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Singapore: Significant progress in Global Giving Index

Among the 145 countries ranked in the Global Giving Index, Singapore was ranked number 34 in 2014 rising from number 114 in 2012. The survey also shows that the most common way for Singaporeans to show their generosity is through donations, rather than participating in volunteer activities or helping strangers.

According to the British NGO Charity Aid Foundation’s report, in 2014, among every ten Singaporeans there are nearly six who donate money to charities, less than three take part in volunteer activities, and four help strangers.

As for the other countries such as Iraq, despite the ongoing tension within the country, the Iraqi people ranked first in terms of helping strangers. In addition, the survey also found that more and more people around the world are helping those in need through donations. The charitable donations around the world have experienced an annual increase of 3.2%.

Singapore Daily Life

Photo Credit: Reuters

Malaysia: Human Rights Association willing to cooperate with former Prime Minister Mahathir if existing regulations are reformed

President of Malaysia’s National Human Rights Society (Hakam) Ambiga Sreenevasa expressed their willingness to cooperate with the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, with the proviso that Mahathir cannot only force the incumbent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down, but also change the problematic government system in Malaysia.

Ambiga Sreenevasan said that the most critical thing is whether or not Mahathir has realized that the system has been a problem for the past 30 years in Malaysia. She said if he has realized the problem, then it is necessary to reform the system, not just to kick out the prime minister.

Recently, a member of the group of former high-ranking Malay bureaucrats G25 Tawfik Ismail revealed that G25 had a meeting with the former deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and the topic of discussion was alleged to have included replacing Najib. However, the group has emphasized that they would not support nor interfere with any party.

Ismail asked Mahathir who would replace Najib, and Mahathir said that the person who succeeds him will be guided by a council of elders. Tawfik said he could not accept such an argument, as it would be undemocratic to have an unelected council of elders dictating the prime minister.

Professor James Chin of the University of Tasmania refers to Mahathir as a “PM slayer" in his book, “Malaysia Post-Mahathir: A Decade of Change.” He said Mahathir tries to maintain his influence in Malaysian politics to keep Umno and the Malays in power.

According to the book, Mahathir has already overturned two prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and now he is dealing with the third one.

Mahathir’s greatest political fear is reformation that will promote equal citizenship rights. For Mahathir, keeping a race-based political system is the key to keeping Umno in power. And the reason he wants his son, Mukhriz Mahathir, to be elected as the vice president of Umno is to maintain the Mahathir family’s political dynasty.

Professor Chin added that any attempt for Malaysia to move towards a merit-based economy would be met with opposition from Mahathir, similar to that experienced by Datuk Seri Najib with the New Economic Model (NEM).

Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Photo Credit: AP

Indonesia: Indonesia could take China to international court over South China Sea dispute

On November 11, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security of Indonesia Luhut Panjaitan said that if the dispute over the sovereignty in South China Sea cannot be solved through dialogue, the Indonesian government could bring it to the International Criminal Court.

Beijing’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea is shown on Chinese maps with a nine-dash line that stretches deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia, including parts of the Indonesian-held Natuna islands. However, Indonesia thinks that the claim has no legal basis.

The Philippines has already taken China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, a case Beijing refuses to recognize.

“We are working very hard on this. We are trying to approach the Chinese," Luhut told reporters. “We would like to see a solution on this in the near future through dialogue, or we could bring it to the International Criminal Court."

“We don’t want to see any power projection in this area. We would like a peaceful solution by promoting dialogue. The nine-dash line is a problem we are facing, but not only us. It also directly (impacts) the interests of Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines." said Luhut.


Photo Credit: Reuters

Translated and compiled by Vic Chiang and Eric Wong
Edited by Olivia Yang