The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Wednesday 18 July 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

Vietnam opens consulate in Macau
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 9: Vietnam's Hong Kong Consulate General launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Consulate General of Hong Kong, Tran Than Huan, said at the launching ceremony that the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region.
He said that the consulate office in Macau will provide easier access to information about Vietnam, saying that
it would boost friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Macau.
The Consulate General said that the office expected to recieve support from local organisations including the Vietnam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.
More than 20,000 Vietnamse are employed as domestic workers, in the service industry at Macau's casino's.
Vietnamese also operate tourist and services companies.
The Southeast Asian Times

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6, 2015: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a se
nior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times


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Philippine President thanks Malaysian PM for support in Mindanao
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur on Monday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 18: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for Malaysia's support for peace in Mindanao in the southern Philippines at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya in Selangor, reports the Star.
President Duterte said at a meeting with Prime Minister Mahathir on Monday that he is “grateful” to the Prime Minister Mahathir's for his invitation to visit Malaysia “to discuss matters of mutual interest” that include piracy in Southeast Asian waters, the Philippine claim over the Malaysian state of Sabah, transnational crime including the illegal drug trade.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for Malaysia's role as the third-party facilitator between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a proposed agreement between the Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to expand and extend the power of the Muslim autonomous region in the southern Philippines.
In February 2016 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said that the MILF would continue with peace negotiations in Muslim Mondanao in the southern Philippines despite the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the Philippine 16th Congress.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was to be the legal basis for the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro region in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that included the decommission of weapons but the decomission was discontinued with the failure of 16th congress in 2016 to pass the autonomy bill.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF ) Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines chairman, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, said on the election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to Philippine president in May 2016 that "it was a historic victory".
"For the first time in the history of this country, a true son of Mindanao in whose veins Moro blood runs is now the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
The chairman said that Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a revolutionary organization that represents "the struggle in Mindanao for self-determination" remains highly optimistic and confident that the Rodrigo Duterte victory would carry with it the MILF hopes and aspirations for peace and justice in Mindanao.
The Southeast Asian Times


Owner and captain of ill-fated cruise boat Phoenix surrenders to police

The ill-fated double decker cruise boat Phoenix PC Diving on the seabed off the Thai tourist island of Phuket
From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 17: The ships owner of the ill fated double decker cruise boat Phoenix PC Diving that sank off the tourist island of Phuket off the tourist island of Phuket with 101 onboard leaving 47 passengers dead has surrended to police, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Phuket provincial court issued warrants for the arrests of owner of the Phoenix, Woralak Ruekchaikal, 26, and chief engineer of the vessel, Onchan Kanhayothi, on charges of recklessnes and causing death and injury to the passengers on board the Pheonix on Friday.
Phuket police chief Theerapol Thipcharoen said on Sunday that Woralak Ruekchaikal turned herself in to police on Saturday and is police custody at the Chalong police station.
He said that chief engineer of the Phoenix, Onchan Kanhayothi, is out on bail.
The tour boat, Phoenix, was returning to Phuket from Koh Racha on July 5 with 101 passengers onboard including 12 crew and 89 Passengers with all but two passengers Chinese when it keeled over after it was hit by massive waves.
The Phuket provincial court has also charged captain of the Phoenix, Somjing Boontham, 50, with recklessnes and causing death and injury to the passengers
onboard the tour boat.
Captain Metha Limsakul, 58, of the tour boat Serenita that also sank on July 5 off the tourist Island of Phuket and Manager of Lazy Cat Travel, Chinese national, Peng Daching, are facing criminal charges for leaving port in defiance of a Marine Department storm warning.
All 42 passengers aboard the Serenita were rescued.
An inspection of the Thanawat Engineering Phuket Co, that built the Phoenix, and a dry dock owned by Sikij Co where the vessel was constructed.
were reportedly found to be operating without a licence.
Deputy national police chief, Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, has ordered investigators to impound the yet to be salvaged cruise boats Phoenix and the Serenita
for inspection.
The Southeast Asian Times

Chinese tourists cancell bookings at Phuket hotels
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha comforts a relative of a Chinese tourist at the Phuket hospital after the sinking of tour boat the Phoenix with 87 Chinese passengers onboard
From News Report:
Bangkok, July 16: Thousands of rooms booked by Chinese tourists at Phuket hotels have been cancelled following the sinking of the Phoenix tour boat in heavy seas and high winds off the tourist island of Phuket earlier this month, leaving 47 of the 87 Chinese passengers onboard dead, reports Rueters.
Thailand Hotel Association (THA) in southern Thailand, president, Kongkiat Khuphongsakorn, said about 7,300 rooms at 19 Phuket hotels had been cancelled by mostly Chinese tourists but including other nationals.
"Bookings have fallen from 80 to 90 percent at Patong Beach and by 50 percent across Phuket Province", he said,
The President of the southern Thailand Hotel Association said that the Phoenix tour boat tragedy would affect Chinese tourists arrivals in Thailand
for the next three months.
He said that the damage is more than seven million baht based on 7,300 rooms costing about 1,000 baht each, saying that "the accident did not only affect hotels but also other tourism sectors such as shuttle buses, tour boats and local shops."
"Chinese tourists spend about 20,000 baht per person, per visit," he said.
Families of 36 of the 47 Chinese passengers who died on board the capsized tour boat the Pheonix have reportedly claimed compensation from the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) Bangkok and Insurance Pcl and Thaisri Insurance Pcl.
The tour boat, Phoenix, was returning to Phuket from Koh Racha with 101 passengers onboard including 12 crew and 89 Passengers with all but two passengers Chinese when it keeled over after it was hit by massive waves on July 5.
Captain Somjing Boontham said the Phoenix was hit by five metre-high waves, flooding the boat.
He said that the boat slowly keeled over.
"I ordered passengers to put on life jackets and to inflate life rafts," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Nduga district Papuans call for withdrawal of
Indonesian military
From News Reports:
Jakarta, Sunday 15: Nduga district Papuans have called on district Police to withdraw the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) from Alguru in Kenyam following a shootout between the Indonesian military and West Papuan pro-independence separatists on Wednesday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Nduga Deputy Regent Wentius Miniangge said that the Indonesian National police and Indonesian Military (TNI) had launched an air strike on Wednesday without permission from local authorities.
“We did not give permission to the Indonesian National police and Indonesian Military (TNI) to fire from the air," he said.
Suara Mapia for Free West Papua Public Group member in Nduga district, Samuel Tabuni, and Lipius Biniluk, a priest, who is head of the Papuan Interfaith Forum (FKUB), called on Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar to withdraw the Mobile Brigade (Brimob)
Suara Mapia for Free West Papua Public Group member, Samuel Tabuni, said that the shootout between the Indonesian National police and Indonesian Military (TNI) and the West Papuan pro-independence separatist group had frightened the villagers, saying that they had fled to Kenyam.
Priest Lipius Biniluk, head of the Papuan Interfaith Forum (FKUB) said that the villagers are traumatised by the shootouts.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar has reportedly given his assurance that the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) would be withdrawn from Alguru in Kenyam.
The shootout in Ndugu on Wednesday follows the attack by West Papuan pro-independence separatist activists on an aircraft carrying ballot papers and 15 Mobile Brigade (Brimob) police officers at Kenyyam airport in Nduga regency ahead of the elections on June 27, postponing voting in the province.
The armed group believed to be West Papuan pro-independence separatist activists shot at the aircraft leaving three civilans dead and two injured including the pilot.
In December 2016 non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals declared support for West Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination, calling for a referendum.
Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta, representing non-Papuan Indonesia activists said that "persistent oppression and discrimination, cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuans to decide their own fate in a referendum".
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia."
In May 2016 Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Southeast Asian Times


