Asia Group Advisors (AGA) is a strategic advisory firm specializing in market entry, government affairs and public policy in Southeast Asia

Established in 2013, our in-country teams help clients navigate the business and political landscapes of the most challenging markets in the region

AGA is led by a group of highly qualified experts with deep networks and strong business acumen. Working alongside our trusted advisory board, we enable our clients to thrive by maximising opportunities and mitigating risk

With eight offices in Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Washington D.C. and Yangon, our consultants are creative, dedicated problem-solvers who offer local expertise and content-based solutions

Our Expertise

  • Agribusiness & Food
  • Defense and Aerospace
  • Energy & Extractives
  • Financial Services
  • ICT & E-commerce
  • Logistics & Transport
  • Manufacturing
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
Agribusiness & Food
Defense and Aerospace
Energy & Extractives
Financial Services
ICT & E-commerce
Logistics & Transport
Manufacturing
Media & Entertainment
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare

Our People

Asia Group Advisors is led by a group of highly qualified experts with decades of experience, deep networks and strong business acumen.

Leadership
Advisory Board
Agung Yudhawiranata
Director & Country Representative,
Indonesia
Adam Schwarz
Founder & CEO,
United States
Annisa Natalegawa
Managing Director & Partner,
Singapore
Stefano Scuratti
Director, Southeast Asia,
Singapore
Nattabhorn Juengsanguansit (Ink)
Partner & Country Representative,
Thailand
Ramon A. Carandang (Ricky)
Senior Advisor,
Philippines
Kevin Murphy
Senior Advisor,
Myanmar
Nguyen Lan Huong
Associate Director,
Vietnam
Decharpac Polpong (Pai)
Associate Director,
Thailand
Dian Widjanarty
Associate Director,
Indonesia
Willy Halim
Regional Finance & Admin Manager,
Singapore

