The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Friday 26 November 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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Minister of Indonesia's fisheries arrested for corruption in export of lobster seeds to Vietnam

Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Edhy Prabowo, was arrested on Wednesday by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged corruption in the issue of permits for the export of lobster seeds to Vietnam for lobster farming

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 27: The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested the Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo, ministry officials and family members including his wife for alleged corruption in the issue of permits for the export of lobster seeds to Vietnam for lobster farming after the minister reversed the ban on the export, with Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) calling for the return of the ban, reports the Jakarta Post.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman, Nurul Ghufron, said that Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo was arrested at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Wednesday on his return from a visit to the United States.
He said that the minister, ministry officials, family members including his wife were arrested in a sting operation under Operasi Tangkap Tangan (OTT) in Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi, saying that the 17 arrested are undergoing questioning at Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo reportedly reversed the ban on lobster seeds exports that was put in place in order to maintain sustainability by his predecessor Susi Pudjiastuti in 2016.
Minister Edhy Prabowo reversed the ban on the export of lobster seeds in December last year, saying he would resume the export of lobster seeds to Vietnam due to high demand for lobsters in Vietnam.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigations found that 25 of the 30 companies that were issued with lobster seeds export permits were established two to three months before the resumption of the export of lobster seeds was announced.
The Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo, who is a member of the Gerindra Party, is under investigation for his involvement in the issue of lobster seeds export permits to companies whose share holders include Gerindra Party members and a former House of Representatives (DPR) deputy speaker.
The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Head of Executive Advocacy Department, Zenzi Suhad, has called on the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to ban the export of lobster seeds, saying "the export of lobster seeds must be stopped if the government wants to maintain the sea as a source of food."
He said that a large number of companies who had been issued with a lobster seeds export permits would push for a quota, saying that the Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Edhy Prabowo had issued export permits to 31 companies.
The Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, at the James Cook University, in the state of Queensland in Australia, the Nha Trang University in Nha Trang, Vietnam and the Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Centre in Lombok, Indonesia claim in a study on Lobster Aquaculture Development in Vietnam and Indonesia conducted by
Clive M. Jones, Tuan Le Anh, and Bayu Priyambodo, that Vietnam is the only country in the world where lobster farming is fully developed and commercially succesful.
"The Vietnamese lobster farming industry is valued at $US120 million," the study shows.
The study of Lobster Aquaculture Development in Vietnam and Indonesia shows that the Vietnamese lobster farming industry relies on the import of lobster seeds from Indonesia.
"Vietnam produces about 1600 tonnes of premium grade lobsters that are exported to China where the price is high," the study shows.
The lobster seed fishery in Indonesia is well developed with a catch of 10-20 times greater than that in Vietnam.
The Southeast Asian Times


Parliament rejects Family Resilience Bill that rejects LGBT

Legislative Board of the House of Representatives (DPR-RI) chairman, Supratman Andi Agtas, says that five parties rejected the Family Resilience Bill bill with four voting for the bill

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 26: The Family Resilience Bill that stipulates that family members report Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) members of the family to government authorities for rehabilitation was rejected in the Indonesian parliament on Tuesday, with the Legislative Board of the House of Representatives (DPR-RI) saying that five parties holding two-thirds of the seats rejected further deliberation of the Family Resilience Bill, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Legislative Board of the House of Representatives (DPR-RI) chairman, Supratman Andi Agtas, said that the Legislative Board cannot proceed with further deliberation of the bill, saying "five parties rejected the bill and four voted for the bill."
He said that the National Democratic (Nasdem) party gave the decisive vote to reject the bill on Tuesday after its indecision led to an impasse last week.
The Family Resilience bill that was first proposed by the conservative Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), in 2015
specified that Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) and Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) practitioners must undergo rehabilitation, with families obliged to report them to government authorities.
Article 86 of the 146 Articles in the Family Resilience Bill states: "Families experiencing a family crisis due to sexual deviations are obliged to report their family members to the agency that deals with family resilience or a rehabilitation institution appointed by the government for treatment."
Article 87 of the 146 Articles in the Family Resilience Bill states: "Every adult who experiences sexual deviation is obliged to report himself to the body that handles family resilience or a rehabilitation institution to get treatment."
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) legislator, Netty Prasetiyani, said at the Legislative Board of the House of Representatives (DPR-RI) meeting in September that the government must protect families from vulnerability, saying "protection of families is the basis for making public policies."
"If each family is able to build immunity and antibodies against life challenges, then family resilience will become a pillar of national resilience," he said.
Golkar party, lawmaker, Nurul Arifin, who voted against the passing of the Family Resilience Bill said that the Bill gave power to the government to record any family conflicts or problems.
The Family Resilience Bill allows the government to gather very intimate information on every family in Indonesia," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines defence lawyer in ASEAN lamp post summit corruption case shot dead

Lawyer Joey Luis Wee, 51, has been added to the list of 50 lawyers and judges slain in the Philippines since President Duterte assumed office in 2016

