The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Sunday 16 June 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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US calls on Thailand to maintain commitment to democratice values on dissolution of Move Forward Party

United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Ben Cardin, urged Thai authorities to repect the wiooo of the many people who caste votes in support of the Move Forward Party (MFP) candidates

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 16: The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman urged Thailand to maintain a commitment to democratic values over the proposed dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP), with ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) urging the international community to take preventive action to discourage ''the use of judicial instruments to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP),'' reports ThaiPBSNews.
United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Ben Cardin, urged Thailand authorities to ensure fair treatment for the Move Forward Party (MFP), saying ''I urge Thai authorities to respect the will of the many Thai people who cast votes in support of the Move Forward Party (MFP) candidates.''
He said that action against the Move Forward Party (MFP) must be rooted in due process and the rule of law, saying ''I urge our Thai partners to maintain a commitment to our shared democratic values.''
The Move forward Party (MFP), won the May 14, 2023 general election, then led by Pita Limjaroenrat, winning 150 seats of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives, ending rule of the Royal Thai Armed Forces party sponsored Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).
Move Forward Party (MFP) advisor and former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, said at the party's headquarters in Bangkok on Sunday that ''the party legal team had studied the constitution and found no section that empowers the Constitutional Court to dissolve a political party or revoke political rights.''
He said that the Constitutional Court ruling on January 31 to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP) warned the Move Forward Party to halt its efforts to amend the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Computor Crimes, saying ''the warning concerned something that had not yet happened.''
The Constitutional Court's proposal to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP) is based on Section 92 of the organic law on political parties that relies on the Election Commission (EC) to find evidence that a political party plans to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.
The Election Commission (EC) was petitioned to seek the Constitutional Court's ruling on whether Move Forward Party (MFP) leaders should be banned from standing for election for the Move Forward Party (MFP) proposed amendments to the Lese Majeste Law.
Move Forward Party (MFP) advisor and former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat said that proposed amendments to the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Computor Crimes have to be proposed in the parliament, saying 'but no such bill has reached parliament.''
He said that should such a bill be submitted to the parliament, the parliament can stop it on the grounds that it threatens the constitutional monarchy, saying ''the proposed amendment to the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal code is not
urgent and does not necessitate party dissolution.''
The Southeast Asian Times

British Hong Kong Court Judge resigns saying ''Hong Kong is beginning to resemble a totalitarian state''

British Hong Kong Judge says ''the rule of law in Hong Kong has been profoundly compromised and judges had to operate in an impossible political environment created by China'' on Wednesday June 12, 2024

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, June 15: British, Hong Kong Judge, Jonathan Sumption,75, who resigned from the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal last week says that judges freedom has been severely limited in the city, warning that ''Hong Kong is beginning to resemble a totalitarian state,'' with Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, saying ''the judges’ expertise lay in the law, not politics,'' reports the Hong Kong Free Press.
Judge, Jonathan Sumption is among three judges in the last week to announce his resignation from the Hong Kong Court of Appeal
with Judge Lawrence Collins saying he resigned ''because of the political situation in Hong Kong'' but that he still had ''the fullest confidence in the court.''
Judge Beverly McLachlin, whose three-year term ends on July 29, said she ''continued to have confidence in the members of the Court, their independence, and their determination to uphold the rule of law.''
British Judge Jonathan Sumption said judges were having to operate in an almost impossible political environment created by China and that the city’s atmosphere was oppressive.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu who was appointed the 6th Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by the President of China, Xi Jinping, in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, said ''the duty of a judge was to interpret the law in accordance with the legal principles and evidence, whether he likes that law or not.''
He said that Judge Jonathan Sumption is entitled to his personal politicsl preferences, saying ''but personal political preferences is not a judge's area of professional expertise.''
Judge, Jonathan Sumption, claimed that the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) authorises legislators to reject the budget, saying ''if the budget is rejected twice, the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu would be triggered.''
''The Hong Kong Legislative Council cannot excercise an express constitutional right for a purpose unwelcome to China,'' he said.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, was appointed Hong Kong Chief Secretary of the vetting committee to screen out candidates deemed unpatriotic to China or a threat to national security in the November 2021 Hong Kong District Councillor elections, with the President of China Xi Jinping, saying, "there should be no compromise on the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong."
Candidates in the November 2021 Hong Kong District Councillor election were required to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that upholds the one country two system Beijing policy and to the ruling that allows only candidates deemed patriots to stand for election.
The Hong Kong Legislative Council passed laws to prohibit treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government, in Article 23 of the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in a unanimous vote in March 19, 2024 on the 26th year after the British handover of Hong Kong to China, with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, saying ''the passing of the law is a historical achievement that is overdue by 26 years, eight months and nine days.''
Article 23 of the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) stipulates that ''Hong Kong shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the HKSAR, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the HKSAR from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.''
The Southeast Asian Times


Former PM Mahathir testifies on decades-old dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of islands

Former Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, centre, testifies at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Malaysia's decades-old dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of islands in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 14: Former Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad testified at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Malaysia's decades-old dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge, saying after he left the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister's Department on Wednesday, ''this proceeding is a closed meeting. So, I cannot disclose anything,'' reports
the Star.
Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was subpoened to testify before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Malaysia's dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of islands off Johor Baru on the eastern approach to the Straits of Malacca and Singapore from the South China Sea.
He said that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had dismissed his application last week for open proceedings for the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge.
The dispute over Pulau Batu Puteh began in 1979 after Malaysia published new official maps showing the islands as part of its territory.
Singapore argues that it has sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh because it has maintained the Horsburgh lighthouse since 1851.
Court proceedings between Malaysia and Singapore over sovereignty of the islands began with a 12 day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on November 6, 2007.
On May 23, 2008 the International Court of Justice in the Hague granted Singapore sovereignty over the disupted islands located 7.7 nautical miles off Peninsula Malaysia's southern city Johor Baru and 25 nautical miles from the island state of Singapore.
On June 30, 2017 Malaysia lodged an appeal to the 2008 International Court of Justice in the Hague that had granted Singapore sovereignty of the disupted islands arguing that new documents had been discovered in British archives backing its territorial claim over the islands.
Malaysia claimed then that Singapore was seeking to subvert the arrangements reached between Johor and Great Britain over 150 years ago.
Malaysia argued that Johor had given permission to Great Britian to build and operate a lighthouse on the Pulau Batu Puteh island, saying that Great Britain and Singapore have operated the lighthouse on the island ever since with Malaysia's consent.
Malaysia argued that the islands in dispute were not terra nullius as claimed by Singapore.
On June 3, 2018 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague announced on Friday that Malaysia has withdrawn a submission before the United Nations World Court to overturn a decades-old dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of islands off Johor Baru on the eastern approach to the Singapore Strait from the South China Sea, reports the Agence France Presse.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said in a statement that Malaysia had notified the Court that the parties had agreed to discontinue the proceedings ahead of a two week hearing scheduled to begin on June 11, 2018.
The World Court said in a statement that the court has ordered the discontinuation of court proceedings following proceedings institutated by Malaysia against Singapore directing the removal of the case from the Court's list.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailands Move Forward Party claims Constitution Court has no power to dissolve the party

Move Forward Party (MFP) advisor and former leader Pita Limjaroenrat at party headquarters in Bangkok on Sunday June 9, 2024

 From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 13: Thailands Move Forward Party (MFP) claims that the Constitutional Court has no power to dissolve the party, saying ''a previous Constitutional Court ruling on the party's policy to amend the Lese Majeste law is irrelevant to the present outstanding Constitutional Court ruling to dissolve the party, reports the Bangkok Post.
Move Forward Party (MFP) advisor and former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, said at the party's headquarters in Bangkok on Sunday that ''the party legal team had studied the constitution and found no section that empowers the Constitutional Court to dissolve a political party or revoke political rights.''
''The January 31 Constutuional Court ruling to dissolve the party is irrelevant to the March 8 pending Constitutional Court ruling to dissolve the party,'' he said.
He said that the Constitutional Court ruling on January 31 warned the Move Forward Party to halt its efforts to amend the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Computor Crimes, saying ''the warning concerned something that had not yet happened.''
''The Constitutional Court ruling on January 31 should not have focused on what had not happened,'' he said.
He said that proposed amendments to the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Computor Crimes would have to be proposed in the parliament, say 'but no such bill has reached parliament.''
He said that should such a bill be submitted to the parliament, the parliament can stop it on the grounds that it threatens the constitutional monarchy, saying ''the proposed amendment to the Lese Majeste law Article 112 of the Criminal code is not urgent and does not necessitate party dissolution.''
On March 6, 2024 Constitutional Court ruled that ''the Move Forward Party's (MFP) continueous efforts to amend the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes indicates the Move Forward Party's (MFP) intention to undermine the Constitutional Monarchy."
Section 92 of the organic law on politcial parties that gives the Constitutional Court the power to dissolve any political party deemed to be a threat to the constitutional monarchy.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulathon, said the party would present evidence and witnesses to prove that the Move Forward Party (MFP) has no intention of overthrowing the Constitutional Monarchy.
''The Move Forward Party (MFP) proposal to implement amendments to the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes is not intended to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy,'' he said.
He said that dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP) would not solve political problems, saying ''dissolution of the party may lead to the escalation of political conflict.''
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulathon warned the Election Commission (EC) against involving the Monarchy in political conflict, saying ''involving the Monarchy in political conflict is a very sensitive issue and should be treated with caution.''
The Southeast Asian Time
s

Papua New Guinea opposition fails again to table no-confidence motion against PM James Marape

Prime Minister James Marape, centre, addresses the media after parliament was adjourned on Wednesday June 5, 2024

From News Reports:
Port Morsby, June 12: The Papua New Guinea opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) failed to table a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister James Marape on June 5 after the failure on February 15, with the speaker of the Parliament saying ''I am asking the Supreme Court for an interpretation of the parliamentary Private Business Committee (BC) decision,'' reports the National.
The Papua New Guinea parliamentary Private Business Committee (BC), rejected no-confidence motions in February and June against Prime Minister James Marape submitted by the oppposition National Alliance Party (NAP) for failing to comply with constitutional requirements.
Speaker of the parliament, Job Pomat, ruled that the opposition's motion for a vote of no confidence was out of order, saying ''that six of 12 names endorsing the non-confidence motion on June 5 were incorrectly placed.''
''The surname of Middle Fly Member of Parliament, Maso Hewabi, was placed before his first name,'' he said.
'I am going to the Supreme Court to ask for an interpretation of the Private Business Committee (BC) decision. I must work in the best interest of the country,'' he said.
The Papua New Guinea parliamentary Private Business Committee (BC) noted on the February 15 tabling of a no-confidence motion that an opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) signature was missing, saying ''there were only 11 of 12 signatures.''
Speaker of the parliament, Job Pomat, informed the opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) of the error ordering the opposition to correct the error and submitt an amended notice to the Papua New Guinea parliamentary Private Business Committee (BC) on June 5.
''It is vital that Parliament follow the rules required by the constitution in the attempt to remove a prime minister,'' he said.
Speaker of the parliament, Job Pomat, adjourned the sitting of the parliament until September, 2024, saying if the Supreme Court rules that he is wrong he will resign.
Prime Minister James Marape said after the parliament was adjourned that he welcomed the speakers decision to ask the Supreme Court for an interpretation of the Private Business Committee (BC) decision.
He said he welcomed the speaker's decision to go to the Supreme Court, saying ''only the court will clear whether the Private Business Committee is right or wrong.'
'
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine President Marcos orders recital of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and Pledge in flag ceremonies

