The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Monday 27 May 2024
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout
the region.  

Thai senate seeks
referendum on new constitution: Lese Majeste law

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 12: The Senate is seeking a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution as dictated by the Referendum Act after the House of Representatives voted for an opposition-sponsored motion on November 3, 2022 to seek a referendum, reports the Bangkok Post.
Senators voted 151 for, 26 against, and 15 abstentions to form a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum that would pave the way for a rewrite of the constitution that includes the Lese Majeste law.
The Senate called on the government to hold a referendum on whether a new constitution should be drawn up by a charter drafting assembly made up of elected representatives, saying "the referendum should be arranged on the same day as the next general election that has tentatively been set for May 7 by the Election Commission (EC).
Senators were critical of voting for the formation of a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum, saying "It is a tactic to stall the referendum"
Sen Kittisak Rattanawaraha said he supported a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution, saying he disagreed with organising the referendum on the same day as the general election,
"This could confuse voters," he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

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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Cambodia rejects claims of money laundering in Australia in report

Cambodia Ministry of Interior spokesman, Touch Sokhak, said that release of the money laundering report on Monday May 13, 2024 without clear evidence will damage the reputation of Australia and Cambodia

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 27: Cambodia’s Interior Ministry rejects claims that Cambodia is a money laundering source in Australia, in a report released by Transparency International Australia (TIA) and KordaMentha earlier this month, with Transparency International Australia (TIA), saying "for far too long, Australia has been a very attractive destination for dirty money'', reports Phnom Penh Post.
Transparency International Australia (TIA) and KordaMentha claim in its report that at least $516 million was moved from Cambodia to Australia in 2022.
The report also showed that between 2019 and 2023, 118 properties were purchased in Australia by Cambodians, worth a combined value of $110 million.
The report by Transparency International Australia (TIA) and KordaMentha noted that ''the largest amount of cash involved with money laundering often takes the form of real estate investments and other legitimate financial transactions.''
Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior spokesman, Touch Sokhak, says ''the release of the report without clear evidence will damage the reputation of Australia and Cambodia.
''We do not know the true intention of the Transparency International Australia (TIA) and KordaMentha,'' he said.
Cambodia Ministry of Interior spokesman, Touch Sokhak, said ''Thailand's Ministery of Interior has never allowed money laudering at home or abroad,''
He said that Australian authorities would not remain silent over the claim made in the Transparency International Australia (TIA) and KordaMentha report , saying ''Australia will not permit unfounded information to tarnish thier image.''
Transparency International Australia (TIA), Chief Executive Officer, Clancy Moore said that ''for far too long, Australia has been a very attractive destination for dirty money'', claiming in the report ''that millions of dollars of dirty money flows from the impoverished nation of Cambodia to Australia annually.''
''Gaps in Australian law makes Australia's real estate sector an attractive destination for money laundering,'' he said.
He said that the Transparency International Australia (TIA) report shows that ''the value of money flowing from Cambodia to Australia is vastly disproportionate to Cambodia’s wealth, saying ''on average the total funds transferred account for just under one percent of Cambodia’s gross domestic product.''
"We know that Cambodia is an incredibly poor country with lots of people living in poverty," he said.
He said the report shows that Cambodia is a regional hub for money laundering, human trafficking and the drug trade, saying ''the amont of money comming in from Cambodia to Australia is quite concerning.''
"It raises serious red flags as to the source of those funds," he said.
He said the Transparency International Australia (TIA) report calls for greater collaboration between Cambodian and Australian law enforcement and regulatory bodies to mitigate the flow of illegal funds.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia Civil Society says revision of Indonesian Defense Forces to cover state security is wrong

Central Initiative chair, Al A'raf, management board of the Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform, says that revision of the function of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) law that covers state security is wrong

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 26: Central Initiative chair, Al A'raf, of the management board of the Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform, called on the House of Representatives (DPR) on Monday to cancel revision of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), law saying ''revision that expands the function of the TNI law to cover state security is wrong,'' reports Indoleft.
''Changes proposed by the government to the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) law will not strengthen the TNI's reform agenda, underway since 1998, but would do the exact opposite,'' said Centra Initiative chair, Al Araf, on Monday.
He said that the Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform sees four crucial points in the latest draft in April 2023 of the revision of the TNI 1998 reform agenda that should not be revised.
''First, the expansion of the TNI's function as a state tool in the field of national defense and security is wrong,'' he said.
He said that in a democratic country the military function is a tool of national defence that is prepared, educated and trained for war.
''Placing the function of the military as a state security tool endangers democracy because the military can be used against the Indonesians if they're judged to be a threat to state security", he said.
''Second , revoking the president's authority to deploy and use TNI forces should not be removed from the TNI law as an organic regulation governing the TNI,'' he said.
He said that amendments to Article 10 of the 1945 Constitution states that the president holds authority over the army, navy and air force, saying ''Article 14 of Law Number 3/2022 on National Defense confirms that the president is authorised and responsible for the mobilisation of TNI forces.''
He said that the abolishment of the authority by the president for the deployment and use of the TNI in the TNI law is dangerous, saying ''the deployment and use of TNI outside the approval and control of the president as head of state and head of government is dangerous.''
''Third, the expansion and addition of the types of military operations other than War (OMSP) shows the paradigm and political desire to expand the involvement and role of the military beyond the national defense sector.
He said that proposed changes to Article 7 Paragraph (2) and Paragraph (3) of the TNI law show 19 types of military operations other than War (OMSP) from the previous 14 types of OMSP that can be carried out by the TNI.
''Some additional types of OMSP are not related to military competence,'' he said.
He said that tackling narcotics, precursors and other addictive substances and efforts to support national development are not related to TNI competence.
Fourth, the expansion of civilian positions that can be held by active TNI officers could see the return of ABRI Dwifungsi dooctrine or dual-function implemented by the Suharto military-dominated New Order government in Indonesia from 1966 to 1998.
He said that Article 47 of the TNI law provides opportunities for the TNI to occupy civilian positions saying ''during the New Order under the ABRI Dwifungsi doctrine or dual-function, the militar was involved in practical politics, including the occupation of civilian position in ministries, state institutions, the House of Representatives (DPR), as regional heads and other positions"
On Monday Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Chief Moeldoko said that the proposed revision of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Law is not intended to restore ABRI Dwifungsi doctrine or dual-function during the New Order era under President Suharto.
"There is no way we will restore the Dwifungsi doctrine as it was in the past, no way.'' he said,
Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Chief Moeldoko, former Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) commander, said ''the military had undergone reform, including changes to the ABRI Dwifungsi or dual-function doctrine that is embraced by all personnel and the military.''
''The military will continue to reform itself to cultivate professional military officers who will not intervene in or participate in politics,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Constitutional Court accepts pettition seeking ouster of PM Srettha Thavisin

Constitutional Court votes not to suspend Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin from duty pending its ruling on Thursday May 23, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 25: The Constitutional Court has accepted a petition submitted by forty care-taker senators seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin for his decision to appoint a minister with a prison record, with the court voting 5-4 not to suspend the Prime Minister from duty pending its ruling, reports the Bangkok Post.
Nine Constitutional Court judges voted 6-3 to accept the petition on Thursday and ordered Prime Minister Stretten Thavisin to provide an explanation on his decision to appoint Pichit Chuenban Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.
The Constitional Court voted 8-1 to reject the pettition seeking the ouster of Pichit Chuenban, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, citing his resignation on Tuesday.
The care-taker senators had asked the Constitutional Court to terminate Prime Minister, Stretten Thavisin, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Pichit Chuenban from their position under Section 170 (4) and (5) of the Constitution that deals with the ethics of cabinet ministers.
Pichit Chuenban, who resigned his position as Minister in the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, was sentenced to six months in prison for attempting to bribe a court official on June 10, 2008.
The court ruled that the three lawyers for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra including, Pichit Chuenban, ''had conspirSed to undermine the judiciary's reputation and integrity by stashing Bt2 million in cash in a snack box handed to a court official.''
On June 10, 2008 the three lawyers including Pichit Chuenban were found guilty of attempting to bribe a court official at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions for handing a paper bag containing a snack box that contained Bt2million in cash, with the presiding judge saying, 'the bribery attempt was a serious matter.''
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was charged with corruption and abuse of authority while Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006 for facilitating the purchase of 33-rai of land in Ratchadaphisek from the state Bank of Thailand's Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF)
in his wifes name below the market price.
In 2021 Constitutional Court rejected a submission to oust the Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thamanat Prompow, from the Thai parliamen, who had been arrested and convicted in Australia in 1993 for trafficking in herion with a street value of $4.1 million.
The Constitutional Court ruled that Thamanat Prompow, was qualified to hold a position in the Thai parliament despite his conviction and imprisonment in Australia for trafficking in an illegal drug.
The Consititution Court ruled that a conviction must be made in a Thai court not a foreign court in order for Thamanat Prompow, to be disqualified from a position as Member of Parliament
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar expatriates call on Japan to condemn Myanmar's Conscription Law

