The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Friday 14 August 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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High profile Hong Kong newspaper executives targeted for arrest by Beijing

Lai Chee-Ying also known as Jimmy Lai, founder of the Hong Kong newspaper, Apple Daily, was arrested in Hong Kong on Monday for supporting rioters, instigating hatred, spreading rumours and slandering Hong Kong authorities in the Apple Daily publication

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, August 14: Hong Kong high profile founder of the Apple Daily newspaper, Lai Chee-Ying, was targeted for arrest on Monday under the new national security law that was passed into legislature in Beijing last month, for supporting rioters, instigating hatred, spreading rumours and slandering Hong Kong authorities in the Apple Daily publication, reports Rueters.
Lai Chee-Ying also known as Jimmy Lai, who founded the Hong Kong-listed media company Next Digital and the Apple Daily, was arrested in a raid by about 200 police at the Apple Daily newspaper office in Hong Kong under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Executives of the Hong Kong-listed media company, Next Digital, Apple Daily reporter Agnes Chow, 23, and student activist Tony Chun, 19, who was arrested at his home, were among ten targeted for arrest on Monday.
The ten high profile executives, reporters and student activists were charged with "collusion with foreign forces" under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong that upholds the institutional system of one country, two systems.
The 10 targeted high profile arrests were made on Monday despite the Director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, Shen Chunyao, saying last month that the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) "will only target the very few criminals that severely endanger national security."
He said that the new law on Safeguarding National Security does not target opposing political views in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), saying "political views, including those not favourable to the government can still exist."
"The new law does not criminalize normal international communication and exchanges either," he said.
He said that the new law will fully protect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the vast majority of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate rights and interests of investors in Hong Kong.
Founder of the Apple Daily newspaper, Lai Chee-Ying, said after he was released on bail that he believed that his arrest was "just the beginning" warning young protesters that they needed to be "more cautious now."
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia calls on West Papua human rights advocate in Australia to return scholarship funds

Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) human rights lawyer and West Papuan human rights advocate, Veronica Koman,
is on the Indonesian National Police wanted list

From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 13: Indonesia has called on Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) human rights lawyer and West Papuan human rights advocate, Veronica Koman, who is believed to be in Australia, to return the scholarship funds obtained from the Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) program, reports the Jakarta Post.
Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) president director Rionald Silaban said that Veronica Koman obtained Rp773.8 million in scholarship funds, saying "we have asked her to return the entire amount granted."
He said that the contract for the Endowment Fund for the Education (LPDP) program requires recpients who study abroad to return to Indonesia after they complete their studies, saying "Veronica Koman has refused to return to Indonesia."
"The Endowment Fund for the Education (LPDP) program, through numerous methods, has attempted to summon Veronica Koman on this specific requirement," he said.
Veronica Koman was charged on September 4, 2019 with incitement under Article 160 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, for spreading fake news under Article 15 of Law number 1 of 1949 concerning criminal law and procedure, displaying race-based hatred under Article 16 of Law number 40 of 2008 concerning the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and disseminating information aimed at inflicting ethnic hatred under Law number 19 of 2016 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions and was put on the Indonesian National Police wanted list.
East Java regional Police chief Luki Hermawan said in September last year that Veronica Koman would be put on the Indonesian National Police wanted list for allegedly broadcasting false information about the detainment of West Papuan students in Surabaya in August, 2019.
East Java regional Police summoned Veronica Koman, to present herself at the Indonesian embassy in Australia on September 10 and 18 with Police chief Luki Hermawan, saying "she did not show up."
He said then that police would issue an Interpol red notice should Veronica Koman fail to comply with the summons.
"Veronica Koman was not in Papua during the protests but proactively provoked the public through her Twitter account," he said.
Veronica Koman, called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo ahead of his address to the Australian parliament in February, to release 56 indigenous Papuans on trial for treason who 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.
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


Cambodian arrested for claiming loss of land in Vietnam border marker move

Cambodian Confederation of Unions, president Rong Chhun faces six to two years imprisonment and a fine from one million to four million Reils if found guilty of incitement to commit a felony

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 12: Cambodian Confederation of Unions president, Rong Chhun, who claims iregularities in the installation of border markers in Trapeang Phlong commune in Tboung Khmum province on the Cambodia Vietnam border, saying "Cambodians have lost their land to Vietnam," was charged with incitement to commit a felony on August 1, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, Rong Chhun, claims that the Cambodia Border Affairs Committee has ignored the encroachment of Vietnamese on farm land in Trapeang Phlong commune in Tboung Khmum province, saying "this irregularity has led farmers to lose their land and livelihood."
He said that the installation of border posts from 114 to 119 has caused Cambodians to lose hundreds of hectares of land to the Vietnamese, saying that the new border posts have moved about 500 metres into Cambodia.
The president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), Rong Chhun, who visited Trapeang Phlong commune in Tboung Khmum province Ponhea Krek district on July 20, has accused the Cambodia Border Affairs Committee of allowing Vietnam to move the Cambodia Vietnam border markers 500 metres into Tboung Khmum province.
He said that Vietnam has evicted and pushed Cambodians 500 metres into Tboung Khmum province, saying that Cambodia did not prevent Vietnam from moving the border markers.
"Cambodians have lost their land to Vietnam," he said.
The Cambodia Border Affairs Committee claims that the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), Rong Chhun, has made false and exaggerated claims that are intended to stir social unrest and public misunderstanding.
The Cambodia Border Affairs Committee claims that the demarcation of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam did not cause Cambodia to lose its territory, saying "no Vietnamese forced Cambodians from their land".
President of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), Rong Chhun, was arrested at his home in Phnom Penh on July 31 charged with incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest under Article 495 of the Cambodian Criminal Code and awaits trial in a Phnom Penh prison.
The Southeast Asian Times