Insights

Covid-19 and Policy Updates in ASEAN: 19 August - 25 August 2021
OVERVIEW Cambodian capital Phnom Penh has lifted curfew and other social distancing measures, though suspensions on high-risk activities remain. Indonesia extended community activity restrictions until 30 August at the earliest. Malaysia swore in its ninth prime minister on 21 August. Myanmar’s Ministry of Health imposed a stay-at-home order in three more townships, bringing the total number of townships under some measure of restriction to 114. The Philippines maintained strict lockdown measures in Metro Manila through to 31 August. Singapore announced new risk categorizations for travel as the country sees vaccination levels cross 75 percent. Thailand is working to secure additional Covid-19 vaccines, including Pfizer and Sinovac. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is implementing a strict, two-week stay-at-home order. A Covid-19 vaccine tracker is appended to the end of this bulletin. It monitors plans and progress for vaccine procurement in individual ASEAN countries. ASEAN Covid-19 Impact Index The health and economic consequences of Covid-19 in ASEAN countries have been serious​ But in general, Covid-19 cases on a per capita basis in Asia have been significantly lower than in many European and North American countries Cambodia Cases: 90,535 Deaths: 1,835 Population: 16.9 million IMF 2021 Growth Forecast: 4.2% The Tourism Ministry announced it will adopt a three-phase plan to restart Cambodia's tourism industry, beginning with a Resilience and Restart phase in 2021, Recovery in 2022 and 2023, and Relaunch in 2024 and 2025 As of 23 August, over 486,800 people including front-line health and security personnel in eight border provinces have received booster shots in an effort to better manage the risk of transmission from returning migrant workers A total of 767,618 people have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine as of 22 August The Ministry of Health said that as of 21 August, Cambodia detected 999 cases of Delta variant infections, with the highest number of cases coming from Phnom Penh The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications announced on 19 August that companies, factories, enterprises and institutions should order Rapid Test kits to speed up virus testing. This follows new Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training guidelines requiring factories to purchase test kits and conduct regular testing. On 20 August, Phnom Penh has ended its curfew of 21 days of heightened restrictions. However, measures such as the suspension of high-risk businesses and the ban on gatherings of 15 or more people remain in place The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 20 August lifted the temporary ban on the entry and exit of Vietnamese company staff and workers, but social distancing measures remain in place Indonesia Cases: 4,008,166 Deaths: 128,252 Population: 275.7 million IMF 2021 Growth Forecast: 4.3% The government extended community activity restrictions (PPKM) in Java and Bali until 30 August or 6 September in some areas The World Health Organization on 18 August warned that the government's decision to allow malls and restaurants in several areas to reopen despite the high Covid-19 transmission rate could trigger another surge in infections A parliamentarian, Rahmad Handoyo. called on 19 August for the government to provide equal opportunities to national private pharmaceutical companies to produce drugs needed by the state such as Ivermectin, which has been approved by the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority as a treatment for Covid-19 Australia on 18 August contributed over USD 187,000 worth of ventilators to support Indonesia’s handling of its Covid-19 situation Malaysia Cases: 1,593,602 Deaths: 14,553 Population: 32.7 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: 6.5% Malaysia recorded 23,564 new Covid-19 cases on 20 August, the highest number of daily cases in the country so far. The total number of Covid-19 cases also exceeded the 1,500,000 mark on the same day Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister on 21 August. Ismail, who was the deputy under former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, is expected to continue Muhyiddin’s policies, given that the latter still commands many seats in the coalition government Prime Minister Ismail has invited opposition leaders to join the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19. In his maiden speech, he said King Al-Sultan Abdullah had implored the heads of all political parties to bury their differences for the sake of the prosperity and welfare of the people S&P Global Ratings has lowered its 2021 growth forecast for Malaysia to 3.2%, down from 4.1%. The Malaysia Rating Corporation maintained its 3.9% GDP growth forecast for Malaysia for 2021 Malaysia’s labor market in the second quarter of 2021 saw improvements in both supply and demand, with the number of employed rising by 2.2% to 15.21 million people compared to the same quarter last year, while the number of unemployed eased by 3.4% to 764,900 persons. The labor market however has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels Myanmar Cases: 378,377 Deaths: 14,622 Population: 54.7 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: -8.9% Myanmar reported on 22 August 2,173 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 373,685 infections. A total of 138 more deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 14,374 as of 23 August. Medical experts fear the actual numbers could be exponentially higher as many citizens have been avoiding healthcare facilities which have been the target of military attacks The Ministry of Health has imposed stay-at-home orders in three more townships, one in Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory and two in Tanintharyi region. So far, stay-at-home orders have been imposed in 114 townships, approximately 34.5% of 330 townships countrywide More than 250 acts of violence and obstruction against healthcare workers attributed to the military government have been reported in the past five months Senior military junta officials said they would be receptive to a UN proposal to allow health workers to support Covid-19 prevention measures and made statements about the possibility of working with ethnic armed groups on immunization. However, the actual measures and implementation remain unclear Myanmar has received eight million vaccine doses from China and Russia, but just over 3% of its 55 million population is fully vaccinated. The military regime is aiming for 50% of the country’s