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Welcome to S-RM’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bulletin.

The News in Brief section covers some of the most significant developments from across the Asia Pacific region since we published our last bulletin in August. Over the last three months, North Korea’s nuclear missile programme has dominated headlines; however, we have focused our attention on some of the key political, security and commercial issues elsewhere. During this period, Japan has gone to the polls, returning Shinzo Abe for his fourth term as prime minister; China has held the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the most important event in the country’s political calendar, which further cemented President Xi Jinping’s position in the pantheon of Chinese premiers; and Myanmar’s ongoing Rohingya crisis has worsened, with the country’s military coming under increasing international scrutiny for its role in the onset of the humanitarian crisis.

In our lead article, Rob Attwell examines the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Malaysia and its potential to impact businesses, following the cancellation of an international beer festival in Kuala Lumpur in October 2017. Dozens of international brands and thousands of people were expected to attend the festival, but a number of reportedly credible bomb threats led to its cancellation and to a significant economic loss for Malaysia. Our article looks at the circumstances surrounding the authorities’ decision to cancel the event; more importantly, we analyse some key trends in Islamist militancy in Malaysia over the last five years and we assess the potential impact that Islamic State’s (‘IS’) recent territorial losses in the Middle East may have on militancy across Southeast Asia.
As ever, please do contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Best regards,

Ian Massey
Director, S-RM Asia-Pacific