Philippines flag-raising ceremony at Rizal Park in Manila celebrates National Flag Day on Tues 28 May 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, June 10: Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed all government agencies, local government units (LGU's) and government institutions to integrate the recital of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and Pledge in weekly flag ceremonies, with House Deputy Minority Leader, saying ''is President Marcos Jr. again imitating his dictator father and bringing back martial rule?'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Memorandum Circular No 52 that ''envisions to empower Filipinos to support and participate in all government efforts in an all-inclusive plan towards deep and fundamental social and economic transformation in all sectors of society and government'' on Sunday, effective imediately.
''To further instill the principles of the Bagong Pilipinas brand of governance and leadership among Filipinos, all national government agencies and instrumentalities, including GOCCs and educational institutions, such as SUCs (state universities and colleges), are hereby directed, and LGUs are hereby encouraged, to integrate the recital of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and Pledge in the conduct of weekly flag ceremonies, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations,'' said the memorandum circular No 52.
House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, asks ''Is Pres. Marcos Jr. again imitating his dictator father and bringing back martial rule?''
She said that the President Marcos Jr directive is reminiscent of Marcos Sr.’s directive for Philippines to sing praises to the Bagong Lipunan, saying ''it would be best for President Marcos Jr. to rescind this self-serving and martial law remnant of a memorandum circular.''
''It is ye another way to deodorize the Marcos name brand and revise history,'' she said.
House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro warns that Memorandum Circular (MC) No 52
''is an attempt to indoctrinate government personnel and the youth with the Marcos administration’s self-styled Bagong Pilipinas branding.''
The Southeast Asian Times


Hong Kong football fans arrested for turning their backs on national anthem of China at Hong Kong Stadium

Hong Kong police Force (HKPF) arrest three football fans at the Hong Kong Stadium under the National Anthem Ordinance that criminalises insults to the national anthem of China, ''March of the Volunteers,'' on Thursday June 6, 2024

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, June 10: Three football spectators were arrested at the Hong Kong Stadium under the National Anthem Ordinance that criminalises insults to the national anthem of China, ''March of the Volunteers,'' for turning their backs and failing to stand for the playing of the national anthem of China at the beginning of the match, with the Hong Kong police Force (HKPF) saying ''anyone who publicly and intentionally insults the national anthem of China is committing a crime,'' reports the Hong Kong Free Press.
Two males and a female aged 18 to 31 were arrested on Thursday night at the Hong Kong Stadium where Iran secured a 4-2 victory against Hong Kong in a qualifying match for the international football championship in 2026.
Hong Kong police Force (HKPF) reportedly filmed the trio as they turned their backs to the field and failed to stand for the national anthem of China ''March of the Volunteers,'' at the Hong Kong Stadium at the begining of the football match.
Hong Kong police Force (HKPF) said that those convicted of committing a crime against the National Anthem Ordinance face a fine of up to HK$50,000 and imprisonment of up to three years.
The arrest of football spectators at the Hong Kong Stadium on Thursday under the National Anthem Ordinance that criminalises insults to the national anthem of China, ''March of the Volunteers,'' follows the Hong Kong Court of Appeal decision on May 8, 2024 to uphold the ban on the League of Social Democrats (LSD) protest song, "Glory to Hong Kong."
In June 2023 the Hong Kong High Court banned the performance, broadcast, sale or distribution including on the internet, of the League of Social Democrats (LSD) pro-independence song "Glory to Hong Kong" under the law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that was introduced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Bejing in 2020.
The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) claims that the pro-indepence song "Glory to Hong Kong" had been "mistakenly played at international sporting events including rugby and ice hockey competitions instead of the Chinese anthem, "March of the Volunteers."
The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) claims that "it is a criminal offence to perform the song "Glory to Hong Kong" with the intention of inciting others to committ secession or with seditious intention, or to disseminate or perform the song "Glory to Hong Kong" as the national anthem of Hong Kong with the intent to insult the national anthem "March of the Volunteers."
The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) said that the Hong Kong High Court order to ban the pro-independence song
"Glory to Hong Kong" authorises the Hong Kong police Force (HKPF) to arrest anyone engaging with the song for
treason, secession, sedition, or subversion against China.

The Southeast Asian Times

Amnesty for Lese Majeste offenders leads to downfall of Pheu Thai Party, says pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai Party

Thailand Prime Ministers announced the study of an amensty for unregistered firearm possessors to surrender to the government in a to-be-determined timeframe without any fear of legal penalties on Tuesday February 6, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 9: Thailands pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai Party member, Karom Polpornklang, claims that the ruling Pheu Thai Party's (PTP) proposal to pardon offenders of the Lese Majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code in the proposed Amnesty Bill would lead to the demise of the government, with Bhumjaithai Party member, Karom Polpornklang, saying ''a pardon for lese-majeste prisoners would reignite conflict and lead to the downfall of the government,'' reports the Bangkok Post.
Ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, is accused of stalling the passing of the Amnesty Bill that has been submitted to the National Assembly of Thailand, saying that the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) would not seek to abolish or amend the Lese Majeste Law, saying "if we want to see Thailand move forward and a new government successfully set up, Section 112 that makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the monarch of Thailand must be set aside."
Jatuporn Promphan, former supporter of the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) under former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra administration accused the ruling Pheu Thai Party of stalling the passing of the Amnesty Bill for political protesters.
''The ruling Phue Thai Party government should start implementing a new political amnesty plan rather than buying time by repeatedly ordering new studies,'' he said.
Jatuporn Promphan said the ruling Phue Thai Party (PTP) was not serious about its committment to passing the Amnesty Bill, saying ''the Phue Thai Party was now pretending to take action to mitigate the political pressure from growing calls for the passing of the Amnesty Bill for political prisoners''
Bhumjaithai Party member, Karom Polpornklang, agrees with Bhumjaithai Party leader and Interior Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, that the lese majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code should be left untouched.
“The Bhumjaithai Party will leave Section 112 of the Criminal Code untouched,'' he said.
Thailands pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai Party won 71 seats in the May 2023 elections, after the Pheu Thai Party's (PTP) 141 seats and Move Forward Party's (MFP) 151 seats, with the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) saying then ''the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) would not support a coalition government if it included the Move Forward Party (MFP) that seeks to abolish or amend the Lese Majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
The Pheu Thai Party (PTP) withdrew from the Move Forward Party (MFP) eight-party coalition on August 2, 2023 with Pheu Thai Party (PTP) prime ministerial candidate, Srettha Thavisin, saying then that he would not seek to abolish or amend the lese majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code if the parliament approves his nomination as prime minister.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam to prosecute 34 involved in embezzlement of US12.5 billion from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank

Ministry of Public Security is to prosecute 34 allegedly involved in the embezzlement of US$12.5 billion, from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) by Van Thinh Phat VTP) Holdings Group chairwoman, Truong My Lan, 68, on Monday March 25, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 8: The Viet Nam People's Police Force (PPF) Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes (C03) under the Ministry of Public Security is to prosecute 34 involved in the embezzlement of US$12.5 billion, from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) by Van Thinh Phat VTP) Holdings Group convicted chairwoman Truong My Lan, 68, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The HCMCity People's Court handed down the death sentence to Truong My Lan, 68, for the embezzlement of US$12.5 billion from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), 20 years in prison for bribery and 20 years for violating banking regulations with the court ordering the chairwoman to pay compensation of US$27 billion to the Saigon Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SCB).
The Viet Nam People's Police Force (PPF) Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes (C03) under the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday that the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) has ended.
''A total of 34 defendants involved in the embezzlement of funds by the Van Thinh Phat VTP) Holdings Group are to be prosecution for alleged fraud to misappropriate property, money laundering and the illegal transfer of money from Vietnam,'' said the Viet Nam People's Police Force (PPF) Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes (C03).
The Investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) by the 34 defendants revealed that from 2018 to 2020 investment companies including the Van Thanh Phat (VTP) Group, the An Dong Investment Group JSC, the Quang Thuan Investment JSC, the HCM City Commerce Service JSC, the Sunny World Investment and Development JSC and other organisations, had allegedly committed fraudulent acts.
The investigation revealed that the 34 defendants were involved in offering bondholders package deals for investment companies from 2018 to 2020 with a total value of US$1.17 billion, saying ''the bondholders were victims.''
The Viet Nam People's Police Force (PPF) Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes (C03) said that the People's Police Force (PPF) received information about the bondholders package offering from the victims, saying 'victims had provided information, documents and contracts or submitted a form issued by the (C03).''
In April 2024 the HCMCity Investigation Police Department for Corruption, Smuggling, and Economic Crimes (CO3) under the Ministry of Public Security found that Truong My Lan, chairwoman of the Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group, and 86 others embezzled, bribed and violated banking regulations, claiming that Truong My Lan, used the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) for fraudulant property development.
"Chairwoman Truong My Lan, directed bank appointees to provide loans to ghost companies that were established to embezzle funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) for property development by Truong My Lan's Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group,'' claimed the Ministry of Public Security
The Ministry of Public Security claimed that ghost companies were established to embezzle funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) and that Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group had appointed relatives to positions on the Executive Board of the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) in order to direct funds to the ghost companies.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia does not want involvement in US rivalry strategy, says former PM Hun Sen

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and former Prime Minister of Cambodia, Senate President, Hun Sen, right, in Phnom Penh on Tuesday June 4, 2024 seeking opportunies to strengthen bilateral defence relations

From News Reports: Phnom Penh, June 7: United States Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, met with Cambodia Prime Minister, Hun Manet, and his father, the former Prime Minister who is the current Senate President, Hun Sen, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Cambodia National Defence Tea Seiha on Tuesday, with former Prime Minister Hun Sen calling on the United States ''not to involve Cambodia in its geopolitical rivalry strategy,'' reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Former Prime Minister of Cambodia called on the United States not to include Cambodia in its geopolitical rivalry strategy and not to use Cambodia as a place to compete geopolitically, saying ''to improve relations, Cambodia and the United States should reduce obstacles and expand cooperation more effectively.''
Cooperation between Cambodia and the United States in the past, dialogue between the two defence ministries, other dialogues and joint military exercises, must continue,'' he said.
Former Prime Minister, Hun Sen, and the United States Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, agreed to continue dialogue to explore new ways to strengthen the relationship between Cambodia and the United States, with former Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen saying, ''the United States will reopen dialogue to allow Cambodian students to study at West Point.''
Former Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen said that ''to improve relations Cambodia and the United States need to reduce obstacles and expand cooperation more effectively.''
''Past cooperation in dialogue between Cambodia and the United States ministeries and other dialogues and joint military exercise must continue,'' he said.
Former Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen said the United States will reopen dialogue to exchange conversations on military matters, conduct joint military exercises for disaster management, continue demining and Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) training, saying 'Cambodia and the United States will begin defence dialgoue to resolve differences and build greater trust for the future of the of the two countries.''
'' Defence dialogue between Cambodia and the United States will be mutually beneficial,'' he said.
In September 2023 the new Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Manet, son of former Prime Minister Hun Sen, the current Senate President, disputed allegations that Cambodia's Ream Naval Base in Sihanouk province on the Gulf of Thailand is used to host a Chinese military presence at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78) in New York.
"Cambodia will not authorise any foreign military base on its territory as clearly stated in its constitution," said Prime Minister Hun Manet in his address at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78) on Monday September 25, 2023.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Manet said in April 2023 after he was endorsed by his father Prime Minister, Hun Sen, as the prime ministerial candidate, "in accordance with Article 53 that is newly included in the Constitution, "the policy of Cambodia is not to align with China, nor to anyone else."
"Cambodia enjoys close ties with China, the US, Japan and many other countries, regardless of their relations between each other, under Cambodia's present foreign policy," he said.
"The present foreign policy of Cambodia in not one that shows favouritism towards China or any other country," he said.
He said that the new Article 53 included in the Constitution makes it clear that our foreign policy is one of non-alignment, saying
"the new policy was one introduced by our party, the Cambodian People's Party."
In June 2021 the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, led a delegation to Cambodia calling on Cambodia for an explanation for the demolition of the United States funded Cambodian Navy tactical headquarters facility at Cambodia's Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand.
Cambodia had reportedly signed an agreement with China that gave China exclusive rights to the Ream Naval Base in Sihanouk province on the Gulf of Thailand that includes an agreement for the construction of a large airport.
The agreement reportedly allows China to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships at the Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand for 30 years with automatic renewal every ten years.
The United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, said in Phnom Penh at a meeting with then Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the United States sought clarification on the demolition of the United States funded Cambodian Navy tactical headquarters facility at Cambodia's Ream Naval Base that was demolished without notification or explanation in October 2020.