population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021 To avoid the risk of Myanmar becoming a Covid-19 super-spreader state, the opposition National Unity Government along with international aid groups have called on other countries to extend humanitarian aid to help Myanmar get to grips with its Covid-19 situation, even if it means working with the military regime Philippines Cases: 1,869,691 Deaths: 32,264 Population: 110.7 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: 6.9% The number of Covid-19 cases continues to spike with the Philippines reporting its highest single-day tally of Covid-19 cases on 23 August 2021 with 18,332 new infections, and hospitals recording occupancy rates of 73% and 64.5% for ICU and hospitals beds respectively Despite the surge in Covid-19 cases, the government is continuing to ease quarantine restrictions in critical areas, with Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan set to be placed under less stringent measures starting from 21 August The government is allocating USD 902.7 million for Covid-19 booster shots in its 2022 budget Moderna and AstraZeneca have suspended vaccine orders placed through multi-party agreements, which will delay the delivery of at least 10 million doses. According to Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, both vaccine manufacturers wanted to simplify the order process by reducing agreements with hundreds of signatories to a single-buyer contract. The hold on vaccine purchases will affect 42 local government units and 300 companies which had signed pending Moderna or AstraZeneca multi-party agreements Singapore Cases: 66,692 Deaths: 50 Population: 5.9 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: 5.2% Singapore will open its borders to vaccinated travelers from selected countries, starting with Germany and Brunei. From 8 September, fully vaccinated Singapore residents will be able to travel to Germany and back without having to serve a stay-home notice upon their return home. It will be the first-time residents can go for quarantine-free leisure travel since Singapore shut its borders in March 2020 As of 18 August, 77% of Singapore’s population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 Singapore will start a pilot program for mildly ill Covid-19 patients to recover at home from 30 August as part of its gradual shift towards living with the disease. People will qualify for the home isolation scheme if they have mild or no symptoms and can be isolated from the rest of the household On 19 August, Changi Foundation, the philanthropic wing of Changi Airport Group, along with over 30 airport partners from various sectors such as retail, engineering, and construction, donated 1,380 oxygen concentrators to Indonesia to aid its fight against Covid-19 The Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers Federation announced on 23 August vaccination regime guidelines for employers. Under the guidelines, employers may ask staff who are eligible but choose not to be vaccinated to pay for regular testing, and exclude them from medical benefits linked to Covid-19., but they may not terminate or threaten to terminate the services of employees on the basis of vaccination status alone Thailand Cases: 1,102,368 Deaths: 10,085 Population: 69.9 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: 2.6% Thailand recorded its highest Covid-19 tallies on 18 August, with over one million Covid-19 cases and a new record of 312 fatalities Thai government agencies are working to secure additional Covid-19 vaccines: the Department of Disease Control will procure an additional 10 million Pfizer vaccine doses to be delivered within this year; the Government Pharmaceutical Organization ordered an additional 12 million doses of Sinovac to be used in the government’s vaccination program; and the National Vaccine Institute, together with the Department of Disease Control, has been appointed to negotiate for an additional 10 million vaccine doses from other manufacturers The Department of Medical Science and the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital announced that their study affirms the efficacy of mixing vaccines, with a first dose of Sinovac followed by a second dose of AstraZeneca providing higher levels of immunity within a shorter period of time compared with full doses of either the Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines. The study also supports the use of booster shots to those who have already received two doses of Sinovac The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration Committee approved the 7+7 Phuket Extension scheme on 16 August, allowing inoculated tourists from approved countries to visit Phuket for seven days followed by another seven days at one of the three areas of Pha Ngan, Surat Thani, or Krabi. Tourists will be required to undergo three Covid-19 tests throughout their visit and must stay in certified accommodations that meet health and hygienic standards Vietnam Cases: 369,267 Deaths: 9,014 Population: 98 million IMF 2021 growth forecast: 6.5% The Public Security, Health, and Information Ministries have issued a single QR code for online health declaration. Data will be consolidated in the National Population Database controlled by the Ministry of Public Security The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 20 August entry policies for fully vaccinated people and issued temporary guidelines on the verification of foreign Covid-19 vaccination and recovery certificates from 44 countries and territories Hanoi has extended until 6 September its current lockdown measures Quang Ninh province authorities announced that proof of complete vaccination and negative test results 48 hours prior to entry will be required for those seeking to enter, with exceptions given to truck drivers and workers from Hai Duong and Hai Phong who travel on their companies’ vehicles Strict stay-at-home orders have been announced for 11 wards in Binh Duong for 15 days, while Da Nang City has extended until 26 August its strict stay-at-home orders Ho Chi Minh City has announced a strict two-week stay-at-home order beginning from 23 August for residents. Those going out for work will be required to wear identification badges or uniforms. The central government also sent troops into the city to provide local forces with medical and logistical assistance, and mobile health units have also been set up The Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority announced that manufacturers must either exclusively apply stay-at-work measures or implement one road-two destinations travel schemes and that they are not to modify their list of workers
Read