The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Saturday 19 June 2021
GATHERINGS:
An informed guidexto happenings throughout
the region.  

China calls emergency COVID-19 meeting with ASEAN in Laos
From News Reports:
Beijing, February 19: An emergency meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was proposed by China is to be held in Vientiane, Laos on Thursday and Friday to discuss the COVID-19 virus epidemic.
The COVID-19 virus has so far killed 1,869 and infected 73,336 in China and has spread to the 10 ASEAN member states.
The meeting that was proposed by China is reportedly intended to share information and to improve coordination between China and the 10 ASEAN member states in order to combat the COVID-19 virus.
China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is reportedly to discuss China's measures in countering the COVID-19 virus epidemic at the meeting in Laos, with focus on strengthening joint prevention and control measures against the virus.
The meeting is also to explore the idea of establishing a long term and effective collaboration mechanism on public health to safeguard the region, with China Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying " China and Asean countries have been in close communication since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who will be attending the emergency COVID-19 virus epidemic meeting, said that the meeting will be an opportunity for the foreign ministers to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"The meeting will help strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states in the midst of this global health threat," he said.
His said that Cambodia's participation in the emergency meeting that was proposed by China will demonstrate Cambodia’s support of China and confidence in the measures taken by the China government to address the coronavirus outbreak.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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King's decision to reconvene Malaysia's Parliament subject to Government Covid-19 projection

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, says "Parliament would reconvene in September or October providing daily Covid-19 infections fall below 2,000"
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 19: Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was appointed by the King of Malaysia, responded to the Conference of Malay Rulers decision on Wednesday, to end the state of emergency and to reconvene Parliament on August 1, saying "Parliament would reconvene in September or October providing daily Covid-19 infections fall below 2,000."
The King of Malaysia, who chaired the Conference of Malay Rulers meeting on Wednesday, and who is empowered to reconvene Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin under the Federal Constitution, ruled that the state of emergency that expires on August 1 should not be extended and that the Parliament will reconvene on August 1.
"The King and the Conference of Malay Rulers have decided that the ongoing state of emergency should not be extended past its original end date of August 1," said the keeper of the Conference of Malay Rulers seal, Danial Syed. Ahmad.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly unveiled a National Recovery Plan on Wednesday based on the projection that Malaysia's daily new Covid-19 infections would not be below 4,000 on August 1 and that the state of emergency would not end on August 1, saying "Parliament would reconvene in September or October providing daily Covid-19 infections fall below 2,000."
"The King proclaimed a nationwide state of emergency in January, precipitating the dissolution of Parliament, after rejecting Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's call for a state of emergency in October 2020, reportedly setting a precedent that saw the King's decision overrule the government.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed Prime Minister by the King in March 2020 amid claims that he did not have the support of the Members of Parliament and with opposition politicians investigated under the Sedition Act for questioning the King's decison to appoint the Prime Minister,
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia's Defence Force calls on Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to release all detainees

Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston AO RAN calls for the immediate release of Australian Professor Sean Turnell, who was arrested following the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar seizure of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February
From News Reports:
Sydney, June 18: Australia's Defence Force called on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar for the immediate release of Australian Professor Sean Turnell, who was arrested following the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar seizure of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February, with Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston, reitorating Australia's support for the ASEAN effort to resolve the political crisis that includes the release of all detainees, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Australian Professor Sean Turnell, key economic policy adviser to State Councilor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and director of research at the Myanmar Development Institute (MDI) in Naypyitaw that included research into state-owned enterprise reform, was arrested for violation of Myanmar's immigration law for allegedly attempting to depart Myanmar and for violation of the official secrets acts for attempting to depart Myanmar with alleged secret financial information.
Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston, called on Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Deputy Commander-in Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win on Wednesday, to release Australian Professor Sean Turnell, reitorating Australia's support for the ASEAN five-point plan that was reached by consensus at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April.
Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston urged the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Deputy Commander-in Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win, to refrain from violence against civilians, restore democracy as soon as possible, immediately release all those arbitrarily detained and allow greater access for humanitarian assistance.
Admiral David Johnston reportedly urged Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Deputy Commander-in Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win to engage constructively with the ASEAN, calling on the
the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to implement the ASEAN five point plan as soon as possible.
In March, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, suspended Australia's bilateral Defence Cooperation Program with Myanmar, saying "Australia as a longstanding supporter of Myanmar's democratic transisition has been reviewing it's Mynamar policy."
The Minister said that Australia has had a limited bilateral Defence Cooperation Program with Myanmar's military, restricted to non-combat areas such as English language training, saying "this program will be suspended."
"Australia will continue to play a constructive role, including in consultation with international partners, particularly ASEAN, in support of the Myanmar people."
The Minister said that Australia has undertaken extensive consulatations with international partners particularly Australia's ASEAN neighbours and Japan and India, saying "the political stability of ASEAN member states is essential to achieving our vision for a secure, peaceful, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its centre.
The Southeast Asian Times