Acting deputy Attorney-General fails to appear at Red Bull heir inquiry

Call for Attorney-General Wongsakul Kittipromwong to explain the decision-making process by the acting deputy Attorney-General Nate Naksuk in the withdrawal of all charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, in the hit and run accident that caused the death of a police officer in 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 11: Acting deputy Attorney General Nate Naksuk, who withdrew all charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, including reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime and causing the death of a police officer, failed to appear at an inquiry into the Office of Attorney General (OAG) decision on Sunday, reports the Bangkok Post.
All charges against the Red Bull heir, in a hit and run accident that caused the death of police officer Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, in Bangkok in 2012 were withdrawn last month on the signature of Deputy Attorney General Nate Naksuk, despite seven years remaining before the statute of limitation expired on the charge of reckless driving.
The Office of Attorney General (OAG) concluded from new evidence given by two new witnesses that the accident was not caused by reckless driving, effectively reversing the prosecutions earlier decision to indict.
The two new witnesses, Jaruchart Maadthong, 40, and Air Marshall, Jakkrit Thanomkulabutr, testified that the Red Bull heir drove a Ferrari sports car at between 50-60km/h on September 3, 2012 and that the motorcycle driven by the Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, who was reportedly dragged about 200 metres as Vorayudh Yoovidhaya fled the scene of the accident, died as a result of his injuries.
Witness Jaruchart Maadthong, 40, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Chiang Mai on Thursday.
Witness Air Marshall, Jakkrit Thanomkulabutr, retracted his testimony, on Friday, saying that Red Bull heir drove a Ferrari sports car at 177 km/h as reportedly found in the original hit and run investigation in 2012.
The Thai Constitution Court called for an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) decision to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir saying "the nation's justice system has been rendered meaningless after the prosecution decision to drop the charges and the police failure to challenge the decision."
The Southeast Asian Times


Three months in prison for Myanmar preacher in mass church gathering

Pastor, David Lah, founder of Dream Ministry International, sentenced to three months imprisonment for violation of the Natural Disaster Management Law that banned mass gatherings

From News Reports:
Yangon, August 10: Pastor, David Lah, founder of Dream Ministry International, and preacher, U Wai, who were charged with violating the Natural Disaster Management Law that banned mass gatherings were sentenced to three months imprisonment instead of three years in a revision of the charges brought by the Yangon Regional government at the Mayangone Township Court in May, reports Myanmar Times.
Pastor David Lah and preacher U Wai were charged by the Mayangone court in Yangon with organising a mass gathering that included a performance by Myanmar rockstar, Myo Gyi, singer Ni Tar and rapper J-Me at the Baptist church in Insein township
The mass gahering was in violation of the Natural Disaster Management Law that banned mass gatherings in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Both pleaded not guilty to violating Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, punishable by up to three years in prison, but the
Mayangone court in Yangon revised the charges from violation of Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, to Section 30(a) of the same law, that carries a lesser penalty of up to one-year jail.
Section 25 refers to violation that causes or possibly causes a disaster, while Section 30(a) refers to simple failure to comply with a government directive.
Pastor, U Saw David Lah, reportedly told worshippers in his sermon at the Baptist church in Insein township in May that "those deeply devoted to Christianity would be protected from Covid-19 by Jesus."
At least a hundred attending the gathering at the church in Insein townsip or who were in contact with those who had attended the church service reportedly tested positive for Covid-10.
Pastor U Saw David Lah and preacher U Wai Tun, performers, Myanmar rockstar, Myo Gyi, singer Ni Tar, rapper J-Me and family members were also tested postive for Covid-19
Baptist pastor, U Saw David Lah and preacher, U Wai, who have been in detention since thier arres May 20 will have their time in detention deducted from the three month sentence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Free People Group demand release
of protesters charged with sedition

Student Panupong Jaadnok, 23, and human rights lawyer, Anon Nampa, 35, charged with sedition in Bangkok on Friday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 8: The Free People group, who are calling for the dissolution of the Thai parliament, an end to state harrassment of government critics and a new constitution, demanded the release of two protesters charged with sedition in Bangkok on Friday, reports the Bankgok Post.
Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, 35, and student Panupong Jaadnok, 23, were arrested on Friday on seven charges including inciting unrest or sedition, illegal assembly of more than 10 people, holding activities at risk of spreading contagious diseases, obstructing public space, obstructing traffic, violating the cleanliness law and using loudspeakers without prior approval at a student protest calling for reform at the Democract Monument in Bangkok on July 18.
Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa is also under investigation under the lese majeste law for accusing the Thai monarchy of undermining democracy and monarchy inaction of attacks on opponents of the Prayuth Chan-ocha government.
The human rights lawyer was one of six speakers at a student protest at the Democracy Monument on Monday who called on reform of the lese majeste law.
"Talking about the lese majeste law is not an act to topple the monarchy," he said.
Mahanakorn and Kaset university students called for the cancellation and reform of laws that expand the power of the monarchy and that impinge on democracy.
Defamation of the monachy is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under the lese majeste laws.
Police did not stop the speakers but said that suspected offences against the lese majeste law would be investigated.
Last week Prime Minister Prayut-o-cha agreed to amend the constitution amid calls for a new constitution from the opposition and students, saying that a Senate Committee is preparing a proposal for amendments to the charter for the next parliamentary session.
Last month about 1000 students from the Student Union of Thailand, representing 10 universities, the Free Youth group, renamed the Free People Group, including high school students from the Parit Chiwarak high school called on the Prayut-o-cha government to rewrite the constitution, saying "the current constitution is designed to enshrine the dictorial system under the cloak of democracy."
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines not joining US, Australia and Japan in maritime exercise in South China Sea

US, Australia and Japan in joint maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea last week

From News Reports:
Manila, August 8: Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday that the Philippines would not be joining US, Australia and Japan in joint maritime exercises in the South China Sea, saying " President Duterte issued a directive that the Philippines would not participate in military drills in the South China Sea to reduce tention in the contested South China Sea," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
"President Duterte's standing order to the Philippines Department of National Defence is that we should not involve ourselves in naval exercises in the South China Sea, with the exception of the West Philippine Sea, " said Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
"We cannot exercise with the US, Australia and Japan in the South China Sea," he said.
He called on the US, Australia and Japan, whose navies conducted joint maritime exercises in the South China Sea last week, to exercise caution
so that there will be no miscalculations that could further increase tension.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard (CCG) held their first maritime exercise in the West Philippine Sea in January 2020 with Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Adm. Joel Garcia, saying "it is the first time that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard (CCG) held formal talks about maritime security in the West Philippine Sea.
He said that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) called on the China Coast Guard (CCG) to ensure the security of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine Sea amid allegations of harrasment by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
"The two coast guards also talked about holding regular joint excercises on maritime security," he said.
In 2018 Philippine Senator Panfilo Lacson called on President Rodrigo Duterte to act on China's militarization of the South China Sea including the West Philippine Sea, saying that the Philippines should seek the help of its ally countries including the US to pressure China to stop its military activities.
He said that ally countries should insist on the UN arbitration ruling that favoured the Philippines in the Arbitration Court in the Hague in July 2016
against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea and that included the West Philippine Sea.
China rejected the Hague ruling, claiming that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on the matter" with China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said then that he would not provoke China into a war saying that there was no assurance that the U.S would remain on the side of the Philippines if war broke out.
"A more feasable solution would be to forge a joint exploration pact with China to harness the potential of the disputed West Philippine Sea," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines senator calls for inquiry into violence against quarantine violators

