The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Wednesday 19 February 2020
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout
the region.  

China calls emergency COVID-19 meeting with ASEAN in Laos
From News Reports:
Beijing, February 19: An emergency meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was proposed by China is to be held in Vientiane, Laos on Thursday and Friday to discuss the COVID-19 virus epidemic.
The COVID-19 virus has so far killed 1,869 and infected 73,336 in China and has spread to the 10 ASEAN member states.
The meeting that was proposed by China is reportedly intended to share information and to improve coordination between China and the 10 ASEAN member states in order to combat the COVID-19 virus.
China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is reportedly to discuss China's measures in countering the COVID-19 virus epidemic at the meeting in Laos, with focus on strengthening joint prevention and control measures against the virus.
The meeting is also to explore the idea of establishing a long term and effective collaboration mechanism on public health to safeguard the region, with China Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying " China and Asean countries have been in close communication since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who will be attending the emergency COVID-19 virus epidemic meeting, said that the meeting will be an opportunity for the foreign ministers to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"The meeting will help strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states in the midst of this global health threat," he said.
His said that Cambodia's participation in the emergency meeting that was proposed by China will demonstrate Cambodia’s support of China and confidence in the measures taken by the China government to address the coronavirus outbreak.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 9: Vietnam's Hong Kong Consulate General launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Consulate General of Hong Kong, Tran Than Huan, said at the launching ceremony that the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region.
He said that the consulate office in Macau will provide easier access to information about Vietnam, saying that
it would boost friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Macau.
The Consulate General said that the office expected to recieve support from local organisations including the Vietnam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.
More than 20,000 Vietnamse are employed as domestic workers, in the service industry at Macau's casino's.
Vietnamese also operate tourist and services companies.
The Southeast Asian Times

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6, 2015: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a se
nior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times


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Philippine immigration officials take bribes from Chinese nationals

Senator Risa Hontiveros vowed to "weed out" currupt Bureau of Immigration officials at the senate hearing on Monday

From News Reports:
Manila, February 19: A senate inquiry on prostitution catering to Chinese workers in the Philippines found that the Philippine Bureau of Immigration
had received P10 billion in bribes to provide "VIP treatment " to arriving Chinese nationals, with Senator Risa Hontiveros saying that money changed hands in a modus operandi known as “pastillas operations,” reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairwoman of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality vowed to further investigate alleged “pastillas operations,” in the Bureau of Immigration to "weed out" corrupt officials and propose policy changes at the senate hearing on Monday.
Senator Risa Hontiveros criticized senior Bureau of Immigration officials for claiming innocence about unscrupulous immigration personnel and private tour operators who she said facilitated travel including illegal visa's to the Philippines of Chinese nationals.
The senator said that sources in the Philippine Bureau of Immigration claimed that Chinese nationals arriving in the Philippines would pay P10,000 each as service fee in exchange for being allowed to work in Philippine offshore gaming operations (Pogos) without the necessary permits from the government.
"The modus operandi was called "pastillas" because the bribe money paid to the Bureau of Immigration personnel was rolled and resembled the milk-based candy package.
The senator presented undercover videos and screenshots showing Bureau of Immigration personnel receiving passports belonging to arriving Chinese nationals at Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
The vidoes showed that the passports were handed to waiting Bureau of Immigration personnel in a "backroom" office at the airport who processed the illegal visa's for the arriving Chinese nationals.
The senator described the errant immigration officials as “traitors” who had practically “sold the country’s borders to the Chinese.”
She said that illegal visa processing at the airport only stopped when the government issued a travel ban on China, Hong Kong and Macau to prevent the new coronavirus outbreak in China from spreading to the Philippines.
Philippines Immigration Deputy Commissioner Tobias Javier claimed to have no knowledge of the processing of illegal visa's at the airport, saying he would immediately ask Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to convene the Board of Commissioners and promptly act on Senator Risa Hontiveros’ exposé of the “pastillas operations.”
The Southeast Asian Times


Workers to be layed off in Vietnam: Lack of supply of raw materials from China
From News Reports:
Hanoi, February, 18: Vietnam's garment and textile manufacturing industry that is reliant on China for raw materials is exptected to lay off thousands of workers within a month due to lack of supply following quarantine en mass in China and the disruption of transport due to the
coronavirus (nCoV) epidemic, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Mai Xuan Duong, president of the Garment and Textile Association in Hung Yen Province said that it was unavoidable that Vietnam would lack raw materials within a month.
“Due to the epidemic in China, our suppliers cannot ensure the materials we have ordered will be delivered," he said.
He said a shortage of raw materials from China would suspend operations in the garment and textile manufacturing industry with workers being laid off for upto four weeks.
"While the manufacturing industry has not been affected as yet, the lack of supply of materials in the coming months is real", he said.
He said that about 2.5 million workers are employed in about 5000 garment and textile factories in Vietnam, saying that "the workers are expected to be laid off in the next month due to lack of production materials.
"Garment and textile employers are expected to pay their employees during the lay-off," he said.
HCMCity Rubber Plastic Manufacturers Association (HRPMA) chairman Nguyen Quoc Anh said that the production of rubber and plastic in
Viet Nam was dependent on China with 70 per cent of materials imported from China.
“If our Chinese partner is unable to supply materials in the next month, we will have to import them from Japan or South Korea at higher prices. We won’t be able to make a profit because we signed contracts for these goods years ago,” he said.
The Institute of Workers and Unions under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, director Vu Minh Tien said that laws on labour and social security state that under certain conditions when workers are laid off temporarily, employers could temporarily suspend payment of social insurance.
“I think both employers and workers need to share these difficulties to overcome the situation,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia allows cruise ship to dock on humanitarian grounds

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomes passengers to Cambodia as they disembark from the cruise ship MS Westerdam at Port Preah Sihanouk on Saturday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 17: Cambodia has allowed the cruise ship
MS Westerdam with more than two thousand onboard including crew to dock at Preah Sihanouk after the cruise ship was denied docking rights by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand, with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that Cambodia allowed the ship to dock on humanitarian grounds, reports Associated Press.
"Cambodia does not wish to discriminate but participate in a humanitarian act in an emergency,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said as he welcomed disembarking passengers that they were free to go to the beach, go sightseeing in the coastal city of Preah Sihanouk or Angkor Wat.
The cruise ship MS Westerdam was on a 14-day cruise to Taiwan and Japan departing Hong Kong on February 1 with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board when docking rights were denied.
The passenger list reportedly shows that passengers were from 41 countries, with 651 Americans, Canadians (271), British (127), and Dutch (91), including from Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
Director-general of the World Health Organisation WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for clearing the way for the ship to dock.
“This is a welcome act of solidarity at a time when the world has a window of opportunity to stop Covid-19 and avoid stigma and fear,” he said.
US Embassy in Cambodia spokeswoman, Emily Zeeberg said that “we are greatly appreciative of Cambodia’s efforts and assistance, and its hospitality during this difficult time.
“The ship is reporting that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board, and the medical personnel on the ship are monitoring the situation closely.”
US President Donald Trump reportedly tweeted: “Thank you to the beautiful country of Cambodia for accepting the Cruise ship Westerdam into your port. The United States will remember your courtesy”
Last week Cambodia criticised countries that had cancelled flights to and from China at the outbreak of the coronavirus (nCoV) in Wuhan City in China's Hubei province, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that "the cancellation of flights to and from China amounted to discrimination against Chinese.
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced at a press conference earlier this month that Cambodian students and diplomats would not be evacuated from China by the Cambodian government.