ICC calls for full investigation into crimes against humanity in Philippines war on drugs

International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said on Monday there is reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs campaign
From News Reports:
Manila, June 17: The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor wants the Court in the Hague in the Netherlands to proceed with a full investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs campaign, with Philippine President Duterte saying that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said on Monday that she has determined that there is reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019 in the Government of Philippines war on drugs campaign.
"A preliminary examination suggests that vigilante-style killings were perpetrated by Philippine police officers themselves, or other private individuals hired by authorities, leading to a death toll of between 12,000 to 30,000 civilians," she said.
She said that extrajudicial killings perpetrated across the Philippines appear to have been committed pursuant to an official State policy of the Philippine government, saying " police and other government officials planned, ordered, and sometimes directly perpetrated extrajudicial killings."
She said that the prosecution does not take a position on the Philipine government administration anti-drug program, saying that the investigation into alleged crimes against humanity was made in accordance with her obligations under the Rome Statute.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2019, a year after International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the opening of the preliminary examination of the Philippines under the Rome Institute that would look into alleged crimes against humanity committed in the Philippines including into the possible criminal responsibility of President Rodrigo Duterte of the alleged crimes.
The Philippine withdrawal of membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC) that came into effect on 17 March 2019 did not effect consideration of alledged crimes committed before the withdrawal.
On Monday President Rodrigo Duterte condemned the International Criminal Court (ICC) for interfering in the Philippines domestic affairs, saying that the Court in the Hague had no jurisdiction over the Philippines.
He claimed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) had did not have evidenct that crime against humanity were committed under his administration, saying "the drug related deaths occurred as suspects attempted to fight it out with authorities."
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand calls on Myanmar military to implement ASEAN concensus on cessation of violence

Supporters of the newly founded National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar burn the ASEAN flag in Mandalay on Saturday June 5, 2021 in protest against ASEAN giving legitimacy to the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar rule and the ASEAN exclusion of the National Unity Government (NUG) from the ASEAN meeting with the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in Naypyitaw on Friday June 4, 2021
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, June 16: Thailand has called on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar that seized the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February to implement a five-point plan including cessation of violence reached by consensus at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April, reports Reuters.
Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Tanee Sangrat, said that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar has shown little sign of heeding the "Five-Point Consensus" that included cessation of violence.
"We have been following developments in Myanmar closely with much concern, especially incidents of violence in many parts of the country," he said.
He called on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar for an end to violence, the release of all detainees and the “concrete implementation of the Five-Point Consensus” as soon as possible.
The five-point plan was reached by consensus at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April that included the attendence of Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, but excluded the attendence of the National Unity Government (NUG) that was founded by the elected members of parliament following the seizure of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, with National Unity Government (NUG) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moe Zaw Oo, saying "it's imperative that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's State Administrative Council (SAC) is not recognised as the legitimate government of Myanmar at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April"
He said that ASEAN would not achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the National Unity Government (NUG), saying "NUG looked forward to firm action by ASEAN on the five point plan that would restore democracy and freedom to Myanmar."
The National Unity Government (NUG) was also excluded from the Friday June 4, 2021 ASEAN meeting in Naypyitaw between ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN Deputy ASEAN Secretary-General Garry Ramtee Bin Haji Ibrahim and ASEAN chair for 2021 Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Dato Erywan Pehin of Brunei Darussalam and the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Council Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is also the chariman of the State Administration Council (SAC), Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing, with National Unity Government (NUG) deputy foreign minister Moe Zaw Oo, saying "we have little confidence in ASEAN's efforts."
"All of our hopes are gone," he said.
National Unity Government (NUG) deputy foreign minister, Moe Zaw Oono, said that he no longer has any expectation that ASEAN can resolve the crisis in Myanmar after the National Unity Government (NUG) was excluded from the ASEAN meeting with the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in Naypyitaw on Friday June 4, 2021, saying ASEAN gave the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Council Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing greater legitimacy but brought no benefit to Myanmar.
The Southeast Asian Times


Mynamar doctors arrested for incitement and unlawful association with military declared terrorist groups

Dr Htar Htar Lin, former director of the Covid-19 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) under the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, arrested on Thursday
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, June 15: The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, that seized the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February, has charged 27 Myanmar doctors, who joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and who support the newly formed National Unity Government (NUG), with unlawful association of declared terrorist groups and with incitement for encouraging civil disobedience, reports the Irrawaddy.
Dr Htar Htar Lin, former Director and Program Manager of the Covid-19 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) under the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, was reportedly arrested together with her husband and son in Yangon Thursday.
Dr Htar Htar Lin and 26 doctors are charged with unlawful association and incitement for their involvement in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) that called on hundreds of thousands of civil servants in the ministry of Education, Health, Transport, Electricity and Energy, Labor, Immigration and Population and Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement ministries, including academics and university students across Myanmar to stop work in the week after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar seized the elected government.
Dr Htar Lin and the 26 doctors, whose whereabouts are unkonwn, are charged with colluding with the National Unity Government (NUG) formed in April by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), that was established by the National League for Democracy (NLD) elected Members of Parliament after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar cancelled the opening session of Parliament.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar has declared the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the National Unity Government (NUG) and also the newly formed People's Defence Force (PDF) "terrorist groups",
Dr Htar Lin is accused of associating with National Unity Government (NUG) appointed Health Minister, Zaw Wai Soe, in order to write speeches of encouragement for the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and for preparing charts and providing information to the National Unity Government (NUG) healthcare programs.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar allege that Dr Htar Htar Lin was instructed by Health Minister, Zaw Wai Soe to calculate medical expenses related to terror acts nationwide in order to apply for US$8 million in healthcare aid in a grant proposal to international donors.
The Southeast Asian Times

Dr Mahathir's proposed emergency administrative council to report directly to the King

Dr Mahathir Mohomad has renamed the proposed National Operations Council (NOC) Mageran emergency administrative council, the National Rehabilitation Council (NRC), saying the council would be apolitical and would report directly to the King
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 14: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohomad, says that his proposed re-introduction of the National Operations Council (NOC) Mageran, to resolve the Covid-19 caused economic crisis would report directly to the head of state, the King, with minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, saying that Malaysia does not need an emergency administrative council to govern Malaysia, reports the Star.
Dr Mahathir Mohomad's proposal to reintroduce a National Operations Council (Mageran), that was introduced in 1969 after the racial riots in Malaysia, was rejected by the government despite Dr Mahathir's assurance that the establishment of an emergency administrative body would not replace the government.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Special Functions, Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, claims that the government had been doing well in managing the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying "Malaysia does not need a National Operations Council (NOC) or an emergency administrative body to govern Malaysia."
"It's crucial to have the Parliament reconvene as soon as possible", he said.
Dr Mahathir Mohomad, put the proposed emergency administrative body to resolve the Covid-19 caused economic crisis to the King on Thursday and on Saturday proposed that it be named the National Rehabilitation Council (NRC) for neutrality.
He said that the National Rehabilitation Council (NRC) would be apolitical, and would report directly to the King, saying "the council will not replace the government."
He said that the National Operations Council (Mageran),introduced in 1969, helped to stabilize the country for the next 40 years saying "this time the situation is worse."
"The state of emergency declared in January has failed to solve the problem," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Body of pastor shot dead in Indonesian National Armed Forces shoot out in Papua to be exhumed

Pastor Yeremia Zanambani was shot dead in Intan Jaya, Papua September 17, 2020 in a shoot out between Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB)
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 13: The body of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was killed in a shoot out between Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Intan Jay regency in Papua in September last year, is to be exhumed for a post mortem examination amid claims that Pastor Yeremia Zanambani was killed by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) reports Tempo.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, ordered a fact finding team (TGPF) to investigate the shoot out between Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) that left two Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) soldiers, a civilian and Pastor Yeremia Zanambani dead, with Papua New Guinea Council of Churches (PNGCC) saying "the council does not consider the fact finding team (TGPF) independent."
Evangelical Camp Church (Kingmi) Synod chairman, Benny Giay, said that the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches (PNGCC) did not consider the fact finding team (TGPF) independent, saying "the investigative team into the four deaths including pastor Yeremias Zanamban consist of security apparatus members, government and intelligence units."
He said that the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, has promoted the remilitarization of Papua under Daerah Operasi Militer (DOM), to combat the armed West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) opposition to Indonesian rule of Papua and West Papua.
He said that the Evangelical Camp Church (Kingmi) Synod suspects that security operations in many Papua regions aims to support investors in a hidden agenda that includes the seizure of land, customery forests and natural resourses belonging to the Papuan people.
"Papuans in Intan Jaya regency object to the control of gold mining in the regency by PT Antam," he said.
He said that Papuans had fled Intan Jaya following the Indonesian Military (TNI) operation in the area, saying "it was an attempt to suppress the Free Papua Movement (OPM) armed West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) wing opposition to Indonesian rule of Papua and West Papua.
Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Fakhiri, said that consent for the exhumation of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani was given by his family, saying that forensic doctors from the Hasanuddin University (Unhas) in Makassar, South Sulawesi, are tasked with the exhumation.
He said that forensic doctors, representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and members of the joint fact-finding team (TGPF) who are conducting the investigation into the death of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani will provide Papua police headquarters with a report.
The Southeast Asian Times


Dr Mahathir calls for revival of 1963 National Operations Council to resolve economic crisis

Dr Mahathir Mohamad advised the King to reintroduce the Mageran, saying that the National Operations Council (Mageran) had previously been formed to solve a national crisis
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 12: Dr Mahathir Mohamad's proposal to reintroduce the National Operations Council (Mageran) to resolve the Covid-19 caused economic crisis was rejected with accusations that the proposal is counter to Dr Mahathir's call for an end to the state of emergency and the reopening of Parliament, reports the Star.
The proposal to reintroduce the National Operations Council (Mageran), that was first introduced in 1969 following the May 13 racial riots in Malaysia, was rejected by the Alliance of Hope Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition of opposition political parties, that supported the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad's successful second candidature for Prime Minister in the 2018 general elections.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad who is the president of the coalition opposion party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air or Fighters of the Nation Party and Member of Parliament for Langkawi, said that he put the proposal to reintroduce the National Operations Council (Mageran) to the King of Malaysia on Thursday.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he advised the King to re-introduce the Mageran, saying that the National Operations Council (Mageran) had previously been formed to solve a national crisis.
"The Mageran was introduced to manage the national crisis that followed the proclamation of the state of emergency declared in 1969 following the May 13 racial riots," he said.
An audience with the King was granted to all major political leaders beginning with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday following a submission to the King by the Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration (Tamat Darurat) in January and again in April that called for the end of the state of emergency earlier than the scheduled expiry date on August 1 and the reopening of paliament.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Supreme Council member, Dr Puad Zarkashi, accused Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is a member of the Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration (Tamat Darurat), of acting against the call to end the state of emergency and the reopening of parliament with the proposed reintroduction of the Mageran, saying "Tun Mahathir is strange."
"He protested the Emergency, he protested against the suspension of Parliament, but he proposes the Mageran, he said.
A joint statement issued by Malaysia's Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition of opposition political parties said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) did not agree with Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suggestion to set up Mageran, saying "as a party which upholds the principle of parliamentary democracy, Pakatan rejects the suggestion to establish Mageran, based on our consistent stance that the Emergency must be ended immediately and that Parliament must reconvene now."
"For a solution to the rakyat’s (people's) problems concerning Covid-19 and the economy, and for a political system requiring a functioning democracy, the best place to hear the rakyat’s (people's) views and find a solution is in Parliament."
The Southeast Asian Times


Son of high ranking Myanmar military officer pulls rank at restuarant

The Excellent Bar and Restuarant in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. was surrounded by police on Monday night
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, June 11: A Naypyitaw restuaranteur, his family, employees and diners including sex workers were arrested after the son of a high ranking officer in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, who was involved in a brawl at the Excellent Bar and Restuarant called police, with an eyewitness saying "the rank of your parents counts now," reports the Irrawaddy.
The owner of the Excellent Bar and Restuarant including his wife and children and 15 employees including bartenders, waiters, kitchen workers, diners and 17 women sex workers were arrested at the Excellent Bar and Restuarant in Zabuthiri Township in the capital, Naypyitaw, on Monday after the restuarant was surrounded by police.
The brawl began after Sithu Htut, who is the youngest son of Myanmar military Lt-Gen Soe Htut, threw bottles and glases at three men at another table in the Excellent Bar and Restuarant on Monday night.
Sithu Htut reportedly accused the three men of soliciting the two women sex workers who sat at his table with him and his friends.
The three men, accused of soliciting the sex workers, attempted to flee the Excellent Bar and Restuarant after 20 police cars arrived and surrounded the premises.
Sithu Htut and plain clothes police, who were reportedly on guard at the restuarant, pursued one of the three men into the kitchen and proceeded to beat him.
The unidentified eyewitness said that kitchen workers intervened, attempting to stop Sithu Htut and plain clothes police from beating the man accused of soliciting the sex worker, saying "things got rough that night."
He said that the kitchen workers did not know that Sithu Htut was the son of Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Lt-Gen Soe Htut.
He said that Sithu Htut and the plain clothes police threw punches at the kitchen workers as the workers tried to stop them beating the accused man,, saying "the kitchen workers defended themselves."
"The restuarant employees were forced to squat and surrender their phones while police searched the building," he said.
He said that Myanmar has returned to the military era, saying "the rank of your parents counts now."
The 17 sex workers and the man who was beaten in the kitchen by Sithu Htut and plaincloths police have been released but the owner of the Excellent Bar and Restuarant, his wife and children and 15 employees remain in detention.
Sithu Htut is the youngest son of Lt-Gen Soe Htut, who was appointed Minister of Home Affairs by the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, following the the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar seizure of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government on February 1, 2021.
Lt-Gen Soe Htut is also a member of State Administrative Council (SAC) that was established by the Commander-in-chief Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who is also the chaiman of the State Administrative Council (SAC).
Lt-Gen Soe Htut is also one of the largest individual shareholders in Myanma Economic Holdings Limited, the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar corporation and is reportedly responsible for awarding several government contracts in the Pa’O Self-Administered Zone to construction and engineering firm, H Double H, owned by his son Sithu Htut and his two brothers.
The Southeast Asian Times

King grants audience to Malaysia's party leaders over opposition call to end state of emergency and re-open parliament

Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in audience with the King of Malaysia Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday June 9, 2021
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 10: The King of Malaysia and head of state, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, has granted audience to all political party leaders following a petition calling for an end to the state of emergency proclaimed by the King in January that precipitated the suspension of Parliament, with the King granting the first audience to current Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday, reports the Star.
The petition to end the state of emergency earlier than the scheduled expiry on August 1 was first submitted to the King in January by the Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration (Tamat Darurat) but did not receive a response until after the second submission in April.
The Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration (Tamat Darurat) whose 19 member committee includes former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, leader of opposition Parti Pejuang Tanah Air or Fighters of the Nation Party and Member of Parliament for Langkawi, petitioned the King to end the state of emergency and to reopen the Parliament, saying "the decision to bring an end to the state of emergency or otherwise lies with the King."
Current Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was appointed Prime Minister by the King in March 2020 amid claims that he did not have the support of the Members of Parliament and with opposition politicians investigated under the Sedition Act for questioning the King's decison to appoint the Prime Minister.
Current Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin proclaimed a state of emergency as a measure to contain the pandemic that precipitated the suspension of Parliament with the consent of the King of Malaysia in January.
In February ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR called on the King of Malaysia, the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Azhar Azizan Harun, to convene parliament, saying "Malaysia’s state of emergency has not only concentrated excessively broad power in the executive, but also removed any real oversight, leaving the door wide open for rights abuses."
The 89 members of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) that include Thailand, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore called on Malaysia to reconvene parliament, saying "parliament holds a central position in a functioning democracy."
"The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 from January 11, 2021 to August 1, 2021 proclaimed by the King of Malaysia allows for far-reaching and unchecked powers of officials including powers for the armed forces," said the ASEAN Parliamentarians.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua New Guinea upholds one-China policy in Belt and Road talks in China

