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.

Efforts to put out peat fire in Matang ongoing

It has been an uphill battle for 25 firefighters in their efforts to put out the peat soil fire in Kampung Matang Merbau, in Matang near here.

Taiping Fire and Rescue station chief Rafeel Hairul Ricard said the ongoing firefighting operations which started at noon yesterday was hindered by the lack of water source in the area and they had to obtain it from a different location about two to three kilometres away. – New Straits Times

First phase of Thomson-East Coast Line to open before Chinese New Year next year, with three stations in Woodlands

The first stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) - Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South - will commence service in late January, before Chinese New Year. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced this on Thursday (Sept 19) morning during a visit to the line's Mandai Depot. Chinese New Year falls on Jan 25 and 26 next year. – The Straits Times

NACC busts school kickbacks

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Wednesday ruled that the former director of Samsenwittayalai School and other two colleagues committed severe violations and broke several laws by taking parents' money in exchange for enrolling their children in the well-known school. – Bangkok Post

'#SawitBaik' campaign under fire in social media

Amid a smog crisis in Sumatra and Kalimantan that has reportedly claimed a life and is harming the health of tens of thousands of people, a Twitter account promoting palm oil has caused outrage among netizens. The account @SawitBaikID is behind a pro-palm oil campaign spread through the hashtag #SawitBaik (palm is good). 

The Twitter account bio explains that “#SawitBaik is a national campaign by the Communications and Information Ministry supported by the Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP-KS) and the Office of the Coordinating Finance Minister to provide comprehensive information about [palm oil]. – The Jakarta Post

Govt directs public to find flood facts from official media

The government has directed the public to get their information on authorities’ flood disaster response from state media, and to educate them on political ideology and maintain national solidarity. The government directed the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism at its meeting on Monday to highlight the action taken to address this year’s flood disasters across the country. – Vientiane Times

80% of global swine fever deaths are in PH

African swine fever has spread to Metro Manila from adjoining Rizal and Bulacan, provinces that the government earlier acknowledged as among the areas hit by the disease that is fatal to hogs but harmless to humans.

The Quezon City government has culled 146 pigs at Barangay Bagong Silangan since Sunday after 11 hogs in the area tested positive for the African swine fever virus, Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Wednesday. – Philippine Daily Inquirer