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Council member, Michihiro Ishibashi, and Japan representative of the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar at fundraising event inTokyo for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on Saturday September 30, 2023

From News Reports:
Toyko, May 24: Myanmar expatriates in Japan are calling on city assemblies and the Japan government to condemn the Myanmar Conscription Law and to accept Myanmar residents who are fleeing the Conscription Law that was enforced by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar on February 10, with Myanmar expatriates saying "we want to do something to help Myanmar people in despair, especially young ones targeted by the junta," reports the Kyodo News.
Myanmar expatriate, Khin Zay Yar Myint, said that Myanmar expatriates in Japan plan to submit petitions to 44 assemblies in 18 prefectures, saying that petitions had been submitted to 13 city assemblies in nine prefectures including the city assemblies of Sapporo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and the Koto and Nerima ward assemblies in Tokyo by mid-May.
''We would like Japan, a leading Asian country that advocates human rights and the rule of law, to extend humanitarian measures to Myanmar citizens, she said.
She said that Myanmar expatriates in Japan want Japan to extend humanitarian measures to fleeing Myanmar residents, saying
''just like Japan has been doing for displaced people from Ukraine.''
Okinawa Prefecture, Itoman city assembly member and member of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), Satoru Urasaki, who led the submission of petitions to local assemblies and the Japan government said ''the Itoman city assembly in Okinawa condemns the Myanmar Conscription Law,''
''The assembly of Itoman city in Okinawa Prefecture urges the Japan government to proactively accept displaced people from Myanmar in a same way as the Japan government accepted Ukraine evacuees," he said.
''The Japanese government should make it easier for people from Myanmar to obtain temporary residence permits,'' he said.
He said that the Japan government under Prime Minister should extend humanitarian measures to Myanmar, saying ''the Myanmar crisis is no longer an internal crisis but has become a source of concern for Thailand that shares a border with Myanmar and other ASEAN member countries.
Myanmar expatriate in Japan, Khin Zay Yar Myint, said that Myanmar residents plan to submit petitions to 44 assemblies in 18 prefectures, saying that as of mid-May the Itoman assembly in Okinawa Prefecture was the only assembly from the 13 city assemblies that had condemned the Myanmar Conscription Law.
''The city assemblies of Kobe and Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefectur have not submitted pettitions to the Japan government to condemn the Myanmar Conscription Law,'' she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines reject new China regulations that arrest alleged trespassers in South China Sea

President President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rejects the new China regulation that authorise the China Coast Guard (CCG) to arrest trespassers in the West Philippine Sea

From News Reports:
Manila, May 23: Philippines President President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that China's new regulations in ''Provisions on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures of China's Coast Guard Agencies'', that authorize the China Coast Guard (CCG) to arrest alleged trespassers in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea, is ''completely unacceptable,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rejects the new China regulation that authorise the China Coast Guard (CCG) to arrest trespassers in the West Philippine Sea for up to 60 days and to seize their ships, saying ''that kind of action would be completely unacceptable to the Philippines.''
''The position we take is that it is unacceptable and we will take whatever measures to protect our citizens,'' he said.
On Friday China's Embassy in Manila provided a Chinese-language copy of a 92-page document titled “Provisions on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures of Coast Guard Agencies,” that were adopted on May 15, 2024 and would take effect on June 15, 2024.
Chapter 14 of the “Provisions on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures of Coast Guard Agencies,” states that ''
foreigners suspected of violating China’s border laws may be detained if they are either suspected of illegally entering Chinese territory or exiting, or suspected of assisting others in illegal exit or entry.''
Philippines retired Supreme Court Seniro Associate, Justice Antonio Carpio, said that China's new regulations would defy the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations Charter with ''China's threat to arrest alleged tresspassers sailing on the high seas of the South China Sea.''
''China's new coast guard regulation is subjecting the high seas of the South China Sea to China’s sovereignty in clear violation of Uunclos,'' he said.
He said that under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), ''no state can subject the high seas to its socereignty'', saying ''the new Chinese coast guard regulation is clearly contrary to UNCLOS and to the United Nations Charter.''
He said that China cannot arbitrarily set its own sea borders, saying ''sea borders should be within a country's 22km territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), saying ''China has no jursdiction over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei or Indonesia.''
In July 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of "historic rights" over the South China Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision followed the Philippine complaint in 2013 that called on the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
The Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in 2016 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.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore Foreign Affairs official sentenced to prison for using diplomatic bags to carry luxury watches from China to Singapore

Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, 45, director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) sentenced to one week in prison for providing false information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for his use of diplomatice bags

From News Reports:
Singapore, Wednesday 22: The former director-general of Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, 45, was sentenced to a week in prison for providing false information to the ministry for his use of diplomatic bags and for abetting the ministry in misusing the diplomatic bag service to carry luxury watches from China to Singapore, reports the Straits Times.
Singapore District Judge, Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz, said in handing down the sentence on Monday ''the level of harm caused or likely to be caused by Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan's actions crossed the threshold for imprisonment.''
''The court accepts that no actual harm has resulted from Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan's false information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the courts enquiry did not end there,'' she said.
Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said that the courts enquiry into the provision of false information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had to consider the potential to cause harm.
''The provision of false information has the potential to impinge on trust in Singapore's international relationships and cause embarrassment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) if there were no redress,'' she said.
Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, ''diplomatic bags should only contain diplomatic documents or articles for official use and cannot be opened or detained.''
''Diplomatic bags are a protected means of communication between a state's foreign missions and consulates,'' she said.
Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said that the former director-general of Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, 45, request for use of the diplomatice bag service to convey luxury watches without disclosing the true owner and recipient of the package inside the diplomatic bag was "not just a gross violation of the diplomatic bag service, but impermissible.''
The director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, 45, pleaded guilty to giving false information to the deputy-secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ong Eng Chuan.
Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, 45, said his lies began on January 19, 2023 with a personal favour for a Chinese female friend in Bejing, Jiang, saying he ''wanted to help Jiang send watches from China to Singapore.''
He said that he contacted a colleague at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing, Dion Loke Cheng Wang, saying that he lied when he told his colleage that ''the parents of a Chinese diplomat wanted to have a package delivered to him in Singapore.''
'I asked my colleague at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing to help send a diplomatic bag to me in Singapore,'' he said.
He said he provided the residential address of Dion Loke Cheng Wang in Bejing to his friend Jiang.
''Jiang arranged for a package containing 21 luxury watches, a ring, and seven children’s books to be delivered to his colleague's residential address in Beijing for dispatch to Singapore.''
The Southeast Asian Times

   

Thailand family of dead political activist reject condolence wreath
from government

Justice Minister, Tawee Sodsong, at funeral rites ceremony at the Buddhist temple in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok for Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, on Saturday May 18, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 21: The grieving family of political activist, Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, who died last week while on a hunger strike in pre-trial detention at the Central Womens Correctional Institution, Bangkok, rejected a condolence wreath from the Justice Minister on behalf of the Srettha Thavisin government, reports the Bangkok Post.
Justice Minister, Tawee Sodsong, who attended a funeral rite for Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, at the Buddhist temple in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok on Saturday, expressed the Srettha Thavisin government's condolences on the death in detention of Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, with a floral wreath.
Justice Minister, Tawee Sodsong, said that lawyers for Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28 and her family would be allowed to inspect the results of the post-mortem examination with the autospsy committee.
Family members and friends of political activist, Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28 rejected the offer of a condolence wreath on behalf of the Srettha Thavisin government at the Buddhist Temple, demanding that Justice Minister, Tawee Sodsong, conduct an investigation into the death of the political activist in pre-trial detention last week.
Human Rights Lawyer, Kritsadang Nutcharus, for the family of the political activist, said that the the Department of Corections had not released treatment records or the CCTV footage showing the resuscitation attempts conducted at the Central Womens Correctional Institution in Bangkok as requested.
Political activist, Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, was charged with alleged violation of Article 112 ''lese majeste'', Article 116 ''sedition'', Article 140, ''resisting or obstructing an official through the use of violence by three or more people'', and Articlae 368 ''refusal to comply with an official order'' of the Thailand Criminal Code on March 10, 2022.
On Friday the House of Representatives sub-committee that is deliberating the implementation of a new Amnesty Bill called on the Srettha Thavisin government to form a new political amnesty committee to consider the inclusion of amnesty for violation of the Article 112 ''lese majeste'' with chairman of the sub-committee, Nikorn Jamnong, saying ''the sub-committee discussed the inclusion of those convicted of violation of the Lese Majeste Law in the proposed new Amnesty Bill.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand considering new Amnesty Bill to include amnesty for violation
of Lese Majeste Law