The Southeast Asian Times

Thai surragate mothers and Chinese national arrested in Bangkok for illegal commercial surrogacy

Thai surrogate mothers and Chinese national arrested in a dawn raid on a Bangkok house on Thursday for their invovlment in illegal commercial surrogacy

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 16: Thai surrogate mothers and Chinese nationals were arrested in a dawn raid on a Bangkok house in a series of raids conducted throughout Thailand by more than 200 police and officials on Thursday for their involvement in illegal commercial surrogacy, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Police say that nine in total were arrested in raids in Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Sukhothai provinces including seven Thai women and two Chinese nationals with a tenth suspect remaining at large.
The Chinese nationas Ran Zhao, 37 and his wife Su Yingting, 48, 5 Thai women women, Wilasinee Su, 50, Lah Khantiyo, 43, Siyaporn Sawadipan, 30, Wiyada Chuechan, 35, Saibua Jaemmee, 44 - and two Thai males, Nikhom Simarat, 48, Thammanoon Panjasangkhom, 40 were arrested on warrants issued by a Thai court.
Police reportedly found six Thai women, a 30-month-old baby boy and a Chinese male the Bangkok house on Nakniwas road in Lat Phrao district Bangkok in the dawn raid on Thursday.
In February 2015 the Thai parliament voted 160 to 2 to pass the law that would make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence in Thailand with a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht for those found guilty following the discovery of 13 surrogate babies believed to have been fathered by Japanese national, Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24.
The Japanese national and his female assistant Ohno Yuki, 17, fled Thailand after the discovery of the surrogate babies and a raid on the in vetro fertility clinic in Bangkok believed to have provided the Japanese national with in vetro fertility services including surrogate mothers.
The Bill was also proposed after two Australian couples were stopped from leaving Thailand at the Bangkok Airport in August 2014 with babies born to surrogate mothers without a court order from the Thai Family Juvenile Court.
A raid on in-vitro-embryo clinic believed to have provided obstetrician and gynaecologiscalt services to Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, and Australians, David and Wendy Farnell proved that the clinic was in violation of the licence issued by the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam quarantines 10,000 in commune outside Hanoi

The number of checkpoints at Son Loi commune in Vietnam's Vinh Phuc province has increased from five to eight with the discovery of the sixth coronavirus (nCoV) virus infection in the population of 10,000 on Thursday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, February 15: Son Loi commune located 40 kilometers north of Hanoi was placed under quarantine on Thursday after the sixth coronavirus (nCoV) virus infection was found in the population of 10,000, making Vietnam the first country outside China to quarantine en mass, reports the Vietnam News Service.
"As of February 13, 2020, the Vietnam Ministry of Health will urgently begin the task of isolation and quarantine of the epidemic area in Son Loi commune," said the Vietnam Ministry of Health on Thursday.
" Son Loi commune will be under quarantine for 20 days".the Ministry of Health said.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health announced the quarantine of 10,000 residents of Son Loi commune after the father of a woman who had returned from China last month tested positive for the virus.
The woman, who has been treated and discharged from hospital, is one of eight Vietnamese workers who left Wuhan in China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, to return to Vietnam on a Southern China Airlines flight on January 17 after a worker training course in Wuhan.
The woman and those who came in close contact with her including her family were placed in quarantine.
Her 50-year-old father started showing signs of fatigue on Tuesday, with blood tests at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology showing that he was infected with the virus.
His wife and second daughter have also tested positive.
The family is under quarantine at the Quang Ha Area General Clinic in Vinh Phuc Province and is reportedly in a stable condition
Son Loi commune resident Tran Van Minh said that authorities had advised residents to avoid large gatherings, saying "life has been badly affected."
"Much of the labour force is reliant on jobs in construction and house painting," he said
"Now we cannot get out and even if we do our clients don't welcome us as much as before."
Vinh Phuc Province committee vice chairman, Le Duy Thanh, said that the number of infections have been increasing with the last infection diagnosed on Thursday, prompting provincial authorities to increae the number of disease control checkpoints in Son Loi commune from five to eight.
He said that provincial authorities have also established mobile shops and provided food and free face masks to over 10,600 people, saying that the Vinh Phuc provincial committee passed a resolution on Wednesday to provide support for those under quarantine and for those working at disease control checkpoints.
"Vinh Phuc has the highest number of virus infections found in Vietnam with six in Son Loi commune from 16 found in total but the disease has not spread from Vinh Phuc province to other areas and provinces,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia critical of countries that keep out Chinese nationals

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen defended his decision to allow flights to and from China, saying that cancelling the flights would have amounted to economic suicide for Cambodia

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 14: Cambodia has criticised countries that have cancelled flights to and from China at the outbreak of the coronavirus (nCoV) in Wuhan City in China's Hubei province, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that "the cancellation of flights to and from China amounted to discrimination against Chinese, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Wuhan City has been under quarantine since last month in an effort to stop the spread of the virus that has so far killed more than 1,300 and infected almost 60,000 in China, .
"Cancelling flights would have amounted to economic suicide for Cambodia", he said in defending his decision not to cancell flights to and from China earlier this month.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said that worse than the coronavirus (nCoV) is discriminiation, saying that "some shops in Thailand are putting up signs in Thai that say no Chinese tourists allowed."
He said that Thai shops that allow Chinese tourists do so becasue Thai authorities order them to do so, saying that "discrimination is a real threat that can damage the economy."
He said that Chinese nationals who are not given visas to enter a country, or allowed to board a flight or enter a restuarant, feel insulted, saying that
"discrimination against Chinese nationals is now a global problem."
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced at a press conerence earlier this month that Cambodian students and diplomats would not be evacuated by the Cambodian government.
He said that the evacuation of Cambodian students and diplomats from China would probably bring an end to the opportunity for Cambodians to study in China.
He said that evacuating students and diplomats and cancelling flights from China was out of the question, saying that "either action would affect ties with the world’s second-biggest economy."
"Evacuating students and diplomats and cancelling flights from China would hurt the Cambodian economy beyond repair," he said.
More than 3,000 Chinese nationals arrived in Cambodia from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province last month in the week before Wuhan City was put under quarantine.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai Army to investigate military housing project after mass shooting

"I extend my condolences to the relatives of the slain victims," said Royal Thai Army General Aporat Kopngsompong at a press conference held at the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February13: Royal Thai Army General Aporat Kopngsompong offered his apology to the families of those slain by Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, in a mass shooting at the Central Plaza shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima north of Bangkok on Saturday, saying "as commander of the army, I apologise and I am wholeheartedly sorry that the man behind the tragic incident was a soldier," reports the Bangkok Post.
General Aporat Kopngsompong said at a two hour press conference held at the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday that the Royal Thai Army would investigate the Thai military housing project, after the dispute between Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, and his superior officer Commander Col Anantharot Krasae, 48, over the sale of land for the Thai military housing project left 30 civilians dead and 58 unjured at the Nakhon Ratchasima shopping center on Saturday.
He said that Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma's actions, that began with shooting dead his superior officer, Commander Col Anantharot Krasae, 48, the commanders' mother-in-law, 63, and an unidentified soldier at the commanders' home at the Surathampithak Army Barracks before he opened fire at civilians at the Nakhon Ratchasima shopping center, was precipitated by a dispute over the sale of land for the Thai military housing project that involved his commanding officer.
He said that a dispute between Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma and his commanding officer, Commander Col Anantharot Krasae, over the payment of a commission for the sale of land for the Thai military housing project is behind the mass shootings, saying "the Thai military housing project must be reviewed."
"There are many unsound projects, including welfare housing, loans, and projects which involve cooperation between military units and contractors," he said.
He said that he has stopped some of the projects, saying that "this was the first step in resolving the problems that had plagued the army for a long time."
"Military retirees who live in army accommodation have been given until the end of this month to move out and make way for serving soldiers.
He said that he would stop gun sales to soldiers for private use.
"There would be many reshuffles and transfers to inactve posts," he said.
He said that he had opened a complaints channel via which lower ranks could file complaints against their superiors directly to him, saying "this complaints channel would be permanent.
The Southeast Asian Times

