APAC in the News (July Edition)

APAC in the News (July Edition)

The current state of Singapore Politics

What happened: Political scandals seem to have shaken the clean city state of Singapore in July. In July, Singaporean Transport Minister S. Iswaran was arrested in connection with a rare top-level corruption investigation. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) also arrested Managing Director of Hotel Properties Ong Beng Seng with regards to the case. This is a rare case in Singapore as government officials are paid handsomely to discourage corruption. Apart from this Singapore’s ruling party, PAP saw two of its MPs being accused of having an “inappropriate relationship” with each other. The opposition party also saw a similar story with two of its senior members resigning over an affair.

What’s Next: S. Iswaran was asked to take a leave of absence and to remain in Singapore while the investigation takes place. More details about the case are yet to be reported. On the other hand, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, a former army brigadier general, and Cheng Li Hui, another member of the PAP have resigned due to affair allegations. PM Lee, said in letters to both MPs that their resignations were necessary “to maintain the high standards of propriety and personal conduct which the PAP has upheld all these years”. As for the opposition, MP Leon Perera, and the party’s youth wing leader Nicole Seah were also sacked for similar reasons.

Chandrayaan-3, India’s Lunar Mission

What happened: Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third mission to the moon. On July 14 Chandrayaan-3 blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The craft is expected to land on the moon on August 23. If successful, India will become the fourth country after Russia, China and the US to execute a controlled landing on the moon. This is India’s second attempt at a soft landing, after its previous effort with the Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.

What’s next: The aim of this mission is to safely land on the lunar surface, collect data and conduct a series of scientific experiments to learn more about the moon’s composition. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed that Chandrayaan-3 is in “precise orbit” and has “begun its journey to the moon”. It also added that the health of the spacecraft is “normal”. The most recent update states that the craft has successfully completed its fifth and final Earth-bound orbit-raising maneuver, marking a significant milestone in its journey to the moon. On 1 August a maneuver will slingshot the spacecraft towards the Moon, marking the beginning of its lunar Journey.

Music festival in Malaysia cancelled over LGBT controversies, lawsuits likely to follow  

What happened: A three-day music festival, Good Vibes was cancelled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia after a British band “The 1975” failed to comply with local performance guidelines. Matty Healy, the lead vocalist of the group was seen kissing bassist Ross MacDonald after criticising the Malaysian government’s stance against homosexuality in a speech. Homosexuality is a crime in Malaysia, and it was later announced by Malaysia’s Communications and Digital Ministry that “The 1975” had been blacklisted from performing in Malaysia. They stated that “The Communications and Digital Ministry will not tolerate any party that provokes and engages in disrespectful behaviour while performing in Malaysia,”.

What’s next: The festival had been scheduled to showcase 43 performances from local and international artists, but after the incident all the performances were called off. Festival organisers apologized for the cancellation and said that the band had promised to obey performance guidelines, but regrettably, did not honour these assurances. While the band was applauded abroad, members of the LGBT+ community in Malaysia expressed that Matty Healy’s antics had exposed them to further stigma and discrimination. Following this cancellation, “The 1975” have also cancelled shows in Taiwan and Indonesia.

The 2023 North India Floods

What Happened: Due to the onset of Monsoon and climate change in the region, heavy rain brought devastating floods to northern India in July. The rains triggered flash floods and landslides across the states of Delhi,Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana. Flood and landslide warnings were issued across the region with offices, schools and colleges being advised to remain closed.

What’s next: Over the month, weather-related havoc has led to at least 100 deaths and humongous infrastructural losses. Rescue efforts have been ongoing throughout the region with people and tourists being stranded. As the weather calms down estimates are being regarding the economic and human loss due to the floods. According to SBI “the range of losses can be estimated to be between ₹10,000 to 15,000 crore”. India has been ranked third, after the US and China, in recording the highest number of natural disasters since 1900. Since 2001, as many as 100 crore people have been impacted, and almost 85,000 people lost their lives.

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