Members of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army at a town in Myanmar’s northern Shan State. It is one of around a dozen ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar fighting against the military. Photo: AFP

Explainer | Could Myanmar’s military be deposed by armed groups fighting across the country?

The junta is facing its gravest challenge from armed groups following their coordinated attacks in Shan State.

17 Nov 2023 - 5:30PM
Presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo, right, and his running mate Mahfud MD greet supporters on October 19. Photo: EPA-EFE

Explainer | Indonesia election 2024: the biggest issues facing the 3 presidential hopefuls

Campaigning is likely to spotlight political dynasties, Indonesia’s new capital Nunsantara, youth and Muslim voters, and intra party rivalry in the ruling party.

28 Oct 2023 - 2:19PM
Smoke plumes billow into the air during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Analysis | Why Qatar, Egypt and Turkey are struggling to mediate the Israel-Gaza war

Brokering a ceasefire appears all but impossible amid the escalating violence, as fears grow of a massive humanitarian crisis – and Israel vows to wipe the Palestinian militant group ‘off the face of the Earth’.

20 Oct 2023 - 12:01AM
A fireball erupts after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Monday. Photo: AFP

Explainer | Could the Israel-Gaza war become multi-front involving Iran and Hezbollah?

The Israel-Gaza war is set to put the region on a knife-edge with risks of escalation involving Iran, its Lebanon-based ally Hezbollah and even others.

19 Oct 2023 - 11:59PM
People take part in an anti-government rally in downtown Yerevan in Armenia on Friday, following Azerbaijani military operations against Armenian separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: AFP

Explainer | What to know about the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

This week’s offensive was due to ‘decades of frustration after the failure of the international community’ to resolve conflict, say analysts, and with the war in Ukraine distracting Russia.

24 Sep 2023 - 4:00PM
Malaysian 50 ringgit banknotes at a currency exchange store in Kuala Lumpur. The currency has been Southeast Asia’s worst performer so far this year. Photo: Bloomberg

Explainer | What a weak ringgit means for Malaysia’s economy and PM Anwar in the state polls

Greater exposure to China’s economy and easing commodity prices are among the factors likely to have contributed to the ringgit’s decline compared to its Asean peers, observers say.

1 Jul 2023 - 1:45PM
Environmental activists denounce the Japanese government’s plan to start releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. Photo: AP

Explainer | What to know about Japan’s plan to release Fukushima waste water into the sea

The plan to dump treated radioactive waste water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea has stirred debates in South Korea, and led to boycotts of Japanese goods in China. Japanese fishermen have also vehemently opposed the plan.

29 Jun 2023 - 11:30AM
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast during dinner at a Tokyo restaurant in March. Photo: dpa

Explainer | What to know about South Korea-Japan ties as Yoon, Kishida meet

Building closer security ties to counter North Korea’s threat, expanding economic cooperation are among the issues likely to be the focus of Kishida’s Seoul trip.

6 May 2023 - 11:30AM
Campaign posters for this year’s general election line a street in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

Explainer | What to know about the major candidates, parties contesting Thailand’s election

Pro-democrats hope to oust the ruling coalition of former army types and conservatives, in an election set to be Thailand’s most unpredictable in two decades.

10 May 2023 - 10:47AM
Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak. Photo: AFP

Explainer | Malaysia’s jailed ex-PM Najib is seeking a royal pardon. What happens next?

Request for pardon to be deliberated by the Pardons Board which includes the king and PM Anwar Ibrahim, who has brushed aside concerns of conflict of interest.

11 Apr 2023 - 5:36PM
From left: Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, and UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leave after a joint press conference following their meeting at Point Loma naval base, to discuss the procurement of nuclear-powered submarines under a pact between the three nations as part of Aukus. Photo: dpa

Explainer | What to know about Australia’s Aukus subs and why it’s causing anxiety in Asia

Critics worry that the deal could set a dangerous precedent that can be used by other states to hide highly enriched uranium or plutonium from international oversight.

16 Mar 2023 - 12:13PM
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim delivers a lecture at the University of the Philippines in Metro Manila on March 2. Photo: EPA-EFE

Explainer | Anwar’s first 100 days: the hits, misses and challenges ahead for Malaysia’s PM

His efforts to restore some political stability and implement policies to aid post-pandemic economic recovery have been broadly welcomed by the public.

4 Mar 2023 - 12:42PM
Malaysia’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim holds a briefcase containing his 2023 budget speech. Photo: AFP

Explainer | Winners and losers of Malaysian PM Anwar’s first budget

Malaysia’s poorest, small businesses as well as middle-income earners are expected to benefit the most from Anwar Ibrahim’s first budget as prime minister.

25 Feb 2023 - 10:05AM
Singapore is set to increase housing grants for resale flats and give an additional ballot chance for some first-time homebuyers. Photo: SCMP / Roy Issa

Explainer | Will Singapore’s housing tweaks help families get their keys more quickly?

Amid ballooning prices, rent and mortgages, the affordability of public flats – home to over 80 per cent of the population – is under the national spotlight.

18 Feb 2023 - 2:00PM
Singapore skyline. Photo: Shutterstock/File

Explainer | What you need to know about Singapore’s looming ‘holiday season’ Covid wave

Singapore has embraced a post-pandemic transition, thanks to a high vaccination rate and an imminent mass roll-out of ‘bivalent’ booster shots, and will continue with its plans to open up.

8 Dec 2022 - 10:30AM
A pillion waves a PAS flag in Penang, Malaysia, on November 18, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Explainer | Who is PAS, the single biggest party in Malaysia’s new parliament?

PAS, one of the parties in ex-premier Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional coalition, has long unnerved Malaysia’s minority groups with its hardline Islamist stance.

29 Nov 2022 - 6:40PM
Malaysia’s new leader Anwar Ibrahim during a press conference on his first day at the prime minister’s office in Putrajaya on Friday. Photo: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia via AP

Explainer | As Malaysia’s PM Anwar builds cabinet, a look at key challenges ahead

Anwar has his work cut out as he aims to keep the peace within his ‘Unity Government’ and steer Malaysia forward after years of political turmoil.

30 Nov 2022 - 2:22PM
Malaysian’s former prime minister and Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin after the general election on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Explainer | Muhyiddin on pole: what you need to know after Malaysia’s deadlocked election

Muhyiddin’s strategy of pitching Perikatan Nasional as conservative alternative to major parties could have worked in rural constituencies.

20 Nov 2022 - 7:54PM
Umno’s last two years in power have been anything but stable – with the rise and fall of three prime ministers, an economy only just recovering from the pandemic and top party leaders mired in corruption charges and scandals. Photo: AP

Explainer | Party coup, angry king, jailed Najib: Malaysia’s tortuous journey to snap vote

Umno is seeking a return to power in Malaysia this week, four years after a crushing defeat in the historic 2018 election and since returning to power in 2020.

18 Nov 2022 - 12:23PM
A general view of the Bukit Bintang shopping district in Kuala Lumpur, as Malaysia gears up for its 15th general election, which is likely to be the most hotly contested so far. Photo: Reuters

Explainer | Malaysia election 2022: A quick guide to what you need to know

Malaysia’s tumultuous political scene, coloured by corruption and politicking, is further complicated by racial policies, the rising cost of living, economic uncertainty and an election held during monsoon season.

16 Nov 2022 - 10:46PM