BANGKOK, July 18 -- Thailand were assigned in Group G alongside not just Asian powerhouses such as the UAE and regional No1 Vietnam but also Malaysia and Indonesia. The teams will play each other both home and away.
It will serve as a tough baptism for newly-appointed national coach Akira Nishino from Japan, who is due to officially sign a contract with the Football Association of Thailand in Japan on Friday. The second round of Asian qualification for the 2022 World Cup consists of eight groups, each with five nations. The eight group leaders and four best second-placed teams will move into the third round and will automatically qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup in China. Thailand’s opening qualifier will be against Vietnam on September 5. Thailand were placed in a tricky group with the United Arab Emirates and arch-rivals Vietnam when the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification draw was conducted in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
JAKARTA, June 4 -- A man was seriously injured when an explosive device he was carrying exploded at a police post in Indonesia's Central Java province, police said Tuesday.
Seven police officers were at the post at the time of the blast late Monday in Sukoharjo district but none was harmed, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said. "The suicide bomber is currently being treated in the police hospital," he said, adding that police suspected the device was of low intensity. Photos circulating on social media showed a man lying by the side of the road in a pool of blood before being taken to hospital in a police van. The explosion occurred two days before Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival at the end of the Ramadan fasting month. Authorities have deployed more than 160,000 security personnel during the holiday season, with police saying last week that they were on increased alert for possible terrorist attacks.
JAKARTA, May 22 -- Indonesian authorities said on Wednesday they were limiting access to social media platforms after six people were killed and about 200 injured in riots that followed the release of the country’s official election results.
The deaths came as supporters of the unsuccessful presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, clashed with security forces and set fire to a police dormitory and vehicles in Jakarta on Wednesday after the release of the results, which showed Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to have won a second term with more than 55 per cent of the vote. Some of the protesters chanted anti-Chinese slogans such as “Usir Cina” (kick Chinese out) and “Awas Asing” (beware of foreigners) – apparently in reference to Jokowi, who has been criticised for favouring the Chinese Indonesian community and for his openness to investment from China. A total of 69 people were arrested in the violent protests, which calmed down in the afternoon but resumed at around 7pm outside the Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) office in central Jakarta, where hundreds of mostly young, masked protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at security personnel.
Rioters accused the police of defending the “unfair election”, and said they would not back down.
“They are provoking us. The police tried to disperse us and prevent us from expressing our rights to protest,” said Hasan Ali, a 29-year-old protestor from Bandung. “We will not back down. We will keep fighting. We only responded to police violence. They shot us with tear gas. It shows clearly that they are guarding this fraud and unfair election,” he said. A riot police officer, who declined to be named, said the demonstrators were “violating the regulations of mass gatherings”. “They should be dispersing themselves before 7pm, according to law,” said the officer. “They provoked us by burning things on the roads, and trying to push to enter the Bawaslu office. We all are tired and they keep provoking us. None of us are using sharp bullets. It’s totally a big lie.”
Some protestors said foreign media were intentionally making them look bad and siding with the incumbent by “hiding the truth”.
JAKARTA, April 29 -- The Indonesian government decided Monday to relocate the nation's capital from Jakarta to somewhere outside the densely populated Java Island, a Cabinet minister said.
National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the capital will be moved somewhere in central Indonesia within five to 10 years but declined to reveal its location out of concern announcing it now would spark speculative land buying and a spike in land prices in the area.
The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Bambang said at a press conference. "This is an important decision...that will be followed by a series of Cabinet meetings" where more technical issues, such as the design of the city, will be discussed, he added.
While its location is being withheld, the new capital is believed to be built in an existing city that already has an airport, harbor and other pieces of infrastructure.
THE HAGUE, April 2 -- Party of the Unity politician Arnold van Doorn demands that the Dutch government opens a beach area which should be “halal”.
According to Van Doorn the Dutch beach needs to have a non-degenerative area for Muslims where people are not allowed to walk naked, since Muslims feel “unpleasant with scantily clad, ugly people”. Muslims don’t feel at home on most beaches, he says. “Not only Muslims, but also many other residents feel uncomfortable with the appearance of very scantily dressed and often anesthetically designed beachgoers”, he writes to the city council of The Hague.
