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. 

Graft rife in schools, study finds

A recent study suggests that a "culture of corruption" has taken root deep within the Thai education system, as more officials and school directors are taking advantage of their positions to line their pockets with state funds. "Officers engage in corrupt practices whenever there is a chance to do so," said Assoc Prof Pornamarin Promgrid of Khon Kaen University, citing a study he conducted between 2017-2018 in the north-eastern provinces of Kalasin, Khon Kaen, and Maha Sarakham. The acts of corruption, said Assoc Prof Pornamarin, range from the embezzling of state funds, colluding to mark up prices of educational and school construction materials, as well as demanding bribes from parents who want their children to be enrolled in a particular school. – Bangkok Post

Enterprises need better branding to compete in int'l market

Vietnamese enterprises must develop globally competitive brands if they want to succeed internationally, speakers said at a conference on domestic trademarks held in HCM City on Saturday. Economist Le Dang Doanh said that most Vietnamese farm produce and seafood exported through unofficial channels had no brand names and thus suffered from low export prices. Vietnam is among the world's largest exporters of farm produce and seafood, but few foreign consumers know they're using products from Vietnam, he said. “These products are exported without brand names on the packaging. More than 70 percent of Vietnamese exports are from foreign direct invested companies," he explained. – Vietnam News

PM’s Geneva trip ‘a success’

After Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen returned from his 3-5 July visit to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Switzerland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation described the meetings as "successful”. The ministry said the prime minister spoke to the WTO about Cambodia's development, from the hard times of the past to modern times when the poverty rate had been reduced from more than 50 percent in 2004 to less than 10 percent last year. Hun Sen met with WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo and expressed his regret over the EU launching the formal withdrawal of its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement from the Kingdom. – The Phnom Penh Post

Junior lawmakers urged to support bid to impeach Duterte

A militant fisherfolk group has called on junior lawmakers in the Philippines to support their bid to impeach President Rodrigo Duterte, whom they accused of violating the Constitution with his alleged verbal deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping that supposedly allowed Chinese fishermen in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Fernando Hicap, former Anakpawis party list representative and now Pamalakaya national chair, said his group would lead the filing of an impeachment complaint against the President when the 18th Congress convenes on 22 July. The complaint, he said, will be for the President’s violation of the Constitution, treason and betrayal of public trust by “compromising the West Philippine Sea and the rights of the Filipino fisherfolk to China.” – The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Muhyiddin: Dr M sincere in inviting Umno and other Malay parties to join Bersatu

Muhyiddin Yassin said Dr Mahathir Mohamad was sincere in inviting all Malay parties, including Umno, to join the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu). The Bersatu president said Dr Mahathir wanted this as it would strengthen solidarity within the Malay community. On Friday, Dr Mahathir had invited all Malay parties, including Umno, to join Bersatu. He had said the Malays were a divided community, with as many as six political parties representing them, adding that his call was a means to unite the community. – New Straits Times

Sawahlunto named world heritage site

The Ombilin coal mine in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, the “oldest coal mining town in Southeast Asia”, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. “In addition to Indonesia, there were 20 other countries that supported the nomination,” Sawahlunto Culture and Historical Preservation Agency head Rahmat Gino told The Jakarta Post on Saturday, about two hours before the committee unanimously agreed to officially name Sawahlunto’s historic coal mine a UNESCO World Heritage site. – The Jakarta Post

Two men first persons to be charged with flying drones near airbase

Two men have been charged with flying drones for recreation within 5km of the Paya Lebar Airbase without a permit. In what is the first case involving the illegal use of drones near an airbase in Singapore, Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, and Tay Miow Seng, 40, are accused of flying unmanned devices at an open field near Block 128C Punggol Field at around 9pm on 26 June. According to court documents, Chen was said to be operating a DBPower FPV drone that weighed 0.357kg, while Tay allegedly used a "Bumblebee wrapped DJI drone" weighing 0.43kg. – Straits Times