Pro-Amnesty Bill protesters at Parliament House in Bangkok on Thursday February 1, 2024 want absolution of Lese Majeste Law included in new Amnesty Bill

From News Reports:
Bangkok May 18: The House of Representatives sub-committee that is deliberating the implementation of a new Amnesty Bill called on the government to form a new political amnesty committee to consider the inclusion of amnesty for violation of the Lese Majeste Law, with chairman of the sub-committee saying on Friday ''the sub-committee discussed the inclusion of those convicted of violation of the Lese Majeste Law in the proposed new Amnesty Bill, reports the Bangkok Post.
The House of Representatives sub-committee chairman, Nikorn Jamnong, who is tasked with the study of data and statistics of politically motivated convictions, said ''the sub-committee discussed the demand by the Thalufah (Through the Sky) pro-democracy group, to include those convicted under Section 112 of the Criminal Code in the Constitution that makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the monarch of Thailand."
He said that the House of Representatives sub-committee discussion on the implementation of a new Amnesty Bill
included an investigation into the death of pro-democracy activist, Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, who died on
in police custody on Tuesday while on a hunger strike.
Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, a member of the Thalu Wang (Shattering the palace) monarchy reformast group, was charged with alleged violation of the Lese Majeste Law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, Section 116 ''sedition'', Section 140, ''resisting or obstructing an official through the use of violence by three or more people'', and Section 368 ''refusal to comply with an official order'' of the Criminal Code.
Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, who was arrested on May 3, 2022 was denied bail and was held in detention at the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI) after numerour applications for bail, with saying
The House of Representatives sub-committee chairman, Nikorn Jamnong, said on Friday that the majority of the House of Representatives sub-committee believe that an amnesty committee for the implementation of a new Amnesty Bill should be established.
In November 2013 thousands of protesters in Bangkok streets vowed to continue their protest against the passing of the Amenesty Bill on November 1 until the then prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, leader of the Pheu Thai party, withdrew the Amnesty Bill from the parliament.
The Amnesty Bill, sponsored by the ruling Pheu Thai party, or yellow shirts, allegedly contained a hidden political agenda that would enable the ruling Pheu Thai Party to help fugitive ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return to Thailand and avoid arrest.
The Amnesty bill would also grant amnesty to the then opposition United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or red shirts who were convicted of offences in 2010 including the Lese Majeste Law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, Section 116 ''sedition'', Section 140, ''resisting or obstructing an official through the use of violence by three or more people'', and Section 368 ''refusal to comply with an official order'' of the Criminal Code.

The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN and Myanmar military meet in Yangon to move forward the 2021 Five Point Consensus plan

ASEAN special envoy of the ASEAN chairman, Alounkeo Kittikhoun, and State Administrative Council (SAC) of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General, Min Aung Hlaing, in Yangon Wednesday 5 May 2024

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, May 19: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar met with the State Administrative Council of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, that seized the elected National League of Democracy (NLD) government of Myanmar in February 1, 2021, on Thursday in Yangon, Myanmar'' to move forward the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) plan that was introduced in April 24, 2021 '', reports the Irrawaddy.
ASEAN secretary-general Dr. Kao Kim Hourn and Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, Alounkeo Kittikhoun, met with State Administrative Council (SAC) of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, ''with the view to move forward the implementation of the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) plan that was introduced at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta on 24 April 2021.''
ASEAN secretary-general Dr. Kao Kim Hourn met with ASEAN ambassadors in Yangon to discuss ASEAN Community-building
during the the official ASEAN visit to Myanmar over four days from 14-17 May.
Dr. Kao Kim Hourn also met with representatives of United Nations (UN) agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the World Bank, to discuss the provision of ASEAN’s humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.
The ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) held in Jakarta two months after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected government in Myanmar was attended by Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing but not attended by the civilian National Unity Government (NUG).
Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, agreed to the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) plan that includes restraint by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, commencement of dialogue with a Special envoy of the ASEAN chair, assistance from the Secretary General of ASEAN to facilitate mediation, ASEAN provision of humanitarian assistance, and a special ASEAN envoy and delegation to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties including the civilian National Unity Government (NUG).
ASEAN prohibited the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, from sending a representaive to ASEAN meetings since the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April 2021.
In January 2024 that Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, sent a representative for the first time since Myanmar's attendence at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April 2021, to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) hosted by Laos, the ASEAN chair for 2024.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, sent the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marlar Than Htike, to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat), in January 2024 with Laos ASEAN chair for 2024 , Saleumxay Kommasith, saying "the developments were seen as an encouraging sign."
He said that a representative from Myanmar attending the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) was seen as an encouraging sign, cautioning ''a resolution to the Myanmar crisis remained a distant prospect."
The Southeast Asian Times


Lawyer raises questions about death of pro-democracy activist on hunger strike at women's prison in Bangkok

Thai's mourn the death of political activist Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, at the Bangkok Criminal Court on Tuesday May 14, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 18: Lawyer for the family of pro-democracy activist, Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, who was pronounced dead on Tuesday after a hunger strike, has raised questions about her treatment at the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), Medical Correction Institute in Bangkok up to the time of her death, saying ''the autopsy showed the cause of death was acute heart failure,'' reports the Bangkok Post
Lawyer Kritsadang Nutcharat said that Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, had no vital signs when she arrived at the Thammasat University medical school hospital on Tuesday from the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), Medical Correction Institute in Bangkok, saying ''Netiporn Sanesangkhom was pronounced dead at the Thammasat University Hospital on Tuesday at 11.22am.''
''The preliminary autopsy showed the causes of death were acute heart failure, abnormal mineral balance and an enlarged heart,'' he said.
He said that more laboratory tests were underway, saying 'the tests could determine other contributing factors including substandard medical care or negligence.''
He said the prelimerary autopsy found that Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom's stomach was empty at the time of her death.
The Department of Corrections reportedly said ''Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom was eating normally in the weeks leading up to her death after a prolonged hunger strike earlier.''
Department of Corrections inspector, Sompop Sangkhutkaew, said on Wednesday that ''Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom had received proper treatment during her hunger strike until she passed out and died on Tuesday.''
''The Department of Corrections will set up a committee to conduct an investigation into her death for the sake of transarency,'' he said.
He said that Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom was transferred from the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), Medical Correction Institute in Bangkom to the Thammasat University medical school hospital for 27 days from March 8 to April 4
''The Thammasat University medical school Hospital sent Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom back to the Medical Correctional Institute after she began eating food,'' he said.
He said that Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom passed out at the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), Medical Correction Institute at 6pm on Monday , saying that ''medical personnel attempted to resuscitate her immediately.''
He said that Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom was transferred to the Thammasat University medical school hospital by ambulance
saying ''medical personal performed CPR as the ambulance drove from the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), Medical Correction Institute in Bangkom to the Thammasat University medical school hospital Rangsit Campus, Pathum Thani Province.''
''Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom was pronounced dead at the Thammasat University medical school hospital at 11.22am.'' he said
Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, pro-democracy monarchy reform activist and member of the Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" group, who had been in pre-trail detention at the Central Women's Correctional Institution (CWCI), since her arrest on May 3, 2022, was charged with alleged violation of Article 112 ''lese majeste'', Article 116 ''sedition'', Article 140, ''resisting or obstructing an official through the use of violence by three or more people'', and Articlae 368 ''refusal to comply with an official order'' of the Thailand Criminal Code.
Members of the pro-democracy group Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" that was formed in January 2022 advocate for the abolition of Article 112 of the Thailand Criminal Code that makes it a crime to defame, insult, or threaten the monarchy of Thailand.
The Thalu Wang pro-democracy group advocate for amendements to the 2017 Constitution including the section that states "changing the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State or changing the form of the State shall be prohibited" that includes the section that states "the Prime Minister may not present such a draft Constitution Amendment to the King for signature."