HCMCity court postpones appeal hearing: Witnesses did not show up

Former general director of Viet Nam Pharma Joint Stock Company (VN Pharma) Nguyen Minh Hung, left, was found guilty for his involvement in the provision of counterfeit medication for the treatment of cancer by the HCMCity Peoples Court and sentenced to 17 years in prison in October 2019

From News Reports:
Hanoi, February 12: The HCMCity Peoples' Court postponed an appeal by the directors and associates of the Viet Nam Pharma Joint Stock Company (VN Pharma), who were convicted for the provision of counterfeit medication for the treatment of cancer, on the grounds that those summoned to testify at the appeals hearing on Monday did not show up, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The Vietnam News Service reports that the majority of about 200 witnesses that were summoned to appear in the HCMCity People's Court on Monday did not attend the court.
Former general director of Viet Nam Pharma Joint Stock Company (VN Pharma) Nguyen Minh Hung, who was found guilty for his involvement in the provision of counterfeit medication for the treatment of cancer to Vietnamese hospitals did not appear in court on Monday to appeal his conviction.
Nguyen Minh Hung, who owned the majority of shares in the Viet Nam Pharma Joint Stock Company (VN Pharma), was reportedly the mastermind behind the provision of counterfeit medication, that included faking documents in order to acquire import licences, was convicted by the HCMCity Peoples Court and sentenced to 17 years in prison in October 2019.
Nguyen Minh Hung reportedly colluded with the former director of H&C International Maritime Trading Co., Ltd, Vo Minh Cuong, to import medicines from Canada’s Helix Pharmaceuticals Company for supply to Vietnamese hospitals worth VND5.3 billion in one year.
Vo Minh Cuong, who was found guilty of manufacturing and trading in counterfeit medication and sentenced to 20 years in prison, appeared in court on Monday to appeal his conviction, saying he was not the mastermind behind the provision of counterfeit medication as accused.
Former general director of Saigon Pharmaceutical Company (Sapharco) Pham Anh Kiet, also appealed his conviction, saying he was innocent of any involvement in the provision of counterfeit medication for the treatment of cancer but did not attend the appeals hearing on Monday, requesting the postponment of the appeals trial because of illness.
The Ministry of Public Security began legal proceedings against Viet Nam Pharma Joint Stock Company (VN Pharma) in November 2015 after the Ministry of Health found that the counterfiet medication provided to Vietnamese hospitals contained ingredients of unknown origin and poor quality that should not be used as a medicine for humans.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australia urged to raise West Papua human rights violations on Indonesian President state visit

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo shake hands in Canberra on Monday on the signing of a free trade agreement that will allow Indonesian goods entering Australia zero tariffs and tariffs on 94 percent of Australian goods entering Indonesia to be gradually eliminated

From News Reports:
Canberra, February 11: Indonesian human rights activist has called on the Australian government to raise human rights violations in Papua and West Papua during the official visit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Australia tthat includes his address to the Australian Federal parliament in Canberra and the signing of a free trade agreement, reports Australian Associated Press.
Former Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) human rights lawyer and West Papuan human rights advocate, Veronica Koman, called on the Australian government to raise the plight of 56 indigenous Papuans who are on trial for treason for their support of Papuan independence.
The West Papuan human rights advocate, who is believed to be residing in Australia, was put on the Indonesian National Police wanted list charged with incitement under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code in September last year.
She is charged with allegedly broadcasting false information about the detainment by Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police of West Papuan students in Surabaya, with East Java regional Police chief Luki Herawan saying that "police will issue an Interpol red notice should Veronica Koman fail to comply with the summons."
Veronica Koman, said ahead of Indonesian President Joko Widodo address to the Australian parliament on Monday that the 56 indigenous Papuans on trial for treason were arrested for their support for an independence referendum during mass protests in Papua in August and September including the commemoration of West Papua's national day on December 1, 2019.
“We demand their immediate and unconditional release,” she said.
She also called on the Australian government to draw attention to the ongoing conflict between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police and the pro-Independence fighters of West Papua or The National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB-OPM) in Nduga Regency, in West Papua’s Central Highlands.
The violence in the Central Highlands escalated in December 2018 after West Papuan independence soldiers reportedly killed 19 Indonesians including Military (TNI) and National Police on the construction of the Trans Papua highway as conflict over the development intensified.
The construction of the Trans Papua highway has reportedly displaced thousands
" We are also concerned about the increased troop deployments and activities in Intan Jaya regency since December last year,” she said.
“Indonesia must end these operations and immediately withdraw troops from Nduga and Intan Jaya regencies, so the indigenous West Papuans can return to their homes and be free from living in constant fear, she said.”
In November 2007 the Indonesian House of Representatives ratified a security treaty with Australia – the so-called Lombok Treaty that formally acknowledges Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua.
Former Indonesia Golkar Party Vice President Theo L Sambuaga said then that “we all feel relief because Australia has formally acknowledged our territorial integration, including Papua."
“The treaty also requires Australia to prohibit its territory from being used by separatist movements against us. It means that we have less pressure from separatism,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Armed Royal Thai soldier runs amok in shopping center, shot dead

Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32 posted selfies on his Facebook account that has since been closed including the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder at the Central Plaza shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 10: Thai security forces shot gunman Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, dead on Sunday after storming the Central Plaza shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima north of Bangkok, where the gunman armed with assault weapons stolen from his barracks, ran amok firing at shoppers, leaving 25 dead and injuring 42 , reports the Bangkok Post.
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and Pol Lt Gen Poonsap Prasertsak, chief of the Provincial Police Region 3, confirmed on Sunday that the gunman, Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, of the Royal Thai army was shot dead at the shopping center on Sunday afternoon after Thai security forces stormed the building.
Officers storming the building reportedly urged the gunman to surrender but were met with angy shouts and increased gunfire with the exchange of gunfire at 3.30am on Sunday leaving a police officer dead and two injured.
Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth had shot dead three including his superior officer, Commander Col Anantharot Krasae, 48, the Commanders' mother-in-law, 63, and an unidentified soldier at the senior officer's home at the Surathampithak army barracks on Saturday before he sped to the Central Plaza shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth reportedly argued with Commander Col Anantharot Krasae at the senior officers home at the Surathampithak army barracks over a commission on a land sale.
The gunman reportedly stole weapons and amunition from the military arsenal at the Surathampithak army barracks where he was stationed before commandeering a militry vehicle and driving to the Nakhon Ratchasima shopping center where he opened fire at shoppers with a machnine gun.
The gunman also firing at a cooking gas cylinder at the shopping center setting off an explosion and fire.
The gunman reportedly fired at civilians including at a Buddhist temple as he drove towards the Nakhon Ratchasimaalong shopping center on Saturday afternoon.
Throughout the day, Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth posted images of himself including holding a 44 Magnum with an amulet wrapped around the barrel and messages on his Facebook account that has since been closed.
Messages posted before his Facebook account was closed included , “Nobody can avoid death”, and “Being rich from taking advantage of others, do they think they can use money in hell?”
The Southeast Asian Times


Qantas cancels flight to evacuate hundreds of Australians from China

Australian airliner Qantas lands in Exmouth in West Australia's north on Monday with the first evacuation of Australians from Wuhan City in China. The 243 passengers onboard are in quarantine on Christmas Island located off the West Australian coast and in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory

From News Reports:
Darwin, February 9: The second evacuation of Australians scheduled to depart from Wuhan City on Friday bound for Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory has been cancelled with hundreds of Australians told to leave the Wuhan City airport after the Australian airliner Qantas was not granted permission to land in Wuhan City by China authorities.
Australians scheduled to leave Wuhan City on Friday night remain stranded in the city of ten million that was put under quarantine last month after the contagious coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus was found in a wildlife trading market in December.
The Australians, who were waiting at the Wuhan City airport on Friday to board the overnight flight to a quarantine site outside of Darwin in Australia's north, were informed by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) that the Qantas flight had been delayed because Australia had "not received official clearance"
“You should return to your homes or places of accommodation and we will send you more information when it is available,” Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) said in an email.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) says that the second Australian evacuation flight is over-subscribed, saying that
“the number of people wanting to secure their return to Australia is far more than there are seats available on the flight.”
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) said that the department was working with Chinese authorities in order to reschedule the flight for Saturday, saying that “your seat is confirmed for the next flight departing Wuhan which we anticipate will depart on Saturday February 8."
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) said that many flights out of Wuhan City the epicentre of the contagious coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus have been delayed, saying "we are engaging closely with the Chinese authorities to ensure our flight can proceed as soon as possible."
The Southeast Asian Times


US drug to be tested in Wuhan City on Chinese infected with virus

Vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences,Wang Chen, right, at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, in Wuhan City in China's Hubei Province on Wednesday where clinical trials on the antiviral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of the contagious coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus is to be conducted

From News Reports:
Beijing, February 8: The clinical trials on the antiviral drug Remdesivir, developed by an American pharmaceutical company, and led by the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and the Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), began in Wuhan City in China's Hubei Province, the epicicenter of the contagious coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus on Thursday, reports Xunhua.
The clinical trials that are to be conducted on 761 patients infected with the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus have been approved by the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the National Health Commission and the National Medical Products Administration.
Head of the clinical trial program, Cao Bin, said that the antiviral drug Remdesivir that was developed by American pharmeceutical company, Gilead Sciences, "has shown good antiviral activity against Sars and Mers coronavirus in previous cell and animal experiments."
"The antiviral drug Remdesivir has shown fairly good antiviral activity aganst the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus at the cellular level in related domestic research," he said.
He said that the trials that will be conducted at several hospitals in Wuhan City including the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital "will adopt a randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled study method."
Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences,, Wang Chen, said that hopes have been pinned on the drug saying "but we have to wait for results of its actual effectiveness in the clinical trials."
China's National Health Commission reports that confirmed coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus infections on the China mainland had reached 28,018 by Wednesday with 563 reported deaths.
Of the 28,018 reported infection 3,859 remained in a serious condition.
Confirmed infections had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), including one death, 10 infections in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) and 11 infections in Taiwan.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia rejects call from Timor Leste to quarantine citizens returning from China

Former first president of Timor Leste and now Planning and Strategic Investment minister, Xanana Gusmao, says that "Indonesia is more capable of handling coronavirus infections than Timor Leste and should help us with the repartriation of our citizens from China

From News Reports:
Dili, February 7: Timor Leste's call on the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to put 17 of its citizens returning from China under quarantine in Bali was rejected by the Bali provincial administration with Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati saying on Monday that the relevant parties in Bali would not allow the East Timorese returning from China to enter Bali, reports the Jakarta Post.
Former first president of Timor Leste and now Planning and Strategic Investment minister, Xanana Gusmao, confirmed that the Timor Leste government has requested assistance from the Indonesian government to put 17 of its citizens who are to be repatriated from China under quarantine in Bali.
The former president of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao, said after a meeting with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD in Jakarta on Tuesday that "Timor Leste lacked the proper infrastructure and equipment to handle coronavirus (nCoV) virus infections.
“We don’t have the proper facilities," he said.
He said that he was confident that Indonesia was better equipped to handle coronavirus (nCoV) virus infections better than Timor Leste, saying "we don't have anything"
He said that Timor Leste requested assistance from Indonesia "just like any other country", saying that "it’s not like we’re asking for exclusive treatment.”
“This is a global issue, not something that only affects Timor Leste and Indonesia," he said.
On Monday Indonesia declared a travel ban on all travel to and from China to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (nCoV) virus immediatey after the evacuation of Indonesian nationals from Wuhan City and other cities under quarantine in China' Hubei province.
The travel ban that prevents visitors who have been in China for 14 days or more from entering or transiting in Indonesia was announced hours after 285 Indonesian nationals including 42 airlifting personnel landed on Natuna Island and were placed in quarantine at Raden Sadjad airbase.
The Southeast Asian Times

Chinese Consul General in Bali wants 5,000 Chinese tourists to stay in Bali

Chinese Consul General in Bali, Gou Haodong said at a press conference at his office in Bali that there are 5,000 Chinese tourists stranded in Bali including 200 from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 6: Thousands of Chinese tourists are stranded in Bali following the Indonesian travel ban on all travel to and from China that was imposed on Monday, with the Chinese Consul General in Denpasar saying that the Chinese nationals hoped to remain in Bali with an assurance that none were showing any symptons of the contagious coronavirus (nCoV) virus, reports the Jakarta Post.
Chinese Consul General in Denpasar Gou Haodong said that there are 5,000 Chinese tourists in Bali including 200 from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province at a press conference held at the Chinese Consul General's Office in Bali on Tuesday.
"Indonesia's decision to stop flights to and from China in an attempt to prevent the virus from entering Indonesia had left about 5000 Chinese nationals stranded in Bali as a result," he said.
He said that although the Chinese tourists could leave Bali by catching flights via Indonesia's neighbouring countries, they hoped to stay in Bali, saying “because of the outbreak of contagious coronavirus (nCoV) virus in China some don't want to return and are hoping to stay in Bali."
"The tourists are aware that they must obey immigration regulations if they wish to stay for more than 30 days." he said.
Chinese Consul General in Denpasar, Gou Haodong, assured the press at the press conference in Bali on Tuesday that "all Chinese tourists in Bali were healthy," saying that “so far they seem fine and well."
"None of them are showing symptoms of
the coronavirus,” he said.
Member of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita), Bali Ling, chairwoman, Elsye Deliana, who handles the Chinese market, said that Chinese tourists were hoping for a visa extension, saying that most are worried about going home for fear of infection from the contagious coronavirus (nCoV) virus.
"Many Chinese tourists had requested a special provision from the Indonesian government to allow them to stay longer in Indonesia," she said.
Indonesian Ombudsman, La Ode has called on the government to bar Chinese workers from entering Indonesia saying that workers from China entered Indonesia on a daily basis with 70 percent of aircraft passengers flying from Jakarta to Southeast Celebes and Central Celebes being Chinese workers.
"The Chinese workers are employed in smelters owned by Chinese companies," he said.
The Ombudsman called on the governemnt to conduct examinations on the workers to ensure that they are free from the coronavirus (nCoV) virus
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia bans travel to and from China after evacuation of Indonesians

Indonesian citizens arrive at Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, on Sunday after evacuation from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province that is under quarantine after the discovery of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in December

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 5: Indonesia declared a travel ban on all travel to and from China to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (nCoV) virus immediatey after the evacuation of Indonesian nationals from Wuhan City and other cities under quarantine in China' Hubei province, reports the Jakarta Post.
The travel ban that took effect on Monday, prevents visitors who have been in China for 14 days or more from entering or transiting in Indonesia.
The travel ban also suspends visa-free and visa's on arrival for Chinese citizens.
Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, said after a Cabinet meeting held by President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Sunday that "the government asks Indonesians not to take trips to mainland China.”
Indonesia's travel ban was announced hours after 285 Indonesian nationals including 42 airlifting personnel landed on Natuna Island and were placed in quarantine at Raden Sadjad airbase.
“They will undergo observation under quarantine for 14 days," said Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi.
Seven Indonesian nationals remain in China's Hubei province with four unwilling to leave China and three who were reportedly
not given a health clearance by the Chinese government to depart.
Natuna Island residents protested at the Ranai subdistrict Military Command (Koramil) in Natuna regency against the decision to make Natuna Island a quarantine base with the Natuna Deputy Regent Ngesti Yuni Suprapti saying that "the central government had not consulted the administration."
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines reports first coronavirus (nCoV) virus death outside China

