The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Wednesday 15 August 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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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President Widodo calls on military for help after earthquake

President Joko Widodo (center) and West Nusa Tenggara Governor TGB Zainul Majdi visit field hospital in Tanjung
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 15: President Joko Widodo has instructed the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to assist villagers affected by the earthquake in isolated areas of Lombock who cannot be reached by road, reports Antara.
He said that villages that were hit by landslides and that cannot be reached by motorbike or by car were yet to recieve assistance.
"I have instructed the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander to deploy four helicopters to earthquake affected areas that cannot be reached by road", he said.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said on Monday that the death toll from the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit the Indonesian Island of Lombok on 5 August and that was followed by numerous aftershocks including a heavy aftershock on Sunday had reached 392.
He said that 339 of those killed were from North Lombok, 30 from West Lombok, 9 from Mataram city, 10 from East Lombok and 2 from Central Lombok and Lombok city.
“Most of the dead were found buried under debris,” he said.
He said that of the 1,353 injured, 783 people suffered major injuries, 570 suffered minor injuries, with most of the injured from North Lombock.
"The earthquake forced 387.067 to flee from their homes, " he said.
He said that 198,846 fled from Lombok regency, 91,372 from West Lombok, 20,343 from Mataram city, and 76,506 from East Lombok.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman said that buildings and residences destroyed by the earthquake include 67,875 houses, 606 schools, 6 bridges, 3 hospitals, 10 health centers, 15 mosques, 50 prayer buildings, 20 office buildings.
The Southeast Asian Times


Okinawa says no to construction of offshore US military base

Protesters in Okinawa say "No" to construction of United States military base in Henoko Bay
From News Reports:
Tokyo, August 14: Tens of thousands of Japanese protested in Okinawa against the planned relocation of a US military base, saying they want the US Marine Corps Air Station located in Futenama in southern Okinawa off the island altogether and not moved to an offshore facility, reports the Associated Press.
About 70,000 protested in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, against the proposed relocation of the US base in Futenama to an offshore facility near Nago, demanding that the Japanese goverment "immediately scrap the relocation plan."
The protesters called for the removal of all US military bases from Okinawa ahead of the Japanese government plan to begin construction of the offshore US military facility in Henoko Bay, saying that the construction of an offshore the US military base in the bay would be an environmental disaster, risking coral and endangered dugongs.
The Japanese government is reportedly planning to begin dumping soil into Henoko Bay within days for landfill for the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station.
In October 2017 Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi called for a revision of the Japan-US 1960 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), urging the Abe government to cancel the proposed United States Henoko base construction project, saying that "local residents will not accept it."
He said that the Japanese government has made little progress on the revision of the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), saying that Okinawa residents endured an endless succession of accidents and crimes caused by the presence of the US military.
Voters in Okinawa reportedly voted for candidates who opposed the construction of the US base in the Heoko district in the Japan general elections in October 2017
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian royalist political party appoints new president
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 13: The Cambodian royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party appointed Prince Norodom Chakravuth, son of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, 74, as the party's acting president yesterday, reports the Khmer Times.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was Funcinpec party president since 1992, signed a document from Thailand on Wednesday stating that his son Prince Norodom Chakravuth, is the party’s acting president and Pech Sodetha is secretary-general.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh signed the document in Thailand where he is recovering from serious head injuries suffered in a head-on motor vehicle collision on June 18 while on election campaign in Sihanoukville Province in southwest Cambodia, leaving his wife Ouk Phalla, 39, dead and five passengers injured.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late monarch Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni, was allocated the majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) parliamentary seats after tthe Supreme Court dissolved the party in November 2017.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) was returned to power in the July 29 elections, giving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades, a further five year term.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claims to have won the majority of the parliamentary seats including the majority of the 10 parliamentary seats in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham Province.
Royalist Funcinpec party candidate for Kampong Cham, Yann Sokum, urged Kampong Cham Province voters to vote for the Funcinpec royalist party led by the prince prior to the elections, saying that the party could win two parliamentary seats.
The Kampong Cham, Provincial Election Committee (PEC) director Meang Meng Houn claims that voter turnout in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kampong Cham province stronghold was similiar to that of the 2013 commune elections
The National Election Committe (NEC) data for the 2013 national elections reportedly shows that the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham province had almost 1.3 million registered voters of whom 69 percent cast their vote with the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) receiving 3,606 votes and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) 2,721 votes.
The Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC) is to announce the official results of the 29 July election on September 11.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand to improve cooperation with five ASEAN neighbours

