In today’s bulletin: Chinese President Xi Jinping moves to consolidate power; US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper visit India to strengthen ties; Muhyiddin wins a temporary lifeline; Ant group’s record-setting IPO; Las Vegas Sands to focus on Asia? and more.
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Xi moves to consolidate power
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had sought to diffuse power through a system of collective leadership in the country and even introduced a system of naming his handpicked heir's successor. While that succession system is deemed obsolete today, President Xi Jinping is set to bring about changes in keeping with the times.
There are moves to revive the post of chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, for one. There will also be other changes to the top structure that could President Xi's power, says Benjamin Kang Lim, ST's Global Affairs correspondent.
The party's elite Central Committee, which is holding its fifth plenum from Oct 26 to 29, is expected to endorse the broad outlines of the ad hoc committee's work on these internal changes. But details will be known only during the 20th congress in 2022.
Here's more on the plenum:
United States & India strengthen strategic ties
The United States and India seemed set to strengthen defence ties as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper flew down to New Delhi for talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Washington and Beijing are also discussing an accord on sharing sensitive data. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement will allow the US to share top-secret satellite and sensor data that would allow India in targeting its missiles and placing troops.
The meeting takes place amid growing differences between US and China while India recently had a border clash with China, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The US Secretary of States will visit Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia before returning to Washington.
Muhyiddin gets a breather, but for how long?
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin won a lifeline past midnight on Monday as members of Umno declared they would support his Perikatan Nasional government, although given the infighting within Umno it remained a question mark as to how long his government would last.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin enjoys a razor-thin majority in Parliament and his government is due to present the Budget next month that will outline measures to fight the pandemic and revive the economy.
Regional Correspondent Leslie Lopez says that the support for the PM is conditional on concessions that the premier may be unlikely to meet, his sources say. This underscores the growing view that Tan Sri Muhyiddin's grip on power is weakening.
Embattled Malaysia PM Muhyiddin wins 'undivided loyalty' from ally PAS by Shannon Teoh, Malaysia Bureau Chief
Opposition calls for Malaysia PM Muhyiddin to sack 2 ministers blamed for emergency bid by Hazlin Hassan, Malaysia Correspondent
Ant group's record-setting IPO
Chinese financial technology giant Ant Group seems set to close the institutional order books of the Hong Kong portion of its record-setting IPO ahead of schedule due to strong demand, reports said.
The books were oversubscribed one hour after launch on Monday, reflecting investor frenzy for the initial public offering (IPO) of the company backed by the founder of e-commerce platform Alibaba, Jack Ma.
Ant is looking to raise up to US$34.4 billion in Hong Kong and Shanghai, with the offer split between the two cities, giving it a valuation of about US$312 billion. The IPO beats the world's previous record, set last year by Saudi Aramco at US$29 billion.
Alibaba's Jack Ma becomes richer than Walmart heirs with mega Ant IPO
Las Vegas Sands Corp to focus on Asia?
The world's largest casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp is exploring the sale of its casinos in Las Vegas that would mark its exit from the US gambling industry and focused on Asia, reports quoting insiders said.
Discussions are on for interest in the Venetian Resort Las Vegas, the Palazzo and the Sands Expo Convention Centre, which together may fetch US$6 billion or more. The sale, however, would leave the company's casino portfolio entirely in Macau and Singapore, where it owns Marina Bay Sands.
In other news ..
Indonesia's 'Jurassic Park' project won't threaten komodo dragons: Indonesia's environment ministry is trying to calm outrage over construction of an island tourism project being dubbed "Jurassic Park", after an image went viral on social media of a komodo dragon facing off with a big truck.
Japan PM faces grilling by opposition: Opposition lawmakers are to grill Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on a controversy over academic freedoms in the Diet session that opened on Monday (Oct 26) and will last until Dec 5, writes Japan Correspondent Walter Sim. The saga has hurt Mr Suga's approval ratings, which fell 11 percentage points in a weekend poll by the Nikkei and TV Tokyo from a month ago, though it is still healthy, at 63 per cent.
Dairy farmers stymie India's bilateral trade deals with US, EU: India's effort to wrap up bilateral trade deals with major economies after pulling out of a China-backed regional pact has hit a major stumbling block - its dairy industry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration is hesitant to allow free access of dairy products from several countries, including the US, the EU and the UK, due to strong opposition from politically-influential dairy farmers.
The Straits Times is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Oct 28, 9am Sgt) in partnership with the East-West Center in Honolulu & in Washington on the implications of the Nov 3 US Presidential election for Asia. You can still register here: https://str.sg/J6Ep
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and we’ll be back with you tomorrow.
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