks have been detected in the provinces of Albay, Quirino, Laguna, Quezon, Batangas and Cavite on the main island of Luzon.

35. COVID-19 infected 2,180 more individuals in the country, raising the nation’s total caseload to 296,755 yesterday. The Department of Health also reported 36 new deaths resulting from the disease, boosting the number of deaths to 5,127.

VIETNAM

36. The country reported no new COVID-19 cases and new deaths yesterday.  The country’s tally of COVID-19 cases remained at 1,069 with 35 deaths.

PACIFIC ISLANDS

NEW ZEALAND

37. Auckland transport authorities are warning motorists of the possibility of very heavy traffic today caused by the closures of lanes on the damaged Auckland Harbor Bridge. In a statement, the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said traffic is expected to build up from midday.

38. The Health Ministry reported two new cases of COVID-19 today, including one community case and one imported case. The country’s total number of confirmed cases is now 1,473.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

39. Bougainville President-elect Ishmael Toroama is expected to be sworn in tomorrow in Buka. He said he will form a caretaker government and set in motion his plans for a “corruption-free” administration.

40. Prime Minister James Marape has pledged his support for Ishmael Toroama after he was elected President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville yesterday. “In the coming weeks, I will meet with the President-elect to discuss the next steps with a view to convening a meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body to affirm our mutual commitment to peace and the way forward,” he said.

FIJI

41. The opposition National Federation Party (UFP) condemned the government’s decision to suspend its funding grants to the University of the South Pacific (USP). The government said it was concerned at the “lack of adherence to the principles of good governance” at the regional institution. NFP President Pio Tikoduadua said the USP was a legal entity, governed by a number of Pacific Island countries including Fiji. Tikoduadua said the government was legally obliged to fund the university. He further added that Fijian taxpayers’ money earmarked for the regional institution should not be withheld by the government.

42. Fiji is importing USD 46.2 million worth of rice every year: Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy. He said there was a need to double the efforts to grow more rice in order to reduce the significant import bill of buying rice from overseas countries. Reddy said, “There is no reason why Fiji should continue to import rice from Thailand or Vietnam.” He added that the country was operating at 17% self-sufficiency in rice production.

43. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services received medical supplies worth more than USD 700,000 from the World Health Organization yesterday. The donated medical supplies include surgical masks, KN95 masks, face shields, protective goggles, and isolation gowns to support front line

SOLOMON ISLANDS

44. Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Guadalcanal Constituency, Hon. Samson Maneka switched allegiance to the ruling government yesterday. Maneka was a member of the opposition group before making the switch. A government statement said MP Maneka resigned from the Solomon Islands Democratic Party and has joined the leading “Our Party”. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare welcomed Maneka’s decision to join the government during a brief meeting at his office.

NEW CALEDONIA

45. France’s right-wing parties came out against New Caledonia becoming an independent country, nine days ahead of a referendum to decide on whether to opt for full sovereignty. The National Rally cast doubt on the country’s ability to resist powerful neighbors which would use all means to get hold of its resources. The National Rally’s leader, Marine Le Pen, warned that a victory of the pro-independence side would lead to uncertainty, danger and tears.

TONGA

46. The government launched a new domestic air service called the Lulutai Airlines Ltd. on September 23. They celebrated the launch with the handover of an Air Operator Certificate at the Fua’amotu International Airport. Domestic air services started yesterday. The Prime Minister Rev Dr Pohiva Tu’oi’onetoa announced that the Lulutai would start its domestic services to Vava’u, Ha’apai and the Niuas.

MARSHALL ISLANDS

47. The government of Japan is planning to invest nearly USD 17 million in various development projects in the country. This includes expanding Majuro’s water storage capacity by 40%, a project that has been in limbo for over 15 years, despite strong support of both governments. The new water project will add 15 million gallons of storage capacity, increasing the reservoirs from their current 36-million-gallon capacity to over 51 million. The new reservoir will be built next to existing reservoirs by the Amata Kabua International Airport.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

48. A group calling itself the “Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi” was evicted by police from a land it had occupied at a marae (religious complex) in Tahiti for four months. Police moved in after the group defied last month’s court order to vacate the site at Arahurahu marae in Pā’ea within 48 hours. At the time, the court warned that each person failing to comply with the order would be fined USD 800 for each day of continued occupation.

GUAM

49. Governor Lou Leon Guerrero announced a slight relaxation of the territory’s COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions under the Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 (PCOR1) measures. The PCOR1 will be effective from noon todayGuerrero said strict restrictions remain in place, including limits to the number of people allowed to gather and mandatory quarantine for all incoming travelers. However, retail stores, personal services, and outdoor dining can reopen at 25% capacity. Similarly, solitary sports will be allowed, and outdoor dining can also resume.

50. The Guam International Airport Authority Board board voted in favor of a contract extension for the corridor project at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport yesterday. A two-month “no-cost” contract extension was approved. A proposed change order fee of USD 688,211 for the contract with Black Construction Corp. for the refill replacement and replenishment of the argon gas fire suppression system and an extension of the builder’s coalition insurance were also approved by the board.

51. The country recorded 28 new cases of COVID-19 infections yesterday, taking the tally to 2,263: Joint Information Center. A total of 436 samples were tested yesterday. Of the 28 new cases, 10 were identified via contact tracing.

52. Dozens of people staged a peaceful protest outside the Marine Corps Drive in front of the governor’s office at Adelup yesterday. The group of protesters mainly consisted of restaurant and bar owners, small business owners and other concerned residents. They protested to express their opposition to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s directives to continue with COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions.

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

53. An environmental protest was staged in Sydney today, calling for the government to not go ahead with plans to build new gas power stations. COVID-19 restrictions limited the rally in Martin Place to just dozens of school students.

54. Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are going to be withdrawn from all state borders except for Victoria, with states being told by the Federal Government to manage their own crossings. ADF confirmed it would not be extending agreements it has with Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. There are currently 2,769 ADF personnel deployed around Australia as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

ANNEX A to Papuan Shooting Section Of Indonesian Semi Monthly Report (March 28 to April 10, 2020)

Synopsis of Freeport’s Security Management Plan

 

Throughout the mine’s history, PT Freeport’s CoW (Contract of Work) area has seen a regular series of violent incidents. At least six foreigners have been shot and five killed in the last 43 years. The most infamous incident involving foreigners was the 2002 shooting at mile 62 in which two Americans were killed. The military have accused the Papuan separatists of carrying out every attack that has taken place. The police have suggested in at least once incident (2002, at mile 62 where two Americans and one Indonesian were killed) that the military were behind the attack. Human rights workers and political observers and even at times the Indonesian press have accused the security forces of being involved in some of these incidents. However, members of the Papuan separatist groups have also claimed responsibility in a number of the more recent incidents. They claim that they are at war with Indonesia and Freeport’s CoW is the battleground. Their spokesman has stated that, “Any attack on the military, police or Freeport is from us.”

As a result of these incidents, Freeport has had to confront an unstable security situation. It is this need for security that has compelled Freeport to befriend the Indonesian military and police. It needs to be noted that Freeport is considered to be a “Vital National Object” which by law mandates military or police security. Until 2014, this role belonged to the military. Then a presidential order in 2014 tasked the police with the role. However, Freeport and the military signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2019 in which the security role was returned to the military. Up until April 1999, the police were a branch under the military. In 1999, they became their own separate service. Since 1999, there has been competition between the police and the military for control of national resources. Under the current president Joko Widodo’s government, the police have generally been favored over the military.

A report issued in the New York Times in 2007 claims that from 1998 through 2004, Freeport gave military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, nearly USD 20 million. Individual commanders received tens of thousands of dollars, in one case up to USD 150,000, according to the documents. These documents were allegedly provided by an individual close to Freeport and confirmed as authentic by current and former employees. A former company official told the Times that in 1998 Chairman of the Freeport board, Mr. Moffett, met with a group of senior Indonesian military officers at the Sheraton Hotel in the lowland town of Timika, near the mine. General Prabowo Subianto, son-in-law of President Suharto and commander of the Indonesian Special Forces, presided. “Mr. Moffett, to protect you, to protect your company, you have to help the military here,” General Prabowo began, according to the company employee who was present.