Papua New Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Soroi Eoe, and China State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, in Guiyang city, Guizhou province, China Thursday June 3, 2021
From News Reports:
Port Moresby, June 9: Papua New Guinea would continue to uphold the one-China policy and uphold the China claim that Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are inalienable parts of China, said the Papua New Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in China last week in talks on strengthening China- PNG ties including cooperation with China in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), reports Xinhua.
Papua New Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Soroi Eoe, upheld the one-China policy in talks with China State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, in Guiyang City, Guizhou province on Thursday, reaffirming China's claim that the People's Republic of China is the legal government representing all China's citizens including Taiwain, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
He said that Papua New Guinea's cooperation with China would benefit Pacific Island Countries including Papua New Guinea, saying "Papua New Guinea aims to cooperate with China in infrastructure development under the Belt and Road Initiative."
"Papua New Guinea values China's support and assistance for Papua New Guinea's soci-economic development," he said.
China State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said that China values Papua New Guinea's recognition of the one-China policy and non-interference in China's internal affairs in Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, saying "China would support Papua New Guinea on its development path." he said.
In November 2018 Papua New Guinea became the second Pacific nation after East Timor to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The then Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a great initiative for developing countries like Papua New Guinea, saying "the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) gives access to capital and infrastructure development."
The Southeast Asian Times

Crime scene investigation underway into toxic gas leak in West Java paper mill pipeline

Deputy Regent of Karawang Aep Syaepuloh said that PT Pindo Deli Pulp And Paper Mills 2 must be held responsible for the leakage of its toxic gas pipeline
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 8: Police in Karawang Regency, West Java are questioning witnesses to the PT Pindo Deli Pulp and Paper Mills 2 toxic gas leak on Thursday that saw hundreds of residents rushed to hospital suffering from toxic fume inhalation, with Karawang Police Chief, saying "a crime scene investigation is underway," reports Antara.
Karawang Police Chief, Rama Samtama Putra, said on Sunday that the police collection of evidence and statements from witnesses in the investigation into the cause of the gas pipeline leak has begun, saying " witnesses include employees at the paper mill's chlorine production section."
Kutamekar Village resident, Pendi, 38, a victim of the leakage of toxic gas from the pipeline owned by PT Pindo Deli Pulp And Paper Mills 2, said that he "found it difficult to breathe, that the strong smell irritated his throat and that his throat was very dry."
He said that the toxic gas leak from the pipeline began on Thursday afternoon, saying there had been many toxic gas leaks before but that this one was the worst.
He said that Kutamekar Village residents complained of shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea, saying that ambulances took hundreds of the victims to the local hospital.
Karawang Police Chief, Rama Samtama Putra, said that the National Police Central Forensics Laboratory (Puslabfor) is conducting a crime scene investigation into the toxic gas leak from the PT Pindo Deli Pulp and Paper Mills 2 gas pipeline.
"The department of Environment and Hygiene of the industrial region is also involved in the investigation," he said.
In May 2018 the Karawang Regency Environment and Hygiene Service concluded that PT Pindo Deli Pulp And Paper Mills II polluted and endangered human health and was subject to sanctions.
The sanctions that included the closure of the caustic soda plant followed a gas leak that left 16 Kutamekar Village residents suffering from the effects of toxic fume inhalation.
Head of the Environment and Hygiene Service of Karawang Regency, Wawan Setiawan, said then that PT Pindo Deli Pulp And Paper Mills II has violated the Minister of Environment Regulation No. 2 of 2013 concerning pollution, environmental destruction and had endangered human safety and health.
The Southeast Asian Times


NUG excluded from ASEAN meeting with Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in Naypyitaw

ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Deputy ASEAN Secretary-General Garry Ramtee Bin Haji Ibrahim and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Dato Erywan Pehin of Brunei Darussalam and also chair of ASEAN for 2021, the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Council Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who is also the chariman of the State Administration Council (SAC), Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Friday June 4, 2021
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, June 7: The National Unity Government (NUG) that was founded by the National League for Democracy (NLD) members of parliament after the takeover of the elected government by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar said it no longer has any expectation that ASEAN can resolve the crisis in Myanmar after it was excluded from the ASEAN meeting with the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in Naypyitaw on Friday, reports Reuters.
The National Unity Government (NUG) was excluded from the meeting between the ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi and the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Council Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who is also the chariman of the State Administration Council (SAC) on Friday, with the National Unity Government (NUG) deputy foreign minister Moe Zaw Oo, saying "we have little confidence in ASEAN's efforts."
"All of our hopes are gone," he said.
The National Unity Government (NUG) was also excluded from the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April but was attended by commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, with National Unity Government (NUG) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moe Zaw Oo, saying then that "ASEAN will not achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the National Unity Government (NUG)."
"It's imperative that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar State Administrative Council (SAC) is not recognised as the legitimate government of Myanmar at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April," he said.
The ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April that included the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, but excluded the National Unity Government (NUG) reached consensus on a five point plan including the cessation of violence, with National Unity Government (NUG) Minister of International Cooperation, Dr Sasa, saying then that "NUG looked forward to firm action by ASEAN on the five point plan that would restore democracy and freedom to Myanmar."
The Southeast Asian Times


US $30 million Covid-19 commitment to Thailand not in exchange for political favours

United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman and Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at Government House in Bangkok Wednesday, June 2, 2021
From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 6: United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, who visited Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) member states, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, last week, met with Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Wednesday, to reaffirm a shared determination for the advancement of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and to reafirm the United States committment of $30 million in COVID-related assistance to Thailand, saying "the United States will not exchange its Covid-19 related assistance for political favors," reports the US State Department.
Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, reaffirmed the importance of United States bilateral economic, security and cultural ties during the 200-year-old U.S.-Thai alliance that includes cooperation with the Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).
The United States has reportedly donated more than $133 million to Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) over a four decade partnership with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Bangkok.
The United States committment of $30 million in total COVID-related assistance to Thailand includes $17.5 million for ventilators, respirators, surgical masks, goggles and other protective equipment to Thai doctors and nurses including those working to support refugees in border camps.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided an additional $13 million in assistance to the Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) colloboration with Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) reportedly led to the development of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) emergency operations center (EOC) that today is the control center for Covid-19 response throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, said that the United States is proud to be the largest contributor to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access COVAX initiative in the fight against the pandemic, saying "the U.S. has committed to contributing 80 million vaccine doses globally with 7 million for Southeast Asia including Thailand.
"The United States will not share these doses in exchange for political favors but as a continuation of the United States’ decades-long commitment to global public health," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


US Secretary of State visits Indonesia
to re-assert US as a Pacific power

United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman and Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra in Jakarta on Monday May 31, 2021
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 5: Jakarta, June 5: United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman, who visited Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) member states, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, last week, met with officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives in Jakarta on Monday to discuss the U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership in an effort to re-assert the United States as a Pacific power, saying "Southeast Asia is an incredibly important part of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy," reports Jakarta Post.
The Deputy Secretary of State said that Southeast Asia is a part of the world that will increasingly play a pivotal role in shaping the global course of events for generations to come, saying "And that is something the United States welcomes.”
The Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R Sherman met with officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives in Jakarta to discuss the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership that "is built on shared principals as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) that supposts ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and rule of law."
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy reportedly aims to re-assert the US as a Pacific power with the U.S. Coast Guard conducting maritime security missions in the Indo-Pacific with regional partners that have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity.
The former United States National Security advisor, Robert O'Brien, said in October last year that new-generation Coast Guard vessels would conduct maritime security missions including fishing patrols in the western Pacific, saying "the presence of the United States Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacifc ensures that the United States will remain the maritime partner of choice in the region."
"China's illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens United States sovereignty and the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors, endangering regional stability," he said.
“To that end the United States Coast Guard is strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters in the western Pacific,” he said.
Indonesia called for a stronger U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit in November last year with Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno LP Marsudi saying "Indonesia expects the ASEAN-US strategic partnership to be a positive force for peace, stability and prosperity in the ASEAN and US committment to a free and open ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). "
She said that the United States continues to be ASEAN's second largest trade and investment partner with an increase of 39 percent from US$211.8 billion to $294.6 billion, saying "US investment in the region had increased by 110 percent from $11.65 billion to $24.5 billion in the last four years."
The Southeast Asian Times


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



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


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

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



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


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Read what Son Nguyen has to say about the impact of China's virus on Vietnam's economy in "When the economy gets sick" open here


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

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


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

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

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


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12, 2018 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here

 

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

 

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

 

Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia Jeet Heer reports.....open page here


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

 

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




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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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