Phillippine President Rodrigo Duterte banned foreign nationals entry to the Philippines on Sunday the day after the death of the undentified Chinese national from coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Manila

From News Reports:
Manila, February 4: The Philippines announced the first death from coronavirus (nCoV) virus from the more than 130 infections reported in countries outside China, with the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) reporting the death in Manila of a 44 year-old male from Wuhan City in Hubei province, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Department of Health (DOH) spokesman, Eric Domingo said that the unidentified male, 44, and his unidentified female companion, 38, both from Wuhan City are the first in the Philippines to have been tested positive for the coronavirus (nCoV) virus.
He said that the unidentified Chinese national died on Saturday February 1 after he was admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital a week earlier on Saturday January 25, an infectious disease facility in Manila, where he was found to have severe pneumonia, a lung inflammation due to viral or bacterial infection.
"The dead man's female companion is still in isolation and undergoing treatment at the San Lazaro Hospital, " he said.
He said that the Department of Health (DOH) was tracking down the passengers on the flight that brought the two Chinese nationals to the Philippines, saying that both arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong on Tuesday January 21.
Phillippine President Rodrigo Duterte banned foreign nationals entry to the Philippines on Sunday the day after the death of the undentified Chinese national from coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Manila.
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration said it would implement the President’s order immediately, saying notices would be sent to airlines and shipping companies operating in the Philippines requesting them to screen their passengers before boarding to prevent those who had traveled to China, Hong Kong or Macau from entering the Philippines.
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said it had directed all airlines to the Philippines to bar entry of those who had been to China, Hong Kong or Macau and directed Filipinos not to travel to China and the two regions.
Several flights from Hong Kong landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on Sunday morning after the President’s order was enforced.
A commotion broke out on a Cathay Pacific flight that arrived at 11 am when foreign nationals were not allowed to disembark in the Philippines and ordered to return to Hong Kong with complaints from passengers from the US who were on a connecting flight from Hong Kong to the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian Times

10,000 Chinese tourists cancel trip to Bali amid fear of China virus

Chinese tourists Nusa Penida on Serangan Island in Denpasar, Bali on Saturday January 26, 2020

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 3: Chinese tourists have cancelled their trips to Indonesia by the thousands over fear of an acceleration of the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that has left more than 300 dead and up to 10,000 infected in China, with the Indonesian Travel Agent Association saying that "there were cancellations both ways, from China to Indonesia and Indonesia to China, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesian Travel Agent Association chairwoman, Elly Hutabarat, said at the release of Travelport’s 2019 global digital traveler research in Jakarta on Thursday that 10,000 Chinese tourists canceled their trips to Bali on Wednesday.
“Yes, there are a lot of cancellations," she said.
She said that their were also trips from Indonesia to China cancelled, saying the trips were cancelled because several airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lion Air, Cathay Pacific and Asiana Airlines, have limited or suspended their flights to several Chinese cities.
A travel ban was placed on 13 mega cities in China's province of Hubei last month with Wuban City being the first to be placed under quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus that was discovered in December.
China's Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC), a division of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have isolated the coronavirus(nCoV) virus in samples of seafood from a seafood market in Wuhan City.
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that tests on samples of seafood from Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market indicate that the virus stems from wild animals on sale at the market.
"Thirty-three of the 585 environmental samples collected from the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were found to contain the nucleic acid of the novel coronavirus," says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The samples taken at the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 1 and January 12 on instruction of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 31 of the 33 positive samples that were collected were collected from the western zone of the market, were reportedly wildlife trading in conducted.
"The results suggest that the novel coronavirus outbreak is highly relevant to the trading of the wild animals, says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that "the successful isolation of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus substantiates that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market contains a large quantity of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodians will not be evacuated from China for fear of reprisal

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen descibed the decision not to evacuate Cambodian students and diplomats from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province as “soft diplomacy”

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January, 2: Cambodian students and diplomats will not be evacuated from China's Wuhan City that is under quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that has left 259 dead and 11,791 infected, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying "Evacuating students and diplomats would hurt the Cambodian economy beyond repair," reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said at a press conference in Phnom Penh on Thursday that Cambodian students and diplomats would not be evacuated by the Cambodian government.
"Taking Cambodian students and diplomats out of China at this critical moment would be a slight to the country."
He said that the evacuation of Cambodian students and diplomats from China would probably bring an end to the opportunity for Cambodians to study in China saying that "China would stop offering scholarships" he said.
“We cannot be in China when things are good but run away when trouble comes,” he said.
He said that evacuating students and diplomats and cancelling flights from China was out of the question, saying that "either action would affect ties with the world’s second-biggest economy."
"Evacuating students and diplomats and cancelling flights from China would hurt the Cambodian economy beyond repair," he said.
"China takes notice of our behaviour," he said.
Cambodia Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said concerns over the virus have slowed down foreign arrivals, particularly from China.
“With the number of tourists declining, the Ministry of Tourism is looking for ways to help those whose livelihoods depend on the industry,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


WHO declares China virus a global health emergency

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and China President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday ahead of the WHO declaration of "a global health emergency", on Thursday