Mr. Moffett is said to have replied: “Just tell me what I need to do.” Each military service drew up its wish list, current and former company employees said. In short order, Freeport spent USD 35 million on military infrastructure – barracks, headquarters, mess halls, roads – and it also gave the commanders 70 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, which were replaced every few years.

Freeport started making direct monthly payments to Indonesian military commanders, while the Security Risk Management office handled the payments to the police, according to company documents and current and former employees. In interviews, current and former employees said that at least an additional USD 10 million was also paid during those years (1998-2004). The records show that the largest recipient was the commander of the troops in the Freeport area, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom.

During six months in 2001, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom was given just under USD 100,000 for “food costs,” according to the company records, and more than USD 150,000 the following year. Freeport gave at least 10 other commanders a total of more than USD 350,000 for “food costs” in 2002, according to the records. Freeport also gave commanders commercial airplane tickets for themselves and their wives and children. Generals flew first or business class and lower ranking officers flew economy, said Brig. Gen. Ramizan Tarigan, who received USD 14,000 worth of tickets in 2002 for himself and his family. In April 2002, the company gave the senior commander of forces in Papua, Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon, more than USD 64,000, for what was described in Freeport’s books as “fund for military project plan 2002.” Eight months later, in December, he was given more than USD 67,000 for a “humanitarian civic action project.” The payments were first reported by Global Witness. The police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB), a paramilitary force received more than USD 200,000 in 2003. In later filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freeport reported that it had paid the military a total of USD 4.7 million in 2001, and USD 5.6 million in 2002. More recent data is not available.

Historical Security Incident List

Below is a non-exhaustive list of similar major incidents in and around the Freeport operational area over the last 43 years[1]:

1977:

  • Aerial bombing of Akimuga (Freeport mine area) by Indonesian air force to suppress independence movement and protect Freeport. The attack was allegedly in response to local’s attack on the mine;

1994:

  • March – A Freeport employee was shot and killed on the road near Mile 62. An Australian employee was shot and wounded in the same incident. Armed forces battalions 752 and 733 were accused by human rights groups of posing as a TPN/OPM (Papuan armed separatists) unit and carrying out the attack. The military claimed it was the OPM/TPN;

1996:

  • January – OPM militants led by Kelly Kwalik held 26 members of the Lorentz Expedition; hostage in Mapenduma (borders Mimika). This triggered the Mapenduma hostage crisis;
  • March – Riots in Timika and Tembagapura by local dissatisfied Papuans upset with Freeport policies. Military is accused by locals of instigating the riots;
  • April – A shooting took place in a hangar at Timika airport by a soldier run amok. Sixteen people were killed including a New Zealander;
  • May – Mapenduma hostage crisis ended with the raid on OPM base in Geselama, Mimika, two hostages died following the KOPASSUS – Indonesian Special Forces – raid;

2001:

  • December – Two Freeport environmental unit employees were shot at the Grasberg mine site. No investigation into the attack was conducted. The shootings were reportedly carried out by unidentified gunmen wearing military uniforms;

2002:

  • April – Kopassus attacked Papuan civilians in the lowland hamlet of Kali Kopi in which one civilian was killed and seven others were arrested and allegedly tortured;
  • May – Five to seven alleged Papuans holding axes and one revolver attacked Freeport security guards at the main office building. They threw Molotov cocktails;
  • August – Gunmen attacked a group of American school teachers and local employees traveling between the lowlands and highlands. Two Americans and one Indonesian were killed, and seven Americans and an Indonesian were wounded. Indonesian officials placed responsibility on the OPM (Papuan Separatist Group). A spokesman for the group denied involvement. Elements within the military have also been accused of being involved;

2006:

  • March – Three policemen and an airman were killed and 24 other people injured during a clash with Papuan students who had been demanding closure of Freeport’s Grasberg mine;

2009:

  • March – One Indonesian army soldier was killed during an attack against a security post in Tingginambut Puncak Jaya regency, borders Mimika regency). The OPM was blamed;
  • April – An attack against a convoy of police in Tingginambut killed one and wounded six. The OPM was blamed;
  • July – Freeport employee (Australian) was shot dead in his vehicle in an attack on the Freeport road when in transit. An Indonesian Freeport security guard was also killed. Several people were injured. Some elements in Indonesian media suggested military/police involvement;
  • December – The OPM leader Kelly Kwalik was shot by Indonesian police during a raid in Timika and died in Timika Hospital;

2010:

  • January – Unknown assailants ambushed a convoy traversing the Freeport road. Nine people were injured. The OPM denied responsibility;
  • March – Unconfirmed reports from locals of multiple shooting incidents in and around the Freeport mining concession;
  • March – Rebels attacked an Indonesian military convoy, injuring some of the soldiers;

2011-2016:

  • Multiple incidents between OPM and security forces in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • April (2011) – Two Freeport employees were killed when the company car they were traveling in caught fire. Bullets were found inside the car, giving weight to the suspicion that the car was fired upon by unknown gunmen;

2017:

  • September – Freeport vehicles fired upon;
  • October – BRIMOB (Armed Police Brigade) officer was shot and killed in Mimika. A West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) unit claimed responsibility;
  • November – Hostage incident in Banti/Kimbeli villages (Tembagapura). The military claimed that migrant workers from Indonesia’s Sulawesi island villages were being held hostage by the TPNPB which was disputed by a number of observers. Eventually. Indonesian police and military evacuated more than 340 Sulawesi migrants from the villages. The police stated there was an exchange of gunfire with the TPNPB. Freeport began evacuating mine workers families from the mining town of Tembagapura. Shots had been fired on a Freeport vehicle and two large mining trucks set on fire;
  • November – A BRIMOB officer was shot and killed in Mimika with an TPNPB unit taking responsibility. Two TPNPB were injured in gunfire. Freeport temporarily shut the main supply route to its Grasberg mine complex. A civilian employee of a catering service provider within Freeport died in suspicious circumstances whilst traveling to his village;

2018:

  • July – A series of gunfights were reported between the TPNPB and Indonesian security forces in Freeport area. No casualties were reported;
  • July – Increasing unrest and incidents in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • December – Construction crew working on a bridge in the Nduga regency was attacked and at least 21 were killed;

2019:

  • January – Police arrested and charged three members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) with treason. They were arrested in Timika following a joint army-police raid on the KNPB headquarters;
  • November – Alleged Papuan gunmen fired at an escort car owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Mimika around Mile 60. The expat driver and two Indonesian passengers were unscathed;

2020:

  • January – Several buses transporting employees of PT Freeport Indonesia were fired upon in another shooting by unknown attackers, believed to be Papuan separatists. The convoy of vehicles was fired at around Mile 53 between Tembagapura and Timika;
  • February – There was a clash between the security forces and a group of Papuans allegedly led by Joni Botak in Jipabera, Tembagapura Subdistrict, in Mimika District. A police officer from the mobile brigade unit was wounded in the gunfight and later died of his injuries;
  • March – A Tembagapura Sector Police car was attacked in Utikini village, Mimika Regency. The TPNPB also reported destroying a bridge on the road from Tembagapura to Opitawak that month;
  • March – A shootout between the TPNPB and the Indonesian Security Forces took place at the military Post in Opitawak village. The TPNPB claimed killing five members of the Indonesian Security Forces. These claims have been denied by the military. Reports from the area claim that 800-900 villagers from Longsoran, Batu Besar and Kimbeli villages have evacuated to a police headquarters in Tembagapura on Friday March 6 because of these incidents. At least 2,000 village refugees are now reported to be in Timika;
  • March – The military reported a fatality when one of their soldiers was shot dead while at Islamic morning prayers;
  • March – Four alleged Papuan seperatists were allegedly killed in an incident near the Freeport mine in Mimika regency. A firefight apparently took place in Kali Bua village in Mimika district near the mining town of Tembagapura between security forces and a rebel group;
  • March – A New Zealand national with gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia was killed in a shooting incident in Kuala Kencana, Mimika.