Lawyer accused of sedition for questioning relevance of the Malaysian monarchy

Lawyer, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, says that she is not alone in the questioning of the Malaysian monarchy in a democracy

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 14: Lawyer, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, who was summoned for questioning under section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act on Tuesday to give a statement to the Brickfields police, has again been summoned for questioning under section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act.
The lawyer was summoned under the Sedition Act after police reports were lodged against her by the Malay rights group Perkasa over an article she wrote in which she questioned the relevance of the monarchy in a democracy.
The Malay rights group Perkasa reportedly accused the lawyer of sedition and inciting hatred towards the Malays rulers.
The lawyer referred to a meeting between the People's Justice Party (PKR) head, Anwar Ibrahim, and the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, saying that "it is disturbing to see Anwar Ibrahim bending down to kiss the Sultan of Johor's hand."
"Don't kiss the hand that beats you malaysiamuda," she said.
The lawyer who is also a Pakatan Harapan (PH) political party activist is accused of questioning the relevance of the monarchy as an institution, saying that "it was outdated and that it could no longer be accepted or defended."
The lawyer was summoned again on Friday for questioning under section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act. in relation to a gathering at the Brickfields police station.
About 50 activists from various organisations, including Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Suaram and the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), gathered at the police station in a show of support for the lawyer.
Last month Malaysian King Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, gave his consent to the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new Attorney General on the advice of newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and leader of Pakatan Harapan (PH) despite opposition to the appointment by the Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) on the grounds that the attorney general was a non-Muslim.
Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) official, Prof Mahamad Naser Disa claims that because the new attorney general is not a Muslim he cannot assist the King Yang di-Pertuan Agong in preserving the sanctity of Islam at all times, saying that "the appointment of the new attorney general is in breach of Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution."
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuan students stopped from showing film on 1998 Biak massacre
From News Reports:
Surabaya, July 13: The Surabaya Legal Aid Institute has called on the East Java Police to investigate the raid on a meeting held by the Papuan Students Alliance at a student domitory at Tambaksari, Surabaya, East Java last week, reports the Jakarta Post.
A joint operation by hundreds of Indonesian military (TNI) police and Public Order Agency officers (Satpol PP) raided the Papuan student dormitory on Friday 6 July.
The Papuan Students Alliance had planned to show the documentary film "Bloody Biak" on the 20th anniversary of the massacre when the domitory was raided.
On July 6, 1998, 40 Papuans were killed and more than 100 arrested and reportedly tortured by Indonesian military (TNI) for hoisting the West Papua independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag on Biak Island that is banned by the Indonesian government.
In December 2013 the University of Sydney established an official record of the West Papuan Biak Island killings on 6 July 1998, following a citizens tribunal that was conducted as a coronial inquest before presiding jurists John Dowd and Keith Suter, with former New South Wales director of public prosecutions, Nick Cowdery as counsel assisting.
The citizens tribunal recommended that the Indonesian government be presented with the evidence and findings of the tribunal and that an investigation into the Biak killings be carried out by an independent prosecutor and that criminal proceedings be instituted against such persons as may be found to have committed crimes and crimes against humanity.
The raid last week on the Papuan students was reportedly conducted under the authority of the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs in what has reportedly been described as the "Yustisi Operation" in order to ensure enforcement of district regulations.
The Surabaya Legal Aid Institute said in a statement that Tambaksari subdistrict head Ridwan, who led the "Yustisi Operation" was unable to produce a warrant to enter the student dormitory.
On 1 July the Indonesian military (TNI) and police and Public Order Agency officers (Satpol PP) raided the Brawijaya University in the East Java city of Malang where Papuan students discussed the 47th anniversary of the proclamation of independence in 1971 by the Free West Papua Movement.
The Southeast Asian Times


Reporter detained by police for flying drone during rescue of Thai footballers
From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 12: A reporter covering the news of the rescue of 12 Thai football players and their coach, who were trapped inside the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, was detained for flying a drone on Tuesday, reports the Nation.
Reporter for Polish broadcaster TVN24, Wojciech Bojanowski, was detained by Thai police for allegedly flying a drone without permission over the entrance of the cave during the successful rescue of the 12 football players from Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy soccer squad and their coach.
Polish broadcaster TVN24 confirmed that the Polish reporter was detained in Thailand for using a drone at the entrance of the Tham Luang cave, saying that " TVN24 cannot contact him."
British reporter, Richard Burrow, also confirmed that the Polish reporter was in police custody, saying that "Wojciech Bojanowski was detained for flying a drone in the vicinity of the cave entrance on Tuesday."
The last four football players, aged between 11 and 16, of the Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy soccer squad and their coach aged 25, were rescued from the flooded cave on Tuesday after being trapped for 18 days.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) stipulates that approval to fly a drone in Thailand is required under Ministry of Transport (MOT) regulations, the 2015 Aviation Act and the 1954 Civil Aviation Act.
A jail sentence of one year or a fine of 40,000 baht is imposed for flying a drone over security installations, hospitals and over 300 metres in Thailand.
The Southeast Asian Times


US reaffirms agreement to remove Agent Orange in Vietnam

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on Monday
From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 11: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the US committment to dioxin detoxification in Vietnam on an official two day visit to Hanoi following the successful removal of the defoiliant Agent Orange at Danang airport, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The US Secretary of State, who is on his first visit to an Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) member state since taking office, reaffirmed the US committment to dioxin detoxification in Vietnam at a reception hosted by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday.
Viet Nam’s Defence Ministry and the United States Agency for International Development began the removal of the defoiliant Agent Orange at Danang airport in 2012.
The program to destroy about 73,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil and sediment at the former United States military base at Da Nang airport expected to be completed in 2016 was to cost about US $41 million in non-refundable funds from the United States government, and reciprocal capital from the Viet Nam government.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the US committment to the removal of the defoiliant Agent Orange at the Bien Hoa Airport in Vietnam's southern province of Dong Nai in Hanoi on Monday.
More than ten hectares at the former United States military base at Bien Hoa in southern Dong Nai province is reportedly heavily polluted with the residue of defoiliant Agent Orange and other defoliants.
In 2012 the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) began an international campaign that targeted the United States government and the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange to pay to clean up the poisoned soil wherever the contaminant was found in Viet Nam's environment.
The campaign also called for adequate compensation for about three million Vietnamese who were affected by the defoiliant Agent Orange.
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) represented more than 3 million Vietnamese Agent-Orange victims, who suffered the effects of the use of the defoiliant Agent Orange, at the International People's Tribunal of Conscience in Paris.
The International People's Tribunal of Conscience in Paris found that the United States military’s use of dioxins, including Agent Orange, in Viet Nam between 1961 and 1971 was a crime against humanity.
Tribunal President Jitendra Sharma delivered the finding of “ecocide” made by seven international judges after two days of hearing expert evidence including the testimony of three victims.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine President declares war on the Communist Party of the Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte invited Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, Jose Sison, who is in exile in the Netherlands to "come home to the Philippines for peace talks" scheduled for 28 June but cancelled , saying that he would personally escort Jose Sison to the airport if nothing came of the peace talks
From News Reports:
Manila, July 10: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared war against the New People’s Army (NPA) that is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) including the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) following the cancellation of peace talks on June 28, saying "let's go to war," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
He said that fighting between the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the communist rebels has gone on for 50 years, saying that "we are about to begin another 50 years of war."
President Riodrigo said that he had studied all documents and past agreements between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and previous Philippine government administrations, saying that he had found that "the communist rebels wanted to share power with the government.
"The agreements all end up with power sharing and a coalition government," he said.
The President reportedly said that the communist rebels were proposing economic reforms in the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER),at the cancelled peace talks on 28 June.
“I cannot give it to you. Let’s go to war," he said.
Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) is one of four proposed agreements that include an agrian reporm program that would allow the seizure of parcels of land of reportedly questionable ownership and allow the land to be distributed without charge to landless farmers.
The proposed economic reforms also seek "national industrialization" with Philippine mines supplying Philippine factories with raw materials
for processing.
The President has reportedly set four new conditions for peace talks to resume following the cancellation of talks on 28 June, saying that the talks are to be held in the Philippines, a ceasefire be declared with New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas to remain in designated camps and that communist rebels stop collecting taxes.
"There should be no coalition government," he said.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman who is also the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) representative, Jose Sison, has reportedly repeatedly denied that they were seeking a coalition government.
Jose Sison, who is in exile in the Netherlands, also denied that the CCP or the NDFP planned to oust Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, saying that the plan was a fabrication by Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
"Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has openly opposed the talks", he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

Locals in Myanmar's Rankine State object to land acquisition for industrial zone
From News Reports:
Yangon, July 9: Myanmar residents have objected to the government acquisition of their land for the development of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State by China International Trust Investment consortium (CITIC), reports the Myanmar Times.
About 100 Chaung Wa, Min Din, Zai Chaung, Doe Ma Taung and Pya Te township residents have submitted their objections against the Myanmar government proposed acquisition of 90 acres of land that would become part of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Rakhine State.
About 4000 acres of land was allocated for the development of an industrial zone at the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State.
The tender for the development of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that was won by the China International Trust Investment consortium (CITIC) includes a deep sea port, an industrial zone, residential developments, dams and resevoirs.
Northern Rakhine is home to millions of Rohingya Muslims but the Myanmar government does not recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group and labels them as “Bengalis”, or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
The exudus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims across the Mynmar border to Bangladesh reportedly follows Myanmar's retaliation to the assualt on police outposts and military bases by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
Myanmar reportedly considers the Muslim Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh but Bangladesh rejects the Rohingya's, rendering them stateless.
The United Nations has urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 71, and the ASEAN community to take action against the alleged ongoing military action against the "Rohingyas" or "Bengalis".
Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission arrests Aceh Governor
From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 8: Former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leader, Aceh Governor, Irwandi Yusuf, was among 10 arrested in Aceh following investigations by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), reports the Jakarta Post.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesman, Febri Diansyah, said that millions of rupiah in cash was confiscated.
"The arrests were made following a suspicious transaction involving provincial and regency officials," he said.
He said that the 10 arrested were being questioned at the Aceh Police headquarters.
In December 2015 Free Aceh Movement (GAM) insurgents who fought against Jakarta rule surrendered to Indonesian government officials after president Joko Widodo guaranteed the insurgents amnesty.
The insurgents who were allegedly responsible for crimes including the kidnap and killing of military personnel, handed over weapons, munitions, magazines and grenades to Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BIN) on surrender.
The insurgents demanded on surrender that the Indonesian government implement reintegration of former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) insurgents including orphans and widows of former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) insurgents as stipulated in the Helsinski peace agreement 2005 that ended the conflict between Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government.
The Southeast Asian Times

Search for Chinese tourists in heavy seas off Phuket to continue despite weather warning

Chinese tourists rescued from capsized boat in heavy seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket on Thursday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 7: The search for 53 of 90 passengers who were onboard a tourist boat that capsized in high winds and heavy seas off the tourist island of Phuket on Wednesday leaving at least one dead is to continue despite a weather warning issued on Thursday, reports Agence France Presse.
Phuket governor, Noraphat Plodthong, said that the search for the missing mostly Chinese tourists would continue, saying that navy patrol vessels carrying divers are searching for survivors and bodies.
"Helicopters have also been deployed in the search for the missing 53 Chinese tourists", he said.
The tourist boat, Phoenix, was returning to Phuket from Koh Racha with 90 passengers onboard when it keeled over after it was hit by massive waves.
Captain Somjing Boontham said the Phoenix was hit by five metre-high waves, flooding the boat.
He said that the boat slowly keeled over.
"I ordered passengers to put on life jackets and to inflate life rafts," he said.
He said that all onboard apart from two passengers were Chinese tourists.
Phuket governor, Noraphat Plodthong, said that two yachts with one carrying 39 passengers had also capsized in the waters off Phuket, saying that "all had been pulled form the sea alive."
He said rescue vessels had been deployed to assist a further 10 tourist boats stranded off Phuket.
Songkhla Chinese consulate-general, Zhou Haicheng, has reportedly urged Phuket to make an "all-out effort" to rescue the Chinese tourists who were onboard the tourist boat that capsized in waters off Phuket.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Malaysian PM pleads not guilty to receiving bribes
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 6: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty at the Jalan Duta Courts in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to three charges of criminal breach of trust in his position as Prime Minister and Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, reports the Star.
The former Prime Minister pleaded not guilty to receiving RM42million in bribes for his part in the Government decision to provide a guarantee against a loan of RM4billion.
The criminal breach of trust allegedly took place at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrayaya between August 17, 2011 and February 8, 2012.
The former Prime Minister was also charged with criminal breach of trust in the misappropriation of RM27million and RM5million in two transactions between December 24 and 29, 2014.
The Jalan Duta Courts in Kuala Lumpur also charged the former Prime Minister of criminal breach of trust in the misappropriation of RM10million between February 10 and March 2, 2015
All three charges of criminal breach of trust were reportedly committed at the AmIslamic Bank Bhd, Bangunan Ambank Group, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur.
The former Prime Minister Najib Razak claimed trial to all charges with the court tentatively setting 19 days for the trial on February 18 to 28, March 4 to 8 and March 11 to 15, 2019.
The court set bail of RM1million in cash in two sureties and ordered the former Prime Minister to surrender his passport.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged with crimes under Section 409 of the Penal Code that are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and include a whipping and a fine on conviction.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak charged in KL court with corruption

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak under heavy guard as he leaves the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for the Jalan Duta Court on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 5: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position for gratification following investigations into allegations that funds had been transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to the former Prime Minister's private bank accounts.
The former Prime Minister, who was reportedly Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, was charged Under Section 52 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 at the Jalan Duta Courts in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at his home in Jalan Langgak Duta on Tuesday.
The arrest of former Prime Minister Najib Razak follows the declassification of the 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)
The audit report was declassified less than a week after the May 9 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party lead by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in as Prime Minister that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In May the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned by Prime Minister Najib Razak family members including his wife Rosmah Mansor and daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was seized in Bali in February was allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
In July 2015 Singapore reportedly closed Swiss bank BSI AG operations in the city-state following criminal proceedings in Switzerland against the private bank in its transactions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Malaysian lawyer Tommy Thomas, who was appointed attorney general following the May elections despite opposition from the Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) on the grounds that the attorney general was a non-Muslim, and who is leading the prosecution, requested that court proceedings be conducted in English.
Presiding Judge Datuk Zainal Abidin Kamarudin allowed the case against former Prime Minister Najib Razak to be transferred to the High Court.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia says Amnesty International report on killings in West Papua "one-sided"

West Papuans, wearing the banned Morning Star or Bintang Kejora flag, called for self-determination and a referendum in Sentani, Papua last Wednesday week

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 4: The Indonesian government claims that allegations made by Amnesty International in a report released on Monday revealing that Indonesia has committed almost 100 extrajudicial killings in Papua and West Papua since 2010 "is a one-sided report," report the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia's Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said on the release of the report in which Amnesty International alleges that the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian National Armed Forces are responsible for the unlawful killing of almost 100 Papuans and West Papuans that "Amnesty's investigation was a one-sided report."
But Minister Waranto says that the government will "look into the Amnesty International report titled ""Don't Bother, Just Let Him Die: Killing With Impunity in Papua," saying that the government will look into the allegations "cases by case."
He said that the goverment will investigate "whether those killed were killed in Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian National Armed Forces operations."
Amnesty International, claims that 95 Papuans and West Papuans were unlawfully killed in 69 incidents that took place between January 2010 and February 2018.
Amnesty International claims that of those killed thirty-nine were killed while staging peaceful protests demanding liberation and that 56 were killed in events unrelated to political activities.
The police were alleged to have been the perpetrators in 34 of the cases and the military were alleged to be involved in 23 cases, with both the police and military allegedly repsonsible for deaths in 11 other cases.
Amnesty International claims that none of the 69 incidents have been subject to criminal investigation by an independent body, with only six perpetrators held accountable for the deaths.
Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid says that "the culture of impunity within the security forces needs to be eliminated,"
"Those who are responsible for the past killings must be tried through an independent legal mechanism," he said.
In December 2016 Non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals declared support for West Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination, calling for a referendum.
Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta, representing non-Papuan Indonesia activists said that "persistent oppression and discrimination, cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuans to decide their own fate in a referendum".
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia."
In May 2016 Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine mayor renown for "walk of shame" initiative shot dead

Tanauan City Mayor, Antonio Halili, at the weekly flag raising ceremony at city hall yesterday morning
From News Reports:
Manila, July 3: Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor, Antonio Halili, who was shot dead yesterday morning at the weekly city hall flag raising ceremony,
was renown for the introduction of the "walk of shame" initiative for alleged drug suspects, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Mayor Antonio Halili was reportedly dubbed Tanauan City's version of President Duterte for his campaign against illegal drugs that included the "walk of shame" initiative introduced in 2016.
The Tanauan City Mayor was reportedly acclaimed for the“walk of shame” initiative in which he paraded alleged drug suspects through Tanauan City
streets despite Commission on Human Rights (CHR) objections.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) deemed the public parade of alleged drug suspects as unconstitutional.
In April the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director Genera,l Aaron Aquino, released 93 names of officials including Mayor Antonio Halili believed to be linked to the narcotics trade on a barangay drug list.
He said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) did not have sufficient evidence to send the officials to jail.
"We have 93 from vice mayor up. Vice mayor, mayor, congressman, governor, vice governor on the list," he said.
Mayor Antonio Halili was reportedly declared dead on arrival at the Tanauan City CP Reyes Medical Center at 8.45 yesterday morning.
Police Director Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza, said police are conducting an investigation into the motive for the killing of Mayor Antonio Halili.
"A special investigation task group (SITG) has been formed to investigate the killing," he said.
Thousands of alleged drug suspect have reportedly been killed since the launch of the anti-drugs campaign immediately following the inauguration of Philippine Rodrigo Duterte as president in June 2016
The Rodrigo Duterte government and police have denied that extrajudicial killings have taken place.
The Southeast Asian Times

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

West Papuan pro-independence activists shoot at boat carrying ballots From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 2: West Papua police have deployed 100 officers to search for two missing police on the Mamberamo Raya River who were tasked with safeguarding the distribution of ballot papers in 29 districts in the regency and gubernational elections held throught Indonesia last week, reports Tempo.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto, said that both men went missing on the Mamberamo Raya River following an attack by an armed group on the day of the election, Wednesday, June 27.
He said that nine police officers together with Torere District Head Obaja Faroro travelled on two speedboats on the Mamberamo Rivercarrying ballot papers when they were attacked by an armed group.
Torere District Head Obaja Faroro and two police officers were killed in the attack.
The police officers jumped overboard into the Mamberamo Raya River in order to evade the gun shots.
Police Insp. Second Class Jesayas H. Nusi and Brigadier Sinton Kabarek are yet to be found.
National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto, said that he suspected that the armed group responsible for the attack was connected to the group that shot at an aircraft at Kenyyam airport in Nduga regency ahead of the elections last Wednesday.
The aircraft carried ballot papers and 15 pilice officers tasked with safeguarding the local election.
The armed group believed to be West Papuan pro-independence separatist activists shot at the aircraft leaving three civilans dead and two injured including the pilot.
General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan said on Wednesday following the attack on the aircraft that voting had been postponed in Nduga Province due to an ongoing conflict between security personnel and the West Papuan pro-independence separatist group.
In December 2016 Non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals declared support for West Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination, calling for a referendum.
Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta, representing non-Papuan Indonesia activists said that "persistent oppression and discrimination, cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuans to decide their own fate in a referendum".
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia."
In May 2016 Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Southeast Asian Times

West Java school teacher sacked for voting for former Bakasi mayor

School teacher, Robiatul Adawiyah, reinstated after Darul Maza private school dismissal for voting for West Java gubernatorial candidate Ridwan Kamil and Uu Ruzhanul
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 29: A Bakasi Darul Maza private school teacher was dismissed after voting for Ridwan Kamil and his runningmate Uu Ruzhanul Ulum at the gubernatorial elections held in 17 provinces, 39 cities, and 115 districts on Wednesday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Robiatul Adawiyah, was reportedly dismissed by the private school because she voted for the West Java gubernatorial candidate pair Ridwan Kamil and Uu Ruzhanul and not for the candidates recommended by the administrators of the private school.
Former Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil and his running-mate Uu Ruzhanul Ulum were reportedly ahead in the West Java gubernatorial election with about 33 percent of the vote counted according to quick counts conducted by six pollsters.
Darul Maza private school administrator, Fahrudin, said that the school's administrators employed teachers who held similar views to theirs.
"We can find another teacher who would cooperate with us", he said.
School teacher Robiatul Adawiyah has since been reinstated.
Her reinstatement followed the posting of the dismissal on facebook by the teacher's husband, Andriyanto Putra Valora, who reportedly recorded the dismissal of his wife by an administrator at the Darul Maza private school.
A school administrator reportedly visited the dismissed school teacher at her home soon after the facebook posting to apologise and ask the teacher to return to her duties at the private school.
Robiatul Adawiyah reportedly said that she accepted the apology and is willing to return to the school.
“It’s all cleared up now and I hope that it won’t cause further problems,” she said.
Head of the Public Relation Division of the Indonesian Police Brigadier General Mohammad Iqbal called on the public to report unfair practices during the election of new governors, vice governors, city mayors and vice mayors including district heads and deputy district heads to the Police Propam Division ahead of the elections last Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian Times

Lawyers call for acquittal of women charged with murder of brother of Kim Jong-Un

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 29, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 26, at the Shah Alam High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday on trial for the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, 47.