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre, meets with governors of Thailands border provinces and Thai ambassadors to five neighbouring countries at the Thai Foreign Ministry in Bangkok on Friday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 12: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called on governors of Thailands 32 border provinces to improve cooperation with Thailands five neighboruring Southeast Asian countries, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to prioritise seamless development and connectivity between Thailand and Thailand's five neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam at a joint meeting between the Thai provincial governors and the Thai ambassadors to the neighbouring countries at a meeting in Bangkok on Friday.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said at the meeting titled "Synergised Efforts to Enhance Security, Prosperity and Sustainable Development in Border Provinces", that Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam are Thailand's strategic partners, saying that the five countries will help facilitate connectivity and spur development particuluarty in transportation and tourism.
He said that every interaction on the border is crucial, saying that "every interaction has international dimensions because the mutual interests of the countries are involved."
The Thai Prime Minister also called for the raising of public awareness to violence in the southern provinces of Thailand, saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked closely with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim countries to help the government with development in the three Muslim-dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai jet-set Buddhist monk sentenced to 114 years imprisonment

Former Thai Buddhist monk, Wirapol Sukphol, 39, dubbed "the jet-set monk" was known for his persuasive preaching
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 11: A former Thai Buddhist monk, who was extradited from the US, to stand trial in Bangkok for violation of the Computor Crimes Act, fraud, money laundering and the abduction of girl under 15, was sentenced to 114 years in prison for fraud related crimes on Thursday.
Former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, 39, fled Thailand for the US in 2013 to avoid arrest on charges of statutory rape, embezzlement and online fraud in his effort to seek donations.
The former monk, who was known for his "persuasive preaching" and his claim of supernatural powers while he was the abbot of the Khantitham forest monastery in Kanthararom district in Si Sa Ket province, reportedly drew many followers and donations to the monastry.
An investigation by the Thai Department of Special Investigation was undertaken in June 2013 into the monk's activities following a You Tube video that went viral showing former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, counting a wad of banknotes on a private jet.
The investigation revealed that the former monk had accumulated assets including luxury vehicles estimitaed at $US35 million.
Former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, who returned to Thailand in July 2017 on an extradition order from the US, was ordered to disrobe by officials of the National Office of Buddhism and to change into civilian clothes on arrival in Bangkok.
The Sangha Council in Ubon Ratchathani had reportedly expelled him from the monkhood in absentia in 2013.
In July 2017 former monk Wirapol Sukphol is banned from preaching at the Bang Kwang prison in Bangkok's Chatuchak district where he is in detenion.
Prison chief, Krit Krasaethip, ordered the former monk known as "Luang Pu Nen Kham" to refrain from teaching Dhamma to inmates, saying that
"there was a risk the former monk would use his well-known preaching skills to persuade other prisoners to do as he wanted."
"But the former monk is allowed to attend daily religious activities such as morning and evening prayers," he said.
The 114 year jail sentence handed down by the Bangkok criminal court is to be reduced to 20 years, the maximum under Thai law for multiple counts of the same offence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Malaysian PM Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak charged with money laundering in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 10: Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak, pleaded not guilty to three charges of money laundering
following investigations into allegations that funds had been transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to the former Prime Minister's private bank accounts, reports the Star.
The former Prime Minister was charged with money laundering amounting to RM42million under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001 on Wednesday.
He is accused of receiving RM27mil, RM5mil and RM10mil into his bank account in three separate transactions through Real Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas), reportedly obtained from illegal activities.
Thel transactions were committed at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Bangunan AmBank Group, No 53, Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur on December 26, 2014 and on February 10, 2015.
The former Prime Minister was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position as Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board for gratification on his arrest on 3 July.
Former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was charged Under Section 52 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2009.
The arrest of former Prime Minister Najib Razak in July and his subsequent successful bail application follows the May 9 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party lead by the former Prime Minister.
The election of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May followed the declassification of the 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
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.
In May the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned Prime Minister Najib Razak family members including his wife Rosmah Mansor and daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was seized in Bali in February and that was seized by Malaysian authorities last week was allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
The Southeast Asian Times


