Hot off the press

These are the top stories making the front pages of major newspapers from across Southeast Asia today.

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Chinese tourists detained in Malaysia for possessing live bullets

Police have detained a group of Chinese tourists after they were found to have brought live bullets in their baggage at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, on Tuesday.

District police chief Assistant Commisioner Habibi Majinji said the tourists, aged between 50 and 70, were stopped during airport security inspection, as they were returning home.

According to him, the tourists had claimed to have found the bullets at the Tanjung Aru beach here, on Monday, and decided to take them as souvenirs. - New Straits Times

18 Singaporeans injured as bridge collapses in Batam

Eighteen Singaporeans were injured after a bridge in a hotel in Batam collapsed on Thursday afternoon, Indonesian police said.

Fifteen of the injured Singaporeans were immediately rushed to hospital, while three others who suffered light injuries were treated at the scene at Montigo Resorts Nongsa, north of Batam.

“The wooden foundations of the bridge have probably decayed, leading to its collapse,” news site cited Colonel S. Erlangga, the Riau Islands provincial police spokesman, as saying. - The Straits Times

Thai army rejects calls to lift far South emergency law

Fourth Army chief Phonsak Phunsawat has insisted that special security laws in the restive South be maintained following this week’s massacre of 15 people at a civil defence volunteer checkpoint in Yala’s Muang district.

His remark on Thursday came amid calls for the government to review use of special laws in the region, such as the Internal Security Act and the emergency situation decree, over concerns about rights violations.

Lt Gen Phonsak said the government was still trying to resolve insurgency violence through peace talks but, with militants still active in the region, security authorities needed to maintain enforcement of the special laws. - Bangkok Post

Indonesian lawmakers lambast health insurance premium increase

Members of the House of Representatives are objecting to an increase of national health insurance (JKN) premiums, especially for participants in the third class, the lowest class in the scheme. 

On Wednesday night, the House held a hearing with the insurer, the Health Care and Social Security Agency, and the Health Ministry to discuss a recent presidential decision to increase the premiums. 

Dewi Asmara, a member of Commission IX overseeing health and manpower from the Golkar Party, said that they disagree with the government's decision to keep increasing the JKN premiums. - The Jakarta Post

Robredo vows to stop killings in drug war

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said that as the new leader of the government’s campaign against narcotics, she would put an end to the killing of drug suspects but pursue the crackdown with “the same vigour.”

“I have no plans to have anybody killed since that is outside the bounds of the rule of law,” said Robredo, who on Wednesday accepted her appointment by President Rodrigo Duterte as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, becoming the country’s new drug czar.

Her appointment came after she angered Mr. Duterte with her criticism of his brutal war on drugs, saying in a 23 October interview with Reuters that too many people had been killed but the drug problem had remained prevalent. - The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Cambodia to spend nearly US$60 billion on development until 2023

Cambodia will spend nearly US$60 billion under the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023 and 75 percent of the funding will come from development partners.

Speaking to hundreds of government officials, development partners and civil society organisations during the launch of the plan in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said the plan is very important to address development challenges in the Kingdom.

“On behalf of the government, I appeal to relevant ministries…development partners, members of civil society organisations and the private sector to cooperate and actively support us in order for the Ministry of Planning to be able to effectively prepare the national policy,” he said. - The Khmer Times