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. 

Duterte asks US to deploy Seventh Fleet in South China Sea

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday issued another challenge to the United States to keep China off the disputed areas of South China Sea, asking the western superpower to deploy its Seventh Fleet in the disputed territories. “That’s why I have a proposal,” the President, speaking partly in Filipino, told reporters in Malacañang. “If America really wants to drive away China, which I can’t do, I’ll ask for its help. I want the whole of the Seventh Fleet of the Armed Forces of the United States there.” The President made this proposal after asking its long-time military ally to “fire the first shot” and declare war against China over its long-standing maritime dispute with its neighbours and its militarisation in the disputed areas. – The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Jokowi to capitalise on trade war

Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has once again called on his ministers to issue more incentives that would boost exports and simplify investment procedures to attract more investors to the country. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Jokowi said incentives should be given to exporters in a bid to make them more competitive and that there were ample opportunities to improve Indonesia’s export performance amid the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. “The opportunity to export to the United States is huge because Chinese goods have been given higher tariffs,” Jokowi said on Monday. “The government should give incentives (to exporters). If we don’t, it would be hard for them to penetrate both existing markets and new ones.” – The Jakarta Post

Dr M mystified by Trump over US-China trade war

Malaysia's Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday admitted being mystified by President Donald Trump over the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. He said that unlike the US president, China had taken a firm stand on the current situation between the two major economic powers. “I really do not know what he is talking about. Because one day, Trump says he does not want to negotiate. (But) the next day, he says he wants to talk and negotiate. “I, however, know that China has a firm stand. If you impose high taxes on their exports, then they will do the same on imports from the US,” he told reporters. – New Straits Times

Parliament: Higher traffic fines for drivers of luxury cars among MPs' suggestions to improve road safety

Fines for traffic offences in Singapore should be pegged to the open market value of the offending motorist's vehicle, which would enhance the deterrent effect against unsafe driving. In doing so, motorists who own luxury cars would then pay more fines for the same offence compared to those who drive cheaper vehicles, suggested Nominated Member of Parliament Walter Theseira in Parliament on Monday (8 July). This would make fines more meaningful as a deterrent for motorists of higher income levels, he added. – The Straits Times

'Tesla of Thailand' powers vision of electric paradise

Thailand could be on the verge of an electric vehicle (EV) revolution. After decades of promising ubiquitous plug-in stations and quiet roads full of whirring, non-petrol-powered cars, the futuristic fantasy could soon be a reality. Dubbed the "Tesla of Thailand", SET-listed Energy Absolute (EA) will kick off the first phase of its 100-billion-baht lithium-ion battery production line in mid-2020 and has entered into a binding agreement to install "public charging points" for all battery-powered EV models at 7-Eleven convenience stores, Caltex petrol stations, Robinson department stores and Bridgestone service shops. – Bangkok Post

Study finds high rate of obesity among primary school students

A lack of physical activity and inappropriate diets are to blame for the high rate of obesity among primary school students, according to a new study by Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition. The study shows that the rate of overweight and obese primary school students is 29 percent, higher than that of secondary school students (19 percent) and high school students (9.5 percent). The study was conducted between 2017 and 2018 on 5,028 students aged 7 to 17 years old at 75 schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as three provinces. – Vietnam News

Smart Axiata, Huawei work on 5G network for Kingdom

Cambodia’s leading mobile operator, Smart Axiata Co Ltd, announced on Monday that it had begun 5G trials in partnership with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and may launch the mobile network later this year. Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said Monday’s announcement is the latest in a busy year for Smart – introducing many new innovative services alongside massive network investments. – The Phnom Penh Post