From News Reports:
Beijing, February 1: The World Health Organisation WHO has declared the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that was found in China in December, leaving more than 200 dead and up tp at 10,000 infected and that has spread to 18 countries "a global health emergency", reports Xinhua.
The World Health Organisation WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after a meeting of the Emergency Committe in Geneva on Thursday that "the coronavirus epidemic in China now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern."
He said that the decision to declare the coronavirus (nCoV) virus a "global health emergency" followed the Emergency Committee meeting of an independent panel of doctors and health service providers, amid mounting evidence that the virus had spread to 18 countures, saying that "the virus could spread to countries that are not prepared to deal with the epidemic."
"We don't know what sort of damage this virus could do if it spread to a country with a weaker health system," he said.
"We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility."
China President Xi Jinping said at a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday that "China is confident it can win the battle against the outbreak of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan City."
"The Chinese people are fighting a very serious battle against the epidemic," he said.
He said that China is ready to work with the World Health Organisation WHO and the international community to safeguard regional and global health security, saying that WHO have visited Wuhan in central China where the virus first broke out.
"The Chinese government has released information about the epidemic in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner, responded to concerns of all sides actively, and has cooperated with the international community, he said.
Last week the mayor of Wuhan City, the first mega city of 13 cities in China's Hubei province to be put under quarantine said that he and the secretary of the Wuhan City Communist Party of China (CPP) are willing to resign after 5 million of the city's 10 million left the city.
He said that he expected that at least 3,000 from the about 5 million who had left the city before it was placed under quarantine would be carrying the highly-contagious coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus.
Wuhan Mayor, Zhou Xianwang, said that information about the discovery of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Wuhan City "was not disclosed in a timely manner at the preliminary stage of the virus outbreak."
He asked the public to understand that the Wuhan local government could not disclose information about the virus outbreak without obtaining authorisation from the State Council.
"Not until the State Council identified the coronavirus (nCoV) virus as a type B infectious disease was the order given to lockdown the city and suspend public transport," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thousands of Chinese in Cambodia cannot return to Wuhan City
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 31: More than 3,000 Chinese nationals arriving in Cambodia from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province before Wuhan City was put under quarantine cannot return with Cambodia's Secretariat of Civil Aviation saying that Cambodia does not know if any of the Chinese nationals have been exposed to the virus before leaving the city, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Wuhan City in China's Hubei province was put under quarantine last week
to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that has left more than 100 dead and more than 3000 infected in China.
Cambodia's Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman, Chea Oun, said on Tuesday that China's aviation data shows that 3,078 Chinese left Wuhan city before the city of 13 million was put under quarantine.
The data shows that 1,539 Chinese nationals took direct flights to Preah Sihanouk airport and 1,539 to Siem Reap airport in Cambodia.
More than 20,000 Chinese nationals flew from Wuhan City to Thailand, almost 10,000 to Singapore, and more than 12,000 to Japan and South Korea.
Secretariat spokesman Chea Oun said that all Chinese nationals had travelled to Cambodia from Wuhan City before authorities had announced a ban on flights out of the city last week.
He said that Cambodian records show that all Chinese nationals that arrived in Cambodia in the week before Wuhan City was put under quarantine are still in Cambodia, saying that "the Chinese nationals are unable to return to Wuhan City because of the lockdown.”
"Cambodian authorities do not know if any of the Chinese nationals had been exposed to the virus in Wuhan City before flying out," he said.
On Tuesday the mayor of Wuhan City said that he and the secretary of the Wuhan City Communist Party of China (CPP) are willing to resign after 5 million fled the city before travel restrictions were imposed last Thursday.
Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said that he and the city's Communist Party of China (CPP) secretary, Ma Guoqiang are willing to resign if it helped to contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus, saying "we are willing to take whatever responsibility including the resignation of Wuhan Party Secretary Ma Guoqiang and myself," he said.
He said that he expected at least 3,000 from the about 5 million who left the city before the city was placed under quarantine would be diagnosed with carrying the highly-contagious virus.
Wuhan Mayor, Zhou Xianwang, also said that information about the discovery of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Wuhan City "was not disclosed in a timely manner at the preliminary stage of the virus outbreak."
He asked the public to understand that the Wuhan local government could not disclose information about the virus outbreak without obtaining authorisation from the State Council.
"Not until the State Council identified the coronavirus (nCoV) virus as a type B infectious disease was the order given to lockdown the city and suspend public transport," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

All Chinese nationals entering Thailand to be screened

From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 30: Six Chinese nationals were found to be infected with the coronavirus (nCoV) virus as they entered Thailand by air bringing the number of detected infections in Thailand to 14, with Thai Health permanent secretary Sukhum Kanchanapimai saying on Tuesday "we will expand screening of all Chinese arriving from China, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Health permanent secretary Sukhum Kanchanapimai said that the six new infections were found in Chinese nationals aged 6 to 60 years with five being family members travelling from China's Hubei province to Thailand.
He said that Thai health officials had tested all six Chinese nationals twice, saying that they tested positive for the coronavirus (nCoV) virus.
"The six new infections were being treated at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi," he said.
He said that of the total 14 infections, five had been treated and discharged while the other nine remained at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute hosptial in Nonthaburi.
"We will expand screening to all Chinese from China ," he said.
He said that only passengers arriving from Wuhan, Guangzhou and Changchun have been screened.
Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has called on the Corrections Department to order prisons across the Thailand to closely monitor new Chinese inmates, saying that their were 14 new Chinese nationals imprisoned in Thai Jails in the last month.
The Southeast Asian Times

Mayor of Wuhan offers resignation after 5 million flee city to avoid virus

Mayor of Wuhan City, the first mega city of 13 cities in China's Hubei province to be put under quarantine in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus says "there's room for the Wuhan government to improve its crisis management" after 5 million flee the city

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 29: The mayor of Wuhan City, the first mega city of 13 cities in China's Hubei province to be put under quarantine in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus, said that he and the secretary of the Wuhan City Communist Party of China (CPP) are willing to resign after 5 million flee the city, reports the Global Times.
Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said that he and the city's Communist Party of China (CPP) secretary, Ma Guoqiang are willing to resign if it helps to contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus after making an announcement that more than 5 million of the 10 million population of Wuhan City had left the city before travel restrictions were imposed last Thursday.
He said that he expected that at least 3,000 from the about 5 million who left the city before the city was placed under quarantine last week would be diagnosed with carrying the highly-contagious virus.
The mayor of Wuhan City said that the quarantine of Wuhan City with a population of more than 10 million was a tough decision, saying that "maybe Wuhan officials will be go down in history with a bad reputation for locking up the virus inside the city."
"But as long as it helps to contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus we are willing to take whatever responsibility including the resignation of Wuhan Party Secretary Ma Guoqiang and myself," he said.
Wuhan Mayor, Zhou Xianwang, also said that information about the discovery of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Wuhan City "was not disclosed in a timely manner at the preliminary stage of the virus outbreak."
He asked the public to understand that the Wuhan local government could not disclose information about the virus outbreak without obtaining authorisation from the State Council.
"Not until the State Council identified the coronavirus (nCoV) virus as a type B infectious disease was the order given to lockdown the city and suspend public transport," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Tests show that China's deadly virus came from wildlife animal trade

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 28: China's Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC), a division of the China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have isolated the coronavirus(nCoV) virus in samples of seafood from a seafood market in Wuhan City that has left 80 dead and infected 2,744 in China since the virus was discovered at the market last month, reports Xinhua.
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that tests on samples of seafood from Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market indicate that the virus stems from wild animals on sale at the market.
"Thirty-three of the 585 environmental samples collected from the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were found to contain the nucleic acid of the novel coronavirus," says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The samples that were taken at the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 1 and January 12 on instruction of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 31 of the 33 positive samples that were collected were collected from the western zone of the market, were reportedly wildlife trading in conducted.
"The results suggest that the novel coronavirus outbreak is highly relevant to the trading of the wild animals, says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that "the successful isolation of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus substantiates that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market contains a large quantity of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand considers turning away travellers from China
From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 28: Thai Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said authorities are still working on measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus (nCoV) virus including turning away travellers from China, reports the Bangkok Post.
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Thailand has reportedly reached eight while the number of suspected infections under investigation stands at 84.
Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said that he believed that "Thailand has done a really good job in handling the spread of the virus."
"We have to make sure our responses don't affect people's daily lives and the economy," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

President Xi Jinping holds urgent meeting to stop spread of deadly virus

President Xi Jinping who chaired the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Saturday, said "we are facing a difficult situation, because the spread of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus is increasing"

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 27: The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held an urgent meeting on Saturday in order to establish a steering committee to oversee the prevention and control of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus with President Xi Jinping general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee chairing the meeting, reports Xinhua.
President Xi Jinping said that it would be the committee's and governments responsibility to prevent and contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus after the closure of the Ming Tombs and Yinshan Pagoda on Saturday and the closure of the Great wall, Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai's Disneyland on Friday.
President Xi Jinping reportedly ordered Party committees and government at all levels to give top priority to the prevention and control of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus.
"Life is of paramount importance," he said.
President Xi Jinping reportedly ordered officials in Wuban City in China's Hubei province to take rigorous measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus, saying that all those infected with the virus would be treated in a quarantined centralised hospital.
China's National Health Commission reported 56 deaths with 1,975 infected including 324 in critical condition and with a further 2,684 suspected to be infected with the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus worldwide since it was discovered in Wuhan City in China's Hubei province last month.
The commission on Saturday reported five infections in Hong Kong, two in Macao, three in Taiwan, six in Thailand, Japan 2, the Republic of Korea 2, the United States 2, Vietnam 2, Singapore 3, Malaysia 3, Nepal 1, France 3 and Australia 1.
The Southeast Asian Times


