Regional Outlook, Global Perspective
CAMBODIAN LAWMAKERS PASS MEASURE TO EASE POLITICAL BAN

Cambodia’s Parliament passed legislation Thursday that could allow the lifting of a five-year ban on political activity by some top opposition politicians, the Associated Press reports. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Tuesday warned that those in his court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who “play Prime Minister Hun Sen’s game” and resume their political careers when a proposed law change comes into effect will “betray” the party. He has been appointed as the acting president of the dissolved CNRP on Sunday during a world conference in the state of Georgia in the United States. Rainsy was appointed despite the conference not being supported by fellow opposition leader Kem Sokha.

MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE AGREE TO DE-ESCALATE MARITIME DISPUTE

Maritime boundary delimitation disputes are best settled through negotiations, said Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Thursday amid an ongoing maritime dispute with Malaysia, Channel News Asia reports. Malaysia said on Monday that it will take all effective measures to de-escalate the situation on the ground, and handle its current dispute with Singapore over maritime boundaries in a calm and peaceful manner, and it will be keeping its vessels in the waters off Tuas, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said. Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim indirectly weighed in on the current territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore by suggesting that disputing parties find a win-win situation.

JHO LOW’S ‘EQUANIMITY’ TO BE SOLD AT LEAST HALF PRICE

The luxury superyacht linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal will be sold for no less than US$130 million, which is about a half its original price of $250 million, according to estimates, Bernama reports. Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, popularly known as Jho  Low, has maintained his innocence over charges of money laundering as the government steps up legal action against those who had allegedly embezzled from state investment fund 1MDB. Court documents and interviews describe a recovery effort of 1MDB-lined assets that involves half a dozen U.S. federal agencies, a bevy of contractors and investigators in countries, including Switzerland, Luxembourg and Malaysia, The New York Times confirmed.

MARTIAL LAW EXTENSION GOOD FOR TOURISM: PHILIPPINES

Philippines Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito “Bong” Bengzon Jr. said on Thursday the department sees the recent extension of martial law in Mindanao as a “good sign.” He said that the department is confident that the extension will “further stabilize the situation” in Mindanao, The Phil Star reports. Martial law will remain there for another full year from January 1 to December 31, 2019 after Congress on Wednesday granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) says the government can quell any threats without the need to invoke the extraordinary powers of martial law.

FAMILIES OF LION AIR CRASH VICTIMS DEMAND SEARCH CONTINUES

Dozens of family members whose loved ones were killed in a Lion Air plane crash rallied in the Indonesian capital on Thursday, demanding the search for the jet continue, Agence-France Presse reports. The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has stopped searching for bodies of victims of crashed Lion Air Flight JT 610 in West Java`s Tanjung Karawang waters last month. The joint SAR team had made maximum effort for 13 days and Basarnas decided to stop the search operation after serious evaluation. The aircraft used for Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed during a flight to Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung Islands, from Jakarta was in bad condition during previous flights, revealed the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).