Senator Risa Hontiveros called for a Senate inquiry into local government units (LGUs) enforcement of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocols following a Facebook posting that said that violators of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocol in Quezon City would be shot dead

From News Reports:
Manila, August 7: Senator Risa Hontiveros has called for a Senate inquiry into the Facebook posting on Monday that said violators of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocol in Quezon City would be shot dead, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Senator Risa Hontiveros called on a Senate inquiry into Quezon City Task Force Disiplina head Ranulfo "Rannie" Ludovica, who said that violators of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocol in Quezon City would be shot dead on a social media posting on Monday.
Senator Hontiveros said in seeking the inquiry into Ranulfo "Rannie" Ludovica that other Quezon City Task Force Disiplina officials were previously cought on video physically assaulting a fish vendor for failure to wear a face mask.
The Senator also called on the Quezon City Mayor, Joy Belmonte, to sack Quezon City Task Force Disiplina head Ranulfo "Rannie" Ludovica, saying that the Filipino people are already suffering from the health and economic impact of the pandemic.
"The Filipino people do not need a militaristic and punitive approach to what is primarily a public health problem," she said.
Quezon City Mayor, Joy Belmonte, condemned the shoot to kill threat posted by Ranulfo "Rannie" Ludovica, stressing that it was posted on his personal Facebook account not the local government account.
Quezon City Task Force Disiplina head Ranulfo "Rannie" Ludovica who is a former Quezon City councilor has refused to apologise for the posting on Facebook a day before Metro Manila and nearby province implemented the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocol.
He claims that the posting on his Facebook resulted from frustration over the rising number of new Covid-19 infections in Quezon City.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government also condemned the Quezon City Task Force Disiplina shoot to kill posting on Facebook, with Philippine National Police saying that there was no shoot to kill policy against quarantine violators.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai PM agrees to amend constitution with Senate support

Prime Minister Prayut-o-cha says the government will hold forums for the new generation to voice opinions on Thailands future amid calls for a new constitution from students

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 6: Prime Minister Prayut-o-cha has agreed to amend the constitution amid calls for a new constitution from the opposition and students, saying that a Senate Committee is preparing proposed amendments to the constitution for the next parliamentary session, with the opposition saying "the Senate supports the Prayut-o-cha government", reports the Bangkok Post.
Prime Minister Prayut-o-cha said that the House of Representatives Committee will also prepare proposed amendments to the constitution saying "the government is ready to cooperate fully with the House Committee."
Opposition Pheu Thai party leader, Sompong Amornvivat, says that a council should be established to draft a new constitution with or without the support of the Senate, saying " the Senate supports the Prayut-o-cha government."
He says that under Section 256 of the charter, an amendment to the constitution requires the support of at least one-third of the Senate or 84 senators.
Former Constitution Drafting Committee advisor, Jade Donavanik, said that it is unlikely that the Senate Committee or the House of Represenatatives Committee will be able to amend the constitution, saying "the House of Representatives will not challenge the power of the Senate."
He said preparation for proposed amendments to the charter by a Senate Committee and the House of Representatives Committee means that the Thai people will be sidelined from the process, saying "in the end nothing will be changed."
Last month about 1000 students from the Student Union of Thailand, representing 10 universities, the Free Youth group including high school students from the Parit Chiwarak high school called on the Prayut-o-cha government to rewrite the constitution, saying "the current constitution is designed to enshrine the dictorial system under the cloak of democracy."
In February 2016 the Constitution Drafting Committee agreed to reinstate omitted content in the draft 2016 charter on rights and liberties of Thais in the protection and managment of natural resources, saying that the provisions of the 2007 charter that require the state to conduct public hearings in order to obtain the opinions of community members, stakeholders and academics were omitted.
Community Resource Centre coordinator, Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, said then that while community rights were reinstated in the draft 2016 constitution the constitution says the rights must not jeopardise state security.
"The government has prioritised state security in development projects including the 2,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Songkhla's Thepha-Pattani district", she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia's traditional owners blockade Uluru national park over Covid-19

The Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) in Yulara in Australia's Northern Territory blocked the entrance to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park on Monday

From News Reports:
Darwin, August 5: The traditional owners of Ayers Rock in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia's Northern Territory, stopped tourists from entering the national park in a blockade on Monday after Parks Australia refused to close the park, with Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) saying "the community at Ayers Rock is worried about the spread of Covid-19.
Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) general manager, Glenn Irvine, said that the community located at the base of Ayers Rock is worried about inter-state tourists spreading coronavirus, saying "tourists transiting through coronavirus hotspot areas do not have to quarantine when they arrive in the Northern Territory."
He said the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) called on Parks Australia to close the park ahead of the arrival of 42 tourists from Brisbane at the Yulara airport on Monday, saying "Parks Australia refused to close the park so we started this blockade."
"No tourists are getting through," he said.
The 42 tourists who booked their trip to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Pty Limited arrived at the Yulara airport from Brisbane on Monday, three days after the Northern Territory government added the city of Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland to the list of Covid-19 hotspots.
The tourists were reportedly met by Northern Territory Police and Northern Territory Health officials on arrival at the Yulara airport on Monday.
Three of the 42 tourists tested positive for Covid-19 and were transferred by bus to to a coronavirus quarantine facility in Alice Springs, 460 kilometers from Yulara township.
Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) said that the community did not want a coronavirus quarantine facility in Yulara township or the Yulara airport.
Parks Australia spokesperson said on Tuesday that the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park would close for 24 hours while Parks Australia
work with the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC), the Northern Territory Government and Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Pty Limited, to reach agreement on Covid-19 screening at the Yulara airport and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
The Southeast Asian Times

Filipinos wait to go home in crammed Manila sports stadium

Thousands of stranded Filipinos cram the Manila Rizal Memorial sports Stadium to wait for transport under the government initiated Hatig Tulog program to return to their home province