From News Reports:
Manila, November 25: A high profile defence lawyer was shot dead in a drive-by attack in Cebu City where the 12th ASEAN summit that introduced the blueprint for the ASEAN charter was held in 2007, with chief of the Mabolo Police Station saying that police will look into cases handled by the lawyer that include his defence of high ranking government officials for corruption in the installation of decorative lamp posts on the road leading to the ASEAN summit venue, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Major Dindo Juanito Alaras, chief of the Mabolo Police Station confirmed that lawyer Joey Luis Wee, 51, died of bullet wounds to the head, saying "the defence lawyer received two bullets to the head in his office building in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City on Monday afternoon."
"Defence lawyer Joey Luis Wee was rushed to hospital but died less than an hour after he was admitted," he said.
He said that the initial investigation shows that the lawyer disembarked from his vehicle and walked towards the stairs of his office in the Archi Building when he was shot dead in a drive-by attack.
"The assailants fled on the motorcycle immediately after shooting the lawyer," he said.
He said that the investigation will look into the cases handled by the defence lawyer to determine the possible motive behind the killing, saying "we will look into the cases he handled to get some leads in our investigation."
Lawyer Joey Luis defended 14 former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials charged with corruption in the installation of 124 decorative lamp posts along the ceremonial routes that led to the Cebu International Convention Centre for the 12th Asean summit in January 2007.
In 2008 Associate Justice Francisco Villaruz Jr directed the sheriff to arrest the regional director, the assistant regional director of the Public Works and Highways Department (PWHD) who was the former Cebu Mayor and 20 others in the Bids and Awards Committee of the Public Works and Highways Department (PWHD) after an investigation by Ombudsman office inspectors found a huge discrepancy between the cost price and the selling price of the 124 decorative lamp posts.
The chairman of the Construction and Development Corporation was also arrested, charged with violating the Philippine Republic Act 3019 in the alleged overpriced acquisition and installation of lamp post street light facilities in Cebu for the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, Summit in 2007.
The Ombudsman office inspectors found that the made-in- China decorative lamp posts were marked up at over 2000 percent and that at least 30 of the lamp posts were installed in a holiday resort and not on the road leading to the summit.
An invoice showed that 124 decorative lamp posts were bought in China for about 14 million pesos, or about 11,000 pesos each and another invoice showed that the 124 decorative lamp posts cost 30 million pesos or 250,000 pesos each.
The Ombudsman office investigators found in 2008 that the actual amount paid by the Philippines Public Works and Highways Department for the supply and installation of 124 decorative lampposts was almost 350 million pesos or almost US$8 million.
The Southeast Asian Times

Japanese Communist Party calls on government for transparency of RCEP free trade agreement negotiations

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Japan Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama, were among the ministers of 15 countires that signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement online in Hanoi November 15, 2020

From News Reports:
Tokyo, November 24: The Japanese Communist Party JCP) that holds twelve seats in the House of Representatives, has accused the government of conducting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in secret, calling for transparency and information of the socio-economic impact of the free trade agreement on livelihoods in East Asia and South East Asia, reports the Japan Press Weekly.
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat, Koike Akira, called on the Japanese government for transparency of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement negotiations signed by 15 countries including 10 member states of ASEAN and five partners, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Korea but excluding India online in Hanoi on November 15 after eight years of negotiations.
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat, Koike Akira said that the Japanese government has not made clear if Japan's agricultural products including rice, wheat, beef, pork, dairy products and sugar have been excluded from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade ageement.
"We should examine if the RCEP that covers East Asia and South East Asia is a mutually-beneficial agreement," he said.
He said that a radical review of the global economy that pursues strong international competitiveness at the expence of local economies and people's daily lives should be undertaken, saying "Japan should respect economic sovereignty and food sovereignity."
He said that figures released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show that the trade balance of the 10 ASEAN member countries would deteriorate after the implemintation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement while exports from Japan, China and South Korea would increase, saying "the RCEP free trade agreement would accelerate the shift of industrial production bases to China."
"The shift of production to China would result in a hollowing-out of domestic industry," he said.
Premier Li Keqiang said in Beijing at the 23rd China-ASEAN leaders online meeting ahead of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that the free trade agreement would build a joint China-ASEAN fast track regional trade network, saying China-ASEAN two-way trade has increased."
"China's investment in ASEAN member countries surged by more than 70 percent this year, he said.
In March ASEAN called on India to return to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement negotiations after India's withdrawal in 2019 with India saying "the RCEP would bring untold hardship to farmers, shopkeepers, and small and medium-sized enterprises in India."
The RCEP failed to reach consensus at the 35th Asean Summit in Bangkok in November 2019 with India and other RCEP members failing to reach agreement on tariffs.
Indian National Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi said that India feared that cutting tariffs on dairy and other products would allow for a greater influx of Chinese goods and agricultural imports from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries.
The Southeast Asian Times


Military removal of billboards promoting Islamisation of Pancasila questioned

Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel remove an unauthorized billboard depicting a photo of Islam Defenders Front (FPI) founder and cleric Rizieq Shihab in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta on Friday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 23: The Indonesian Military (TNI) removal of unauthorised billboards installed in Jakarta by Islam Defenders Front (FPI), who are promoting the Islamization of the Indonesian Constitution or Pancasila, has raised questions about the military involvement in civilian matters, with Institute for Security and Strategic Studies saying "military should avoid aggressive actions such as taking down the FPI billboards, reports Tempo.
The billboards installed by Islam Defenders Front (FPI) after the return of founder and cleric Rizieq Shihab to Indonesia last week after three years in self exile in Saudi Arabia, showed images of the cleric calling for the Islamization of the Indonesian Constitution or Pancasila.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, said in a speech in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, on his arrival in Indonesia last week that he would continue to agitate for the Islamization of Indonesian society.
“My return home today is to call on all Indonesian Muslims to join in a moral revolution, " he said.
"Do you agree?" he asked the mass crowd that had gathered outside his home.
"Are you ready to start a moral revolution today?" he asked his supporters.
Institute for Security and Strategic Studies researcher Khairul Fahmi said that the Indonesian Military (TNI) involvement in the removal of billboards erected by Islam Defenders Front (FPI) in Jakarta raised questions over the Indonesian Military (TNI) involvement in civilian matters, saying "there should not be any overlap of authorities and functions across state organizations."
He said that the military should not insinuate that the Indonesian Constitution or Pancasila is under serious threat, saying "the removal of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) billboards implies that Indonesia would break apart and be in chaos because of the provocative actions of a few.”
Jakarta Military (TNI) commander Maj. Gen. Dudung Abdurachman said that the government would disband the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) if necessary, saying "the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) should not disrupt the unity of Indonesia by claiming to represent the Muslim population."
"The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) have installed banners and billboards in Jakarta calling for revolution," he said.
He said that the Jakarta Satpol PP Public Order Agency had removed the banners and billboards a number of times but they were reinstalled, saying the installation of the billboards was in violation of public order.
The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) cannot act as they please,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Islam Defenders Front (FPI) ordered to remove anti-Pancasila billboards in Jakarta