Death toll from earthquake on Indonesian Is of Lombok reaches 108

The Indonesian national Search and Rescue (SAR) agency and volunteers search for survivors buried beneath the rubble of the Lombok mosque
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 9: The death toll from the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the Indonesian Island of Lombok on Sunday rose to 108 on Wednesday as the Indonesia National Search and Rescue (SAR) agency and volunteers search for survivors buried beneath the rubble of destroyed homes including the Lombok mosque, reports the Australian Associated Press.
Chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Willem Rampangilei said that the death toll had reached 108 and the number of injured had reached 134, saying that he expected the death toll and number of injured to increase.
About 100 were inside the Jabal Nur Mosque in Lading-Lading in north Lombok when the earthquake struck, leaving about 30 buried beneath the ruins of the mosque.
National SAR Agency (Basarnas) and volunteers said that they believed about 30 were buried beneath the mosque, saying that of the about 100 pairs of shoes left outside the mosque on Sunday 30 were yet to be claimed.
A 66-year-old village elder, Supardi, who survived the destruction of the mosque, said he was praying in the mosque when the earthquake struck on Sunday.
He said that villagers were recovering from the first earthquake that struck Lombok a week earlier that had left 1500 villagers without homes and "sleeping outside."
He said that the earthquake last week had caused "countless cracks in the mosque's walls", saying that the mosque was being repaired when the second earthquake struck.
"Nobody expected a stronger quake would occur in such a short time," he said.
Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security, Wiranto, said that 7,000 international tourists had been evacuated from the tourist areas of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno following the Lombok earthquake on Sunday.
"The Indonesian government has deployed ships, buses and aircraft to evacuate tourists", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

HCMCity court sends banker to 30 years in prison

Former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Pham Cong Danh, sentenced to 30 years in jail for causing VND9 trillion (US$396 million) loss to the state
From News Reports:
HCMcity, August 8: The HCMCity People's Court sentenced former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) to 30 years in prison on Monday for violating State regulations on economic management causing loss to the state, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Pham Cong Danh, is one of 46 former bankers and business executives convicted of corruption over a multi-million lending scheme.
The bankers and business executives were found guilty of causing losses of VND9 trillion (US$396 million) to the state in an illegal lending scheme that involved Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Sacombank, the TPBank, the BIDV and the State Bank of Vietnam including 29 private companies of which former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) Ph?m Cong Danh, was affiliated.
In April 2017 the Vietnam Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee established eight task forces to investigate corruption in Vietnam in 20 provinces and cities.
Investigations into the alleged corruption of the Vietnam Petroleum Construction Corporation (PVC) led to the arrest and extradition of the former head of the State-owned enterprise, Trinh Xuan Thanh and the arrest of former chairman of Oceanbank, Ha Van Tham.
Investigation by the Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee into the practices of former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank(VNCB) Pham Cong Danh, led to his arrest for violation of state regulations on economic management causing loss to the state.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia seizes luxury yacht in Bali purchased with 1MDB funds

The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' seized in Bali on Thursday arrived in Batam in Malaysia yesterday with a replacement captain and crew
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 9: Lawyers for Equanimity Cayman Ltd, owners of the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was initially seized by Indonesian authorities in Bali in February, allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund, claim that the seizure of the luxury yacht this time by Malaysian authorities is illegal, reports the Star.
Lawyer James F Haggerty claimed on Sunday that seizure of the US$250 million luxury yacht by Malaysian authorities in Bali on Thursday was in violation of Indonesian law, saying that "the yacht was seized by a politically motivated Malaysian government bent on advancing its own political agenda with little regard to existing court rulings or basic legal rights".
A Jakarta court ruled in April that the seizure of the yacht by Indonesia was illegal and released the yacht to its owners, Equanimity Cayman Ltd, saying that while the "Equanimity" was wrongfully impounded, the yacht was not allowed to leave Bali's Tanjung Benoa port.
In July, Indonesian police reseized the yacht following a formal request for legal assistance from the US.
Lawyer James F Haggerty claimed on Sunday that the seizure of the yacht in Bali is also against a US DoJ (Department of Justice) court order, saying that "the US argued that it was critical that the US has possession of the yacht in order to ensure that the asset retained its value until a fair court hearing can determine final ownership and the rights of all the parties involved."
The California Central District Court granted the US Department of Justice (DOJ) protective custody over the Equanimity, arguing that "the crew cannot be trusted to return the vessel to the United States in order to facilitate its sale.
The decision by Indonesia to hand over the yacht to Malaysia was reportedly reached following a personal request made by Prime Minister Mahathir who visited Indonesia in June.
"The illegitimate seizure of the yacht by the Mahathir government shows how quickly the rule of law has disappeared in Mahathir's government", he said.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore calls on ASEAN to redouble efforts to conclude regional trade agreement

