Daily round-up, Aug 2: Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan; trial for Singaporean accused of murdering wife begins in UK; flash floods hit Johor Bahru

Let’s get you caught up on the day’s top stories.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday (Aug 2) night as part of her ongoing Asia tour. It is the highest-profile visit by a US official to the island in 25 years.

Prior to her arrival, China warned that the United States would “pay the price” if Pelosi visited Taiwan

China considers Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary. 

Ahead of her expected arrival, Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait, and several warships remained close to it.   

Taiwan’s military on Tuesday said it was “determined” to defend it against increased threats by China over the potential Pelosi visit.

Fong Soong Hert, 51, is suspected of murdering his wife in 2021 while they were on holiday in the United Kingdom. His wife, Pek Ying Ling, had been found on the bed by police showing no signs of life at the hotel they were staying at in Newcastle. A post-mortem concluded her injuries were consistent with her being smothered by a pillow.

The court heard that Fong told police officers: “I just snapped. I just wanted her to keep quiet.”

The trial is expected to last over a week.

Poultry breeders in Malaysia welcomed remarks by the agriculture minister that the country is now in an oversupply situation and can export chicken to other countries. However, they say they are in the dark about when the government would lift the chicken export ban.

The Malaysian government earlier banned chicken exports in its efforts to tackle the supply shortage and price increases of chicken in the country. 

One farmer noted that chickens are being sold in some parts of Johor Bahru below the price ceiling of RM9.40 (US$2.10) per kg. “I’ve seen chicken being sold at RM7.50 per kg even,” he told CNA.

CNA has reached out to the ministry for comments on whether exports will resume soon. 

Several parts of Johor Bahru hit by flash floods following heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon. Roads and car parks were flooded with cars partially submerged in water.

Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi was at one of the worst-hit car parks to inspect the damage. “I understand that today’s heavy rain is more than usual. Today’s rainfall almost reached 100mm compared to the normal level of 20mmm,” he said.

The recent fare surges and difficulties in booking private-hire cars and taxis in Singapore were due to a higher demand for rides as well as fewer drivers, Transport Minister S Iswaran said on Monday (Aug 1). 

Since January 2020, the number of active taxi and private-hire car drivers has fallen by 18 per cent to about 57,000 drivers as of June 2022, he said, which was due to the lower demand for point-to-point transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He added that it will take time for the sector to adjust to the surge in demand after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

“Vocational licence applications have increased recently, and some drivers who left the point-to-point sector may progressively return in response to the higher demand,” said Mr Iswaran.