Indonesia Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police take down an Islam Defenders Front (FPI) billboard on Jl. Budi Kemuliaan, Gambir, Jakarta, Friday, November 20, 2020 that says "under the command of the Imam"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 22: Islam Defenders Front (FPI), cleric Rizieq Shihab, who returned to Indonesia last week after three years in self exile in Saudi Arabia, was ordered to remove billboards erected in Jakarta showing images of the cleric calling for the Islamization of the Indonesian Constitution or Pancasila, reports the Jakarta Post.
Jakarta Public Order Agency spokesman Arifin ordered the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), to remove the billboards, saying the erection of the billboards was in violation of public order.
He said that the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) billboards would be removed by the Indonesia Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police.
Jakarta Military Commander Dudung Abdurrahman reportedly warned against putting up billboards for the promotion of mass-organization against Pancasila.
“Don’t attemp to distrupt the unity of Indonesia by claiming to represent the Muslim population,” he said.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, said in a speech in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, last week after his arrival in Indonesia from Saudi Arabia that he would continue to agitate for the Islamization of Indonesian society.
“My return home today is to call on you and to invite all Indonesian Muslims to join in a moral revolution, " he said.
"Do you agree?" he asked the mass crowd that had gathered outside his home.
"Are you ready to start a moral revolution today?" he asked his supporters.
In February 2017 Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab was summoned by the West Java police for allegedly insulting Pancasila state ideology, saying he was questioned on the history of Pancasila and state ideology and the implementation of Islamic Law.
"I answered 36 questions on a thesis entitled the Impact of Pancasila on the implementation of Islamic Law in Indonesia," he said.
"I proved scientifically that the Pancasila is not against Islam and that it welcomes the implementation of religious law, " he said.
Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of former first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, filed charges against Rizieq Shihab in October 2016 for alleged defamation of the Pancasila and her father, former President Sukarno.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai Parliament rejects amendments to proposed peoples constitution

Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) director, Jon Ungphakorn, third from left and iLaw manager, Yingcheep Atchanont, fourth from left, submitt more than 100,000 signatures in support of the proposed amendments to the constitution drafted by the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) to parliament House Speaker, Somboon Uthaiwiankul, second from left, in September

From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 21: Thai Parliament rejected the proposed amendments to the constitution, known as the peoples constitution, drafted by Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) for deliberation but accepted a proposed amendment to the constitution drafted by the government and another by the opposition for deliberation, with iLaw saying "the door for amendments to the constitution has been cracked open," reports the Bangkok Post.
Civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) manager, Yingcheep Atchanont, said "although the people’s constitution was defeated the process of amending the constitution had begun."
He said that the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) will not initiate any more drafts in the foreseeable future, saying "the next move is for the people to make."
"The door for amendments to the constitution has been cracked open," he said.
The civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) draft proposal for amendments was overwhelming rejected in the Senate recieving 212 votes in favour with 138 opposing the draft proposal and 369 legislators abstaining.
The government sponsored proposal for amendments received 647 votes that included 176 from the Senate and the opposition proposal received 576 votes including 127 from the Senate.
The constitution drafted by civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), reportedly considered to be the most democratic,
calls for amendments to all sections of the constitution including amendments to sections relating to monarchy reform.
The government sponsored proposal for amendments and the opposition proposed amendments for deliberation that was passed by the parliament on Wednesday call for the formation of a panel to write a new charter but without changes to the sections relating to the monarchy.
The Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) submission of the draft proposal for amendments to the constitution to the Parliament in September follows the submission of a 10 point manifesto by student organisation United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration and the Free Youth Movement in August.
The 10 point manifesto called for reform of the monarchy but stated that demand for amendements to the constitution did not include a proposal to abolish the monarchy but a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy.
The 10 point manifesto called for repeal of the criminalisation of criticism of the Thai King under the Lese Majeste law, repeal of the order that transferred army units to new King Maha Vajiralongkorn personal command, repeal of the law that gave the new King full control of the crown's reportedly extensive property holdings and repeal of the monarchy empowerment to endorse a military coup.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai MP's flee parliament as protesters call for amendments to the constitution

Members of Parliament fled Parliament House in Bangkok via the back exit to a waiting Marine Department boat at Kiak Kai pier on the Chao Phraya river on Tuesday as protesters called for monarchy reform at the gates of Parliament House

From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 20: Members of Parliament fled Parliament House
in Bangkok to a waiting Marine Department boat at Kiak Kai pier on the Chao Phraya river on Tuesday as Free Youth Movement protesters demonstrated at the gate calling for members to accept deliberation of the proposed draft amendments to the constitution that includes monarchy reform, reports the Bangkok Post.
Free Youth Movement and supporters lay siege to Parliament House on Tuesday to pressure legislators to accept deliberation of the proposed constitutional amendment drafted by civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), that includes amendments to the constitution as submitted in a 10 point manifesto to the parliament in August by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration and the Free Youth Movement.
Legislators began a two-day debate on Tuesday on whether the parliament would accept deliberation of the proposed draft amendments to the constitution that include the constitution drafted by civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), and proposed drafts of amendments to the constitution from government and opposition parties.
Pro-monarchy Thai Pakdee group led by Dr. Warong Dejgitvigrom, who submitted a letter to the Office of the Attorney General on Tuesday calling for the Constitutional Court's intervention to halt all moves to amend the 2017 constitution, said that the Thai Pakdee group opposes the deliberation of proposed draft amendments to the constitution by the government, the opposition and the civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw),
"All the proposed draft amendments propose the creation of a Constitution Drafting Assembly to write a new charter." he said.
He said that the creation of a Constitution Drafting Assembly would pave the way for writing a clause or several clauses that would change the status of the monarchy, saying "the Thai Pakdee group supports amending the constitution section by section but not the entire constitution."
Pro-monarchy Thai Pakdee group swore to defend the Thai monarchy from reform following the submission by the student organisation the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration and the Free Youth Movement of a 10 point manifesto to parliament on August 10.
The 10 point manifesto includes amendments to the constitution that disallows criticism of the king under the Lese Majeste Law, the examination in parliament of any wrongdoing by the king and calls for reform of the monarchy including amendment to the constitution that empowers the king to endorse military coups.
The manifesto states that the demands made in the manifesto are not a proposal to abolish the monarchy, saying that the 10 point manifesto is a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Thai Tourism governor to serve 50 years in jail for accepting bribes from US film producers

Former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Juthamas Siriwan, at the opening of the 2006 Bangkok International Film Festival, that was then ranked one of the top 15 film festivals in the world and predicted to become the Cannes Film Festival of Southeast Asia

From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 19: Thailand's Supreme court has upheld a 50 year prison sentence for former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Juthamas Siriwan, 73, and 40 years in prison for her daughter, Jittisopha Siriwan, 46, found guilty of accepting bribes for awarding US film producers contracts for managing the Bangkok International Film Festival over four years, reports the Bangkok Post.
The former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan were charged with bribery in 2015 for accepting US$1.8 million (Bt60 million) from American film producer Gerald Green, 83, and his wife, Patricia Green, 60, who were awarded Bangkok International Film Festival management contracts from 2004 to 2006 and between 2003 and 2007.
US Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry in 2006 found that the US film producers paid US$1.8 million (Bt60 million) in bribes to Thai government officials including Juthamas Siriwanin in return for a $10 million-contract to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival.
American film producer, Gerald Green, and his wife, Patricia Green, reportedly established a compamy, the Film Festival Management company, in 2003 to bid for the film festival management contract.
The United States Justice Department arrested Los Angeles-based, Gerald Green and his wife Patricia Green on their return from Thailand in 2007 for paying bribes to Thai officials.
In August 2010 Los Angeles Federal Court judge George Wu sentenced Gerald Green and his wife Patricia Green to six months in jail and six months in home detention for paying bribes to Thai officials, including the former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan in exchange for contracts to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival.
They were also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Juthamas Siriwan and her daughter Jittisopha Siriwan with violations of the US Money Laundering Control Act in 2009 alleging that they violated US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) including conspiracy to launder money, transporting funds to promote unlawful activity, and aiding and abetting.
The double jeapardy provision in US law did not allow Juthamas Siriwan and her daughter Jittisopha Siriwan to be prosecuted and stand trial for the same crimes in the US.
In August 2015 the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) gave former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Juthamas Siriwan, 14 days to report to the Attorney General or a warrant would be issued for her arrest for accepting bribes in exchange for awarding US film producers the Bangkok International Film Festival contract.
In 2007 Former Tourism of Thailand Authority governor, Juthamas Siriwanand, who denied allegations of accepting bribes , threatened to sue the United States Justice Department for implicated her in its charges against two American film producres who won contracts to manage the 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival.
American film producer, Gerald Green, and his wife, Patricia Green, served prison sentences of six months for violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and were released in May 2011.
Gerald Green died in July 2015 in Los Angeles aged 83.
The Southeast Asian Times


Islamic cleric under investigation for violation of Covid-19 protocol at daughters wedding: 7000 guests

About 7,000 of the 10,000 invited by Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) cleric Rizieq Shihab attended the wedding ceremony for his daughter, Najwa Shihab, at his home in Central Jakarta on Saturday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 18: Indonesia's National Police summoned Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, who returned to Indonesia last week after three years in self-exile in Saudi Arabia, to the South Jakarta Police station for alleged violation of coronavirus health protocols after he invited 10,000 guests to his daughters wedding ceremony on Saturday, reports the Jakarta Post.
National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said at his office in South Jakarta on Monday that all parties responsible for the organisation of the crowd of about 7,000, that attended the wedding ceremony at the home of cleric, Rizieq Shihab, on Saturday would also be summoned.
"Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan who also attended the wedding will be summoned," he said.
Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said that the National Police Criminal investigation Unit (Bareskrim) and Metro Police would investigate all parties deemed responsible for the organisation of the crowd for alleged criminal acts under Article 93 of Law No. 6 of 2018 for violaton of coronavirus health protocols including quarantine.
He said that members of the community development (Binmas) who are in charge of health protocols, heads of neighborhood unit (RT, RW) and sub-districts, Central Jakarta Mayor, the Religious Affairs Office (KUA) officials, the Covid-19 Task Force, the Jakarta Legal Bureau, and the Governor including wedding guests will also be summons, saying "we want clarification."
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, was fined Rp 50 million ($3,500) on Sunday for reportedly organising a mass gathering in South Jakarta on Friday to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, that was reportedly attended by Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria.
Mass gatherings in support of Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, began on Tuesday 10, November on his arrival in Indonesia from self exile in Saudi Arabia with thousands of Islamic Defender Front (FPI) supporters crowding the Soekarno Hatta International Airport in welcome.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, said in a speech at his home in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, last Wednesday
the day after his arrival in Indonesia that he would continue to agitate for the Islamization of Indonesian society.
“My return home today is to call on you and to invite all Indonesian Muslims to join in a moral revolution, " he said.
"Do you agree?" he asked the mass crowd that had gathered outside his home.
"Are you ready to start a moral revolution today?" he asked his supporters.
In February 2017 Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab was summoned by the West Java police for questioning into charges of alleged insult of Pancasila state ideology, saying he was questioned on the history of Pancasila and state ideology and the implementation of Islamic Law.
"I answered 36 questions on a thesis entitled the Impact of Pancasila on the implementation of Islamic Law in Indonesia," he said.
"I proved scientifically that the Pancasila is not against Islam and that it welcomes the implementation of religious law, " he said.
Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of former first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, filed charges against Rizieq Shihab in October 2016 for alleged defamation of the Pancasila and her father, former President Sukarno.
The Southeast Asian Times


Islamic cleric returns to Indonesia from exile in Saudi Arabia to mass gatherings of supporters

Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, said on his return to Indonesia at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport that he would continue to agitate for the Islamization of Indonesian society

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 17: Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, who returned to Indonesia last week after three years in self-exile in Saudi Arabia, was fined by the Jakarta Municipal Police on Sunday for disregarding National Police calls for supporters gathering to hear him speak en masse, to observe Covid-19 health protocols, reports the Jakarta Post.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, said in a speech at his home in Petamburan in central Jakarta after arriving in Indonesia on Tuesday November 10, that he would continue to agitate for the Islamization of Indonesian society.
“My return home today is to call on you and to invite all Indonesian Muslims to join in a moral revolution, " he said.
"Do you agree?" he asked the mass crowd that had gathered outside his home.
"Are you ready to start a moral revolution today?" he asked his supporters.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, was fined Rp 50 million ($3,500) on Sunday for reportedly organising a mass gathering in South Jakarta on Friday to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, that was reportedly attended by Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria.
National Police Chief Idham Azis said that police have acknowledged that mass Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) gatherings have caused Jakarta residents and various communities across Indonesia concern, saying "wearing masks, maintaining distance, washing hands and avoiding crowds must be carried out to ensure safety."
"That's the rule, which applies to anyone," he said.
Mass gatherings in support of Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, began last Tuesday on his arrival in Indonesia from self exile in Saudi Arabia with thousands of Islamic Defender Front (FPI) supporters crowding the Soekarno Hatta International Airport to welcome him.
Thousands had marched on the toll road towards the airport causing long traffic jams and flight delays as air crew were unable to reach the airport.
A mass crowd also gathered at his home in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday last week where he met with politicians including Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Islamic Defender Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab, supported Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, in the Jakarta 2017 election that ousted incumbant governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent.
In February 2017 Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) cleric, Rizieq Shihab was questioned by police for insulting Pancasila state ideology after having failed to attend the the West Java Police headquarters in Bandung on two previous summons.
Rizieq Shihab reportedly agreed to anwer the third summons following the threat of arrest by the West Java police.
He said then that he was questioned on the history of Pancasila and state ideology and the implementation of Islamic Law, saying "I answered 36 questions on a thesis entitled the Impact of Pancasila on the implementation of Islamic Law in Indonesia," he said.
"I proved scientifically that the Pancasila is not against Islam and that it welcomes the implementation of religious law, " he said.
Daughter of former first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, filed charges against Rizieq Shihab in October 2016 for alleged defamation of the Pancasila and her father, former president Sukarno.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia calls on US for a strategic partnership with ASEAN in Indo-Pacific

US National Security Advisor, Robert C.O'Brien, reaffirmed the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit held online at the 37th ASEAN Summit on Saturday in Hanoi, with Vietnam holding the ASEAN chair for 2020

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 16: Indonesia called for a strong strategic partnership between ASEAN and the United States at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit held online at the 37th ASEAN Summit on Saturday, with Indonesia's Foreign Ministry saying that a strong ASEAN-US partnership would promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and the US Security advisor reaffirming the US support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, called for a strong ASEAN-US partnership at the online meeting held in Hanoi, attended by US National Security Advisor, Robert C.O'Brien, and representatives from ASEAN member countries, saying that Indonesia wants the United States to be a strong strategic partner with ASEAN in the region including the Indo-Pacific.
"Indonesia expects the ASEAN-US strategic partnership to be a positive force for peace, stability and prosperity in the ASEAN and US committment to a free and open ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) ," she said.
She said that the United States continues to be ASEAN's second largest trade and investment partner with an increase of 39 percent from US$211.8 billion to $294.6 billion, saying "US investment in the region had increased by 110 percent from $11.65 billion to $24.5 billion in the last four years."
US National Security Advisor Robert C.O'Brien, who said last month that the US as a Pacific power would conduct maritime security missions in the western Pacific, reaffirmed the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit on Saturday.
He said last month ahead of the announcement that the United States Coast Guard would patrol the Indo-Pacific that the US would conduct maritime security missions with regional partners that have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity.
"China's illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens United States sovereignty and the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors, endangering regional stability," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said at the ASEAN-US Ministerial meeting held at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) online in Hanoi last month that the US-ASEAN Strategic Partnership is built on shared principals as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) that includes ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and rule of law, good governance, transparency, inclusivity, rules-based frameworks and openness.
He said that the US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific, saying that the Indo-Pacific accounts for more than half the world’s population and 58 percent of the world’s youth.
"It is important to provide people with skills and resources to participate in the global economy and create conditions for self-reliance," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

China welcomes regional free trade agreement at China-ASEAN meeting

China Premier Li Keqiang, top left, at the 23rd China-ASEAN leaders online meeting in Beijing on Thursday attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and Myanmar Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin that

From News Reports:
Beijing, November 15: The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is welcomed by China, said Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing ahead of the signing of the free trade agreement in Hanoi today after eight years of negotiations between the now 15 members including China after the withdrawal of India last year, reports Xinhua.
Premier Li Keqiang said that China welcomed the signing of the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, at the 23rd China-ASEAN leaders online meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday, saying "ASEAN has become China's larget trading partner."
"The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) free trade agreement would build a joint China-ASEAN fast track regional trade network," he said.
He said that despite the decrease in global trade, economic recession and distruption to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China-ASEAN two-way trade has increased, saying "China's investment in ASEAN member countries surged by more than 70 percent this year.
The 8th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministers online meeting of members in Hanoi in August that includes the 10 member states of ASEAN and five partners, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Korea but not including India, acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected trade and investment flows in the region.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministers said that signing the free trade agreement would provide a basis for strengthening investor confidence, saying the free trade agreement would show the regions support for an open comprehensive and rules-based multilateral trading system.
In March ASEAN called on India to return to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement negotiations after India's withdrawal in 2019 with India saying "the RCEP will bring untold hardship to farmers, shopkeepers, and small and medium-sized enterprises in India."
The RCEP failed to reach consensus at the 35th Asean Summit in Bangkok in November 2019 with India and other RCEP members failing to reach agreement on tariffs.
Indian National Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi said that India feared that cutting tariffs on dairy and other products would allow for a greater influx of Chinese goods and agricultural imports from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries.
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar Election Commission rejects call for re-run of election

Union Election Commission (EUC) commissioner, U Myint Naing, says that the result of the election result is final and that there will be no re-run of the election

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 14: The Union Election Commission announced on Friday that there will be no re-run of the November 8 elections that shows that the National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by State Councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has won the majority of seats in the Union Parliament, saying "the result of the election is final," reports the Myanmar Times.
The military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) that won only 21 seats of the 440 seats in the Union Parliament claimed that the Union Election Commission (EUC) has mismanaged the election, with the chair of the party and former general, U Than Htay, calling for a re-run of the elections with military cooperation.
The United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) have claimed election irregularities including, advance voting, voter impersonation, under -18 voters and that employers had paid their employees to vote for the National League for Democracy (NLD).
He said that the party would mount a legal challenge to establish whether the results were fair and lawful, saying "the legitimacy of the results of the election remain in dispute."
Union Election Commission (EUC) commissioner, U Myint Naing, said that other large parties that had contested the election have approved the result, saying that accusations by the military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) against the Union Election Commission (EUC) are unfounded,
"Irregularities that were reported during the election have been resolved," he said.
In March 2020 Myanmar's more than 600 upper and lowers house members of parliament voted on proposed amendments to the 2008 military-drafted Constitution but failed to achieve the required votes on hundreds of proposed amendments to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution that would have reduced the number of military appointed Members of Parliament.
Parliament Committee secretary, U Myat Nyarna Soe, who submitted the proposed amendments to the 2008 military Constitution to the Parliament said that the amendments require the approval of more than 75 percent of all Members of Parliament, saying that "under the constitution, 25 percent of parliament seats are reserved for military officers who strongly oppose any major changes to the constitution."
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar military party wants re-run of elections claiming irregularities

The Myanmar military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has called on the Union Election Commission (UEC) for a re-run of the elections to be held in cooperation with the military in order to achieve "a free, unbiased and disciplined vote"

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 12: The Myanmar military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has called on the Union Election Commission (UEC) for a re-run of the elections held on Sunday that showed in preliminatry counting on Wednesday that the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by State Councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, had won 399 of the 440 seats in the Union Parliament, saying that the Union Election Commission (UEC) had failed to manage the election in a proper manner, reports the Myanmar Times.
The United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) chair and former general U Than Htay called for a re-run of the elections to be held in cooperation with the military in order to achieve "a free, unbiased and disciplined vote."
He said that the legitimacy of the results of the election remain in dispute, saying "the party would mount a legal challenge to establish whether the election results were fair and lawful."
He said that the United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) had claimed 21 seats in the preliminary counting, saying the result was worse in the 2015 elections when the party secured 41 seats in the Union Parliament.
The United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) claims that there were numerous incidents of electoral malpractice including voter list errors, saying "voters had received more than one voting slip."
He called on party supporters to collect evidence of election fraud and submit it to the party.
Union Election Commission (UEC) official U Myint Naing said that the election was conducted successfully and had been widely accepted as credible."
"The United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) should file complaints or objections if they have evidence of malpractice or fraud, " he said.
National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman, Myo Nyunt said that the United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) should submit complaints if they have evidence of election fraud.
The Carter Center election observation non-government organisation (NGO) that was established in Yangon in 2013 by former US president Jimmy Carter said that observers found voters in Myanmar were able to freely express their will and choose representatives in Sunday’s election, saying that observers had not found major irregularities at polling stations.
The Carter Center said that reform is required to the legal framework that undermines the quality of Myanmar’s democracy including the practice of reserved seats for military appointees in Parliament.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) also noted the lack of transparency in making decisions in the cancelation of voting in ethnic minority areas and weaknesses in the management of early voting.
Southeast Asian Times


Thai Muslims show support for Thai monarchy amid calls to stay out of politics

Thai Muslims demonstrate their support for the Thai monarchy at the Central Islamic Council of Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday saying "Muslims have a duty to protect the nation, religion and the monarchy"

From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 12: About 6,000 Thai Muslims demonstrated their support for the Thai monarchy at the Central Islamic Council of Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday despite calls from Thai Muslims to the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand organisation to cancel the demonstration and to stay out of politics, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Sheikhul Islam of Thailand organisation director, Aziz Pitakkumpol, said that Muslims have a duty to protect the nation, religion and the monarchy, saying "the royals are a pillar of the nation."
He said that the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand organisation has helped Thais of all ethnicities and religions to live in harmony, saying "anyone can practice their religion, especially Muslims who have benefited from the monarchy."
Central Islamic Council of Thailand in Bangkok, secretary general Police Maj. Gen. Surin Palarae said that the demonstration of support for the Thai monarchy was not political, saying that he and other Muslims were indebted to the royals.
"The royals have ensured fairness," he said.
About a hundred Thai Muslims said in an open letter to the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand organisation that Muslims should not use the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand to organise a demonstration, saying that "the plan to hold the demonstration in support of the Thai monarchy should be reviewed in order to protect Islam."
Bangkok Muslim reseracher, Saromon Rondin, questioned the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand organisation's effort to protect the Thai monarchy, saying that "the mission of the Sheikhul Islam in Thailand organisation is to be a representative of Muslims in Thailand."
"The political views of Muslims in Thailand are diverse," he said.
He said that the organisation of the demonstration of support for the Thai monarchy at the Central Islamic Council of Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday shows that the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand is taking sides and is abandoning a group with a different view.
"Religious organizations must maintain political neutrality," he said.
In August anti-government protesters submitted a 10 point manifesto to the parliament calling for reform of the monarchy but stating that their demand for amendements to the constitution did not include a proposal to abolish the monarchy but a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy.
The anti-government protesters demand amendments to the constitution that would repeal the criminalisation of criticism of the king under the Lese Majeste law, repeal of the order that transferred army units to new King Maha Vajiralongkorn personal command, repeal of the law that gave the new King full control of the crown's reportedly extensive property holdings and repeal of the monarchy empowerment to endorse a military coup.
The Southeast Asian Times


Aung San Suu Kyi claims victory in Myanmar's military townships

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi has claimed victory in the Myanmar 2020 elections

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 11: The National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi has claimed victory in the Myanmar 2020 elections held on Sunday including at Meikhtila township in Madalay Region, a military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) stronghold that won all votes in the military township in the 2015 general elections, with National League for Democracy (NLD) party candidate saying "the 2015 election result and the 2020 result in villages in Madalay appear to have been reversed", reports the Myanmar Times.
National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate U Sint Soe, who won the majority of votes in the military dominated Meiktila township in the Sunday elctions, said that the National League for Democracy (NLD) victory over the military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Mandalay's key constitutuencies that include Yamethin, Pyawbwe and Tharzi "is a significant victory."
"The military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won all votes in the Madalay Region in the 2015 elections," he said.
He said that the National League for Democracy (NLD) party won two thirds of the rural vote in 14 wards and 297 villages in Meiktila, saying "those who voted green (USDP) in the past have
now switched to red (NLD)."
"Voters have voted for Aung San Suu Kyi," he said.
The military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate,
U Maung Thin, for hluttaw in Meikhtila township in Madalay Region, said that he won the hluttaw seat of Constituency 1 by a narrow margin.
He claimed that the National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates lost at most of the military polling stations, saying "there are many military bases in this constituency."
The National League for Democracy (NLD) in Rakhine State reportedly lost to the local Arakan National Party (ANP) in Rakhine State, adding Rakhine State to the list of ethnic areas where the National League for Democracy (NLD) has not won votes despite its overwhelming electorial victory in other parts of Myanmar.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) cancelled the 2020 election in nine northern townships in Rakhine State due to the armed conflict between the Armed Forces of Myanmar and the Arakan Army, limiting voting to state capital Sittwe and southern Rakhine State where only 25 percent of its 1.6 million eligible voters exercised their right to vote.
Preliminary results of the elections on Monday showed that the National League for Democracy (NLD) has lost its seats in the township of Taungup, Ramree, and Manaung in Rakhine State, seats that it had won in the 2015 elections.
The Arakan National Party (ANP) in Rakhine State has reportedly urged supporters to vote for the state-based ethnic party rather than an outside party, with many ethnic Rakhine voters responding by voting for candidates of their own ethnicity.
The Southeast Asian Times

Aung San Suu Kyi ahead in votes caste at new joint military-civilian polling stations

About 37 million voters of Myanmar's population of 56 million were eligible to cast their vote on Sunday for 90 political parties at the military-civilian joint polling station