China quarantines 13 mega cities to stop spread of deadly virus

13 cities with a total population of about 41 million are under quarantine in China's Hubei province in an effort to contain the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 26: A transport ban on four more mega cities in China's province of Hubei has increased the number of cities under quarantine to 13 with Wuban City being the first in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus that was discovered last month, reports Agence France Presse.
Trains and planes were stopped from leaving and entering Wuhan City on Thursday as the city was placed under qurantine with passenger boats and buses also stopped from entering the city.
Transport services have stopped and bus and train stations have closed in the cities of Xianning, Xiaogan, Enshi and Zhijiang cities located in central Hubei province where the virus was first discovered in an effort to contain the virus.
A seafood and live animal market in Wuban city has reportedly been identified as the centre of the outbreak of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that has so far killed 26 and infected more than 800 in China.
All business in Zhijiang with a population of 550,000 has closed with the exception of pharmacies and Enshi with a population of 800,000 has shut down all entertainment venues.
All train services from Jingzhou city railway stations with a population of 6.4 million have been suspended.
Huangshi with a population of 2.4 million has closed all transport routes including the bridge over the Yangste River and the ferry terminal.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian on trial for treason denies acting on US advice for colour revolution

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, who is on trial for treason
arrives at the Phnom Penh Municiple Court on Thursday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 25: The former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, who is on trial for treason, rejected a video allegedly showing him conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen government at the Phnom Penh Municiple Court , saying that he had not called on his supporters in Australia for a colour revolution as accused.
The former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, said in the second week of his trial on Thursday that he had not called on his supporters in Australia in 2013 for a colour revolution to overthrow the Cambodian government whileas allegedly shown in a video used as evidence by the prosecution.
Former dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president Kem Sokha who was arrested on September 3, 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video taken in Australia showed that he had received advice from the US, said in the Phnom Penh Municiple Court last week that the two minute video presented by the prosecution had been cut and edited.
He told the court on Thursday that he had not conspired with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen government but that he had made a speech thanking his supporters in Australia and updating them on political developments in Cambodia.
“The purpose of my visit to Australia was to thank those who supported the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and explain the party’s stance and political development in Cambodia,” he said.
Deputy prosecutor Plang Sophal claims that Kem Sokha had told his supporters in Australia in 2013 that the US had told him to follow the Yugoslavia model which brought about regime change through the overthrow of Serbian, Slobodan Milosevic.
Kem Sokha denied that he had acted on the US advice, saying “I did not take up the suggestion to learn how to stage a colour revolution like the one in Yugoslavia”
“I did not want to follow a model that would cause a bloody revolution in Cambodia,” he said.
Lawyer, Chan Chen said that his client, Kem Sokha, is innocent because he did not plan to overthrow the government as charged, saying “my client Kem Sokha follows a principle of non-violence and seeks change through elections and not colour revolution.”
Lawyer for the prosecution, Ky Tech, said that although Kem Sokha denied he tried to overthrow the government, the prosecution had enough proof to convict him.
“We have enough evidence against the defendent to convict him even though he claims to be innocent,”he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam orders hospitals to prepare for China virus

Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) director Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, right, inspecting the readiness of Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport to detect the symptoms of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in passengers arriving from China

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 24: Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) has ordered hospitals and medical clinics in Vietnam to provide early detection and prevention measures for the coronavirus (nCoV) virus, calling on travellers to China in the last 14 days to have a medical check-up, reports the Vietnam News.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) director general of Medical Examination and Treatment Department, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, said that Vietnam was at high risk of transmitting the new strain of coronavirus (nCoV) virus from China.
"Patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection such as cough and fever must be isolated and examined in separate sections of hospitals or medical clinics," he said.
He said that all hospitals in Vietnam must establish rapid reaction teams to avoid the disease from spreading, saying that health workers should follow disease precaution standards.
"Health workers must wear masks and wash hands regularly when examining patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection," he said.
He said that hospitals and medical clinics must prepare isolation areas, resuscitation medication and check medical equipment.
"Breathing machines, patient monitoring machines, personal protective equipment and disinfectant should be checked", he said.
He urged Hospitals and medical clinics to spread awareness among healthcare workers and the public in order to detect and control the disease, with hospitals and medical clinics ordered to follow instructions in the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus (nCoV) virus from China.
"The public is encouraged to report their travel history in countries affected by the coronavirus (nCoV) virus," he said.
The new strain of coronavirus (nCoV), discovered in China’s Wuhan City, has killed six, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying that "the new coronavirus virus is contagious in humans."
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans want Indonesian military to enlist their children as compensation for land
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 23: West Papuans have called on the Indonesian Military (TNI) to enlist their children after handing over their land in Yummua village, West Arso district in Keerom regency on the border of Papua New Guinea to regency commander, Col. Binsar P. Sianipar, for a Indonesian military headquarters at a ceremony last week, reports the Jakarta Post.
West Papuan Keerom Customary Council chairman, Servo Tuamis, said that four West Papuan groups believe that compensation paid to them for their land is not enough, saying "the indigenous groups demand another form of compensation."
He said that the Keret Tafior, Kiryar, Kyawoy and Girbes indigenous groups have been paid Rp 2 billion (US$146,399) for 10 ha of land for the construction of Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters in Keerom regency, saying that the indegenous groups believe they were underpaid.
“As we were born here in Keerom, we demand that the Indonesian military enlist our children as their personnel, he said.
He said that the Keerom Customary Council would recommend personnel for enlistment in the Indonesian military, saying that Indonesian Military (TNI) Korem commander Col. Binsar P. Sianipar has agreed to the proposal providing that those recommended were "healthy and did not consume narcotics and alcoholic."
Daughter of former Keerom Customary Council chairman, Naome Kwambre, objects to the handover of the land to the Indonesian military, saying
“As part of the younger generation, I deplore the handover of the land because it should be our source of livelihood for generations to come.”
In December 2019 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were deployed to hunt for an armed West Papuan group in Keerom regency on the Papua New Guinea border, after an Indonesian military personal was shot dead , with Police chief Insp. Gen. Pol. Paulus Waterpauw saying "an Indonesian military personnel was gunned down by an armed group as he was collecting logistics."
Police chief Insp. Gen. Pol. Paulus Waterpauw said that the border area in Keerom District remained safe and under control despite the attack on Indonesian military by the West Papuan armed group.
About 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were reportedly deployed to secure West Papua provinces following protests in August and September calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in West Papua.
Calls for a referendum and self determination were dismissed in August 2019 by Indonesia's former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto, who said that the “NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final, ” he said.
He said the New York Agreement, signed in 1962 by the Netherlands and Indonesia, had officially made Papua and West Papua legitimate territories of Indonesia.
“That means NKRI is final, NKRI is non-negotiable, including Papua and West Papua,” he said.
"Referendums are for occupied countries that are given the choice to be independent or to join with the occupying country", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

MEDIA CHECK
Cambodia-China Journalist Association (CCJA) launched in Phnom Penh ...open here


The Southeast Asian Times wishes its readers a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year with a special thankyou to its treasured letter writers


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Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
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"Goodbye America" says B.A. Hamzah as he calls for Asians to determine their own political destiny in "Time for Asia to set it's own course, minus the U.S."...open here


Is prescribed burning of grasslands in northern Australia out of control? ......Chris Ray reports ... open page here

"Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi" by Kerry B. Collison "is undoubtedly fictional but by no means improbable, " says Johannes Nugroho ....open page here

Viet Nam is planning to go nuclear by the year 2020.reports
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in "Calculating the costs of nuclear energy in Vietnam" ...open page here