From News Reports:
Manila, August 3: Filipino's by the thousands, identified as locally stranded individuals (LSIs), have crammed into the Manila Rizal Memorial sports Stadium with a capacity of 10,000, to await transport under the government initiated Hatig Tulog program to return to their home province including Ormoc City almost a thousand miles from Manila, with the Ministry of Health saying the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) are at risk of infection, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Health Ministry Undersecretary, Rosario Vergeire, said that the government initiated Hatig Tulog program that has crammed more than a hundred thousand locally stranded individuals (LSIs), including those living on the streets of metro Manila, into the Rizal Memorial Sports Stadium over the last month, has violated social distancing protocols.
"Thousands are at risk of infection," she said.
She said that the Ministry of Health warned government agencies involved in the Hatig Tulog program that mass gatherings are prohibited, saying "the organizers of the Hatig Tulog program continue to cram the Rizal Memorial sports Stadium with locally stranded individuals (LSIs)."
Ormoc City Mayor, Richard Gomez. said he wanted the Hatid Tulong program organizer fired over the conditions at the Rizal Memorial sports Stadium, saying "he has urged President Duterte to fire whoever organised the program for incompetence, insensitivity and disregard for public health."
Hatid Tulong Program head, Joseph Encabo, who is also the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Assistant Secretary, appealed for understanding after photos showing the crammed conditions at the Rizal Memorial sports Stadium went viral, saying "all these people were on the streets a few days ago."
"We may have violated social distancing rules but we also need to show sympathy, understanding and concern for our fellow countrymen," he said.
He said that all locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in the stadium must be cleared of Covid-19 before being allowed to board buses, ships and trains provided by the government for their return home.
About 123, 000 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in metro Manila have returned to their home province under the government initiated Hatid Tulong program since its inception at the beginning of July.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai Triumph workers greeted with
lay-off notice on return to work

More than 2000 textile workers at the 'Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT) formally a subsidiary of Triumph Holding AG who were to return to work on Friday were layed-off instead

From News Report:
Bangkok, August 3: Thousands of Thai textile workers were greeted with a lay-off notice on their return to work at Body Fashion Thailand (BFT) formally a subsidiary of Triumph Holding AG after three months closure due to the Covid-19 epidemic, with Triumph Holding AG headquarters in Switzerland denying a connection to the garment production factory, saying it had sold production franchise on the factory years ago, reports the Bangkok Post.
More than 2000 textile workers at the 'Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT) underwear manufacturing factory in Muang Nakhon Sawan district who expected to resume work on Friday were instead greeted with a lay-off notice, reportedly listing the names of the workers.
The 'Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT) factory in Muang Nakhon Sawan district that was expected to reopen on Friday was closed for three months reportedly citing huge losses due to the Covid-19 epidemic
Triumph International (Thailand) Co Ltd Lingerie Manufacturer and Distribution in Bangkok has denied a connection with 'Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT), with Triumph Holding AG headquarters in Switzerland, saying that the 'Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT) manufacturing franchise was sold in 2016.
Triumph Holding AG corporate communications spokesman, Olaf Kratz, said that Body Fashion Thailand' (BFT) manufacturing franchise was sold in 2016 as part of the restructuring of its global supply chain.
"Triumph Holding AG would focus only on Marketing and sales," he said.
He said that Triumph Holding AG sold ‘Body Fashion Thailand’ (BFT) manufacturing franchise to Malaysian Robert Ng four years ago.
In July 2008 Body Fashion Thailand (BFT) , labour union president, Jitra Kotchadej, was sacked by the Body Fashion Thailand (BFT), then a susidiary of Triumph Holding AG, on the grounds that she wore a T-shirt supporting Chotisak Onsoong who had refused to stand during a royal anthem in a Bangkok cinema and as such was in breach of the Lese Majeste law
She wore the T-shirt saying, “Not standing is not a crime. To think differently doesn’t make one a criminal” at an interview on a television program on unwanted pregnancy in Thai workers and rights to abortion.
Triumph Holding AG with headquarters in Switzerland is one of the world's largest underwear manufacturers with marketing operations in 120 countries.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia calls on China to abide by international law in South China Sea

China Foreign Minister for foreign Affairs, Wang Yi and Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsud invirtual bilateral talks on the South China Sea

From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 2: Indonesia has called on China as a party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), that commits parties including ASEAN to resolve differences, disputes and conflicts peacefully, to abide by international laws including the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in settling disputes in the South China Sea, with Indonesia's foreign minister saying that China is required to abide by international law.
Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at a virtual bilateral meeting with China Foreign Minister for foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, on Thursday that China is required to abide by the principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the resolution of disputes with ASEAN members countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that peace and stability in the South China Sea can only be maintained if all countries respect and implement all relevant international laws, including the the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
"Indonesia has consistently upheld the principle of dialogue in addressing the China claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea," she said,
China Foreign Minister for foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, said on Thursday that China is determined to defend sovereignty and security in the South China Sea, saying "China would maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea despite the US attempt to disrupt regional peace."
Minister for foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, said that the US aircraft carriers in the South China Sea disrupt regional peace and regional cooperation.
" China has indusputable territorial sovereignty and maritime rights over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters," he said.
The China claim of indisputable territorial sovereignty and maritime rights over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters that China lodged with the United Nations in 2009 was subsequently disputed by Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines in an appeal to the rule of International Law and Arbitration.
The UN convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that does not permit historical claims to override geographic boundaries, requires that the China claim to any islands meet the terms in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that includes the naming of a territorial sea, a contiguous zone, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or a continental shelf, requiring all maritime boundary lines to be negotiated with neighbouring states, stating that one country may not unilaterally establish a maritime boundary.
The Southeast Asian Times


New Key witness in Red Bull heir hit and run killed in motorcycle accident

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an inquiry into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) withdrawal of all charges against Red Bull energy drink heir in the hit and run accident that caused the death of a police officer in Bangkok in 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 1: A new key witness, whose testimony effectively absolved Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 35, of reckless driving causing death in a hit and run, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Thursday, a week ahead of a parliamentary committee inquiry into the withdrawal of all charges against the Red Bull heir including reckless driving, reports the Bangkok Post.
Jaruchart Maadthong, 40, one of two new witnesses who testified in the Office of Attorney-General (OAG ) inquiry into the outstanding statute of limitation on the charge of reckless driving, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Chiang Mai early Thursday morning.
His testimony together with that of retired officer Air Marshall, Jakkrit Thanomkulabutr, effectively absolved Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, from the oustanding charge of reckless driving.
The two new witnesses stated that the Red Bull heir was driving a Ferrari sports car at between 50-60km/h on September 3, 2012 when the motorcycle driven by the Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari.
Last week the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) dismissed all charges including reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime and causing the death of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert based on the new evidence given by the two new witnesses.
The Office of Attorney General (OAG) inquiry into the outstanding statute of limitation on reckless driving concluded that the accident was not caused by reckless driving on the testimony of the two new witnesses, effectively reversing the prosecutions earlier decision to indict.
Witness, Jaruchart Maadthong, 40, who was to give evidence before the parliament next week, was killed in a motorcycle accident a week ahead of the parliamentary committee inquiry into the withdrawal by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of all charges against the Red Bull heir.
Parliamentary committee, chairman Sira Janejaka, has called on National Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda to take steps to protect the remaining witness, retired officer Air Marshall, Jakkrit Thanomkulabutr, who is to give evidence at the parliamentary committee inquiry on Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian Times


Australian reporter, Chris Ray, investigates why Australia dropped five spots in the World Press Freedom Index...open

Call to overturn acquittal of son of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra on money laundering charges

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct acquited Panthongtae Shinawatra, centre, son of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of charges of money laundering in the transfer of 10 million baht to his bank account in November last year

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 31: A former member of Thailands oldest political party, the Democratic Party, has petitioned the Ministry of Justice to overturn the decision not to appeal the acquittal of the son of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on money laundering charges, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct acquited Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of charges of money laundering in the transfer of 10 million baht to his bank account in November last year,
The court ruled that the evidence against Panthongtae Shinawatra did not prove that he was aware that the Bt10-million transfer by the then executive of real estate developer Krisada Mahanakorn was allegedly part of the Krung-Thai-Bank (KTB) loan fraud in 2004.
Former Democratic Party deputy spokesman, Chao Meekuad, that he has petitioned the Department of Special Investigation in the Ministry of Justice to overturn the decision by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in not to appeal the acquittal of Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He said that he has petitioned the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in the Ministry of Justice "to scrap the prosecution decision" not to appeal the acquittal of Panthongtae Shinawatra.
He said the decision by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) not to appeal the acquittal was signed by
The Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice Nate Naksuk, who as acting attorney-general had also signed the order to withdraw all charges against Red Bull heir, Voroyudh Yoovidhaya, last week.
"The decision not to appeal the acquittal was signed by the same Nate Naksuk who signed the order to withdraw all charges against Red Bull heir in the hit and run of a police officer," he said.
He said that the law stipulates that only the attorney-general has the authority to make the decision not to appeal the acquittal, saying "no other person can act on the attorney-general's behalf or in the same capacity."
"The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) should petition the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct or the Administrative Court to overturn the order signed by Nate Naksuk.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former PM Najib Razak sentenced to 12 years for Criminal Breach of Trust

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was sent to prison for 12 years on Monday for Criminal Breach of Trust, says he over-trusted people who ran the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund and SRS International Sdn Bhd

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 30: Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, 67, who was found guilty of all seven charges involving Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in the misappropriation of RM42 million, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday, with Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali saying that the prosecution had succeeded in proving all charges, reports the Star.
High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said that the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the former prime minister as Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board that established SRS International Sdn Bhd had misappropriated and used RM42mil for himself.
"I therefore find the accused guilty and convict the accused on all seven charges," he said.
Lawyer for the defence, Muhammad Shafee, said in response to the High Court Verdict that while it was an honest judgment and that the judge himself was honest, he was of the opinion that Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had "honestly made various mistakes."
He said that his client, former Prime Minister Najib Razak, had over-trusted individuals, saying that "if he was at fault, he was only at fault in trusting people that ran the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund and SRS International Sdn Bhd."
Prosecutor, Sithambaram, said that despite maintaining his innocence by swearing that he had no knowledge of the money that had been deposited into his personal bank account, evidence showed that RM42mil was deposited into his personal bank accounts.
Ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested in July 2018, charged with Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) and of using his position as Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board for gratification.
His arrest and his subsequent successful bail application followed the May 9, 2018 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party, lead by the ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The election of the former Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018 followed the declassification of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report that had been marked secret by the Najib Rajak government under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times


80,000 tourists to evacuate Da Nang: First Covid-19 infections in 99 days

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) orders airlines to increase flights out of Da Nang to evacuate tourists after new Covid-19 infections were found in Da Nang hospitals

From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 29: The evacuation of about 80,000 domestic tourists from Da Nang City on Vietnam's central coast began on Sunday after 15 new Covid-19 infections, the first in 99 days, were found at three Da Nang Hospitals, with the Civil Aviation Authoriy of Vietnam (CAAV) ordering airlines to increase the number of flights out of Danang, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) general director, Dinh Viet Thang, said that Vietjet Air, Pacific Airlines and Bamboo Airways have been granted permission to maximise flights.
"The Ministry of Transport has approved airlines to fly to Da Nang for at least the next four days," he said.
The promotion of domestic tourism in Vietnam after the lifting of precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19 including social distancing in April turned Da Nang City on the central coast of Vietnam into a popular domestic tourist destination.
But Vietnamese tourists have reportedly been leaving Da Nang en masse since Sunday with long queues at the more than 40 flight check-in counters at Da Nang International Airport.
Deputy director of Danang BenThanh Tourist agency, Thi Quoc Duy, said that 300 domestic tourists from across Vietnam have contacted his office to cancel tours in Da Nang.
Deputy director of marketing at Vietravel, Nguyen Bguyet Van Khanh said that her travel agency cancelled 110 group tours totalling 4,500 domestic tourists.
Tran Van Trung from Ho Chi Mih City said he had planned to stay in Da Nang for five days, arriving last Friday but flew out on Sunday after the Covid-19 outbreak at Da Nang hospitals.
He said he was not worried while in Da Nang, saying he believed that the outbreak of Covid-19 would be contained, but he feared quarantine for 14 days.
"Quarantine would affect my work," he said.
Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said at the National Stearing Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control meeting on Monday that those diagnosed with Covid-19 were infected at the Da Nang Hospital, Da Nang Hospital C, and the Da Nang Orthopedic and Physical Rehabilitation Hospital with a strain of SARS-CoV-2 that is new to Viet Nam, saying "the strain is common in several regional countries."
"The virus is a more contagious strain and is the sixth strain recorded in Viet Nam, " he said.
The new Covid-19 infections found in Da Nanag ended 99-days free of community transmission of the virus in Vietnam bringing the total infections in Vietnam to 431 of which 365 have recovered leaving 66 active infections and no deaths.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai PM orders investigation into withdrawal hit and run charges against Red Bull heir

Forensic police inspect the Ferrari driven by Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 35, following the hit and run accident that caused the death of police officer Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, September 3, 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 28: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an inquiry into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) decision last week to withdraw all charges against Red Bull energy drink heir in the hit and run accident that caused the death of a police officer in Bangkok in 2012, with the Constitutional Court saying "the nations justice system has been rendered meaningless," reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Constitution Court urged Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) decision last week to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir saying "the nation's justice system has been rendered meaningless after the prosecution decision to drop the charges and the police failure to challenge the decision."
Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, 35, was charged with reckless driving, speeding, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime and causing the death of Thong Lor Police station, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, in Bangkok September 3, 2012.
Thong Lor Police station, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, was driving a motorbike to early-morning sentry duty when he was struck by a vehicle allegedly a black Farrari sports car driven at 177 kilometers an hour by Vorayudh Yoovidhaya.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, who was allegedly dragged about 200 metres, died as a result of his injuries.
The Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice Nate Naksuk, as acting attorney-general, signed the order to withdraw the charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, last week following an investigation in December last year by the Office of Attorney-General into the outstanding statute of limitation on the charge of reckless driving.
The Office of Attorney-General withdrew all charges against the Red Bull heir last week despite seven years remaining before the statute of limitiations on the charge of reckless driving expires.
All charges against Vorayudh Yoovidhaya were withdrawn last week based on new evidence provided by two new witnesses during the investigation into the charge of reckless driving conducted by the Office of Attorney General in December 2019,
The two new witnesses stated that the Ferrari sports car was driven between 50-60km/h. and that the motorcycle driven by the policeman had abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari driven by the Red Bull heir Vorayudh Yoovidhaya.
The Office of the Attorney General (AOG) concluded that "the crash was not caused by reckless driving on the part of the suspect, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, and the suspect did not commit an offence under Section 291 of the Criminal Code, act by negligence and that act causing death, effectively reversed the prosecutions earlier decision to indict.
Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, 35, who was released on bail after he was charged in 2012, fled Thailand for Singapore in 2017 after he repeatedly failed to report to police.
The Southeast Asian Times

Jakarta sex workers want to go back to work: Covid-19 hits sex industry hard

Sex workers call on Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan to reopen entertainment venues at a rally at City Hall in Central Jakarta last week, saying they want to go back to work

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 27: Jakarta sex workers have called on the Jakarta governor to reopen entertainment venues in central Jakarta following the governor's announcement last week that Jakarta would extend the period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), reports the Jakarta Post.
Sex workers urged Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan to immediately reopen nightclubs, discotheques and Karoke bars, saying "the Covid-19 pandemic has hit workers in the sex industry hard."
Jakarta's sex workers claim that about 19,000 workers have lost their jobs and income since the closure of night clubs, discotheque, and Kaoroke bars in April.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced last week that Jakarta would extend the period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for a further two weeks, saying that the latest data has shown an increase in the spead of Covid-19 infections in the capital.
He said that Jakarta has recorded a one percent increase in Covid-19 infections in the last week bringing the increase in infections to 5.9 percent of the population.
Jakarta has reportedly recorded an increase in Covid-19 infections in the last five weeks, with an increase of 4.4 percent in the first week, 3.1 percent in the second week, 3.7 percent in the third week and 4.8 percent the in the fourth week and in the fifth week, the number of positive Covid-19 infections increased to 5.9 percent.
"The reopening of entertainment venues that were scheduled to reopen by the end of the month have been postponed," he said.
Earlier this month Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency monitoring authorities conducted a raid on a West Jakata discotheque in the early hours of the morning, finding about one hundred including sex workers on the premises.
Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, monitoring authorities said that the raid was conducted following a report from locals, saying that the discotheque was operating from 12pm to 1am despite the period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed by Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.
The Southeast Asian Times


Ousted PM Najib Razak ordered to pay $400 million in unpaid taxes

Ousted former PM Najib Razak order to pay $400 million in unpaid taxes on Friday

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 24: Ousted former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, on trial for charges under the Malaysia Anti- Corruption Commission (MACC) for the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), was ordered to pay almost US$400 million in unpaid taxes by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Friday, reports the Star.
High Court judge Ahmad Bache ordered former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, to pay 1.69 billion ringgit in unpaid taxes while he was in office from 2009 to 2018.
High Court judge Ahmad Bache said former prime ministers are not exempt from paying tax, saying "former prime minister Najib Razak must pay his debt to the government."
"The court holds that a summary judgement is entered against the defendant for the amount claimed by the plaintiff as in the plaintiff's statement of claims", he said.
In June 2019, the plaintiff being the Malaysian government under the then Mohomad Mahathir administration, filed a claim against ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak through the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) seeking payment of 1.69 billion ringgit with 5 percent a year interest with costs fixed at RM15,000 with 60 days to pay.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak filed an application to stay the proceedings pending an appleal on the tax assessment by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) but the appeal was dismissed.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak failed to pay the unpaid taxes when his appeal against the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) assessment was dismissed.
Ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested in July 2018, charged with criminal breach of trust and of using his position as Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board for gratification.
His arrest and his subsequent successful bail application followed the May 9, 2018 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party that was lead by the ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The election of the former Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018 followed the declassification of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report that had been marked secret by the Najib Rajak government under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times


All charges against Red Bull heir in Bangkok hit and run withdrawn

Metropolitan police commissioner lieutenant general Khamronwit Thoopkrajang Khamronwit, left, and Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, center, arrested for causing death of police officer in hit and run accident in Bangkok September 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 25: All charges against, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, 27, heir to the Red Bull energy drink, in a hit and run accident in Bangkok that caused the death of a police officer in 2012 have been withdrawn despite seven years remaining before the statute of limitation expires on the charge of reckless driving, reports the Bangkok Post.
Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, 35, who fled thailand while on bail, was charged with dangerous driving, speeding, drunk driving, fleeing the crime scene and causing the death of Thong Lor Police station, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, on September 3, 2012.
Thong Lor Police station, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, was driving a motorbike to early-morning sentry duty on September 3, 2012 when he was struck by a vehicle, a black Farrari sports car, driven by Vorayudh Yoovidhaya.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, who was reportedly dragged about 200 metres as Vorayudh Yoovidhaya fled the scene of the accident, died as a result of his injuries.
Police lieutenant colonel Pannaphol Nammueng, the immediate superior of the dead police officer, was accused of having produced the Red Bull family driver, Suwes Homubon, 45, as the suspect after the hit-and-run accident near the Red Bull family residentce.
Metropolitan police commissioner lieutenant general Khamronwit Thoopkrajang Khamronwit’s said that the immediate superior officer should resign if he could not bring the driver responsible for the policeman’s death to justice.
“I can't let a police officer die in vain. I'll bring the real culprit to justice,” he said.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, was arrested at his late father’s residence after he admitted to the police commissioner that he was the driver of the black high-powered Ferrari sports car that hit the policeman’s motorcycle.
The commissioner ordered two companies of anti riot police to surround the residence in a gated estate near the scene of the fatality after obtaining a search warrant, saying that earlier attempts to enter the six-storey building were refused.
Thonglor police station, deputy police chief Thanawut Sanguansuk, said on Friday that police have seven years remaining to arrest Vorayudh Yoovidhaya before the statute of limitations expires for the most serious charge, reckless driving causing death.
He said that the speeding charge was withdrawn when the one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013 and the charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident was withdrawn when the statute of limtations expired on September 3, 2017.
"The Interpol red notice or arrest warrant for Vorayudh Yoovidhaya has also been withdrawn," he said.
An arrest warrant for Vorayudh Yoovidhaya was issued by Interpol to 190 member countries after the Red Bull heir fled Thailand for Singapore in a private jet in April 2017 while on bail.
The private jet believed to belong to the Red Bull heir was discovered in Singapore after he failed to meet with prosecutors in Bangkok on April 27, 2017.
In October 2017 Amnat Chotchai, director-general of the Office of the Attorney-General's (OAG) International Affairs Department, said prosecutors were working with police and the Foreign Ministry to draw up extradition documents for the arrest of the Red Bull heir.
He said that the Office of the Attorney-General's (OAG) International Affairs Department is ready to take swift action, saying that the Attorney General wants the Red Bull heir to face prosecution in Thailand before the statute of limitations on the charges against him expire.
"We must try to avoid raising public suspicion that rich people can escape legal action in Thailand because that would taint the judicial process and scare off investment," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam calls on China to comply with UNCLOS in South China Sea claim

The 12th meeting of the Steering Committee for Vietnam-China Bilateral Cooperation was co-chaired by Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and attended by representatives from Vietnam's ministries, agencies and Peoples Committees from Hanoi, Hai Phong City and the seven northern Vietnam-China border provinces

From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 24: Vietnam called on China to comply with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in China's claim of indisputable territorial sovereignty and maritime rights over the South China Sea at the online 12th meeting of the Steering Committee for Vietnam-China Bilateral Cooperation on Tuesday, with Vietnam calling on China to refrain from acts that exacerbate the territorial dispute, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Co-chair of the 12th Steering Committee for Vietnam-China Bilateral Cooperation meeting, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, called on co-chair China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, to fully respect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam in the dispute of sovereignty over the South China Sea.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also called on China to refrain from acts that exacerbate the dispute in the South China Sea, calling on China to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which China is a party, and seek settlement of the dispute by peaceful means.
In 2016 following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision that ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea, Vietnam called on all parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 that includes the Association of South East Asian Nationas (ASEAN) member countries and China to comply with the international law of the sea.
The court in The Hague ruled that China had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 by invoking historic rights in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
While parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are legally bound to abide by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision, China claimed that the Arbitration tribunal handed down an illegal and invalid verdict on the South China Sea dispute, with the then China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, saying that the dispute was not covered by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The China claim of indisputable territorial sovereignty and maritime rights over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters that China lodged with the United Nations in 2009 was subsequently disputed by Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines in an appeal to the rule of International Law and Arbitration.
The UN convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that does not permit historical claims to override geographic boundaries, requires that the China claim to any islands meet the terms in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that includes the naming of a territorial sea, a contiguous zone, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or a continental shelf, requiring all maritime boundary lines to be negotiated with neighbouring states, stating that one country may not unilaterally establish a maritime boundary.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian recruitment executives arrested for human trafficking

Police intercepted the Chinese flagged fishing vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 118 in the Malacca Straits after receiving information that a crew member, Hasan Apriadi, 20, had died onboard

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 23: Three Indonesian company executives were arrested on Sunday for their alleged involvement in the death of an Indonesian ships crew member aboard the Chinese flagged fishing vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 118 with the Indonesian National Police (Polri) human trafficking task force (TPPO) saying the executives were charged under human trafficking laws that include forced labour, torture and non payment, reports the Jakarta Post.
National Police (Polri) human trafficking task force (TPPO) spokesman Brigadier General Awi Setiyono said that the three company executives were arrested for their involvement in the recruitment of Indonesian ships crew member Hasan Apriadi, 20, whose body was found stored in the ships freezer onboard the Chinese flagged fishing vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 118 last month.
He said that President Director of PT Singgar Marin International identified as HA, Commissioner of PT Mandiri Jaya Makmur identified as TA, and President Director of PT Mandiri Jaya Makmur identified as TS were arrested in Tegal Regency, Central Java, saying "the recruitment company executives were charged under human trafficking laws."
The arrest of the company recruitment executives on Sunday follows the arrest of the Chinese ships crew supervisor, Song Chuanyun, on July 11, for the murder of Indonesian crew member, Hasan Apriadi, whose body was found stored in the Chinese flagged vessel, Lu Huan Yan Y 118 ships fish freezer and for the abuse of crew members.
Dozens of Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino ships crew members stated that ships crew supervisor, Song Chuanyun, had forced ships crew member Hasan Apriadi to work despite being ill, saying that Song Chuanyun had denied the crew member food and water for several days before he died in late June.
The Southeast Asian Times


Mural of King, PM and Minister of Health defaced in Selangor

The mural of six Malaysian leaders including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, King Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin, Minister of Health Dr Noor Hisham, Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS) president Hadi Awang,and Islamic Minister of Religious Affairs Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri were defaced in Sha Alam City on Sunday

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 22: The defacement of six Malaysian leaders including Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, King,Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin
and Minister for Health, Dr Noor Hisham, captured on CCTV in the city of Sha Alam in the state of Selangor is under investigation, reports the Star.
The CCTV footage reportedly shows two individuals believed to be women defacing the mural at Taman Cahaya Alam, Section U12 in Shah Alam City with red spray paint on Monday.
Shah Alam district police chief ACP Baharudin Mat Taib said that the two individuals in the CCTV footage are yet to be identified, saying "they were captured on CCTV spraying red paint on the mural."
"The footage shows what appears to be two women walking towards the mural before spraying it with red paint." he said.
He said that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the King, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin and Health Minister Dr Noor Hisham are shown on CCTV footage with eyes painted red and with the words 'babi' and "bangsat' scawled beside their pictures.
"It appears the vandals ran out of spray paint, as a half-formed word is painted between Health Minister, Dr Noor Hisham and Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaacob with the Islamic Minister of religious affiars Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri untouched.
He said that the investigation would be conducted under Section 504/427 of the Penal Code, that deals with intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, saying that the offence carries a prison sentence of between one to five years, a fine, or both penalties.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian soldiers contract Covid-19 in West Papua: Spread not under control

National Task Force for the Acceleration of Covid-19 Response, chairman, Doni Monardo, centre, said in Manokwari, West Papua on July 6, 2020 that West Papua province has been successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 21: At least 36 of 411 Indonesian National Armed Forces
(TNI AD) soldiers have contracted the novel coronavirus disease Covid-19
in West Papua Province despite the West Papua COVID-19 National Task Force claiming earlier this month that it has been successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in West Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
West Papua Task Force for the Acceleration of Covid-19 Response spokesman, Arnoldus Tiniap, said on Saturday that 36 soldiers had tested positive for Covid-19, saying "the soldiers are in quarantine at the West Papua Public Hospital in Manokwari."
He said that all 411 soldiers had undergone Covid-19 tests at their place of origin prior to their departure for Manokwari, West Papua, saying
"the 36 Covid-19 infections were discovered when the soldiers were tested again for Covid-19 at Manokwari."
He said that all soldiers were tested again when they arrived at Manokwari before assignment to South Sorong, Maybrat and Tambrauw Districts in West Papua.
"At least 36 of the 411 soldiers have tested positive for Covid-19," he said.
He said that Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI AD) are working with the Task Force for the Acceleration of Covid-19 Response in West Papua Province to conduct swab tests on all soldiers being assigned to West Papua.
"We are still waiting for the results for the other soldiers," he said.
Covid-19 National Task Force for the Acceleration of Covid-19 Response, chairman, Doni Monardo said in Manokwari, West Papua on July 6, 2020 at a coordinated virtual meeting of task forces across West Papua that West Papua Province has been successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, saying "the number of Covid-19 infections in West Papua was not as high as in other regions."
"The death toll from Covid-19 in the area was low, at only four or 1.5 percent of the total positive infections confirmed," he said.
He said that nine of 13 districts have been exposed to Covid-19 with the total number of positive infections confirmed at 265, saying that 184 had recovered and four deaths were recorded.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai students warn government against harrassment under Covid-19

Protesters from the Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group clash with police as they attempt to break through security barricades around the Democracy Monument on Saturday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 20: Students called on the Thai government to dissolve parliament, rewrite the constitution and end harassment under the emergency Covid-19 decree in a protest in central Bangkok on Saturday, saying that the protest was a warning to the government, reports the Nation.
About 1000 students from the Student Union of Thailand, representing 10 universities including the Thammasat university, the Free Youth group including students from the Parit Chiwarak high school, protested at the Democracy Monument under the banner "we will no longer tolerate."
Student Unions of Thailand, representative, Parit Cheewarak, said that the protest was a warning to the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, saying "the emergency decree has been used to control people."
He said that the longer the emergency decree to curb the spread of Covid-19 was used to enforce control measures the more it continues to be abused.
“Lift the decree immediately or the people will take the matter into their own hands,” he said.
Free Youth group, secretary general, Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, called on the Prayut Chan-o-cha government to dissolve Parliament, saying that it has failed in its economic management, saying the state of emergency and the nationwide lockdown had led to rising unemployment and lack of income.
"About 500,000 of us will lose our jobs," he said.
He also called for the drafting of a new constitution, saying "the current constitution is designed to enshrine the dictorial system under the cloak of democracy."
“We want the government to top harassing people and dissolve the parliament because the government is utterly ineffective.
Student protesters went ahead with the protest at Democracy Monument on Saturday despite a warning by police that such gatherings are prohibited under the emergency Covid-19 decree and restricted under the Communicable Disease Control Act, with Metropolitan Police chief Pol Lt Gen Phakkhaphong Phongphetra saying the organisers of the protest had not asked permission to hold the gathering.
The opposition Move Forward Party (FFP) established in May following the Constitutional Court dissolution of opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) that campaigned for military reform in the general elections last year, is reportedly in agreement with student demands.
Move Forward Party (FFP) spokesman, Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, said he agreed with the students, saying that the Move Forward Party (FFP) would protect the students should the students be prosecuted for protesting.
The Southeast Asian Times


Police sentenced to prison for drive-by acid attack on corruption investigator

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack in April 2017

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 19: The North Jakarta Court sentenced two Indonesian National Police officers, who were found guilty of causing serious injuries to senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator in a drive-by acid attack, to prison with judges rejecting the defence argument that the police officers had not planned the acid attack, reports the Jakarta Post.
Presiding judge Djuyamto found Indonesian National Police officers, Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulet and Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis, guilty of causing serious injury or death under Article 353 of the Criminal Code, sentencing them to two years’ and 18 months’ imprisonment, respectively.
The North Jakarta Court found the two Indonesian National Police officers guilty of the drive-by sulfuric acid attack on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan at Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta in April 2017.
The panel of judges gave police officer Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulet Rahmat a longer sentence syaing that he prepared and threw a mixture of battery acid and water on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan while police officer Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis was the driver of the motorcycle.
Prosecutors rejected the defence argument that the police officers had not replanned the attack saying that "both National Police officers, Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, had spied on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan before the attack.
"The police officers waited at the Al-Ikhsan mosque on Jl. Deposito Block E In Pegangsaan Due subdistrict where senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan attended dawn prayers."
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, was reportedly leading an investigation into a nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam that had incurred Rp 5.0 trillion ($US440million) in state losses and allegedly involved several members of Parliament when he was attacked.
In January former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Busyro Muqoddas, called on the Indonesian National police to reveal the "mastermind" behind the acid attack following the arrest of the two police officers, Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulet and Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis.
He said that arresting the attackers is not enough, saying that the acid attack on senior corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator, Novel Baswedan, was an attack on the commission.
"Attacks on the residences of former KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo, former KPK deputy head Laode M Syarif and KPK investigator Afif Julian Miftah also investigating the nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam, proves that "the attack on KPK investigator Novel Baswedan was not personal but an attack on the institution.
The Southeast Asian Times



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Read what Son Nguyen has to say about the impact of China's virus on Vietnam's economy in "When the economy gets sick" open here


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
John Loizou
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
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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
property 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