The Southeast Asian Times

Sarawak editor sentenced to prison for defamation of Terengganu Sultanah in ''The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose''

Clare Rewcastle-Brown, editor of the Sarawak Report was sentenced to prison in absentia in the Terengganu court for criminal defamation of the Terengganu Sultanah, Nur Zahirah, on Saturday June 1, 2021

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 6: Editor of the Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, was sentenced to two years in prison in absentia for Criminal defamation of the Terengganu Sultanah, Nur Zahirah, with the Terengganu magistrates saying in a statement on Saturday ''Clare Rewcastle-Brown's action created a negative perception of Sultanah Nur Zahirah, damaging her good name and reputation,'' reports the Star.
The trial of Clare Rewcastle-Brown, editor of the Sarawak Report, was conducted in absentia under Section 425A of the Criminal Procedure Code, with Terengganu Magistrate, Nik Mohd Tarmizie Nik Mohd Shukri saying '' the court was left with no choice but to find the defendant guilty and convict her under Section 500 of the Penal Code.
Terengganu Magistrate, Nik Mohd Tarmizie Nik Mohd Shukri sentenced Clare Rewcastle-Brown to two years in prison from the date of her conviction on February 7, 2024 for criminal defamation of the Terengganu Sultanah, Nur Zahirah, in a book titled 'The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose.'
''After considering the testimonies provided by the prosecution witnesses, the court is convinced that the slanderous remarks directed at the Sultanah of Terengganu constitute defamation that could tarnish the Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirahreputation's reputation and good name,'' said the Terengganu Magistrate.
''The slanderous remarks directly implicated the involvement of the Sultanah of Terengganu with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low who is suspected of involved in the 1MDB scandal,'' he said.
''This indirectly tarnishes the reputation of the Sultanah of Terengganu in the country's largest scandal," he said.
Terengganu Magistrate, Nik Mohd Tarmizie Nik Mohd Shukri said in his judgement ''the defendant's failure to respect the legal system of Malaysia by choosing to waive her right to attend the trial was also taken into consideration by the court in imposing the maximum sentence.''
On November 21, 2018 the Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah lodged a defamation claim against, editor of the Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, for RM100 damages for statements made in the book titled 'The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose.'
Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah said that statements in the book claimed that she was involved in corrupt practices and meddling in Terengganu state government affairs and that she had used her status to influence the Terengganu Investment Board (TIA) that was renamed 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)
Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah also claimed that statements in the book titled 'The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose' indicated that Her Majesty helped fugitive businessman Jho Low or Low Tack Jho to become Terengganu Investment Board (TIA) advisor.
Clare Rewcastle-Brown, editor of the Sarawak Report -The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose.'
has filed a pettion of appeal at the Terengganu High Court to set aside her conviction and two-year prison sentence for defaming the Terengganu Sultanah, Nur Zahirah.
The Southeast Asian Times


United Nations calls for passage of Anti-Discrimination Bill that protects LGBTQI+ in the Philippines

United Nations Population Fund Activities (UNFPA), Dr Leila Joudane, calls for the passing of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Anti-Discrimination Bill that protects the rights (LGBTQI+) in the Congress

From News Reports:
Manila, June 5: United Nations Population Fund Activities (UNFPA), Philippines, calls for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Anti-Discrimination Bill that protects the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) individuals, saying ''this Pride Month, let us celebrate the progress achieved while recognizing the work that lies ahead,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
United Nations Population Fund Activities (UNFPA) Philippines representative, Dr Leila Joudane, said that the UNFPA supports the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Anti-Discrimination Bill in Congress, saying ''the anti-discrimination Bill is a cruicial step towards a more inclusive and just Philippines''
''We urge Congress to pass this landmark legislation and ensure that the rights and dignity of all Filipinos are protected,'' she said.
(UNFPA) Philippines representative, Dr Leila Joudane, said that ''by upholding the principles of equality, inclusivity, and human rights, we can create a world where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live a healthy, fulfilling life with dignity and respect.''
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order No. 51, on December 22, 2023 creating a special committee for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQ+) community to promote rights and give the community a voice in policymaking.
Presidential Communication Secretary, Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, said ''the Executive Order is intended to strengthen existing mechanisms to address the discrimination experienced by the members of the LGBTQIA+ community,''
He said the creation of the special committee was discussed at a meeting with President Marcos and the LGBT Pilipinas party list in Malacanang in June, 2023, saying ''the LGBTQIA+ want more visibility and representation in the bureaucracy.''
''The LGBTQIA+ proposed the creation of an advisory body or commission LGBTQIA+ affairs under the Office of the President,'' he said.
Presidential Communication Secretary, Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, said that Executive Order No. 51 aims to provide the LGBTQ+ community ''an avenue to participate in policy formulation of the government despite the absence of an established body specifically dedicated to promote their rights and address their concerns.''