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 30: Lawyers defending two women charged with the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, 47, who is the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, have called for the acquittal of the women, saying that the murder that took place at the Kuala Lumpur International airport in February last year was "a political assassination", reports Rueters.
Defence lawyers for Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, 26, and Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, 29, said in their closing argument on Wednesday that the kiling of Kim Jong-Nam, 47, was a political assassination undertaken by North Korea.
The defence lawyers argue that Siti Aisyah, 26, and Doan Thi Huong, 29, were recruited by a north Korean at a Kuala Lumpur Hotel in January last year to star in a prank show and were to be paid $100-$200 for each prank.
The defence lawyers argue that the women were not aware that they had applied the deadly nerve agent to Kim Jong Nam's face, saying that they were the victims of an elaborate trick.
The two women allegedly applied the banned VX deadly nerve agent to Kim Jong Nam's face at the crowded Kuala Lumpur international airport while he was en route to Macau. He died 20 minutes after the application.
Government chemist, Raja Subramaniam, said in his testomy in October last year that he found traces of the VX nerve agent on the clothing worn by the women at the Kuala Lumper International airport at the time of Kim Jong-nam's death.
The Malaysian government chemist confirmed that he found VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam's face, eyes, clothing and in his blood and urine.
The prosecution case reportedly rests on airport security camera footage that shows the two women and four North Korean supects at the airport and also on forensic evidence that found traces of the deadly VX nerve agent on the women's clothing.
Judge Azmi Ariffin who has presided over the 40 day trial is expected to fix a time in July for a decision to either acquit the two women or call them to enter a defence.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuan pro-independence activists stop distribution of ballots for Indonesian elections
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 29: The West Papua regency of Paniai and Nduga postponed voting in the regency and gubernational elections scheduled throughout Indonesia on Wednesday due to "security concerns", reports the Jakarta Post.
General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan said at a press conference on Wednesday that "It has been recommended that voting in those two regencies be postponed because of security concerns."
He said that voting had been postponed in Nduga Province due to an ongoing conflict between security personnel and the West Papuan pro-independence separatist group.
"The conflict has hampered the distribution of ballot papers in 29 districts", he said.
Nduga regency military official, Colonel Muhammad Aidi said three civilians were killed and two were injured including the pilot in an attack allegedly by West Papuan pro-independence separatist activists at the Kenyam airport on the day before the Indonesian elections.
“The plane was carrying 15 mobile brigade officers tasked with safeguarding the local election,” he said.
The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) has called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum for West Papua, with West Papuan pro-independence activist, Filep Semuel Karma, 57, saying that "Papuan's still suffered from mistreatment and abuses despite the region being granted special autonomy status."
In December 2016 Non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals declared support for West Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination, calling for a referendum.
Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta, representing non-Papuan Indonesia activists said that "persistent oppression and discrimination, cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuans to decide their own fate in a referendum".
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia."
In May 2016 Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Southeast Asian Times

Police call on voters to report arm-twisting in Indonesia's regional elections

President Joko Widodo said ahead of the regional elections held yestaers that neutrality of the Indonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (Polri) was absolute

From News Reports:
Denpasar, June 28: The Indonesian National Police called on 150 million Indonesians in 17 provinces, 39 cities, and 115 districts to report Indonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (Polri) deployed to secure the elections, who do not exercise "fairness and neutrality".
Head of the Public Relation Division of the Indonesian Police Brigadier General Mohammad Iqbal called on the public to report unfair practices at the polling stations in the election of new governors, vice governors, city mayors and vice mayors including district heads and deputy district heads to the Police Propam Division.
"The police cannot support or take sides with any candidate during the elections", he said.
He said police personnel who support a particular candidate in the election will be dismissed, saying that "the order from the Head of Police General Tito Karnavian is very clear.
"Police personnel should remain neutral when on duty in the regional head elections" he said.
Maj.Gen. Benny Susianto of the 9th regional military command reportedly deployed 3,300 personnel to support police in order to safeguard the regional elections in Bali yesterday.
Maj.Gen. Benny Susianto said that the military were prepared for any disruption, including terrorism, but saying that there had not been any indication of a terrorist attack on Bali.
He said that the military would pay special attention to Gianyar and Klungkung regencies in Bali saying that “there will be regent and deputy regent elections in those two regencies.
"We have to safeguard those elections to ensure they run smoothly, he said.
Operational Head of Bogor Police Commissioner Faisal Pasaribu has deployed 1,900 police to secure the simultaneous elections in Bogor Regency, West Java where 3,294,825 Indonesians are registered to vote at 7,635 polling stations over 40 sub-districts.
The police will safeguard the polling stations until voting is over," he said.
East Java Governor Soekarwo said that about 150 supervisors from 24 countries will monitor the regional elections held in 18 regencies across East Java, saying that "they are here to see how regional elections in East Java are conducted,” he said.
"The central government is hoping that the regional elections in East Java serve as an example to the nation," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

EU pays for continuity of Khmer Rouge genocide trials
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 27: The European Union is to donate a further 3.50 million euro ($4 milion) to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in order for the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to continue hearing evidence related to charges of genocide and other crimes alleged against the Cham and Vietnamese in Cambodia during the Democratic Kampuchea regime or Khmer Rouge, reports the Khmer Times.
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) administrators Tony Kranh and Knut Rosandhaug said that "this financial support will contribute to the continuity of the work of the court to achieve justice for the atrocities of the Democratic Kampuchea regime of 1975-1979."
The European Union, Japan, Australia and the Cambodian goverment have provided financial assistance for the continuation of the genocide trial to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or Khmer Rouge Tribunal since its inception in 2006.
The Khmer Rouge Tribunal was established following an agreement between the Cambodian government and the United Nations to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide between April 1975 and January 1979.
The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) began hearing evidence in February 2016 with Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch, 75, being the first to go on trial before the tribunal.
Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch who was the former warden of Security Centre S-21 was found to be responsible for a minimum of 12,272 deaths
He is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
In June 2016 Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch testified against Nuon Chea, 91, former second in command to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
Nuon Chea is charged with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions that includes charges of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese.
In March 2015 Meas Muth, 78, who was the secretary of Division 164, the largest in the regime’s Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea, numbering some 10,000 personnel was charged in absentia with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions that includes charges of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese.
Former Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Mut, 78, told the Phnom Penh Post in September 2011 that he joined the Khmer Rouge to protect Cambodia from foreign threats after the 1970 coup of the US-supported Lon Nol regime, which deposed King Norodom Sihanouk and pitched Cambodia into civil war.
“I did not create the war,” he said. “I am a victim that was forced to join the war.”
Meas Mut denied involvement in any killings, and said whatever he had done was justified by his responsibility to defend the country against foreign enemies.
“Do they have evidence to accuse me, or not?” he said.
Meas Mut asked if the evidence was the bones in Cambodia’s killing fields, and if so, he wondered how the court could determine whether the bones belonged to foreigners killed on Cambodian soil, Cambodians killed by Viet Nam, or those killed from the American bombing campaign.
The Southeast Asian Times

Phnom Penh Police find 33 pregnant women in raid on surrogacy agency
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 26: Cambodian police have arrested a Chinese national for human trafficking and four Cambodian women for their role in the recruitment of Cambodian women as surrogate mothers in a police raid on Thursday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking Police Chief, Keo Thea, said that Chinese national Liu Qiang, 49, was allegedly the mastermind of the illegal surrogacy agency with four Cambodian women, Svay Sinuch, 34, Noeun Sreylang, 27, Lim Sopheap, 19, and Thai Pheap, 43, his accomplices.
He said that the raid on premises in Phnom Penh's Russey Keo district found 33 Cambodian women in various stages of preganancy.
"Some of the women were one month pregnant and others, eight months," he said.
He said that the women lived in one of two houses under guard.
"They were offered up to $10,000 each by the intended parents who were mostly Chinese," said the Police Chief.
He said that the women were poor and needed the money, saying that they were garment workers or unemployed.
The Police Chief said that the 33 pregnant Cambodian women had been sent to the Social Affairs Department in Phnom Penh.
In January 2018 Australian nurse, Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, was found guilty and imprisoned for 18 months in Cambodia's landmark surrogacy trial for her role in the recruitment of Cambodian women as surragate mothers.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied the charges saying that she did not recruit women to be surrogates or seek intended parents, saying that her role was "to supervise surrogates and provide medical care including ultrasounds and medication during the pregnancies."
“I monitored the surrogate mothers to care for them and make sure they were safe,” she said.
The Australian nurse and two Cambodian co-accused, nurse Samrith Chakriya and commerce ministry official Penh Rithy, were arrested in November 2016 following a ban on Cambodia’s growing surrogacy industry.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam postpones law that would give China 99 year lease on land

Protesters in Ho Chi Minh City protest against proposed new economic zones and 99-year land leases to foreign investors saying 'Do not give the SEZs to Red China not even for one day'
From News Reports:
HCMCity, June 25: Vietnam's National Assembly has postponed the draft Law on Special Administrative and Economic Units that include the approval of a 99 year land lease in yet to be approved economic zones until the next National Assembly session in October, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The National Assembly reportedly delayed the approval of the draft law that would allow China a 99-year land lease in economic zones in Vietnam's northern Quang Ninh province, Khanh Hoa province and southern Kien Giang province, saying that "the government agreed with the National Assembly Standing Committee to re-consider and postpone the adoption of the draft law until the next session.
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a press conference that the draft law on the land lease proposal would be reconsidered and adjustments would be made to maintain national security and sovereignty.
Earlier this month protesters throughout Vietnam including in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City protested against the approval of the 99 year lease to foreign investors reportedly in fear that the leases would lead to Chinese encroachment.
American citizen, William Anh Nguyen, 32, was reportedly among the thousands of protesters who took to the streets in Ho Chi Ming City in protest against the approval of the 99 year lease for foreign investment and the establishment of economic zones.
Ho Chi Minh City police said that William Anh Nguyen, 32, was one of more than 100 arrested in the protests in Ho Chi Minh City with video showing that he urged protesters to climb over barricades.
"Initial investigations show that there were signs of political opponents and reactionary groups having incited people to protest and destabilise the security and political situation," Ho Chi Minh City police said in a statement.
Aerican citizen, William Anh Nguyen, 32, has reportedly been accused of disrupting the peace.
The US embassy in Ho Chi Minh City has reportedly confirmed that William Anh Nguyen is under investigation by police but that no formal charges have been made
.The Southeast Asan Times



The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here




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

"Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi" by Kerry B. Collison "is undoubtedly fictional but by no means improbable, " says Johannes Nugroho ....open page here
The Southeast Asian Times wishes its readers a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year with a special thankyou to its treasured letter writers

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

Timor-Leste justice threatened by firing of foreign judges
By Susan Marx ...open page here

Thousands of Northern Australia's indigenous rock art sites are under threat from buffalo, fire and feral animals. Tim Lee reports ........open page here

 

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

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Myanmar..923.19
Papua New Guinea
..2.4033
Philippines Peso..
35.3212
Singapore dollar...
1.0308
...Baht..
26.2521
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 25: Singapore's largest property developer, the Far East Organization, is to partner with Myanmar's local property sales and marketing company, Min Zin Agency, in Yangon to sell condos in Singapore.
Managing director of the Min Zin Agency in Yangon, Ko Kyaw Min Zin, said that Singapore's Far East Organization has expanded its sales and marketing efforts into Myanmar.
“The Far East Organisation has been selling their Singapore properties to Myanmar buyers since 2009,” he said.
The Far East Organisation reportedly have over 750 properties in Singapore’s residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors,
including 45,500 or one in every six private homes in Singapore listed with the Min Zin Agency in Yangon.
The Southeast Asian Times


China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10:
Indonesia's Railway Corporation (PT KAI) and state construction company PT Jasa Marga signed a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) with China Investment Fund (CIF) to develop indonesia's railway services and toll road construction.
Witness to the signing, coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil, said that the MoU will provide the groundwork for further cooperation between China Railway and P KAI and China Investment Fund (CIF).
"The MoU is the first step towards further development of public services between China and Indonesia" he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia, Xie Feng said that the MoU would spark more cooperations between China and Indonesia and would bring about "real benefits to the public."
The Southeast Asian Times

