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. 

Widening roads costly, says expert

Experts believe that improving public transportation is one of the most important ways of easing traffic flow on highways during festive seasons. Traffic engineering specialist Dr Law Teik Hua said instead of widening roads and highways, the authorities should focus on upgrading the public transportation system.

“It is not necessary to widen roads to ease traffic. It will be costly and time-consuming to do this. – New Straits Times

Singapore exports forecast slashed to -9 to -8% for 2019; shipments shrank 14.6% in Q2

Singapore’s key non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) sank by double digits in the second quarter, contracting by 14.6 percent compared to a year ago, Enterprise Singapore said. This is a much steeper fall compared to the 6.4 percent drop seen in the first quarter, and is Singapore’s third straight quarter of Nodx decline. – The Straits Times

CSD ordered to take lead in capital bomb blitz investigation

National Police chief, Chakthip Chaijinda, has ordered the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) to take over probes relating to the August 2, bombing and arson attacks in Bangkok and Nonthaburi and combine them into a single case, a source in the Royal Thai Police said.

According to the source, the OAG is being drafted in because statements from detained suspects and gathered intelligence suggest the attacks were planned at a meeting held near the Thai-Malaysian border. – Bangkok Post

Reforming inefficient economy

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo strategically placed improving physical infrastructure and institutional capacity-building to develop a clean, efficient and competent system of governance and business licensing, as well as a better-targeted vocational training system, at the top of his priority working program right from the outset of his administration in October 2014.

Yet these factors apparently remain the main constraints on Indonesia’s growth. – The Jakarta Post

66 more tour guides join ranks of professionals

A total of 66 newly qualified personnel are now ready to serve as tour guides, part of efforts to make a success of Visit Laos-China Year 2019 and bring Laos’ tourist attractions to life. The group has completed the government’s 26th national tour guide training programme, which took place in Vientiane in August. – Vientiane Times

Chinese project in Cambodia raises alarms of military build-up

While Cambodia welcomes an ongoing influx of Chinese tourists, investment and development, the world at large increasingly suspects that China is launching a military build-up in the country for stronger Chinese influence in Southeast Asia.

Dara Sakor, a new China-backed coastal resort in Koh Kong province, located some 400 kilometres southwest of Phnom Penh by road, covers almost 20 percent of the country’s coastline. – The Cambodia Daily