The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia's journalists say draft Broadcasting Law set's back Indonesian press freedom

Journalists and students protest against the nesia including Surabaya and Bali continue to speak out against the House of Representatives (DPR) draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) that prohibits investigative journalism and cancells the Press Council authority to resolve journalistic disputes on Tuesday May 28, 2024

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 4: Journalist organisations throughout Indonesia including Surabaya and Bali are speaking out against the House of Representatives (DPR) draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) that prohibits investigative journalism and cancells the Press Council authority to resolve journalistic disputes, with the Indonesian Television Journalists Association (IJTI) Surabaya, saying '' the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) is a set back for Indonesian press freedom, reports ,
Indonesian Television Journalists Association (IJTI) Surabaya chairperson and regional coordinator, Falentinus Hartayan, said that journalists protested the House of Representatives (DPR) draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) by walking backwards passed the governor's office in Surabaya on Wednesday.
''Journalists walking backwards passed the governor's office showed that a number of articles in the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) are a setback for Indonesian press freedom,'' he said.
He said that Article 8A Letter (q) and Article 42 Paragraph 2 of the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) takes authority from the Press Council to resolve journalistic disputes and gives it to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, saying '' this authority is in conflict with Law Number 40/1999 on the Press that stipulates that journalistic disputes are resolved by the Press Council.''
''Article 508 Paragraph 2 Letter (c) of the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) prohibits the exclusive broadcasting of investigative journalism,'' he said.
Denpasar Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) advocacy coordinator Yoyo Raharyo said that journalists in Bali reject the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran), saying ''journalists consider the draft Broadcasting Law will do irrepairable damage to press freedom with the prohibition of investigative journalism.''
He said that the journalists from local, national and international media companies including from journalist organisations and students walked backwards passed the Bali Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) offices on Tuesday.
'Journalists walked backwards passed the Bali Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) offices to show that democracy would go backwards with the passing of the Broadcasting Law,'' he said.
He demanded that President Jojo Widodo and the House of Representatives (DPR) delete the articles in the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) that have the potential to violate the right to press freedom and the public's right to information.
''We demand that President Jojo Widodo and the House of Representatives (DPR) involve public participation in the formation of regulations and legislation, both new and alternate laws including changing or revision of laws in draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran),'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine President Marcos proposes ASEAN future for the South China Sea

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made history on Friday as the first Philippine President to delivered the opening address of the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue hosted by International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore Friday May 31, 2024

From News Reports:
Singapore June 3: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, was the first Philippine President to deliver an opening address at the Shangri-La Dialogue on defence and security hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Singapore on Friday saying ''We cannot afford any other future for the South China Sea other than that envisaged by ASEAN,'' reports the Philippine News Agency.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, said at the annual defence and security summit attended by government leaders, senior officials, military experts, and business leaders "We cannot afford any other future for the South China Sea other than the one envisioned by ASEAN, that of a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity.''
'' Unfortunately, this vision remains for now a distant reality," he said.
He said at the annual defence and security summit that "Illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions continue to violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdictions."
''The Philippines continues to face unilateral actions that "violate international law, exacerbate tensions, and undermine regional peace and security,'' he said.
China's Army Academy of Military Sciences former deputy, He Lei, said at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue in response to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr address at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue on the future of the South China Sea as envisioned by ASEAN, that ''President Ferdinand R Marcos had abandoned ASEAN to form a small squad with the United States, Japan and Australia.''
''President Ferdinand R Marcos calls for upholding ASEAN centrality but the Philippines has abandoned ASEAN to form a small squad with the United States, Japan and Australia,'' he said.
He said that Philippines president Ferdinand R Marcos had strengthened his country's military alliance with the United States saying that ''the Philippines has carried out joint military exercises in the South China Sea that had violated rules in the region.''
He said the real intention of the Philippine government is to strengthen the Philippine's military alliance with the United States instead of upholding ASEAN centrality, saying ''the Philippines is engaging in camp confrontation instead of safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.''
US Department of Defence Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue that the Philippine effort to protect and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty and uphold international law ''is imperative to ensure regional stability, saying ''the rule of law must be upheld in the South China Sea and beyond.''
"The harassment that the Philippines has faced is dangerous—pure and simple. And we all share an interest in ensuring that the South China Sea remains open and free," he said.
US Department of Defence Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III commended the Philippines for standing up for its sovereign right under international law.
The Southeast Asian Times


Injunction submitted to stop auction of rice stored during Yingluck Shinawatra rice pledging program

Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra was warned by National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) that the national rice pledging programme could create problems and incurr great losses Monday May 12, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 2: The Secretary-General of the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC), Srisuwan Janya, submitted a petition to the Central Administration Court in Bangkok for an injuction to stop the planned auction by the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) of 15,000 tonnes of rice in storage in Surin province during the Yingluck Shinawatra government rice pledging program was implemented in 2011, reports the Bangkok Post.
Srisuwan Janya claims in his petition that the rice that has been in storage for more than 10 years has no nutrition value, is inedible and maybe infested with insects.
He said that the Department of Medical Sciences claims to have tested samples of the rice and found it edible, saying that he ''doubts that the rice tested actually came from the two wareshouses in Surin province where the rice during the Yingluck Shinawatra government rice pledging program has been stored.
Srisuwan Janya said that the terms of reference by the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) for the auction of the rice that is to be held this month does nor specify whether after the auction the rice must be exported or can be sold for consumption in Thailand.
''The quality of Thai rice will be seriously damaged if the more than 15 year-old rice is exported. If the rice is sold locally, local consumers may fall ill,'' he said.
In July 2021 the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said that the NACC would investigate the unlawful selection
by Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) of Siam Indica Co. to supply rice to Indonesia's food procurement agency Bulog in under the Yingluck Shinawatra government rice pledgeing program on August 18, 2011.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) claims that the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) failed to call for bids to find a rice supplier, saying that the failure to call for bids was in breach of its own regulations.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) claims that the then Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) vice president, Pitheera Tangpossawat and assistant president Somsak Wongwatthanasan coluded to ensure Siam Indica clinched the rice export deal uncontested.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) claims that the former Deputy Prime Minister and commerce minister, Kittiratt Na-Ranong in the Yingluck Shinawatra administration violated the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Commissions Act.
In February 2015 the office of the Attorney General filed charges with the Supreme Court under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Corruption Prevention and Suppression Act against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged derelection of duty and abuse of authority in the national rice pledging programme.
The Supreme Court Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions found that rice-purchase agreements were not government-to-government (G2G) contracts but instead involved sales of rice under the national rice pledging program to private companies that sold the rice to a third party including China's state-owned trading house (COFCO).
In May 2014 National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) commissioner, Vicha Mahakun, said that the commission had formally warned then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that the national rice pledging programme could create problems and incurr great losses.
"The programme allows corruption to take place at all stages of its implementation", he said.
He said that 'loopholes' in the rice pledging programme left it open to corruption.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sarawak rejects palm oil industry proposal to offer orangutans as gifts to countries buying palm oil from Malaysia

Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister, Karim Rahman Hamzah, centre, said in Kuching on Sarawak on Monday May 20, 2024 ''orangutans can be offered as a gift but in the form of 'patung' or sculpture, statue, effigy, image.'

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 1: The proposal by the Ministery of Plantation Industries and Commodities to offer orangutans as gifts to countries that buy palm oil from Malaysia was rejected by the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts in Sarawak on Monday saying ''there is no need to give away orangutans as gifts and I hope the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities suggestion is not true,'' reports the Star.
Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak Minister, Karim Rahman Hamzah said after the launch of the Sarawak Tourism Destination Resilience Workshop on Monday ''if you ask me, on a personal note, I don’t agree,''
''The suggestion for Malaysia to offer as a gift the protected primate species as part of an economic deal is not a good idea,'' he said.
He said orangutans are a state heritage and must be protected, saying ''we take care of our orangutans very well.''
''We will make sure that their habitats are not spoiled by the cutting of trees for palm oil plantations, but certainly not by giving them away as gifts,'' he said.
''The best place for orangutans to live is their natural habitats, not in the zoo's of those countries which are buying palm oil from Malaysia,'' he said.
He said orangutan natural habitats are only found in Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan, saying ''the Sarawak Forest Department is doing very well in the conservation of orangutans.
''At the Semenggok rehabilitation centre, the orangutans keep on multiplying,'' he said.
Forest Department officials attending the Sarawak Tourism Destination Resilience Workshop on Monday said 'the population of orangutans in Sarawak national parks is between 1,800 and 2,500 orangutans.
Plantation Industries and Commodities minister, Johari Abdul Ghani, proposed to offer orangutans as gifts to countries that buy palm oil from Malaysia at the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation’s Biodiversity Forum (MPOGCF) held in the Genting Highland, Pahang, Malaysia from 7 to 9 May 2024.
''Malaysia could gift it's orangutans to boost trade and foreign relations with the European Union, India and China,'' he said.
He said that palm oil buyers would contribute RM100,000 for each orangutan, effectively adopting them as guardians, directly supporting orangutan monitoring and conservation efforts within and around plantation areas,'' he said.
He said that proceeds from these contributions would be directed towards financing activities such as establishing dedicated ranger units for orangutan population monitoring and conservation within High Conservation Values (HCV) zones in Malaysia.
''Steps will be taken to enrich the biodiversity within the High Conservation Values (HCV) zones in Malaysia,'' he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra charged with violation of Lese Majeste law and Computor Crime Act

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to fight 2015 Lese Majeste law and Computor Crime Act charges ordered by the Office of the Attorney-General on Wednesday May 29, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 31: The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has ordered the indictment of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for violation of the Lese Majeste law and the Computor Crime Act on charges made by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) of the Technology Crime Suppression Division on February18, 2024, with lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, for the former prime minister saying his client would fight the charges, reports the Bangkok Post.
Lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, said on Wednesday that his client Thaksin Shinawatra would fight the charges, saying ''we have to proceed based on our rights in a criminal case."
''Thaksin is ready to prove his innocence in the justice system," he said.
Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), spokesman, Prayut Phetcharakhun, said that the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) could not arraign Thaksin Shinawatra on Wednesday.
''Lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, for Thaksin Shinawatra submitted a medical certificate showing that his client had Covid-19 and needed to rest until Monday,'' said OAG spokeman Prayut Phetcharakhun.
He said that lawyer for Thaksin Shinawatra sought to postpone the hearing of the indictment to June 15, saying that the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has ordered Thaksin Shinawatra to appear at the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) office at 9am on June 18.
Former Prime Minister, Thanksin Shinawatra, who returned to Thailand from exile in Dubai and Hong Kong in August 22, 2022 after fleeing in 2008 to avoid trial for nonfeasance and malfeasance while holding the position of Prime Minister, faces Lese Majeste and computor crime charges.
The Privy Council of eighteen appointed advisors to the monarchy lodged a complaint that Thanksin Shinawatra had allegedly defaimed the monarchy in a foreign media interview in Seoul, South Korea on May 21, 2015.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokeman, Prayut Phetcharakhun, said that the Office of the Attorney-General had received advice from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) at the Technology Crime Suppression Division on a complaint from the Privy Council of Thailand that Thanksin Shinawatra had accused the privy councillors of supporting the 2014 coup that ousted the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is also his younger sister in the media interview in Soeul in South Korea on May 21, 2015.
In May 2016 the Department of Consular Affairs director-general, Thongchai Chasawat, issued an order to revoked Thaksin Shinawatra's Thailand passport claiming that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's interview in Soeul in South Korea
had undermined "national security and dignity."
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines investigates Philippines and China's alleged gentleman's agreement over removal of grounded US WW11 ship in West Philippine Sea