The Southeast Asian Times

Pro-democracy and Thailand monarchy reform activist dies on a hunger strike in pre trial detention

Pro-democracy, monarchy reform activist, and member of the Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" group, Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, died at the Thammasat University Hospital on Tuesday May 14, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 17: Pro-democracy monarchy reform activist, member of the Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" group, Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, who has been in pre-trail detention at the Central Womens Correcttional Institution in Bangkok since her arrest on May 3, 2022, died on Tuesday on a hunger strike, reports Agence France Presse.
A statement released by the Central Womens Correctional Institution in Bangkok, said ''Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, refused minerals and vitimins given by the hospital.''
''She had a cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning and wasn’t responsive to the treatment, which led her to die peacefully at 11:22 a.m.,'' said the statement.
The Central Womens Correcttional Institution in Bangkok said that the hospital will conduct an autopsy to identify the cause of death.
Pro-democratic and monarchy reform activist, Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, was charged together with Natthanit "Bai Por" Duangmusit, 22, with alleged violation of Article 112 ''lese majeste'', Article 116 ''sedition'', Article 140, ''resisting or obstructing an official through the use of violence by three or more people'', and Articlae 368 ''refusal to comply with an official order'' of the Thailand Criminal Code on March 10, 2022.
Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, 28, and Natthanit "Bai Por" Duangmusit, 22, were charged by the Bangkok’s Pathumwan police for breach of Articles 112, 116, 140 and 368 of the Thailand Criminal Code for conducting an opinion poll at Siam Paragon shopping mall on February 8, 2022 asking residents 'whether royal motocades were an inconvenience to Bangkok residents.''
The Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" group had conducted public opinion polls on ''how the Thailand monarchy affects peoples's lives and whether reform of the monarchy is needed'' at various locations in Bangkok.
Members of the pro-democracy group Thalu Wang or "shattering the palace" that was formed in January 2022 advocate for the abolition of Article 112 of the Thailand Criminal Code that makes it a crime to defame, insult, or threaten the monarchy of Thailand.
The Thalu Wang pro-democracy group advocate for amendements to the 2017 Constitution including the section that states "changing the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State or changing the form of the State shall be prohibited" that includes the section that states "the Prime Minister may not present such a draft Constitution Amendment to the King for signature."
The Southeast Asian Times

MOLISA adovcate for ILO arrested after US hearing on Vietnam's market economy status

Nguyen Van Binh, 51, director general of the Legal Affairs Department at Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) arrested Thursday May 9, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 16: Hanoi police arrested Nguyen Van Binh, 51, director general of the Legal Affairs Department at Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), a day after the hearing in Washington by the US Department of Commerce on Vietnam's status as a market economy under the US Tariff Law on Wednesday May 8, 2024.
Ministry of Labor Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Legal Affairs Department director general, Nguyen Van Binh, 51, was reportedly arrested under Directive 24 by the Ministry of Public Security under Article 337 of the criminal code that crimanalizes ‘deliberate disclosure of classified information; appropriation, trading, and destruction of classified documents’.
(MOLISA) Legal Affairs Department director general, Nguyen Van Binh, 51, was reportedly leading efforts to ratify the International Labor Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize in the Vietnam National Assembly.
The arrest of Nguyen Van Binh, 51, was reportedly issued under Directive 24 by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) ''to tighten control over civil society, foreign investors, Non Government Organisations (NGOs), and Vietnamese citizens travelling abroad for tourism.''
Directive 24 reportedly calls for the prevention of ''reformist tendencies among officials'', saying ''reformist tendencies weaken our regime from within and threaten the interests of the nation, people, and the survival of the regime.''
Under directive 24 any new worker organisations are to be controlled by the state, saying independent labor unions are
a national security threat.''
The Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade minister, Nguyen Hong Dien, reportedly submitted a request to the US Department of Commerce ahead of the hearing in Washington on Vietnam's status as a market economy under the US Tariff Law on Wednesday May 8, 2024 ''to consider the removal of Vietnam from the list of non market economies.''
Vietnam is on the list of 12 nations identified by the US Department of Commerce as non market economies including China and Russia that reportedly have a ''strong state intervention in their economies.''
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Human rights Watch claims Vietnam does not satisfy basic labor rights standards under US Tariff Law

Vietnam’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Do Hung Viet, centre, at the Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday May 7, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 15: Human Rights Watch (HRW) Southeast Asia claims that Vietnam provides false or misleading information to the United States and other economic partners to secure or maintain preferential trade preferences, saying after a public hearing on Vietnam's trade status held by the US Department of Commerce in Washington last week that ''Vietnam does not satisfy basic labor rights standards.''
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Southeast Asia, advocacy director, John Sifton, said that the US Department of Commerce is considering a reclassification of Vietnam under the US Tariff Law as a market economy with a ruling expected on July 26, 2024,
saying ''the reclassification would provide Vietnam major economic benefits.''
He said that Vietnam argues that its labor law standards are in line with international standards and that wages in Vietnam are determined by free bargaining between labor and management as called for under the US Tariff Law.
''It’s patently false to claim that Vietnamese workers can organize unions or that their wages are the result of free bargaining between labor and management,'' he said.
''Not a single independent union exists in Vietnam and no working legal frameworks exist for unions to be created or for workers to enforce labor rights,'' he said.
''Human Rights Watch (HRW) takes no position on Vietnam's economic status but the redesignation of Vietnam to a market economy under the US Tariff Law is legally contingent on basic labor rights protections and stated US policy on promoting labor rights,'' he said.
''Vietnam’s claims to respect labor rights relies on empty words and promises, laws and regulations that have no connection to the realities of the county’s actual labor rights situation,'' he said.
He said that the Vietnam government continues to call the government-led Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) a labor confederation of enterprise-level labor federations but the VGGL is led by Vietnam government appointees.
''The unions and federations that exist under the VGCL are almost all led by people appointed by management at the enterprise level,'' he said
He said that workers or labor leaders do not choose leaders or representatives who can bargain to set wages on their behalf, saying ''the government-led Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) bargains with management or at the state-wide level in the interests of the government and the Vietnamese Communist Party, not on behalf of wokers and in a representative capacity.
''State control of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) is demonstrated by Directive 24 issued by the Communist Party of Vietnam that orders enhanced scrutiny of labor groups, civil society, and foreign organizations, specifically in the context of Vietnam’s implementation of new trade agreements with other countries and with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Directive 24 reportedly ''shares a striking similarity with Document 9, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) directive introduced in April 2013 that enumerated a list of seven trends and activities that according to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) posed a threat to the party.''
China's Document 9 reportedly made it clear that ''the one party-state would exert control over all expression in the country and limit the ability of civil society in China to operate.''
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Amnesty calls for release of high-school students arrested in central Papua for wearing the banned Morning Star flag

Senior high-school students arrested for displaying the banned pro-independence West Papua Bintang Kejora or Morning Star flag on their shirts in a graduation parade in Dogiyai Regency, Nabire, Central Papua on May 6, 2024

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 14: Amnesty International Indonesia has called for the release of high-school students arrested for displaying the banned pro-independence West Papua Bintang Kejora or Morning Star flag on their shirts in a graduation parade in Dogiyai Regency, Nabire, Central Papua on May 6, saying ''a cultural expression through a peaceful procession is not a crime,'' reports Indoleft.
Amnesty International Indonesia executive director, Usman Hamid, said at least six students were arrested for displaying the West Papua Morning Star flag on their shirts in the Dogiyai 2 senior high-school (SMA) graduation parade on Monday May 6.
"We call on the authorities to immediately free all the students who were detained for no apparent reason and carry out a fair investigation of the acts of violence that was allegedly carried out by police ", he said on
May 7.
He said the arrests of the high-school students were accompanied by alleged acts of violence by police, saying ''acts of violence by police against the students are unacceptable.''
''A cultural expression through a peaceful graduation parade is not a crime,'' he said.
He said that the symbol of the Morning Star represents a cultural expression, saying ''the Morning Star symbol should not be a reason for the authorities to arrest anyone without due legal process.''
He said the police and the government should emulate the former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, Gus Dur's, approach towards indigenous Papuans, saying ''cultural symbols such as the Morning Star flag were accommodated because it's a peaceful expression.''
Dogiyai Regency, Police Commander Sarraju said that on Monday morning at about 9.30am our officers attempted to enter the school grounds to appeal to the Dogiyai 2 State SMA students not to carry out the graduation parade or long-march, saying ''the police were prevented by several students who were standing guard at the school gate.''
The Dogiyai police criminal investigation unit is conducted an investigation into the display of the banned pro-independence West Papua Morning Star flag on the uniforms worn by senior high school students in the Dogiyai 2 senior high-school (SMA)
graduation parade celebration.
''Dogiyai 2 State SMA school principle Fredy Yobee has apologised for the incident claiming that he and the teachers did not have prior knowledge of students' actions,'' he said.
On December 1, 2021 Indonesia Military (TNI) and National Police arrested eight West Papuans in Jayapura, West Papua charging them with treason for flying the banned Morning star flag in commemmoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
The banned Bintang Kejora or Morning Star flag was flown in six locations in Papua including Central Mamberamo Regency, Puncak, Bintang Mountains, Intan Jaya, Paniai, and West Papua's capital, Jayapura.
Deputy Head of the Papuan Regional Police (Polda), Brigadier General Eko Rudi Sudarto, said then that eight West Papuans were arrested in the courtyard of the Cenderawasih Sports Center (GOR), Jayapura City including the former chair of the Student Executive Board of the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) for organising the raising of the banned flag at the Cenderawasih Sports Center.
He said that banners, that read "Self Determination For West Papua", "Stop Militarisation of West Papua" and "Indonesia Immediately Open Access for Investigation Team of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua” were unfurled in the courtyard of the sports center.
The eight West Papuans were arrested on December 1, 2021 under Article 106 of the Criminal Code, Article 110 of the Criminal Code and Article 87 of the Criminal Code for conspiring to commit crimes against the state.
The Southeast Asian Times


