26 September 2018


Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

KONFRONTASI-Moscow will bolster Syria's air defence following the downing of a Russian plane last week by sending a modern S-300 system to the Syrian army within two weeks, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

In a televised statement on Monday, Shoigu said the decision to "transfer the modern S-300 air defence system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks" was taken by President Vladimir Putin and is one of the "response measures".

UK's Labour plans to make companies give shares to workers

KONFRONTASI-Large companies would be forced to transfer as much as 10 percent of their shares to their workers under plans set out by Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Monday.

Labour, which under socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn has shifted from a centrist pro-business platform to a more interventionist left-wing pitch, is using its annual conference to detail its plans to help a greater number of people to share in economic prosperity that it says is “hoarded by the few”.

The party has announced plans to nationalize key industries, including water, energy and rail, and to give workers a third of seats on company boards.

Labour said that every company with more than 250 employees would have to create an “Inclusive Ownership Fund”, transferring at least 1 percent of their shares into the fund every year, up to a maximum of 10 percent.

“Employee ownership increases a company’s productivity and encourages long-term decision making,” Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell told the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

“The shares will be held and managed collectively by the workers. The shareholding will give workers the same rights as other shareholders to have a say over the direction of their company, and dividend payments will be made directly to the workers from the fund.”

Labour has cited the example of Germany, where workers sit on company boards, but the business lobby group, British Chambers of Commerce, criticized Labour’s plan, saying it could deter people from investing in Britain.

“Let no one be fooled, Labour’s proposals are both a tax grab and an unprecedented overreach into the way many of our businesses are run and will raise serious concerns,” BCC Director General Adam Marshall said.

“At a time of peak Brexit uncertainty, when Labour should be setting out how it will support business confidence and investment, it is announcing policies that would deliver the exact opposite.”

Maldives opposition wins election in potential blow to China

KONFRONTASI-Maldives opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the Indian Ocean archipelago nation’s presidential election on Monday, delivering a possible blow for China which has invested millions of dollars in projects under the outgoing administration.

Incumbent Abdulla Yameen, who had cultivated ties with both Beijing and Saudi Arabia, conceded defeat after the Election Commission said Solih had won Sunday’s election by a margin of 16.7 percent.

Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim blames former PM Najib for corruption

KONFRONTASI-Malaysia's likely next prime minister condemned the former leader over the country's ongoing corruption scandal, calling it one of the worst cases of graft the world has ever seen.   

Anwar Ibrahim, president-elect of Malaysia's Parti Keadilan Rakyat party, commented on the corruption charges looming over former prime minister Najib Razak.

"It is atrocious," Anwar told Al Jazeera's UpFront host Mehdi Hasan. "This is one of the worst financial scandals involving any government."

"It is therefore imperative that stiff action be taken. But this new government has said and ensured investigations will be professional. Prosecution must not be malicious and the judiciary must be independent."

Allegations over the misappropriation of state funds at 1MDB emerged in 2015 as the public learned $4bn had gone missing, and nearly $700m was allegedly transferred into Najib's bank account.

Anwar was also asked if he held Najib totally responsible for the 1MDB scandal.

"Yes," he said. "I first raised this issue in parliament in 2011 and I stood by it throughout the years until I was arrested and in prison in 2015.

'It's time'

Speaking about his own political ambitions, Anwar explained why he changed his mind and decided to run for parliament so soon after being released.

"I was in prison a total 10.5 years. What do you do? Read and relax," he said.

"Now four months have passed since the last elections ... and I think it's time for me to re-enter parliament to assist in parliamentary reform."

In what were widely seen as politically motivated and trumped-up charges, Anwar was twice sent to prison under Malaysia's controversial sodomy law. The current penalty for breaking it can result in up to 20 years imprisonment and public whipping.

"This is not only archaic, it is British colonial laws, introduced in India and replicated in Malaysia. It is completely unjust because one can be just accused, and without any proper evidence," Anwar said.

"The laws must be amended to ensure there's justice in the process and is not a matter of sexual orientation," he added. "It's what you perform or you display publicly, which is against the norms of the majority of Malaysians not only Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists alike in this country."