 

[1]         Data has been compiled from the APAC database, ELSAM Indonesia <www.elsam.or.id/id> and ELSHAM Papua <https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-ELSHAM-Indonesia-Papua-2012-English.pdf>

List of our Special Assessment Report produced in 2018-19

Report

Location

Date

India-Pakistan Security Assessment Report: Special status of Jammu and Kashmir revoked India & Pakistan 14-Aug-19
Thailand Security Assessment Report: Multiple Bomb Blasts in Bangkok Thailand 9-Aug-19
Special Security Assessment Report: Hong Kong Extradition Protests Hong Kong 7-Aug-19
Indonesia post election security assessment Indonesia 22-May-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Post-Election Uncertainties Thailand 14-May-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment: Sri Lanka remains on high alert under emergency laws Sri Lanka 3-May-19
(Update) Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 300 people Sri Lanka 23-Apr-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 290 people Sri Lanka 22-Apr-19
India Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 India 19-Mar-19
India-Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Diplomatic Tensions Persist After Pulwama Attack India & Pakistan 8-Mar-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 – Implications and outlook Thailand 5-Mar-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Conflicts within the ruling coalition Malaysia 18-Feb-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Princess disqualified from elections Thailand 12-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 Indonesia 12-Feb-19
India Country Assessment Report: Government proposed interim budget India 6-Feb-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: New autonomous law faces early challenges Philippines 1-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prison sentence for hate speech Indonesia 30-Jan-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Twin bomb blasts in Jolo Philippines 28-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Political parties issue statements on Section 44 Thailand 25-Jan-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Corruption pervades politics and business Indonesia 24-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Islamist militants arrested Bangladesh 22-Jan-18
India Country Assessment Report: Political turmoil in Karnataka India 21-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: GDP growth rate revised Timor Leste 18-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: Political jostle continues Timor Leste 16-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Government pulls out of IMF package Pakistan 14-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Tensions rise over election delay Thailand 14-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Strike continues in Mumbai India 11-Jan-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Negotiations with the IMF expected to restart Sri Lanka 10-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Garment workers continue protests Bangladesh 9-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: An analysis of the upcoming elections Thailand 9-Jan-19
India Country Assessment report: Two-day nationwide strike India 8-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Allied parties excluded from the new cabinet Bangladesh 7-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Political rallies planned in West Bengal India 5-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Members of parliament sworn-in Bangladesh 4-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Violent clashes reported in Kerala India 3-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence reported Thailand 3-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Security situation continues to deteriorate Pakistan 2-Jan-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: PPBM promotes self as protector of Malays Malaysia 31-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Awami League wins the elections Bangladesh 31-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Anti-terrorism operation announced Pakistan 28-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: 2018 GDP growth tops 7% Vietnam 28-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Islamic State terror plot foiled India 27-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Judicial impartiality praised Sri Lanka 26-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Nawaz Sharif convicted on corruption charges Pakistan 25-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Vehicular restrictions imposed on election day Bangladesh 24-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Suharto-style liquidation of communists Philippines 24-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka 21-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: Calls for political freedoms Vietnam 21-Dec-18
East Asia Pacific Country Assessment Report: The economies of East Asia Pacific countries East Asia Pacific 20-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Verdicts on former PM deferred Pakistan 20-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Civilians killed in Kashmir India 19-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prabowo says Indonesia could go extinct if he loses Indonesia 19-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 18-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Bersatu to vet ex-UMNO politicians Malaysia 18-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Papuan tribesmen fear hostility Indonesia 17-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the prime minister Sri Lanka 17-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh confirmed India 15-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: UMNO exodus continues Malaysia 15-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 14-Dec-18
Cambodia Country Assessment Report: Cambodia eases ban on opposition Cambodia 14-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Martial law in Mindanao extended Philippines 13-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: US blacklists Pakistan Pakistan 13-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Jokowi skips Human Rights Day event Indonesia 12-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Congress Party wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh India 12-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Hasina to begin campaign Bangladesh 11-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Najib arrested Malaysia 11-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: President Sirisena dismisses snap presidential elections Sri Lanka 10-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General election date confirmed; concerns over fairness Thailand 10-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Extension of Mindanao martial law sought Philippines 8-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Large-scale anti-ICERD rally tomorrow Malaysia 7-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: olitical tensions rise in Pakistan Pakistan 7-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Parties to boycott NCPO meeting Thailand 6-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Report: Political crisis continues Sri Lanka 6-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report:: Factional rivalry causes violent clashes Bangladesh 5-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report:: Military, police evacuate survivors of rebel attacks Indonesia 5-Dec-18
APAC Assistance Special Report – Current Terrorism Threat in Australia Australia 4-Dec-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – India Ground Transport Assessment India 4-Dec-18
Papua New Guinea Risk Case Study Papua New Guinea 28-Nov-18
Thai Special Report: Assessment of Thailand’s Upcoming General Election Thailand 18-Nov-18
Special Country Report: Update on Freeport Indonesia 14-Nov-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – Bangladesh Election Synopsis Southeast Asia 22-Oct-18
Malaysia Special Feature Malaysia 13-Oct-18
Myanmar Special Feature Myanmar 9-Oct-18
APAC Assistance: Cambodia Country Report Cambodia 13-Aug-18
APAC Assistance: Vietnam Country Report Vietnam 11-Aug-18
An Assessment of Increased Risk from New People’s Army, Philippines Philippines 28-Jun-18
APAC PNG Report: Summary of Recent POM Incidents Papua New Guinea 14-May-18
Thailand’s Emerging Political Parties and Personalities Thailand 23-Apr-18
Indonesia General Election Synopsis Indonesia 2-Mar-18
Thailand General Election Synopsis Thailand 26-Feb-18
SE Asia Hot Issues Report Southeast Asia 29-Jan-18

