Hot off the press

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

Get up to speed with what’s happening in the fastest growing region in the world.

Pakatan leads Barisan in poll

A survey by Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) said Pakatan Harapan (PH) was leading the race at 53 percent with Barisan Nasional trailing at 44 percent. This close contest should not come as a surprise as the PH machinery has been working round the clock to go to the ground, meeting supporters and critics alike to convey their side of the story. – New Straits Times

PM moves to patch up coalition rift

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will sit for talks with leaders of the coalition parties in what is seen as a bid to patch up their differences ahead of a no-confidence debate, following reports of frictions emerging among them. Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, an executive of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said on Thursday the prime minister was choosing a date for the meeting. – Bangkok Post

2020 National Games: Concerns raised about venues, security in Papua

A number of concerns about the 2020 National Games (PON), ranging from the future use of venues to security, have been brought up at a hearing by House of Representatives Commission X, which oversees education, history and sports. 

During the Wednesday’s hearing in Jakarta that involved the Youth and Sports Ministry, Indonesia National Sports Council (KONI) chief Marciano Norman raised questions about the sustainability of the venues and requested help from Commission X to support their maintenance after the PON, which will be held in the easternmost province of the country. Marciano noted that some of the venues for the 2008 PON, which had been held in East Kalimantan, were neglected after the games. – The Jakarta Post

Leni Robredo: Check China as top drug source

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said the government must look into reports that the bulk of illegal drugs smuggled into the Philippines comes from China, which the Duterte administration considers a major ally.

Speaking to reporters in Quezon City after a meeting with the law-enforcement cluster of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, of which she is now co-chair, Robredo said she wanted more information after learning that China was the biggest source of narcotics traded in the Philippines. – Philippine Daily Inquirer

Govt needs stronger mechanisms to minimise financial misconduct: NA

National Assembly (NA) members on Thursday urged the government to impose proper measures to address violations involving state finances after learning that this kind of crime is common. During the debate session, which enabled Assembly members to comment on a report by the State Audit Organisation, lawmakers said it did not make much sense if the government did not act upon the findings of the audit body.

They also said the government should consider the possibility of allowing local authorities to spend public money not included in the state budget in cases of emergency, so they can deliver a timely response when natural disasters strike. – Vientiane Times