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, centre, at the 51st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on Saturday says that the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will show ASEAN political will
From News Reports:
Singapore, August 6: Singapore called on the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to "redouble efforts" to conclude agreement negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the 51st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on Saturday, reports the Straits Times.
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that all 10 ASEAN nations, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam agreed to "redouble efforts to conclude a region-wide trade agreement by the end of the year".
He said that all 10 Asean countries and external partners acknowledged that a multilateral, rules-based trading system, that has underpinned ASEAN progress and peace for the past 70 years was under pressure, saying that "we need to double down on this principle."
A statement issued at the two day 32nd Asean Summit in Singapore in April, reaffirmed the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) commitment to Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with ASEAN calling on Indonesia to conclude negotiations with ASEAN member states and its 6 partner countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Indonesia's Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, said in Yogyakarta at the 21st round of Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in February that Indonesia is commited to accelerating negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
"Once ratified the RCEP would become the largest trade bloc in the world, boosting economic growth in the member countries", he said.
In July 2017 the Indonesian People Coalition for Economic Justice (IPCEJ) rejected the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the grounds that the agreement includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) that would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue the Indonesia government for compensation at an international arbitration tribunal should government regulations such as rise in minimum wage limit corporate profits.
The call for conclusion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) follows the failure of the 16 member trade partnership to reach agreement at the 31st ASEAN Summit held in the Philippines in November last year.
Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTIP) trade undersecretary, Ceferino Rodolfo, said then that "contentious issues remain unresolved" between the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and the six partner countries.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand seeks extradition of fugitive former PM Yingluck from Britain

Former fugivite Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reportedl left Britian for Dubai on Wednesday to join her brother, fugitive former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra
From News Report:
Bangkok, August 5: The Thai government seeks the extradition of fugitive former Thai Prime Mininster Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, from Britain, following confirmation that fugitive former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is residing in the UK reports the Bangkok Post.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai h confirmed that the government has formally sought the extradition of fugitive former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, saying that "the Attorney-General and the Foreign Ministry were duty bound to seek extradition."
The government reportedly seeks the extradition of the former Prime Minister under the 1911 extradition treaty.
Fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra reportedly fled Thailand for Britain in August 2017 ahead of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruling that sentenced her to prison.
The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced the fugitive former prime minister to five years in prison in absentia for dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy program.
The former Prime Minister was charged with committing nonfeasance and malfeasance reportedly resulting in the loss of 518 billion baht to the state while holding the post of Prime Minister.
The former Prime Minister was found guilty of the alleged offences under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999.
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is accused of colluding with two Chinese companies not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the government rice pledging scheme.
Yingluck Shinawatra denied all charges made against her by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) who voted unanimously in May 2014 following the declaration of Martial Law, that there was sufficient evidence to indict ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on charges of dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy program.
Lawyer, Noppadol Laothong, for the fugitive former prime minister said that assets including apartments, parcels of land in and outside Bangkok and 12 bank accounts estimasted at 35 billion baht have been seized,
"The properties will be auctioned in order to compensate the victimes of the national rice subsidy program," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Dissolved opposition claims Hun Sen in cahoots with election committee

