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.  

Floods hit several states in Malaysia; thousands evacuated

More than 5,000 people were in flood evacuation centres in Johor on Sunday (15 Dec), with the authorities predicting more rain as several Malaysian states were hit by floods at the weekend.

The states affected included Johor, Melaka, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak, with more than 5,000 forced to leave their homes.

The number of flood victims in Johor stood at 5,592 people on Sunday, an increase from the 4,326 recorded the day before. – The Straits Times

Indonesia files lawsuit against EU at WTO over palm oil

Indonesia has filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization against the European Union, claiming the bloc's restrictions on palm oil-based biofuel are unfair, the country's trade ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The European Commission concluded earlier this year that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and its use in transport fuel should be phased out by 2030. – New Straits Times

Cambodia identified as a top ASEAN market for Dubai firms

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced that Cambodia is one of the top markets in ASEAN for Dubai exporters.

Together with Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, the Kingdom has been identified as one of the markets with the greatest potential in the ASEAN region, according to a statement issued by the chamber on Thursday. – Khmer Times

Dictating the internet

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an organisation that seeks to protect human rights through the rule of law, has released a report called Dictating the internet: Curtailing free expression, opinion and information online in Southeast Asia.

The report came to life at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand recently, where some of the activists featured in the case studies participated in a panel discussion that clarified the human cost of governments and corporations using vaguely worded legislation to selectively harass those who speak out against injustice. – Bangkok Post

Việt Nam wants to sustain ASEAN resilience to global challenges: Deputy FM

Việt Nam attaches great importance to its role as ASEAN Chair 2020, and wishes to build a strong ASEAN Community which is resilient to regional and global challenges, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng has said.

Briefing nearly 70 foreign ambassadors and representatives from embassies of ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s development partners at a conference at the weekend in Hà Nội, Dũng, who is also Secretary General of the National ASEAN 2020 Committee, affirmed joining ASEAN’s activities was among priorities in Việt Nam’s foreign policy. – Viet Nam News