New 1MDB management charge Rosmah Mansor, wife of incarcerated former PM, with embezzlement

Rosmah Mansor, 70, wife of incarcerated ousted former prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, is charged with embezzlement by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, Monday 13: The new management of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Rosmah Mansor, 70, wife of incarcerated ousted former prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, who is a former chair of the 1MDB, for the embezzlement of US$346,010,489 million from the fund, reports the Star.
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds filed a lawsuit against Rosmah Mansor, 70, for 320 payments totaling US $346, 010,489 for the purchase of luxury brand name handbags, watches and jewelry through Singapore fashion designer, Shabnam Naraindas Daswani also known as Natasha Mirpuri.
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds alledge that Rosmah Mansor and
the Singapore fashion designer, knowingly received or assisted in using US $346,010,489 million inappropriately.
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds demand a return of the funds that the 1MDB claim were stolen, saying ''the 1MDB is claiming interest on the stolen funds,''
''The 1MDB is claiming interest and compensation for legal costs and any profit made from the sale of the goods.'' said the
1MDB lawsuit.
In May 2018 the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens luxury brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned by the family members of former Prime Minister Najib Razak
The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), Commercial Crime Division, head, Amar Singh, said then that police found 114 million ringgit (28.6 million) stuffed in 35 womens handbags bags in one apartment.
"The banknotes were in 26 currencies with the largest amounts in ringgit and Singapore dollars," he said.
Police reportedly seized a further 150 womens handbags carrying the French brand name "Hermes" in an apartment registered in the name of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak's daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
Police also seized 284 boxes containing other luxury brand name womens handbags along with a large number of womens shoes and jewelery including watches.
Former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is a former chair of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state subsidiary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds, began serving a 12 -year prison sentence in 2022 for the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1MDB, but the prison sentence was reduced in February 2024 to six years and the fine from RM 210 million to RM50 million by Malaysia's Federal Territories Pardons Board, chaired by the new King of Malaysia, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor.
On March 11, 2024 the new management of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state subsidiary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds charged the former incarcerated ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak of breach of trust and abuse of power and misappropriation of funds together with former SRS International Sdn Bhd funds chief executive officer, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
The 1MDB subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd company is seeking damages, interests, costs and a court declaration that the former prime minister Najib Najib is responsible for SRS International Sdn Bhd company losses, demanding that Najib Najib pay back the US$1.18bil in losses.
The Southeast Asian Times


Paris Appeal Court to deliberate victims of Agent Orange appeal on United States jurisdiction

Vietnamese-French woman, Tran To Nga, 82, at the Paris Court of Appeal on Tuesday May 7, 2024 after the court's decision to announce its decision on jurisdiction on August 22, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 12: The Paris Court of Appeal is to give its decision in August on the appeal made on Monday by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (AO) (VAVA against the Evry Crown Court Paris ruling on May 10, 2021 that dismissed the case brought by Vietnamese-French woman, Tran To Nga, 82, on grounds that the Paris court did not have jurisdiction to judge a lawsuit involving US government wartime actions, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
On May 10, 2021 the Evry Crown Court in Paris ruled that the argument that multinational chemical companies had supplied toxic defoilent Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin to the US government for use by US military forces to conduct chemical warfare in Vietnam was inadmissible in a French court.
Lawyers defending the United States chemical corporations denied their clients responsibility, arguing that the chemical corportaions had acted at the request of the United States army, citing state immunity.
''State immunity means that a sovereign state cannot be proposecuted at a court of another sovereign state,'' said the defending lawyers
Vietnamese-French woman, Tran To Nga, argued at the Evry Crown Court Paris in 2021 that Vietnamese civilians suffered the effects of the toxic defoiliant Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin, supplied by multinational chemical companies to US military forces.
She accused multinational chemical companies of supplying the toxic defoilent Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin to the US government for use by US military forces to conduct chemical warfare in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) President, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, said after the Evry Crown Court in Paris had dismissed the case that he was not satisfied with the court ruling, saying "the ruling is not convincing."
"It is a fact that US chemical companies manufactured about 80 million litres of the toxic defoiliant Agent Orange for US military forces to spray over Southern Vietnam between 1961 and 1971, causing serious environmental and human health consequences," he said.
On Monday after the Paris Court of Appeal announcement that it would give its decision on August 22, 2024 lawyers, Bertrand Repolt and William Bourdon, for Vietnam-French woman, Tran To Nga, 82, argued that the multinational chemical companies
that supplied toxic defoilent Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin to US military forces to use in the war in Vietnam must be held responsible for their actions, saying ''the 13 United States chemical corporations should not be entitled to state immunity for serving the United states.''
''There is sufficient evidence proving those 13 companies had voluntarily joined in the bidding to produce toxic defoilent Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin supplied to the United States army in Vietnam during 1961 - 1971,'' said lawyer Bertrand Repolt.
He said that Vietnam-French woman, Tran To Nga, did not intend to sue the United States, saying
''Tran To Nga wants the chemical companies held responsible for their proactive and independent production of toxic defoilent Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin for commercial and profit-seeking purposes.''
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (AO) (AVAO) first lodged a lawsuit against chemical companies, that manufactured the toxic defoiliant Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin for use by the UN military forces in Vietnam, after the launch of the association in Hanoi in 2004 in an effort to obtain justice for the Vietnamese civilian victims of the toxic defoilant.
The Southeast Asian Times



ASEAN meeting on Transnational Crime calls on ASEAN to implement anti-arms smuggling declaration

Sixth ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) working group on arms smuggling hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap on Monday May 6, 2024

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May11: The sixth ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) working group on arms smuggling, hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap, with representatives of ASEAN member states, observer-status member Timor-Leste, the ASEAN Secretariate and Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA) calling for the implementation of the ASEAN anti-arms smuggling declaration, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) officials urged ASEAN member states to increase cooperation and establish new mechanisms to curb arms smuggling within the region, saying ''the smuggling of arms is a growing threat to regional stability.''
Thailands Ministry of Interior secretary of state, Por Pheak, who is chairman of the SOMTC-Cambodia working group. chaired the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) working group on arms smuggling on Monday.
Representatives of ASEAN member states, observer-status member Timor-Leste, and the ASEAN Secretariat and Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA) said ''the fight against arms smuggling is a complex issue that is increasing from year to year,'' in a statement.
“As such, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member countries and partners through both existing mechanisms and the establishment of new ones to prevent and curb arms smuggling in the territory of ASEAN member countries to maintain peace, stability and security,” said the statement.
Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA, a partner of Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) called for the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Combating Arms Smuggling that was adopted at the 17th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (17th AMMTC) in Indonesia on August 21, 2023.
The ASEAN Declaration on Combating Arms Smuggling called for ''the ratification of relevant international treaties and agreements on arms smuggling, in view of strengthening ASEAN’s cooperation to combat arms smuggling facilitated by the SOMTC voluntary lead-Shepherd for arms smuggling priority area,'' as one of nine resolutions in the ASEAN Declaration on Combating Arms Smuggling.
In February 2024 the Bangkok Criminal Court dropped all charges against the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, arms dealer, Tun Min Latt, and four Thailand partners including Dean Young Gultula, who is the son-in-law of Thailand senator Upakit Pachariyangkun Upaki, with the Court saying "the evidence presented by the defence successfully refuted all allegations, leading to the court’s decision to dismiss the charges.
"After careful consideration, the court found that the prosecution’s evidence lacked sufficient weight to prove the defendants guilty of all charges brought against them," said the Bangkok Criminal Court on Tuesday.
Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, arms dealer, Tun Min Latt and four Thailand partners including Dean Young Gultula, whose father-in-law, Thailand Senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, was charged separately for suspected involvement in transnational crime illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Thailand Senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, who posted 10 million baht (US$287,000) bail after he was charged on December 14, 2023 is scheduled to return to court on May 13, 2024.
The Southeast Asian Times



Prison for displaying posters of the King of Malaysia in by-election campaign

P. Ramasamy, 66, pleaded for a lighter sentence at the Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate’s Court in Selangor, Malaysia on Monday May 6, 2024 , saying he did not know that he was committing an offence