APAC Assistance Panel Discussion on elections in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia together with Bhargav Reddy and Carol Librojo discuss the general elections in India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Paul is one of Asia Pacific’s most versatile security and disaster management professionals. Paul has held various demanding roles in military and civil positions. He is a rare expert in the risk management sector with an advanced commercial acumen. Paul has an extensive network throughout South Asia, SE Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Islands. His network includes business executives, contractors for various industry sectors, government personnel, international agencies, and armed forces.

Carol Librojo heads our analytical team. She mentors our researchers and analysts while guiding the production of APAC-A reports and publications. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. She once headed the monitoring and assessment unit of the Philippines’ National Security Council-Secretariat. She also served as Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Presidential Situation Room, a unit that provides round-the-clock news monitoring and intelligence updates to the Philippine President.

Bhargav Reddy leads South Asia operations of APAC Assistance. He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a master’s in International Business and Politics. His most recent experience was with Pinkerton as an Intelligence Specialist for APAC and EMEA regions.

The general elections in India were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes is underway and the results are expected on 23 May.  The exit polls have indicated that the ruling BJP is likely to return to power with an overwhelming majority. The BJP led by Prime Minister Modi had won the general elections in 2014 after defeating the Congress Party which was in power since 2004.

The Thai Elections were held on March 24. It was the first election since the 2014 military intervention that installed General Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister. The election results are expected to be formalized on May 22.

The Philippine Senatorial Elections were conducted on May 13. Those elected in this midterm election will take office on June 30, midway through the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The mid-term elections were a referendum of Duterte’s governance and his controversial policies which include his war on drugs.

The Indonesia Elections were held on April 17. This is the first time in Indonesia’s election history that the president, the vice president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day. Elections results are expected on May 22 while the quick count of votes shows a clear victory for President Widodo. The final official count of the General Election Commission (KPU) shows President Joko Widodo winning with 55.5% of votes against the 44.5% of his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto. The KPU released the official results of the April presidential election early today. Widodo won over 85 million of the total 154 million votes. The results, however, could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

APAC Assistance Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research

v3_GdF_Transnational Crime PPT

 

Database Extraction of Transnational Crime & Cash Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Transnational Crimes & Cash Smuggling)

 

Database Extraction of Domestic & Gang Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Domestic & Gang Crimes)

 

Database Extraction of  CiT Vehicle Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(CiT Vehicle Robbery)

 

Database Extraction of International Heist Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(International Heists)

 

Database Extraction of Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery)

 

APAC Assistance CIT Truck Features

 

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