Former Philippines President Duterte and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in Monday November 6, 2027

From News Reports:
Manila, May 30: Two House of representatives panels began an investigation into the alleged gentleman's agreement between former president Rodrigo Duterte and China President Xi Jinping that the Philippines would remove the United States WW11 LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) grounded in the West Philippines Sea, with former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, saying ''the agreement was non-binding, '' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that former president President Rodrigo Duterte did not agree to remove WW11 LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) from the Second Thomas Shoal or Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, named Ren’ai Reef by China, saying that ''former President Rodrigo Duterte had a gentleman's agreement that the Philippines and China would maintain the status quo.''
''The agreement was verbal and hence not binding on the current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr,'' he said.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, claimed in October 2023 that ''the United States LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) was illegally grounded in 1997 in the South China Sea.
"The Philippine navy intentionally grounded the WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) in 1997 in the South China Sea to serve as a military outpost," he said.
Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that ''China's claim that former president Rodrigo Duterte agreed to remove the
LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) from the Second Thomas Shoal or Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea is very different from
president Rodrigo Duterte alleged gentleman's agreement.''
He said that president Rodrigo Duterte never agreed to remove the LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57), saying ''former president Rodrigo Duterte and China President Xi Jinping had a gentleman's agreement that both sides would maintian the status quo.''
Former Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that no ''gentleman’s agreement'' agreement over the removal of the grounded WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57 in the West Philippine Sea during meetings between former president Rodrigo Duterte and China President Xi Jinping between 2016 to 2019, saying ''no gentleman's agreement ever took place.''
''In my capacity as executive secretary, I was able to attend two official meetings,'' he said.
He said that the first meeting was the state visit of President Xi to the Philippines in November 2018 and the second was the official visit of President Duterte to China in August 2019, saying ''no gentleman's agreement ever took place between former president Duterte and President Xi.''
''Being a lawyer, I knew fully well that it was foolhardy to enter into an agreement, especially a gentleman’s agreement at that, with the President of the People’s Republic of China on matters involving sovereign rights.''
The Southeast Asian Times

New Philippines ecosystem and natural capital accounting law signed by President Marcos

Senate President Pro Tempore, Loren Legarda, approved the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law on Wednesday November 22, 2023

From News Reports:
Manila, May 29: The Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) was signed into law by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr last Wednesday after Senate approval in November 2023, with the Senate President saying then ''the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law seeks to institutionalize a Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law to reflect environmental inputs and outputs in the determination of national income accounts,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
''The national income accounts are important indicators for determining the level of development of a country,'' she said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said that the Pencas Law seeks to develop a comprehensive information system and accounting framework that will take into consideration the role of the Philippine's natural capital that includes environmental and natural resources.
''Philippine's natural capital includes ecosystem services and its impact on the economy,'' she said.
The Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law, the Republic Act No. 11995, institutionalizes environmental and economic accounting frameworks that are accepted internationally.
''The national income accounts are important indicators for determining the level of development of a country,'' she said.
The Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law includes an accounting framework of officially designated statistics on the depletion, degradation, and restoration of natural capital.
The designated statistics include environmental protection expenditures; pollution and quality of land, air and water; and environmental damage.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Board has been tasked to oversee the implementation of the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Board is ordered to constitute an interagency working group to issue the rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of PENCAS within one year from its effectivity on Wednesday May 22, 2024.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Department of Finance (PND) are playing an important role in the implementation of Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (Pencas) law
The Southeast Asian Times
   

Draft Broadcast Law before the Indonesian House of Representatives prohibits investigative journalism

Journalists protest the draft Broadcasting (RUU Penyiaran) that prohibits investigative journalism in Malang, Indonesia on Friday May 17, 2024

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 28: The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy Non-government Organisation (NGO) says that the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) before the House of Representatives (DPR) prohibits investigative journalism and shows a systematic effort to undermine democracy and press freedom, saying ''the draft bill should be annulled because it ignored the principle of meaningful participation,'' reports Indoleft.
The Setara Institute legal and constitutional researcher, Azeem Marhendra Amedi, said that systematic efforts to undermine democracy and press freedom, include controlling journalistic content, threatening freedom of expression and the right to obtain information.
He said that the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) contains provisions that will damage democratisation, press freedom, freedom of information, and the human rights agenda, saying ''democracy and democratisation have been fought for since the beginning of reformasi.''
He said that Article 50B paragraph (2) point c of the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) is intended to control press freedom , saying ''the article prohibits investigative jouralism.''
''Investigative journalism should remain under the jurisdiction of Law Number 40/1999 on the Press.'' he said.
He said that the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) has expanded the authority of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) under Article 8A point q, authorising the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) to resolve journalistic disputes in broadcasting.
''Expanding the authority of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has castrated the authority of the Press Council,'' he said.
He said that expanding the authority of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) is intended to weaken the Press Council as a pillar of press freedom, saying ''the Press Council's guarantee of press freedom also covers journalistic content broadcast through electronic media.''
He said that the Press Council has not been involved in the deliberation of the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran), saying
''this will reduce the democratic legitimacy of the bill.''
''The draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) should be annulled because it ignored the principle of meaningful participation,'' he said.
House of Representatives (DPR) deputy speaker, Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, said the House of Representatives (DPR) would consult with the press in response to criticism of the proposed articles in the draft Broadcasting Law (RUU Penyiaran) that prohibits investigative journalism, saying ''the House of Representatives (DPR) will consult with the press so that these clauses can be applied effectively.''
The Southeast Asian Times

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



What they're saying open page here


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



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




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"
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"Goodbye America" says B.A. Hamzah as he calls for Asians to determine their own political destiny in "Time for Asia to set it's own course, minus the U.S."...open here


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

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

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


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


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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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
..5,0710
East Timor.
..0.7582
Euro..
0.6794
Hong
sKong..
.5.8808
Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
V
iet Nam Dong..16,849.44
s
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