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy campaigning from self exile in Paris
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 4: Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) said from exile in Paris that the Cambodian National Election Committe (NEC) and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) that was returned to power in the national elections held on Sunday, conspired to validate 50 percent of the 600,000 invalid ballots, reports the Khmer Times.
Former president of the disolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, claims that "the real figure should be about 20 percent of the 600,000 invalid ballots."
"Voters who were forced by the authorities to participate in the poll against their will crossed out the names of the 20 parties on the ballot paper to make it null and void, he said.
He said that 35 percent of the votes were invalid at a polling station for the second largest party in Cambodia, the royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC).
The majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) seats were allocated to the Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) following the disolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court in November 2017.
National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Hang Puthea dismissed the accusation that the election committee and the ruling party conspired to validate invalid ballots, saying that the former president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, wanted to disrupt the election process.
He said that the election process was observed and monitored by both national and international observers who witnessed the voting from the beginning until the ballots were counted.
"I am confident that the process was conducted with transparency,” he said.
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan dismissed the accusation of collusion made by former president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), saying that "some voters destroyed their ballot tickets to show support for the CNRP, but the number is small compared to the number of people that actually turned out and voted for the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).”
Former dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawyer, Ou Chanrath, claims that a number of international observers said that the elections were neither free nor fair, saying that "an independent investigation should be conducted to get to the bottom of the accusation of collusion."
In November 2013 following the the July 2013 election results that returned the incumbent prime minister Hun Sen's, Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) with a majority of 68 seats against Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) 55 parliamentary seats, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claimed that up to 1.25 million Cambodians who were eligible to vote were not on the electoral role.
The National Election Committee denied the irregularities.
The Southeast Asian Times


Complaints by the thousands follow elections in Cambodia

International observers from six countries including four ASEAN member countries, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and non-ASEAN members, Russia and India monitored 22,967 polling stations in last Sunday's general elections in Cambodia
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 3: The Cambodia National Election Commission (NEC) has received 2,206 complaints after the general elections held in Cambodia on Sunday, with more than half the complaints filed by one political party, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
National Election Commision (NEC) spokesman, Hang Puthea, said that the complaints are mostly about check marks on the ballot papers, saying that,
“most of the complaints about tick marks on the ballots came from the League for Democracy Party (LDP)".
The League for Democracy Party (LDP) established in 2006 with the slogan "A nation in which we live as its owner" and with the aim to reduce power of the government reportedly filed 1,367 complaints with the National Election Commision (NEC)
League for Democracy Party (LDP), secetary-general Chin Thun said that of the 1,367 complaints filed with the National Election Commision (NEC), 288 complaints were denied at the commune level, saying that the party was "continuing to gather evidence for the NEC".
He said that the majority of the complaints were about irregular markings on the ballot paper, observers sent away during ballot counting, observers prohibited from taking photographs, and recount requests.
The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) said in a statement on Tuesday that "the election was not free or fair", citing the Supreme Court dissolution of the oppostion Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), intimidation of civil society organisations, restrictions on journalists and use of government facilities for election campaigning.
The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) claims that its participation in the election was to "educate and to establish a new political culture", saying that "Cambodian's will ultimately, support peaceful change".
Khmer Will Party (KWP), deputy secretary-general Tol Prasadh said that the party did not file any complaints or find any irregularities.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN observer countries give thumbs up to Cambodian elections
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 2: International observers from six countries including four ASEAN member countries said in Phnom Penh on Tuesday that the elections held in Cambodia on Sunday were free, fair and transparent, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
ASEAN monitors, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and non-ASEAN members, Russia and India reportedly congratulated the 82 percent of registered voters who voted at
22,967 polling stations throughout Cambodia on Sunday.
Laos Ambassador to Cambodia Prasith Sayasith representing the international observers said that Cambodia's national elections were "successful and stable and well organised".
International observers and organisations including Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, International Conference of Asian Political Parties, Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International, Asian Parliamentary Assembly and Asean-Inter-Parliamentary Assembly congratulated Cambodia for conducting free and democratic elections.
Non-Government-Organisations (NGO) and associations coordinated by the Civil Society Alliance Forum (CSAF) also said that the election was free, fair and transparent.
Three non-Asean member countries, Australia, Canada and the US have expressed their disappointment in Cambodia national elections held on Sunday, with the US saying that it would consider "additional steps" such as a significant expansion of visa restrictions that were announced in December last year following the dissolution by the Cambodian Supreme Court of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
The Cambodian Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition party followed the arrest of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president, Kem Sokha, on charges of plotting to overthrowing the Hun Sen government with the help of the United States.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president was arrested on September 3 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video showed that the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, had received assistance from the US.
The Australian government said it was unhappy that the Cambodian people “have been unable to freely choose their representatives”.
Canada took a similar line as the three nations called for the release of jailed Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha, for independent media and civil society to be able to operate freely and for the participation of all political parties in the democratic process.
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, said that Australia, Canada and the US did not reflect the reality of Cambodia, saying that "because they are politically biased, their analysis was not based on reality."
“They did not send representatives to monitor the elections," he said.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) was returned to power in Sunday's national elections, giving Prime Minister Hun Sen who has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades, a further five year term
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia's ruling party expected to win in Royalist party stronghold

National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) royalist party, campaigning ahead of the elections on Sunday, expect to win at least two seats in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham Province
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 1: The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) looks poised to win the majority of the 10 parliamentary seats in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham Province, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Kampong Cham Provincial Election Committee (PEC) director Meang Meng Houn said that "Kampong Cham was an important province for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) during the 5th mandate national election in 2013".
Ten Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) parliamentry seats were allocated to the Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party that registered with the National Election Committe (NEC) in May to contest the national elections on Sunday.
The Kampong Cham, Provincial Election Committee (PEC) director Meang Meng Houn claims that voter turnout in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kampong Cham province stronghold was similiar to that of the 2013 commune elections, saying that the turnout showed that the voters did not observe the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) "clean fingers" election campaign.
The National Election Committe (NEC) data for the 2013 national elections reportedly shows that the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham province had almost 1.3 million registered voters of whom 69 percent cast their vote with the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) receiving 3,606 votes and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) 2,721 votes.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) candidate for Kampong Cham, Yann Sokum, urged Kampong Cham Province voters to vote for the "Funcinpec royalist party led by the prince".
President of the Funcinpec, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, did not vote in Mein commune in Kampong Cham Province despite the party's announcement that he would.
On June 18 Prince Norodom Ranariddh, suffered head injuries in a head-on motor vehicle collision while on an election campaign in Sihanoukville Province in southwest Cambodia, leaving his wife Ouk Phalla, 39, dead and five passengers injured.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party and his wife were on their way to meet party supporters in Sihanoukville Province ahead of the July elections when their vehicle was struck head-on by a taxi.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is the second son of the late monarch Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni, was allocated the majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) parliamentary seats after its dissolution in November 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia's ruling party returned to power in Sunday's elections

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen casts his vote in Sunday's general elections
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh Post, July 31: The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) was returned to power in Sunday's national elections, giving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades, a further five year term, reports the Associated Press.
The National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Sik Bun Hok said at a press conference after polling stations had closed that the elections were a success, saying that "22,967 polling stations across the country had reported a smooth election."
He said that 6.8 million or 82.17 percent of registered voters cast ballots, saying that "it clearly shows that Cambodian voters understand their obligations and rights", he said.
Preliminary results broadcast on state television showed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) had won at least 70 percent of the vote in each of the country's 25 provinces, with an expected 100 parliamentary seats.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won the elections despite the urging of former senior officials of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that was dissolved by the Cambodian Supreme Court in November 2017, for Cambodians not to vote.
The Cambodian Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition party followed the arrest of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president, Kem Sokha, on charges of plotting to overthrowing the Hun Sen government with the help of the United States.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president was arrested on September 3 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video showed that the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, had received assistance from the US.
Following the dissolution, Prime minister Hun Sen called on the Cambodia National Rescue Party's (CNRP) more than 5000 elected officials to defect to his Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
The majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) seats were allocated to the Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party or Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party (NRP) that was registered with the National Election Committe (NEC) in May to contest the 2018 national elections.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia to announce official election results in September

The National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Sik Bun Hok, who met with international election monitors at the Commissions headquarters in Phnom Penh ahead of the election reportedly told international observers that "Cambodia has prepared free and fair elections"
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 30: The Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC) is to announce the preliminary national election results from voting yesterday on August 11 and the official results on September 11, reports the Khmer Times.
National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman, Hang Puthea, said that the commission will release the preliminary results on August 11 after the verification is completed, saying that the Commission will give political parties time to contest the results.
The spokesman said that the commission would count the ballot papers in four stages, saying that this was "in accordance with the request of the poltical parties."
"Commune election committees would count the ballot papers and disclose the preliminary results of yesterdays vote at each polling station, he said.
The commission spokesman said that the provincial and capital election committees would calculate the results of all polling stations in their provinces , saying that "the National Election Committee (NEC) would broadcast the preliminary results on national TV stations."
The spokesman said that according to law the announcement of the official results of the election must be made within two months in order for the parliament to establish government.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, said that the 20 participating political parties followed the principles, laws, ethics and procedures set by the National Election Committee (NEC).
International election monitor, Maurizio Marrone, said that he expected a high level of voter participation in Cambodia and their observance of electoral regulations.
“I’ve witnessed elections in other countries, but I see in the commission a very high level of knowledge about the political situation and about voting regulations and procedures," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia calls for free and fair elections in ASEAN and Cambodia