“In addition, women in particular indicate that they are increasingly confronted with unwanted allusions and advances by people of the opposite sex during beach visits.” He believes that The Hague should therefore consider whether it is possible to designate part of the beach for Muslims. After all, there is also a nudist beach for a small group of enthusiasts, so why not design a part of the beach for the Muslim community, Van Doorn argues. Halal beach resorts already exist in seaside resorts in Turkey and Indonesia, among others. On halal beaches, Muslims could enjoy the sun according to their religious regulations. For example, men and women sunbathe separately on Lombok.
Van Doorn came to the Party for Freedom (Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam party) in 2010 in the city council of The Hague, and in 2013 – after coverting to Islam – he switched to the Islamic Party for Unity. In 2016 he received a work sentence for selling drugs to minors and the possession of a prohibited alarm gun. Halal refers to what is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law. In the Quran, the word halal is contrasted with haram (forbidden).
JAKARTA, April 17 -- Voting in Indonesia’s general elections ended on Wednesday afternoon, with incumbent president Joko Widodo and his challenger Prabowo Subianto both claiming they were optimistic about the outcome.
Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was expected to go to the home of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, his political patron and chairwoman of the party backing him to await quick count results expected from 3pm local time. Prabowo, his running mate Sandiaga Uno and their campaign staff hunkered down at the former’s home in south Jakarta. Over six hours, tens of millions of Indonesians headed to 809,000 polling stations across the archipelago to cast their ballot for their next president and new legislators. Voting for the 192 million registered voters proceeded smoothly despite complaints of delays at some polling stations. In two districts in restive Papua province, voting was postponed to Thursday as ballot slips were not ready in time.
About 2 million overseas voters cast their ballots over the weekend, but Indonesia’s independent election watchdog ordered a redo in Malaysia after a vote-stuffing scandal. About 320,000 Indonesians living in Malaysia will have to cast their ballots again.
"SET drops ahead of Thai Raksa Chart ruling"
BANGKOK, March 6 -- Thai stocks dropped ahead of the Constitutional Court' ruling on the Thai Raksa Chart Party, while Philippine shares jumped 2% on Wednesday, led by real estate and consumer stocks.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand main index fell 13.49 points or 0.82%, in turnover of 44 billion baht, with all sectors except energy in the negative territory. The court will give its ruling on Thursday whether to ban Thak Raksa Chart for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its candidate for prime minister in the March 24 general election. The Election Commission had asked the court to dissolve the party after it nominated the princess. "Tomorrow's ruling will be worth closely monitoring as it may trigger a start of heightened political risks that could derail the Thai economy," OCBC Bank said in a note.
The Philippine benchmark stock index, which was Southeast Asia's worst performer last month, gained the most among regional markets as a selloff last week made valuations more attractive. Foreign investors bought net 273 million pesos (US$5.23 million) in equities on Wednesday, exchange data shows. SM Prime Holdings, the country's second-largest firm by market value, advanced 3.6%, while real estate conglomerate Ayala Land Inc gained 2.3%.
Singapore stocks closed lower for a second session in three, dragged by industrial and consumer stocks. Index heavyweight Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd dipped 2.1%, while food retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd weakened 4%.
Meanwhile, Indonesian shares snapped two consecutive sessions of losses, helped by consumer and financial stocks. Clove cigarette maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT rose 2.1%, while lender PT Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk added 11.4%.
"SET ends flat, Malaysia stocks lead losses in Asean"
BANGKOK, February 8 -- Thai shares lost slightly on Friday, while Malaysia stocks led losses, as investors were rattled after the United States dismissed the likelihood of a quick resolution to the long drawn Sino-US trade war.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would not be meeting China's Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, sparking fears that two economies would not be able to clinch a pivotal trade deal.
The negative sentiment dampened regional markets and pushed broader Asian shares lower, though trading remained thin as China was closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index eased 1.43 points or 0.09% to 1,651.68, in turnover worth 56.86 billion baht. The SET index dropped 16 points shortly after the open before it rebounded to end flat.
The Malaysian index ended 0.4% lower, falling the most across the region. Index heavyweight Axiata Group Bhd fell 4.4% to an over two-month low, dragging the benchmark. According to local media reports Axiata Group and its unit Ncell are to foot a tax bill of 61 billion Nepalese rupees (US$536.03 million), excluding late fees and fines for the capital gains tax on Ncell buyout deal following a Supreme Court ruling.