During the interview, Anwar also commented on the recent public caning of two women accused of attempting to have sex in Malaysia's northeastern state of Terengganu.

"I have condemned even the caning of lesbians by the Islamic party state of Terengganu," he said. "I thought this was clearly unjust. Although they use sharia [law] as a basis, we cannot defend such action."

With regards to the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's proposed bill to enhance the powers of Islamic courts in Kelantan state, Anwar said: "It is their interpretation that is being introduced, and we reject that. At least allow a forum to discuss this. 

"So we'll have to re-look at the whole issue of this narrow obscure interpretation of the sharia, which we cannot endorse."

Sexual assault survivors tell Trump 'why I didn't report'

KONFRONTASI-Sexual assault survivors are taking to Twitter to share the challenges in reporting abuse after US President Donald Trump questioned Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. 

"I was afraid", "Nobody would believe me", and "I was ashamed", were among the reasons why thousands, using #WhyIDidntReport, said they did not go to authorities at the time of an assault. 

Indonesia's sliding rupiah could threaten President Joko Widodo's re-election chances

KONFRONTASI-Indonesia's sliding rupiah could threaten President Joko Widodo's re-election chances, with his political rival shifting the debate to the economy in an attempt to expose a key weakness, analysts say.

Last month, Mr Widodo chose conservative Muslim cleric Maruf Amin as his presidential running mate, ahead of an election that was shaping up to be fought on religious grounds.

Trump says U.S. considering permanent military presence in Poland

KONFRONTASI-President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States is considering a request from Poland for a permanent U.S. military presence in the fellow NATO country, acknowledging that he shares Poland’s concerns about possible Russian aggression.

Poland has repeatedly requested a permanent U.S. military presence on its soil to counter Russia, offering up to $2 billion in funding for such a base.

The United States currently rotates troops through Poland temporarily but permanently stationing forces there would be expensive given costs that can include housing for families, schools and hospitals.

Russia expressed concern in May over reports about Poland’s request, saying NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders undermined stability in Europe.

Polish President Andrzej Duda made a direct appeal to Trump for a permanent U.S. base, telling a joint news conference with the American president that he would name the base “Fort Trump,” and that it would serve as a bulwark against what he considers a threat from Moscow.

Trump said he shared Duda’s concern about Russia but that Russia respects strength and that the United States has strengthened its military under his leadership.

“I am with the president. I feel that he is right,” he said.

Meeting Duda earlier in the Oval Office, Trump said Poland’s request was under consideration.

“We’re looking at it very seriously, I know Poland likes the idea very much, and it’s something that we are considering, yes,” he said.

Are we about to face a new Asian financial crisis?

KONFRONTASI -  Emerging market economies and their currencies have come under severe stress in recent weeks, as rising US interest rates and trade fears prompt investors worldwide to shun their assets and move money to the US.

A strengthening American economy, a strong US dollar and growing trade tensions have led to a rout in emerging markets over the past several weeks, as investors are increasingly shifting their money to the US.

Nexusguard research reveals 500 percent increase in average DDoS attack size

KONFRONTASI-The average DDoS attack quintupled in size to more than 26 Gbps and the maximum attack size quadrupled to 359 Gbps compared to the same period last year, according to Nexusguard's "Q2 2018 Threat Report

Thai laws set May 2019 deadline for new elections

KONFRONTASI-Thailand's military government enacted two new laws that set in motion a countdown leading to elections by May 2019 at the latest - five years after a coup d'etat.

The laws, which received royal endorsement on Wednesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette, cover the selection of members of parliament and senators.

The act covering lower house lawmakers becomes effective in 90 days and mandates that elections be held within 150 days after that, effectively setting a legal deadline in May next year.

Thailand’s PM: ‘Poor people don’t do things correctly'

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the regime that seized power in the 2014 coup, said last month a general election was likely to be held on February 24, but left open the possibility of a later date.

The ruling generals have previously set dates for elections but then postponed them.
Five-hundred lawmakers will be elected in the lower house, while 250 senators will be appointed. Several senate seats are reserved for the military.

Thailand's latest constitution, pushed through by the military government, is designed to limit the power of political parties, with election rules designed to keep any single party from winning a clear majority. It also gives the senate more powers than in previous charters.