Bombed by the Americans for Christmas in 1972, Ha Noi Bach Mai hospital is still a war zone...Christina Pas reports...Open page here


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12, 2018 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here

 

Cuba's 302 physicians in East Timor work at five hospitals and remote villages throughout the republic...writes Darwin reporter John Loizou ...open page here

 

Indonesia ready for big 'brother' role in ASEAN
By Prashanth Parameswaran
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Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia Jeet Heer reports.....open page here


Thousands of Northern Australia's indigenous rock art sites are under threat from buffalo, fire and feral animals. Tim Lee reports ........open page here

 

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 25: Singapore's largest property developer, the Far East Organization, is to partner with Myanmar's

erty sales and marketing company, Min Zin Agency, in Yangon to sell condos in Singapore.
Managing director of the Min Zin Agency in Yangon, Ko Kyaw Min Zin, said that Singapore's Far East Organization has expanded its sales and marketing efforts into Myanmar.
“The Far East Organisation has been selling their Singapore properties to Myanmar buyers since 2009,” he said.
The Far East Organisation reportedly have over 750 properties in Singapore’s residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors,
including 45,500 or one in every six private homes in Singapore listed with the Min Zin Agency in Yangon.
The Southeast Asian Times


China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10:
Indonesia's Railway Corporation (PT KAI) and state construction company PT Jasa Marga signed a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) with China Investment Fund (CIF) to develop indonesia's railway services and toll road construction.
Witness to the signing, coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil, said that the MoU will provide the groundwork for further cooperation between China Railway and P KAI and China Investment Fund (CIF).
"The MoU is the first step towards further development of public services between China and Indonesia" he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia, Xie Feng said that the MoU would spark more cooperations between China and Indonesia and would bring about "real benefits to the public."
The Southeast Asian Times

Penang health department shuts down soya bean factory
From News Reports:
Penang, October 19: Five Penang food factories including a 100 year old soya bean factory at Tanjong Bungah were ordered closed by the state health department for failure to observe health standards.
State health, food safety and quality division, deputy director Ku Nafishah Ku Ariffin said soya bean products were processed in an unclean "rusty and moldy kitchen".
"Our inspectors found that wet products were left to dry on "dirty" bamboo sticks along with bathing towels. The bamboo sticks were also dirty and dusty," she said.
A "sweets" factory in Teluk Kumbar, a noodle factory in Simpang Ampat and a sauce factory in Bukit Metajam were also closed by the state health department
The Southeast Asian Times

Fuel smugglers including military personnel under arrest
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 15: Riau Islands Police have arrested 30 suspects including several Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel and seized 64 cars, two boats and 106 tons of fuel.
Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Arman Depary said in Batam last week that the seized cars had been modified to hold 100 litres of fuel.
"The Military (TNI) personnel are suspected of fuel smuggling and have been handed over to the military base", he said.
TNI Commander Gen. Moeldoko said that the alleged suspected fuel smugglers are honor-based service military personnel.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai coup blammed for fall in tourist arrivals
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 18: The Thai tourism sector suffered its largest fall in international visitors to Thailand in June, the first month after the establishment of marshal law and the military seizure of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Tourism reportedly accounts for 10 percent of the Thai economy.
Data from the Thai Department of Tourism shows that inernational tourist arrival numbers in July fell by 10.9 percent compared to the same time last year.
International arrivals in July totalled 1.91 million compared to 2.15 million in July 2013.
Arrivals from China with a18 percent share of all visitors to thailand and the largest group of visitors to Thailand, fell by 25.3 percent.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom with a 4 percent share of all visitors to Thailand, was one of the few large markets to record a gain, of 6.2 percent
The Southeast Asian Times

US Senate approves sales of nuclear equipment to Vietnam
From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 31: The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed legislation approving a 123 agreement on civil nuclear commerce with Vietnam at a business meeting of the committee last week.
The 123 agreement under the US Atomic energy Act of 1954 establishes a civil nuclear commerce agreement that allows the US to export nuclear reactors, research information and equipment to Vietnam.
The civil nuclear commerce agreement between the US and Vietnam is "part of Vietnam's effort to ease its shortage of energy towards meeting over 10 percent of the domestic power demand by 2030", reports the Vietnam News Service
The Southeast Asian Times

Court for construction
Industry
established
in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 3: The first two Construction Courts for Malaysia were opened by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam last week, reports the Star.
The courts will deal with disputes in the construction industry.
Works Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said that the establishment of the courts will transform the way the construction business in the country operates.
"The construction industry stakerholders can now have their disputes resolved by judges with expert knowledge and experience in construction industry disputes', he said.
The proposal by the Construction Industry Board (CIDB) for the establishment of the construction courts was first put to the Judiciary in January 2013.
Britain is the only other country that has a specially designated court that deals with construction industry disputes.

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 14: Bali community-based tourism operators have called for amendments to regulations that stipulate that the local community pay the Bali regency administration 60 percent of their total tourism revenue.
Penglipuran tourist village in Bangli, community-based tourism manager, Nengah Moneng, said that he objected to the fact that his community received only 40 percent of the total revenue.
"We want to have 60 percent share of the tourist revenue to pay for operating costs", he said.
The Penglipuran tourism manager said that operating costs for trekking, traditional dance, cultural shows including religious rituals had increased.
The cost of operating lodges and community halls for tourism had also increased.
"An increase in revenue for not only the Bangli community but for tourism based communities across Bali would benefit tourism island-wide" said the tourism manager.
The Southeast Asian Times

Riau forest fires force Chevron to shut down oil wells
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 21: PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based oil company Chevron has shut down 573 oil wells in the Riau province of Sumatra.
The deteriorating quality of air due to forest fires that have been raging for the last month has forced PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to shut down its oil wells and evacuate workers and there families.
Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator, SKK Migas, public relations officer, Handoyo Budi Santoso, said that oil assets in Riau province are important to national crude oil production.
"The biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Rokan block, operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of crude oil production", he said
The Jakarta Posts reports that potential losses are estimated at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 5:
The New Straits Times reports that there was an 86 percent increase in tourist arrivals from China
to Sabah in the last two years.
Data from the Sabah Tourism Board reportedly shows that 193,010 tourist tourists arrived in Sabah from China in 2011 increasing to 360,361 in 2013
Sabah West Coast Coffeeshop Association chairman, Yong Chee Yun, said coffee shop operators were catering to the influx of tourists from China.
"Coffee shops displayed tourist friendly signs in Chinese saying 'how are you?' and menues included China's favourite foods", he said.
Sabah and Labuan Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels and general manager of the At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort,
said that staff members are encouraged to learn Mandarin.
"So that they can converse better with guests" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

From News Reports:
Jakarta,January 29: A pilots strike forced State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to cancelled all scheduled flights to Surabaya, Merauke and Timika on Saturday, reports The Jakarta Post.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra said that the airline had not paid salaries to pilots and cabin crew for two months.
The Jakarta Post reports that PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines was required to restructure its operations.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra says that Merpati has signed a memorndum of understanding (MoU) with PT Armagedon Indonesia and PT Bentang Persada Gemilang to restructure the company.
The airline has debts of Rp 6.5 trillion (US$533 million) reports the Jakarta Post.
"The management would pay the salaries around March or early April, said the Merpati corporate secretary.
Merpati’s workers union advisory board official, Erry Wardhana, said about 200 Merpati pilots planned to strike again next Saturday for an indefinite period.
"The pilots would strike until 1,600 Merpati employees were paid", he said.
The union advisory board official says that this is the first time that Merpati workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages.
The pilots are owed wages for December and January reports the Jakarta Post.
The Southeast Asian Times