Philippine stocks fell 0.4%, hurt by losses in financial and telecom stocks. For the week the Manila benchmark index dropped 0.9%, marking its first weekly loss in 2019. PLDT Inc dropped 3.4%, while shares of Bank of the Philippine Islands slid 1.4%.
The Indonesian benchmark closed down 0.2%, with material and energy stocks leading declines. The index marked its first weekly loss in the new year, snapping a rally of six weeks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT dropped 1.9%, while United Tractors Tbk PT slipped 2.9%.
Vietnam's financial markets remained closed this week for Lunar New Year holidays.
"SET drops 5.60 points, Malaysia shares lead Asean peers"
BANGKOK, February 7 -- The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dipped on Thursday, while Malaysia shares led the gains, as optimism over a trade deal between the United States and China were renewed following indications of further official talks in Beijing next week.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he and other US officials would travel to Beijing to continue trade talks, eyeing a deal before the March 2 deadline. China is the biggest trading partner of the region. With easing trade frictions, a dovish Fed and prospects of increased infrastructure spending, foreign investors are now returning to Southeast Asian markets, propelling these markets to record an upward trend for the most part. So far this year, foreign investors have been net buyers of stocks in markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The SET index eased 5.60 points or 0.34% to 1,653.11, in turnover of 50 billion baht. The index was dragged by consumer and health care stocks. Shares of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc lost 30 satang or 1.27% to 23.30 baht and Siam Makro Plc dropped 1.25 baht or 3.29% to 36.75 baht.
The Malaysian benchmark rose 0.6%, leading gains in the region after thin trading in the region this week due to a two-day closure on account of the Chinese New Year. Utilities and consumer cyclicals boosted the Malaysian benchmark index, with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Maxis Bhd climbing 3.7% and 2.5%, respectively.
The Singapore index gained 0.5% to its highest level since Jan 25, helped by telecom and industrial stocks. "Singapore equities has some catching up to do as the US markets have done well over the last two trading sessions. At the same time, traders are also placing bets ahead of the budget on February 18, 2019," said Liu Jinshu, head of research at Tayrona Financial Pte Ltd. Shares of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd gained 1% while those of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd firmed 1.3%.
The Philippine stock index climbed 0.5%, with gains concentrated in industrial stocks. SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc gained over 2% each. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday, saying inflation risk had fallen on lower crude oil and food prices. Indonesian stocks also ended the session slightly lower, hurt by consumer and financial stocks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT slipped 2.8%, while Bank Central Asia Tbk PT slid 0.5%.
Vietnam financial markets remained closed for Chinese New Year holidays.
"Indonesia stocks end at 11-month high, SET adds 5 points"
BANGKOK, February 6 -- Indonesian stocks surged more than 1% to close at an 11-month high on Wednesday, after the country posted a faster-than- expected GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Thai shares added 5.62 points to close above the 1,6500 mark.
Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the final quarter of 2018 expanded 5.18% from a year earlier, compared with 5.11% forecast in a Reuters poll, while for the year the economy grew 5.17%, marking its best in five years. The country's benchmark index ended 1.02% higher, its highest level since March 5, 2018. Telecom and material stocks were the biggest boost to the index, with Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Perusahaan Perseroan PT and Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT rising 2.1% and 2%, respectively.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index gained 5.62 points or 0.34% to 1,658.71, in turnover of 38.5 billion baht. The index was driven by financial and material stocks and the Bank of Thailand's decision to hold benchmark interest rates steady. Kasikornbank Plc added 2 baht or 1% to 202 baht and Siam Commercial Bank Plc gained 2.50 baht or 1.89% to 135 baht. Shares of Siam Cement Group Plc firmed 6 baht or 1.29% to 470 baht.
Philippine index reversed course and slipped from 10-and-a-half-month high hit earlier in the session to close marginally lower. Industrial stocks dragged the index, with SM Investment Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc slipping 1.7% and 3.7%, respectively. "I would say it (the reason for the fall) is profit taking for the lack of any news to suggest otherwise," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL financial. He added that good inflation rates had pushed the index earlier in the day. The country's inflation had eased in the month of January, supporting views that the central bank would leave interest rates on hold on at its meeting on Thursday.
Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore stock markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays.