Asia Briefs: Renowned Malaysian novelist dies at 84

Renowned Malaysian novelist dies at 84

PETALING JAYA • Renowned Malaysian novelist Shahnon Ahmad died yesterday of pneumonia. He was 84.

Datuk Shahnon, a national laureate, had been warded at the KPJ Hospital in Selangor for the past five days.

A professor emeritus at Universiti Sains Malaysia, he was awarded the National Literary Award in 1982, among other honours. In 1998, he caused a stir after writing a Malay-language satire attacking the dark aspects of Malaysia that was led by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, at the height of the pro-Anwar Ibrahim Reformasi movement.


Thai rock star lauded for tough charity run

BANGKOK• A Thai rock star has become a national hero after completing a gruelling two-month run and raising over 1.1 billion baht (S$45 million) for the country's public hospitals.

Mr Artiwara Kongmalai, better known as Toon Bodyslam, completed his 2,214km run from Thailand's southern-most corner to its northern-most tip on Monday.

The lead singer of the rock band Bodyslam began his charity run for 11 hospitals in Yala's Betong district on Nov 1, inspiring many in Thailand to think about what they could do to help the less fortunate.


New environment index ranks Chinese regions

BEIJING • China is ranking the health of its regional economies with new environment-related indicators. The "Green Development Index" released yesterday ranked 31 provincial-level regions based on gauges such as environment quality, resource utilisation and pollution clean-up efforts last year.

Beijing topped the list with the highest readings on environment governance and the quality of economic growth although its environment quality remained near the bottom.

Coastal provinces Fujian and Zhejiang ranked second and third. Ningxia, Tibet and Xinjiang in the west were at the bottom.


Shanghai to limit population to 25m

SHANGHAI • China's financial hub of Shanghai will limit its population to 25 million people by 2035 as part of a quest to manage "big city disease", the Cabinet has said.

The State Council said on its website late on Monday that this was part of Shanghai's masterplan from this year to 2035, which it had approved.

State media has defined "big city disease" as arising when a megacity becomes plagued with environmental pollution, traffic congestion and a shortage of public services like education and medical care.

Shanghai had a permanent population of 24.15 million at the end of 2015, Xinhua said last year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe