Asian Insider, Oct 13: Anwar Ibrahim claims majority support; Toxic threat to China’s rise

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Hi all,

In today’s bulletin: Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claims he has majority support in Parliament; China’s top diplomat Wang Yi tours region; a review of China’s efforts to improve environmental pollution, and more.

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MALAYSIA'S ANWAR IBRAHIM STAKES CLAIM TO FORM GOVT

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim met the King with documents to prove his claim of a majority in Parliament. But there was no word on the decision of the ruler of the country. 

Our Malaysia Correspondent Ram Anand says the King is expected to make a decision in the coming days based on the evidence submitted to him. It is believed that Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin advised Mr Anwar to abide and respect the legal processes as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Mr Anwar has claimed he has the backing of more than 120 lawmakers in the 222-member Parliament, and recommended that it would be "appropriate" for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign, considering the latter had lost his majority in Malaysia’s Lower House. 

The Prime Minister held a virtual press conference today evening during which he said he was focusing on dealing with Covid-19 and the economy and not on the Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader's claim.

Delve deeper: 

Stakes high as Anwar meets Malaysia's King on Tuesday to make his case for power

Ups and downs in Anwar Ibrahim's political career

CHINA'S WANG YI URGES ASIAN COUNTRIES TO REMAIN VIGILANT OVER US STRATEGY

China's top diplomat Wang Yi called on Asian countries to remain vigilant over America's plans in the region, during a stopover in Kuala Lumpur as part of a tour of Southeast Asian countries.

Addressing a press conference with Malaysia’s foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein, he said Beijing and Asean should work together to remove "external disruption" in the South China Sea.

Earlier, during a visit to Phnom Penh, he signed a trade deal with Cambodia that will allow the export of 340 mostly agricultural products without tariffs.

His visit, to the region, comes amid a rift in Beijing's ties with Washington, that has worsened ahead of US presidential elections on Nov 3. Mr Wang's visit to the region comes days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Tokyo, for a meeting of members of "The Quad" grouping of countries, where he lashed out at China.

Also read: 

Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim: What China fears about Nov 3?  (premium content)

THE TOXIC THREAT TO CHINA'S RISE

When the world's biggest polluter - China - makes a promise to be carbon neutral within the next 40 years, it leads to awe as well as skepticism. 

China may have taken a string of measures over the years to deal with pollution - ranging from traffic restrictions to self-quarantine measures - but its breakneck industrial growth has had its consequences. Both the country's environment and the health of its people took a knock. 

Now, China Bureau Chief Tan Dawn Wei writes, that with local officials bent on recouping the economic losses suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic and a bleak global outlook, the targets that the country set for itself to improve its environment are at risk.

In regions, highly polluting coal and steel production is increasing.

Also read: 

The politics behind Xi's big green promise for China

BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR ON YOUR PHONE, WATCH IT BEING BUILT

In the not too distant future, motorists in the Republic will be able to buy and customise an electric car on their phone and watch it being built in a highly automated factory

Production will begin once the order is confirmed, Hyundai said. The company is building a new facility here that may produce up to  30,000 vehicles per year by 2025.

IN OTHER NEWS

PERU OPENS MACHU PICCHU FOR A SINGLE JAPANESE TOURIST: One Japanese tourist stranded in Peru because of the pandemic requested authorities to let him visit the ruins of Machu Picchu. After a wait of seven months, his wish to enter the Inca citadel was granted.

SINGAPORE'S NEW RULES FOR THOSE FLYING DRONES: All adults flying drones above 1.5kg in weight will have to go through training and pass an exam to get a license, from February 2021, according to new rules that will come into force. Those who fly drones without the appropriate licences can be jailed up to two years, fined up to $50,000, or given both punishments for the first offence.

THAI POLICE AND PROTESTERS SCUFFLE: Thai police and protesters scuffled in Bangkok today, on the eve of a major planned anti-government demonstration and police said at least four people had been detained.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading the Asian Insider newsletter and The Straits Times. We’ll be back with you tomorrow. 

Shefali

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