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 10: The National League for Democracy (NLD) party lead by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi leads in the initial count of advance votes in Yangon on Monday in the multi-party elections despite instructions by the Armed Forces of Myanmar for personnel to vote for the military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) at the newly introduced military-civilian joint polling stations, reports the Myanmar Times.
National League for Democracy (NLD) vice chair for Pabedan township, U Maung Maung, said on Monday that the party dominates the majority of advance votes, saying "we have received more than 200 votes for the National League for Democracy (NLD) while other parties have received
20-30 votes."
"The result of advance votes seems promising," he said.
National League for Democracy (NLD) Bahan township election campaign team member, Daw Yi Yi said on Monday that the majority of votes are for the National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates U Tun Myint and U Ba Myo.
National League for Democracy (NLD) election campaign manager for Sanchaung township Pyithu Huttaw, U Chit Ko, said that almost all advance votes are for candidate U Nay Phoo Ba Swe.
Captain Ye Win Aung, at No 2 military-civilian joint polling station in Sat Thaw Thar village in Hmawbi township in the Northern District of Yangon said "votes were cast in accordance with instructions given by the military to vote for a party that would benefit the military and the people."
"The military didn't say which party we should vote for," he said.
Military personnel and their families cast ballots at polling stations outside their military bases for the first time in this year's election following the parliament's abolishment of polling stations inside military basis in July.
U Tun Win, a military relative in Myitkyina, said he was pleased to cast his vote at a polling station outside the military base, saying "I am glad I could cast my ballot with freedom for the party I support."
The National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to victory in the November 2015 election that was the first multi party election since 1990 but was annulled by the Myanmar military under the 2008 military drafted Constitution that allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats to unelected military personnel.
In March 2020 Myanmar's more that 600 members of parliament voted on proposed amendments to the 2008 military-drafted Constitution but failed to achieve the required votes on hundreds of proposed amendments to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution that would have reduced the number of military Members of Parliament.
Parliament Committee secretary, U Myat Nyarna Soe, who submitted the proposed amendments to the 2008 military Constitution to the Parliament said that the amendments require the approval of more than 75 percent of all MPs, saying that "under the constitution, 25 percent of parliament seats are reserved for military officers who strongly oppose any major changes to the constitution."
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar's military party warns Aung San Suu Kyi of impeachment over claim of election mismanagement

Armed forces of Myanmar, Commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has warned the National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi of impeachment for mismanagement of the 2020 elections

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 9: About 37 million eligible voters of Myanmar's population of 56 million cast their vote on Sunday for 90 political parties that includes the civilian National League for Democracy (NLD) party lead by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President of the party U Win Myint and the military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) led by commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who has warned the National League for Democracy (NLD) party of impeachment, reports the Myanmar Times.
The military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) led by commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, warned ahead of the elections of the impeachment of National League for Democracy (NLD) party president U Win Myint if he fails to uphold his constitutional responsibilities, saying "the National League for Democracy (NLD) administration would be held accountable for the mismanagement of the Union Election Commission (UEC) ."
Commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, accused the Union Election Commission (UEC) of mishandling of the election, saying he would be very wary about the election results.
"The Union Election Commission (UEC) has failed to get political parties to observe special restrictions introduced following the surge in Covid-19 infections." he said.
He accused the National League for Democracy (NLD) administration of weakness and deficiencies in its management of the election, claiming that Union Election Commission (UEC) had mishandled voter lists, ballot envelopes and ballot boxes, saying "the Union Election Commission had over four years to prepare for the 2020 election."
He said that weakness and deficiencies that were not seen in the 2010 and 2015 elections are appearing in the 2020 elections, saying "the deficiencies could have an adverse impact on the outcome of the election", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Aung San Suu Kyi deploys her party representatives to military voter townships for 2020 elections

National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi at flag raising ceremony to mark first day of 60 day election campaign at National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters on September 8, 2020

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 8: The National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, has deployed more than 1000 representatives to polling stations in the military township of Meikhtilam in Madalay Region in a bid to win votes away from military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) that won all the votes in the township in the 2015 elections, reports the Myanmar Times.

National League for Democracy (NLD) sub-committee member in Meiktila township, U Sein Wan, said the Meiktila township is a known bailiwick of the Myanmar military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), saying "competition is intense."
The military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) holds 110 seats of the 440 seats in the House of Representatives and the remaining 330 seats are directly elected by the first-past-the-post system in each township.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) sub-committee member in Meiktila township, U Sein Wan, said that party representatives were deployed to 290 polling stations in Pyithu Hluttaw, Region Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttaw and at polling stations in remote areas.
"The National League for Democracy (NLD) is determined to wrest control of the township, saying "the military United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the votes in all constituencies in the township in the 2015 elections."
The National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to victory in the November 2015 election that was the first multi party election since 1990 but was annulled by the Myanmar military under the 2008 military drafted Constitution that allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats to unelected military personnel.
In March 2020 Myanmar's more that 600 members of parliament voted on proposed amendments to the 2008 military-drafted Constitution but failed to
achieve the required votes on hundreds of proposed amendments to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution that would have effectively reduced the number of military Members of Parliament.
Parliament Committee secretary, U Myat Nyarna Soe, who submitted the proposed amendments to the 2008 military Constitution to the Parliament in January said in March that the amendments require the approval of more than 75 percent of all MPs, saying that "under the constitution, 25 percent of parliament seats are reserved for military officers who strongly oppose any major changes to the constitution."
The Southeast Asian Times

Indigenous Australians in the northern Queensland town of East Trinity aim for economic independence from eco-cultural tourism, reports Christine Howes in "Australian indigenous eco-cultural tourism venture wins best small project national award " ...open here


Kavi Chongkittavorn talks about the UK application to become an ASEAN dialogue partner in "New dynamics of Aseans external ties," with consensus yet to be reached on admitting a former colonial master of four ASEAN member countries into the Southeast Asian bloc....open

Esther Samboh talks about the choise between thousands dying of Covid-19 or from hunger in densely populated Jakarta in the new normal in "Medics dying, infections soaring - it's still the economy" ...open page here



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


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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


Has the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra suffered a fatal blow, or will it rise again? asks Australian reporter Chris Ray... Open page here

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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"
........open page here



"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
......open page here

 

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

 

Indonesia ready for big 'brother' role in ASEAN
By Prashanth Parameswaran
.......open page here

 

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

 

Copy of letter 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open here


A cartoon goes inside the tour bus in Manila on the day that ended with the slaying of eight Hong Kong tourists ...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