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen at a Cambodian People's Party (CPP) election rally on Thurday

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 29: Member of the ruling Malaysian Pakatan Harapan coalition, People’s Justice Party (PKR), and also member of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Wong Chen, called on the newly elected Malaysian government to promote and safeguard free and fair elections in the ASEAN region ahead of the Cambodian national elections held today.
Wong Chen, told members of the Malaysian parliament last week that the Malaysian government under prime Minister Mahathir had a duty to support democracy in the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) member states.
“I urge the Malaysian government to take a more proactive stance on Cambodia in the same way we took a proactive stance against the Myanmar government on the Rohingya refugee issue under the Najib administration,” he said.
“I believe that we, as a new government owe a duty not only to reform our own election laws to safeguard justice and uphold democracy, but that we go further and promote and safeguard free and fair elections in the ASEAN region,” he said.
Cambodian Council of Ministers spokesman, Phay Siphan, said in response to the Malaysian call for a proactive position against ASEAN member country, Cambodia, that "Malaysia is a member of ASEAN".
"Malaysia should not interfere in the internal affairs of another member state," he said.
He said that Malaysian parliamentarian, Wong Chen, was a representative of a small country not ASEAN, saying that "Malaysia is not America or France."
The registration of political parties for the Cambodian elections began in May with Prime Minister Hun Sen reportedly saying that the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that was dissolved by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court in November 2017 would not contest the elections.
The disolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), followed a complaint filed by the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) to the Ministry of Interior accusing opposition party officials of treason.
In May the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Central Committee, reportedly submitted 271 registrations for candidates from Cambodia's 24 provinces to the National Election Committee (NEC) and the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) submitting 234 candidates from 17 provinces.
The United States and the European Union withdrew their support for the 2018 elections following the Phnom Penh Supreme Court's dissolution of the opposition party under amendements to the Law on Political Parties in November 2017.
China is to reportedly donate ballot boxes and voting booths to Cambodia for the national elections to be held today following the withdrawal of support from the United States and the European Union, who reportedly say that the election has no legitimacy.
The Southeast Asian Times


Call for reinstatement of Socery Act in PNG
From News Reports:
Port Moresby, July 28: Papua New Guinea, Madang governor, Peter Yama has called on the government to reinstate the 1971 Sorcery Act that was repealed in 2013, allowing allegations of witchcraft that lead to death to be treated by the court as murder, reports the National.
Madang governor, Peter Yama, said that the Madan Court's sentencing of 8 to death and 88 to life imprisonment for socery-related killings on Wednesday, called for the reinstatement of the 1971 Socery Act, saying that "socery-related fights would have been under control if the Sorcery Act was in place."
The murder of seven Sakiko villagers near Ramu Sugar town, in Raicoast district, on April 14, 2014 by 96 Naho Rawa villagers was reportedly described as a "frenzied attack".
The 96 Naho Rawa villagers, who were found guilty of murder, reportedly attacked the Sakiko villagers with bows and arrows, knives and axes, leaving seven dead.
Justice David Cannings said in sentencing the 96 Naho Rawa villagers that " there was no proven connection or justification between the belief in sorcery and the deaths."
“So the genuine belief in sorcery is not a mitigating factor and cannot be regarded as an extenuating circumstance to lessen the gravity of the crimes,” he said.
In 2009 Papua New Guinea Acting Public Prosecutor Jim Wala Tamate supported a proposed major review into the Sorcery Act, 1971, at the Law on sorcery and sorcery-related killings conference at the police training centre, Madang, saying the courts are dealing with “belief systems and not mere criminal acts, or rather, with criminal acts based on belief systems.”
Sorcery was deeply rooted in customs and traditions, he said.
“Sorcery should be clearly defined to help police and the courts to perform their duties effectively,” he said.
The Papua New Guinea government was accused of "attempting to end one form of violence by perpetrating state-sanctioned violence" with the introduction of the death penalty following the repeal of the Sorcery Act that acknowledged the accusation of sorcery as a plausible defence for murder.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam PM calls on Australia for support in dispute with China in South China Sea

Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia Tony Smith and the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on Wednesday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 27: The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia, Tony Smith for Australia to continue support for the position by the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Vietnam on Vietnam's East Sea in the dispute with China over sovereignty in the South China, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam said at the meeting with the Australian Speaker of the House of Represenatatives in Hanoi on Wednesday that the National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) wanted Australia to promote the establishment and the implementation of a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia, said at the meeting that Australia advocates the freedom of navigation and flight over the East Sea, saying that "freedom of navigation and flight over the East Sea was a consistent policy advocated by not only Australia and Vietnam but elsewhere in the world."
Negotiations between the ten Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries and China for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea reportedly seeks to prevent the escalation of the maritime dispute between China and four Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) member country claimants,Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
In December 2017 Vietnam National Assembly chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, said that Vietnam would support Singapore as the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair in 2018 in the establishment of a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea, saying that "I hope that Singapore will collaborate with other ASEAN member countries to maintain ASEAN's common stance, solidarity and unity in its central role in the region,"
The chairwoman said that Vietnam valued Singapore's position on the contentious Vietnam East Sea dispute with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea, saying that the establishment of a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) would promote sustainable ASEAN-China relations.
In July 2016 the new President of Vietnam, Tran Ðai Quang, vowed to defend Vietnam sovereignty in the South China Sea, calling on all parties to "respect and comply with international law" in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision that ruled against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea in favour of the Philippines.
The court ruled that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
President Xi Jinping of China said following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling that China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea "shall under no circumstances be affected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague awards, " calling on the European Union to maintain an objective stance and neutrality on the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision.
The Southeast Asian Times

New House Speaker vows to carry out President Duterte's legislative agenda

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sworn in as House Speaker on Monday
From News Reports:
Manila, July 26: The Philippine House of Representatives, under the newly elected House Speaker former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has approved the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that was to be signed by President Rodrigo Duerte ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday but delayed due to the ousting of speaker Davao Del Norte Represenatative, Pantaleon Alvarez, report the Philippine Inquirer.
The former President of the Philippines , Gloria Macapagal -Arroyo was sworn in as the new speaker, replacing Davao Del Norte Represenatative, Pantaleon Alvarez at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday afternoon after 184 of the 291 House Representatives voted in her favour.
The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamaoro Basic Law (BBL) was submitted to President Duterte in June last year for his signature in preparation for re-submission to the Philippine Congress by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a revolutionary organization that represents the effort in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines for self determination.
The approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) by the newly elected House Speaker, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, on Tuesday follows her assurance that she would "carry out President Duterte's legslative agenda"
"I will endeavor to carry out the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Lower House,” she said.
In April 2017 The Supreme court acquitted former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of alleged misappropriation of funds from the Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), releasing her from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) where she has been in detention for five years.
The former president was placed in custody at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Manila after immigration officials prevented her from leaving the Philippines for medical treatment in Singapore supposedly not available in the Philippines.
In April 2012 the special Sandiganbayan anti-graft court charged former president Arroyo with two counts of graft and one count of violation of the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials when she approved a $330-million contract with ZTE Corporation to establish a nationwide broadband network for government agencies in 2007.
The Office of the Ombudsman has since absolved the former president from any wrong doing in the signing of ZTE.
The Southeast Asian Times


"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


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 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




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
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

 

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

 

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

 

.MEDIA CHECK
The Yogyakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) want the murder of Yogyakarta journalist in 1996 remembered in proposed Anti-Violence against Journalists Day...open here

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

Timor-Leste justice threatened by firing of foreign judges
By Susan Marx ...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 dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open here

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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
..5,0710
East Timor.
..0.7582
Euro..
0.6794
Hong
sKong..
.5.8808
Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
Papua New Guinea
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Philippines Peso..
35.3212
Singapore dollar...
1.0308
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26.2521
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,849.44

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 local 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

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