Malaysia will not join the International Criminal Court (ICC), Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad has announced, raising further concerns that his 10-month administration is holding back on promised reforms after coming under pressure from the opposition.
Malaysia signed the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty, in March but still had to ratify it to formally become a member of the The Hague-based tribunal.
Opposition parties objected to it on racial grounds that it could undermine privileges for Malays, as well as the immunity of nine Malay state rulers. The wealthy ruler of southern Johor state also recently accused the government of breaching the constitution by signing the treaty.
On Friday, Mahathir said the cabinet had decided not to ratify the Rome Statute as it has been manipulated by his opponents. He rejected allegations that the treaty will undermine Malaysia's sovereignty and its royal families.
Hong Kong's leaders have launched laws to change extradition rules to allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, standing fast against growing opposition to a move that many fear could further erode the city's legal protections.
According to the laws presented to the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam would have the right to order the extradition of wanted offenders to China, Macau and Taiwan as well as other countries not covered by Hong Kong's existing extradition treaties.
Singapore's submission of wide-ranging fake news legislation in parliament has stoked fears from internet firms and human-rights groups that it may give the government too much power and hinder freedom of speech. The law, submitted on April 1, would require social media sites such as Facebook to carry warnings on posts the government deems false and remove comments against the "public interest".
About 5.88 million eligible voters are set to vote in the Israeli elections on April 9 to elect a party that will lead the next Israeli government.
Fourteen main parties are competing for 120 seats in the 21st Knesset (parliament). A party has to secure a majority of 61 seats out of 120 in order to form a government and choose a leader to become prime minister.
Israel has seen particularly high turn-out rates in the past, with 71.8 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the 2015 election.
Israel's incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, is seeking a fifth term in office.
According to polls, it's a tight race against his main rival Benny Gantz, a former army chief who leads the centrist Blue and White party, a party merged in alliance with former finance minister and TV personality Yair Lapid.
To advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary for Seoul, Washington and Pyongyang to maintain bilateral and trilateral dialogues and to continue to pursue a top-down approach, a presidential aide said on March 30.
A few days have passed since Thais went to the polls for the first time since 2014, when military leaders seized power in a coup. Since then, the days has been filled with confusion, uncertainty, and anticipation for the final results to be announced. It remains unclear which party will be able to form a government. The long-awaited and delayed election, one of the most significant elections in Asia in the last five years, so far has brought more confusion than clarity.
On March 27, India destroyed a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test that puts the country in the space “super league,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. This announcement was made months ahead of national election in which PM Modi is seeking a second term in office.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi pledged to further enhance defense cooperation with China during his meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe on March 25.
During the meeting, Sisi recalled the long-standing China-Egypt relation during which the two sides had achieved fruitful results from their cooperation in all fields and highlighted China’s contribution to world peace.
Italy has become the first G7 country to sign a memorandum of understanding on China's Belt and Road initiative, which is designed to create a huge economic zone.
Kazakhstan’s tenure in the United Nations Security Council lasted from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. The country was elected in 2016 to represent Asia, defeating Thailand for the spot. Kazakhstan obtained 113 votes and Thailand received 77 during the first round of voting; in the second round, Kazakhstan obtained 138 votes. As part of its tenure in the UNSC, Kazakhstan was president of the Security Council in January 2018, which was marked by a trip by President Nazarbayev to New York.