Penang health department shuts down soya bean factory
From News Reports:
Penang, October 19: Five Penang food factories including a 100 year old soya bean factory at Tanjong Bungah were ordered closed by the state health department for failure to observe health standards.
State health, food safety and quality division, deputy director Ku Nafishah Ku Ariffin said soya bean products were processed in an unclean "rusty and moldy kitchen".
"Our inspectors found that wet products were left to dry on "dirty" bamboo sticks along with bathing towels. The bamboo sticks were also dirty and dusty," she said.
A "sweets" factory in Teluk Kumbar, a noodle factory in Simpang Ampat and a sauce factory in Bukit Metajam were also closed by the state health department
The Southeast Asian Times

Fuel smugglers including military personnel under arrest
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 15: Riau Islands Police have arrested 30 suspects including several Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel and seized 64 cars, two boats and 106 tons of fuel.
Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Arman Depary said in Batam last week that the seized cars had been modified to hold 100 litres of fuel.
"The Military (TNI) personnel are suspected of fuel smuggling and have been handed over to the military base", he said.
TNI Commander Gen. Moeldoko said that the alleged suspected fuel smugglers are honor-based service military personnel.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai coup blammed for fall in tourist arrivals
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 18: The Thai tourism sector suffered its largest fall in international visitors to Thailand in June, the first month after the establishment of marshal law and the military seizure of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Tourism reportedly accounts for 10 percent of the Thai economy.
Data from the Thai Department of Tourism shows that inernational tourist arrival numbers in July fell by 10.9 percent compared to the same time last year.
International arrivals in July totalled 1.91 million compared to 2.15 million in July 2013.
Arrivals from China with a18 percent share of all visitors to thailand and the largest group of visitors to Thailand, fell by 25.3 percent.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom with a 4 percent share of all visitors to Thailand, was one of the few large markets to record a gain, of 6.2 percent
The Southeast Asian Times

US Senate approves sales of nuclear equipment to Vietnam
From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 31: The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed legislation approving a 123 agreement on civil nuclear commerce with Vietnam at a business meeting of the committee last week.
The 123 agreement under the US Atomic energy Act of 1954 establishes a civil nuclear commerce agreement that allows the US to export nuclear reactors, research information and equipment to Vietnam.
The civil nuclear commerce agreement between the US and Vietnam is "part of Vietnam's effort to ease its shortage of energy towards meeting over 10 percent of the domestic power demand by 2030", reports the Vietnam News Service
The Southeast Asian Times

Court for construction
Industry
established
in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 3: The first two Construction Courts for Malaysia were opened by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam last week, reports the Star.
The courts will deal with disputes in the construction industry.
Works Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said that the establishment of the courts will transform the way the construction business in the country operates.
"The construction industry stakerholders can now have their disputes resolved by judges with expert knowledge and experience in construction industry disputes', he said.
The proposal by the Construction Industry Board (CIDB) for the establishment of the construction courts was first put to the Judiciary in January 2013.
Britain is the only other country that has a specially designated court that deals with construction industry disputes.

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 14: Bali community-based tourism operators have called for amendments to regulations that stipulate that the local community pay the Bali regency administration 60 percent of their total tourism revenue.
Penglipuran tourist village in Bangli, community-based tourism manager, Nengah Moneng, said that he objected to the fact that his community received only 40 percent of the total revenue.
"We want to have 60 percent share of the tourist revenue to pay for operating costs", he said.
The Penglipuran tourism manager said that operating costs for trekking, traditional dance, cultural shows including religious rituals had increased.
The cost of operating lodges and community halls for tourism had also increased.
"An increase in revenue for not only the Bangli community but for tourism based communities across Bali would benefit tourism island-wide" said the tourism manager.
The Southeast Asian Times

Riau forest fires force Chevron to shut down oil wells
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 21: PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based oil company Chevron has shut down 573 oil wells in the Riau province of Sumatra.
The deteriorating quality of air due to forest fires that have been raging for the last month has forced PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to shut down its oil wells and evacuate workers and there families.
Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator, SKK Migas, public relations officer, Handoyo Budi Santoso, said that oil assets in Riau province are important to national crude oil production.
"The biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Rokan block, operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of crude oil production", he said
The Jakarta Posts reports that potential losses are estimated at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 5:
The New Straits Times reports that there was an 86 percent increase in tourist arrivals from China
to Sabah in the last two years.
Data from the Sabah Tourism Board reportedly shows that 193,010 tourist tourists arrived in Sabah from China in 2011 increasing to 360,361 in 2013
Sabah West Coast Coffeeshop Association chairman, Yong Chee Yun, said coffee shop operators were catering to the influx of tourists from China.
"Coffee shops displayed tourist friendly signs in Chinese saying 'how are you?' and menues included China's favourite foods", he said.
Sabah and Labuan Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels and general manager of the At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort,
said that staff members are encouraged to learn Mandarin.
"So that they can converse better with guests" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

From News Reports:
Jakarta,January 29: A pilots strike forced State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to cancelled all scheduled flights to Surabaya, Merauke and Timika on Saturday, reports The Jakarta Post.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra said that the airline had not paid salaries to pilots and cabin crew for two months.
The Jakarta Post reports that PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines was required to restructure its operations.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra says that Merpati has signed a memorndum of understanding (MoU) with PT Armagedon Indonesia and PT Bentang Persada Gemilang to restructure the company.
The airline has debts of Rp 6.5 trillion (US$533 million) reports the Jakarta Post.
"The management would pay the salaries around March or early April, said the Merpati corporate secretary.
Merpati’s workers union advisory board official, Erry Wardhana, said about 200 Merpati pilots planned to strike again next Saturday for an indefinite period.
"The pilots would strike until 1,600 Merpati employees were paid", he said.
The union advisory board official says that this is the first time that Merpati workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages.
The pilots are owed wages for December and January reports the Jakarta Post.
The Southeast Asian Times

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