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 10: The Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate’s Court in Selangor, Malaysia, sentenced P. Ramasamy, 66, to a month in prison with a fine of RM3,000 after he pleaded guilty to displaying posters of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, on the vehicle he was driving during the Kubu Baharu by-election campaign, with P. Ramasamy saying he did not know that he was committing an offence, reports Bernama.
P.Ramasamy, who pleaded for a lighter sentence, is one of two men who was arrested on Saturday for displaying posters, of the King of Malaysia, and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on a Mazda 4WD vehicle during the Kubu Baharu by-election campaign.
Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate, Siti Fatimah Talib said that P. Ramasamy, 66, who represented himself at the Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate’s Court, would serve an additional 10 months in prison if he fails to pay the fine.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Razarudin Husain said that the two men were charged under Section 4A (1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 for malicious intent, saying a police report was submitted to the deputy public prosecutors office on Saturday.
A police report was submitted to the deputy public prosecutors office after a complaint was lodged with the Kuala Kubu Baharu police that a Mazda 4WD vehicle with the registration number AFA 6108 driving in Taman Bukit Bunga Kuala Kubu Bharu.
displayed posters of King of Malaysia and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Saturday.
Deputy public prosecutor Asmah Che Wan requested that the Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate’s court impose an appropriate sentence, saying ''the offence showed disrespect for His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia.''
''A sensitive issue that could provoke anger among Malaysians,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Gunman sentenced to prison for eight years in plea bargain agreement for assassination of Philippines broadcaster

Radio broadcaster, Percy 'Lapid' Mabasa, 59, hosting the commentary program "Lapid Fire" where he delivered criticism of alleged Philippines government abuses and irregularities before he was shot dead in a drive-by ambush in Manila on Monday October 3, 2022

From News Reports:
Manila, May 9: The Las Pinas, Regional Trial Court in metro Manila sentenced gunman, Joel Escorial, 40, who shot dead radio broadcaster Percy Lapid, 59, in a drive-by ambush in Las Pinas in metro Manila on October 3, 2022, to eight years and eight months in prison, with Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) saying ''the slaying of the radio broadcaster was a political assassination,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Presiding judge, Harold Cesar Huliganga, sentenced Joel Escorial, 40, to eight years and eight months in prison, reducing the sentence from sixteen years after the accused gunman entered a plea bargain agreement in August 2023
Joel Escorial, surrendered to police in the weeks after the fatal shooting of the radio broadcaster on October 3. 2024, confessing to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and naming accomplices in the killing of the radio broadcaster.
The presiding judge said that the plea bargain agreement for a lower sentence included downgrading the charge of murder against to homicide, saying ''as an accomplice to the murder, Joel Escorial, will remain in the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center.''
''Joel Escorial, will remain in the police custody until the conclusion of the trial of Christoper Bacoto, an alleged accomplice in the crime,'' he said.
Christoper Bacoto, who was named the alleged mastermind in the killing of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid, remains at-large despite an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) coalition in the Philippines, spokesman said the slaying of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid, 59, was a ''a political assassination.''
The spokesman said that radio broadcaster Percy Lapid hosted the commentary program "Lapid Fire" where he delivered criticisms of alleged government abuses and irregularities, saying ''Percy Lapid was a staunch critic of the Rodrigo Duterte administration and officials of the President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.government."
The FMFA coalition that includes the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MIJ), said "the case against the masterminds behind the political execution of the radio broadcaster could be archived."
The FMFA coalition said that despite the surrender and confession of the drive-by gunmen, Joel Escorial, who named accomplices in the killing of the radio broadcaster in his confession, the mastermind behind the political execution of the radio broadcaster cannot be found.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar males banned from working aboard under enforcement of Myanmar Conscription Law

Myanmar male workers at Incheon International Airport in South Korea Tues 9 Apr 2024 ahead of the ban on males working abroad that came into effect in Myanmar on Wednesday May 1, 2024

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, May 8: The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar that seized the elected National League of Democracy (NLD) government of Myanmar in February 2021 has banned all males from working abroad after more than 100,000 have fled to avoid the Conscription Law that came into effective on May 1, with the Myanmar Labor Permanent Secretary saying ''conscription is temporary and will remain in effect as needed,'' reports Irrawaddy.
Labor Permanent Secretary, Nyunt Win, said that ''starting from May 1 we will only send registered women as migrant workers abroad, saying ''males will not be able to register to work abroad.''
He said that males who had registered to work abroad by the end of April will be exempt from the ban, saying ''a small number of workers who made arrangement through intergovernment employment agencies will also be exempt.''
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar announced the enforcement of the Conscription Law on February 10, requiring males aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to enlist for service in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar began recruiting in February, enforcing the Conscription Law in 224 townships across Myanmar with about 5,000 males sent to 17 military training camps by the end of March.
Rohingya men from villages and camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rakhine State were reportedly forcibily recuited after the announcement by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar of the enforcement of the Conscription Law.
Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) co-founder, Nay San Lwin, said the coalition was warned by residents in Rakhin State that Rohingya recruits would be used as human shields in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar conflict against the Arakan Army (AA) on the Myanmar-China border.
"At least 400 Rohingya men have been forcibly recruited from villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Sittwe and Buthidaung in Rakhine State to fight against the Arakan Army (AA)," saying "the training period is only two weeks.
He said the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar that enacted the Conscription Law on February 10 intend to draft 60,000 men annually, saying "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar have forcibly recruited more than 100 Rohingya men since the enforcement of the Conscription Law.
"The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar have told Rohingya males that each recruit will receive a citizens identity card, a sack of rice, and a monthly salary of 50,000 kyats (US$ 41)," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Labor Day 2024 under military rule in Myanmar worst since coup

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, May 7: Myanmar marked the fourth Labor Day under the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar rule, with the Federation of General Workers Myanmat (FGWM) saying ''Labor rights violations and Workplace Coordination Committee (WCC) injustices have worsened since the 2021 coup,'' reports the Irrawaddy.
''Civil servants and trade unionists who joined the anti-regime Civil Disobedience Movement were arrested, tortured, imprisoned and killed,'' said the Federation of General Workers Myanmat (FGWM) in a statement.
The Federation of General Workers Myanmat (FGWM) said that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar labeled labor rights organizations and trade unions
that advocate worker rights as

Injustices on the fourth Labor Day under the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar have worsened Wednesday May 1, 2024
terrorist organizations, saying ''the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar has arrested, prosecuted and jailed labor activists under the Sedition Law that came with Martial Law in the February 2021 coup.''
''Worker rights activists were arrested and forced to go into hiding,'' said the Federation of General Workers Myanmat (FGWM).
East Dagon Industrial Zone in Yangon garment factory worker, Ma Aye Nwe, said that ''garmen factory workers have quit with some going overseas,'' saying ''garment factories employ only about 20 of the 30 workers that are required by the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar
(CTUM).''
Ma Aye Nwe said that factory Workplace Coordination Committee (WCC) supervisors are pushing workers and putting a time limit to drink and use the toilet, saying ''we can’t drink if we don’t meet the targets.''
Workplace Coordination Committee (WCC) under the Smart Myanmar project and the Smart Factories programme was operating in garment factories in cooperation with the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) before the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the legitimate elected government.
Workplace Coordination Committee (WCC) that was to improve working conditions, promote and improve labour and environmental standards and reduce labour right abuses in Myanmar’s textile, clothing and footwear industries, became under the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar a tool to protect the interests of the garment factory employers and legitimise the ruling Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar controlled business environment.
In February 2021 in the weeks after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) that is affiliated with trade unions in Myanmar and that includes the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), Myanmar Industry Craft and Service-Trade Unions Federation (MICS) and the Myanmar Tourism Guide Association, was one of more that two hundred signatories that called on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and State Donors "to immediately freeze and comprehensively reassess lending relationship with Myanmar."
Signatories calling on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and State Donors "to halt lending obligations, suspend disbursements and pending grants" include ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma).
Signatories also called on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to immediately release hundreds of workers arrested for taking part in the Civil Disobediance Movement (CDM) nationwide strike action.
Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), secretary general, Daw Phyo Sandar Soe, said that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) had arrested workers at the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar controlled Ministry Oil and Gas Enterprise, Myanmar National Airlines, Rail transport in Myanmar and the Kyisintaung copper mines in Sagaing Region who have taken part in the Civil Disobediance Movement (CDM) nationwide strike action.
The Southeast Asian Times


U.S, Australia, Japan and Philippines to step up maritime exercises in South China Sea

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin , Australia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, Japan Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, Philippines Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command headquarters, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Thursday May 2, 2024

From News Reports:
Hawii, May 6: Defence ministers from the U.S, Australia, Japan and the Philippines agreed to increase joint activities, including maritime exercises at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command headquarters, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii on Thursday, with defence ministers reportedly ''strongly objecting to China’s dangerous deployment of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea,'' reports Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin , Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, Japan's Minister of Defense, Kihara Minoru, and the Philippines Secretary of National Defense, Gilbert Teodoro, ''expressed grave concern over the situation in the East and South China Seas'' reportedly ''reiterating serious concerns regarding the People's Republic of China's (PRC) repeated obstruction of Philippines vessels.''
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the defence ministers and senior military officers shared a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, saying ''continued collaboratio would lead to realize that vision.''
''We also want to pursue coordinated security assistance to the Philippines that will boost interoperability and help the Philippines achieve its defense modernization goals,'' he said.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Richard Marles, said the defense ministers discussed increasing the tempo of defense exercises based on the bilateral reciprocal access agreements (RAAs).
''Increasing the tempo of defence exercises would be based on the forces agreements that existed or were being negotiated by the U.S. Australia, Japan and the Philippines,'' he said.
Japan Defense Minister, Minoru Kihara, said that Japan was in negotiations with the Philippines on an reciprocal access agreements (RAAs) saying ''Early settlement of it would further activate and vitalize the bilateral joint exercises.''
''Training of the two militaries is expected to reinforce cooperation among the four nations.
Philippines Secretary Of National Defense, Gilbert Teodoro, said that the underlying principle of the meeting in Hawaii is a shared respect for a rules?based international order and upholding international law,'' he said.
''It is safe to say that the U.S., Australia, Japan and the Philippines, four independent countries, voicing the same message means an important thing in the face of a unilateral declaration by a single theatre actor.''
Defence ministers of the U.S, Australia, Japan and the Philippines reitorated in a joint statement their serious concerns over the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels and disruption of supply lines to Second Thomas Shoal, saying 'the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) repeated obstructsion of Philippine vessels pose dangerous and destabilizing behavior.''
The statement called on China to adhere to the legally binding 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Award and pledged to support states exercising their rights and freedoms in the South China Sea.
In July 2016 judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of ''historic rightt'' over the South China Sea.
"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the judges said.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
China claims that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid verdict on the South China Sea dispute
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in November 2015 that the court has jurisdiction to consider the Philippine case against the China claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
The Philippines filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying 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.
The Southeast Asian Times


School directors sentenced to prison for bribery for securing admissions to the Samsenwittayalai High School Bangkok

Viroj Samluan, fomer director of Samsenwittayalai High School, at the school on Tuesday June 20, 2017

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 5: The Bangkok Criminial Court sentenced former director and former deputy director of the Samsenwittayalai High School in Phaya Thai district, Bangkok to 20 years in prison for embezzlement and bribery for accepting cash from parents to secure their childrens's admission to the school, reports the Bangkok Post.
Samsenwittayalai High School director, Viroj Samluan and deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep, were found guilty of embesslement and accepting cash bribes from parents to secure their children’s admission to the school between January and June 2017.
Viroj Samluan and Phusit Prayoonanuthep were charged under the Criminal Code, Sections 147, 148 and 157 for malfeasance and the Organic Act on Supplementing the Constitution Relating to the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption (1999) for bribery.
In 2017 the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) conducted an investigation into allegations brought by parents
that direcor, Viroj Samluan and deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep, had accepted cash bribes from parents to secure their childrens admission to the school.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found that director,Viroj Samluan had accepted 400,000 baht from a parent to ensure their child’s enrolment, saying ''the director had accepted up to 8 million baht in bribes in total from parents to ensure their children's enrolment.''
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found that the deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep, had accepted a a cash bribe to help their child transfer schools in the middle of the school year, saying ''the payment of cash occurred in the deputy director's private office on the school premises.''
The Samsenwittayalai High School director, Viroj Samluan, and deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep, claimed that the money
paid by parents was a donation to the school and was handed to the Student Recruitment Network Committee that was established by deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found that the Student Recruitment Network Committee contradicted the operations of the Office of the Basic Education Commission resource recruitment measures and the Regulations for Disbursing Money from the Treasury (2008), accusing the school director and deputy director of embezzlement as stated in the warrant of arrest.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found that no receipts were issued for cash paid by parents to the directors of the Samsenwittayalai High School between January and June 2017, saying ''the alleged cash donations were kept in a safe in deputy director, Phusit Prayoonanuthep, office, not in the school's central safe.''
The Bangkok Criminial Court ruled that Samsenwittayalai High School director, Viroj Samluan, had attempted to issue retroactive receipts in an affort to cover up the crime.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

New Solomon Is PM Manele pledges to continue former PM Sogavare
pro-China policies

New Solomon Is. Prime Minister, Jeremiah Manele, pledges to continue pro-China policies after winning 31 seats of 50 parliamentary seats Thursday May 2, 2024

From News Reports:
Honiara, May 4: Solomon Island's new prime minister, Jeremiah Manele, a former foreign minister, pledged to continue former prime minister Manasseh Sogavare, pro-China policies, with China's embassy in Honiara saying ''the China embassy looks forward to working with you to develop China-Solomon Islands relations and deliver more benefits to our peoples,'' reports Reuters.
Solomon Island governor general, Sir David Vunagi, announced that new prime minister, Jeremiah Manele, had won 31 seats of the 50 seat parliament with opposition leader Matthew Wales winning 18 seats, with one absentee vote in Honiara on Thursday.
Jeremiah Manele, new leader of the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) party and the new Coalition of National Unity and Transformation (CNUT) that includes the Solomon Islands Peoples First Party (SIPFP) and the Kadere Party pledged to continue the pro-China policies that includes changing diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.
Former prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, said during the election campaigne that ''the change in diplomatice relations brought significant investment to the Solomon Islands from Bejing.''
Opposition Solomon Islands Democratic Party leader, Matthew Wale, the Umi for Change Party (U4C) leader Daniel Suidani and Democratic Alliance Party leader, former prime Minister Rick Houenipwela agreed formed a coalition with the second-largest opposition party, United, leader Peter Kenilorea Jr. after the 12th Parliamentary general elections on April 17.
Opposition Solomon Islands Democratic Party leader, Matthew Wale, said that lobbying of politicians ahead of the vote on Thursday was dominated by "people asking for money and positions".
In May 2022 Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), David Panuelo, warned of dire consequences if any nations endorsed China's Common Development Vision for the Pacific after China and the Pacific Island of Samoa had signed a bilateral agreement for the provision of infrastructure development under China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and 20 delegates toured 10 Pacific Island countries including the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Niue that make up the Federated States of Micronesia in an effort to gain endorsement for the Common Development Vision for the Pacific.
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), David Panuelo, said that China's Common Development Vision for the Pacific includes training Pacific police officers, expanding law enforcement cooperation and traditional and non-traditional security.
China also wants to jointly develop a marine plan for fisheries that would include the Pacific's tuna catch, to increase cooperation on running the regions internet networks and establish cultural Confucius Institutes and classrooms.
He said in his letter to the Pacific nations that "China's Common Development Vision for the Pacific is an intent to shift those of us with diplomatic relations with China very close to Beijing's orbit, intrinsically tying the whole of our economies and societies to them," saying "aggreement to the plan would needlessly heighten geopolitical tensions and threaten regional stability."
"The Common Development Vision was the single most game-changing proposed agreement in the Pacific in any of our lifetimes," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian Women's Alliance calls
for rights for women workers
on May Day

Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers from 60 national labor unions alligned with the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), to celebrate Labour Day or May Day in Indonesia on Wednesday May 1, 2024

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3 Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers from 60 national labor unions alligned with the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI) to celebrate May Day on Wednesday, marching from the Horse Statue in central Jakarta to the Bundaran Hotel Indonesia and ending at the Senayan Madya Stadium, with the Indonesian Women's Alliance calling for rights for women workers, reports Antara.
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), alliance member, the Indonesian Women's Alliance that includes the National Advocacy Network for Domestic Workers (Jala PRT), called on the House of Representatives (DPR) to pass the draft Domestic Workers Bill, with representative, Anggi Ria Santi, saying "ignoring the Domestic Workers Bill is the same as allowing modern slavery to continue, especially for women."
The draft Domestic Workers Bill before the House of Representatives (DPR) recognizes domestic worker rights to training, health insurance and social security, with employers and agents required to uphold wages and hourly work rate agreements under the draft Domestic Workers Bill.
The draft Domestic Workers Bill stipulates that employers and agents who are found guilty of assaulting a domestic worker would be liable to eight years' imprisonment or a fine of 125 million rupiah ($8,233).
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), alliance member, Perempuan Mahardhika Organisation (Free Woman Organisation) national secretary, Tyas Widuri, said ''the Indonesian government ignores the protection of women and women's rights in work-related policies.''
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), alliance member, Indonesia minority group, Arus Pelangi (Rainbow Current) said that employers do not accept gender diversity, with general secretary, Echa Wa'ode, saying ''gender minorities, transwomen and transmen have difficulty finding employment despite having the necessary skills.''
"So, in the end, our trans friends can only work as sex workers, buskers, or in beauty salons to survive each day," he said
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI) alliance member, All-Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI) called for the repeal of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law at the Senayan Madya Stadium on May Day on Wednesday.
The Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law determined the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) that was introduced by President Joko Widodo in October 2021, who said then, "the revision of over 70 existing laws is vital to investment and to labour market competitiveness in the plan to develop at least 27 industrial parks in regions across Indonesia."
The Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law proposes that the minimum wage be determined by the regional governor of each region, based on the inflation rate and economic growth in the region, with the increase of the minimum wage that was derived from the Omnibus Law on Job Creation in Jakarta Rp37,538, per month, increasing the minumum wage per month to Rp4,453,724.
Workers in Central Java received the lowest Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) increase of Rp14,032, per month, increasing the minimum wage per month to Rp1,813,011.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will not contest prime ministerial leadership

Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare withdraws his leadership from the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) Party on Monday April 29, 2024

From News Reports:
Honiara, May 2: Solomon Island's Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, withdrew leadership from the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) Party after winning 15 of the 50 parliamentary seats in the 12th Parliamentary general elections on
April 17, ahead of the vote for a new Prime Minister by new members of parliament on Thursday, reports Reuters.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who was in his fourth term as prime minister, announced on Monday that he would not contest the prime ministerial leadership on following the results of the general election.
The Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) party established the Coalition of National Unity and Transformation with the Kadere and People First parties after the the 12th Parliamentary general elections on April 17.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that he will be replaced as prime ministerial candidate for the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) party by Foreign Minister, Jeremiah Manele.
Foreign Minister, Jeremiah Manele, has promised to continue Prime Ministers' Manasseh Sogavare, pro-China policies during the election campaigne that includes changing diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, with Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, saying ''the change in diplomatice relations brought significant investment to the Solomon Islands from Bejing.''
Opposition Solomon Islands Democratic Party leader, Matthew Wale, the Umi for Change Party (U4C), leader Daniel Suidani and
Democratic Alliance Party leader, former prime Minister Rick Houenipwela have agreed with the second-largest opposition party,
United, leader Peter Kenilorea Jr. to form a coalition with a total of 20 parliamentary seats.
The Solomon Island 12th Parliamentary general elections on April 17 were the the first election held since Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare signed the "China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development" programme in 2022.
The 2023 elections were cancelled with claims by Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, that the Solomon Islands could not afford to have an election in the same year as the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, leader of the the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) Party, launched in 2010, said that ''hosting the Solomon Island's 2023 Pacific Games with stadiums donated by China was a major achievement'' during the 12th Parliamentary general elections campaign.
In May 2022 Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), then president David W. Panuelo, warned the Pacific nations of dire consequences if any nations endorse the "China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development" programme.
"China's Common Development Vision for the Pacific includes training Pacific police officers, expanding law enforcement cooperation and traditional and non-traditional security," he said.
China also wants to jointly develop a marine plan for fisheries that would include the Pacific's tuna catch, to increase cooperation on running the regions internet networks and establish cultural Confucius Institutes and classrooms.
He said in his letter to the Pacific nations that "China's Common Development Vision for the Pacific is an intent to shift those of us with diplomatic relations with China very close to Beijing's orbit, intrinsically tying the whole of our economies and societies to them," saying "aggreement to the plan would needlessly heighten geopolitical tensions and threaten regional stability."
"The Common Development Vision was the single most game-changing proposed agreement in the Pacific in any of our lifetimes," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Human rights lawyer accused of attempting to overthrow Thai King as head of state receives added jail sentence

Panupong Jadnok, 24, Parit Chiwarak, 22, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, 23, and Arnon Nampa, 37, respond to summons for charge of breach of the Lese Majeste Law in Article 112 of the Criminal Code at a Bangkok Police Station on Monday November 30, 2020

From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 30: Jailed protest leader, Human Rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa, 39, had two years added to an eight year jail sentence on Monday for demanding reform of the monarchy, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Bangkokm Criminal Court sentenced the Human Rights lawyer for the third of 14 charges brought against him since the Untited Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student movement protests that drew hundreds of thousands to Bangkok in 2020, demanding reform of the monarchy
Human Rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa, was first sentenced to eight years in prison in September 2023 on two charges of breach of the Lese Majeste Law, one in a speech deemed an insult to the monarchy in 2020 and another in a social media post in 2021.
On Monday the Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Human Rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, 39, to a further two years and twenty days in prison and a fine of 100 baht for an added breach of the Lese Majeste Law in a speech at a protest in 2021 and for breach of the state of emergency that was imposed in Bangkok on October 15, 2020.
Lawyer, Junjira Junpaew, said that Human Rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa, denied any wrongdoing, saying ''his legal team will appeal the sentence.''
On November 10, 2021 the Constitutional Court ruled that mass protests held at the Thammasat University Rangsit campus in Bangkok on August 10, 2020 by the Untited Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student movement ''aimed to overthrow the democratic institution with the King as head of state",
The Constitutional Court ruled then that Arnon Nampa, 37, Panupong Jadnok, 24, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, 23, attempted to overthrow the democratic institution with the King as head of state in the demands made in a 10 point manifesto that was submitted to the Parliament by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student union on August 28, 2020.
The accused, Arnon Nampa, Panupong Jadnok and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul said then that they had no intention of overthrowing the constitutional monarchy, saying "the demands in the 10 point manifesto are intended to strengthen the constitutional monarchy and not a proposal to abolish the monarchy."
The accused said that the demands in the 10 point manifesto were not intended to overthrow but reform the monarchy, saying "the proposed amendments to Section 112 of the Criminal Code that would decriminalise the lese majeste law are not an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy."
The ten point manifesto demands that the government revoke Article 112 of the Criminal Code, that would decriminalise the Lese Majeste law and allow the exercise of freedom of expression.
The ten point manifesto also demands that the monarchy give amnesty to those prosecuted for criticizing the monarchy and
also called for the government to revoke the Crown Property Act of 2018 and make a clear division between the kings assets under the control of the Ministry of Finance and his personal assets.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam National Assembly chairman accepts resignation for violation of Communist Party regulations

Vietnam National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and high-ranking delegates arrive in Beijing Sunday 7 April 2024 for a six-day official at invitation of Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China

From News Reports:
Hanoi, April 30: The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) accepted the reportedly voluntary resignation of the chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Vuong Dinh Hue, 54, on Friday for ''violating Communist Party of Vietnam regulations that negatively affect the reputation of the Party and the State, '' in his involvement in the alleged bribery of officials in the Thuan An Group Joint Stock Company, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
The resignation of the chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Vuong Dinh Hue, on Friday follows the arrest of his assistant, vice chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Pham Thai Ha, on April 21, for abusing his position and power for personal gain in the alleged bribery of officials in the Thuan An Group Joint Stock Company.
The arrest of the vice chairman of the National Assembly, Pham Thai Ha, reportedly resulted from an investigation by
the Ministry of Public Security’s investigative agency (C03) into alleged bribery by high ranking officials at the Thuan An Group Joint Stock Company that operates in technical infrastructure investment and construction and trading of electricity, renewable energy and real estate.
The Ministry of Public Security’s investigative agency (C03) launched legal proceeding against six high ranking officials for giving bribes and recieving bribes including detaining the chairman of the Thuan An Group Joint Stock Company, Nguyen Duy Hung in Hanoi for violating bidding regulations, causing serious consequences and bribery.
Last month the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee accepted the reportedly voluntary resignation of Vo Van Thuong from his position as President of Vietnam, as member of the Politburo Standing Committee, as chairman of the National Defence and Security Council for the 2021-2026 tenure and as a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) following the arrest and detention of officials in Quang Ngai province for allegedly receiving bribes during the tenure of President Vo Van Thuong as provincial party secretary 2011-2014.
''Vo Van Thuong's violations have negatively affected public perception, as well as the reputation of the Party and the state, '' said the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).
In July 2023 the Hanoi People's Court sentenced Phan Son Tùng, 39, to prison for attempting to overthrow the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) by livestreaming anti-state propaganda on his YouTube channel "For Vietnam Prosper" that called for the formation of a political party titled "Vietnam Prosperity Party."
The Hanoi People's Court, Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam, Prosecutor General, Le Minh Tri, sentenced Phan Son Tung, 39, to 6 years in prison for violation of Article 117 (1) of the 2015 Criminal Code for attempting to subvert the political system of Vietnam and replace it with a pluralistic multi-party system.
The Southeast Asian Times
 
 



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



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Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
........open page here


Kang-Fu the Red Kangaroo is relentless in his fight to protect Australia's sovereignity...Open page here



What they're saying 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
Cambodia-China Journalist Association (CCJA) launched in Phnom Penh ...open here

 

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



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



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


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



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Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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US...0.7582
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ambodia...3,115.36
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iet 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
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