The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Thursday 19 May 2022
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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Indonesian palm oil farmers want ban on export of crude palm oil lifted

President Joko Widodo, bans the export of crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivatives on Thursday April 27, 2022, effective the next day

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 19: The Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo) demanded that the government revoke the crude palm oil (CPO) export ban that was imposed by President Joko Widodo who said "the purpose of the ban is to meet and to supply the domestic market."
President Joko Widodo, banned the export of crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivatives including refined palm oil (RPO), Refined, Bleached, Deodorized Palm Olein (RBD Palm Olein), Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME), and used cooking oil, starting April 28, 2022, to reduce the price of bulk cooking oil to Rp14 thousand per liter.
He said that the volume of crude palm oil (CPO) that is produced and exported is much greater than domestic needs, saying " I ask the palm oil industry to meet domestic needs and prioritise the domestic market first."
"Meet the needs of the people first, he said.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo), that represents about ten million family members of palm oil farmers and 14 million family members of palm plantation workers from 146 districts and cities, called on the governmentto revoke the crude palm oil (CPO) ban at the Coordinating Minister for the Economy in Jakarta, saying "the high price of palm oil before the ban meant that the palm oil industry was on a honeymoon until the government banned the export of crude palm oil (CPO)."
The Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo) representative for East Kalimantan, Fitriansyah, said that the export ban on April 28, had caused the price of palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) to drop by 58.87 percent, saying "the drop in price puts palm oil farmers household economy under great pressure."
The ban on the export of cooking oil and crude palm oil (CPO) followed the arrest of four suspects including Director-General of Foreign Trade of the Trade Ministry Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana; commissioner of PT Wilmar Nabati Indonesia Master Parulian Tumanggor; senior manager of corporate affairs of PT Pelita Agung Agrindustri/Permata Hijau Group Stanley MA; and general affairs manager of PT Musim Mas Picare Tagore Sitanggang on April 22 with corruption in the alleged collusion in the issuance of export permits in the provision of crude palm oil (CPO).
Attorney General Office (AGO) Deputy for Special Crimes, Febriansyah, said that the four suspects had allegedly colluded in the issuance of export permits for the provision of crude palm oil (CPO) saying "the export of crude palm oil (CPO) caused a shortage of cooking oil on the domestic market.
He said the suspects did not comply with requirements under the Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) for exporters that raised export levies on crude palm oil (CPO) to subsidise domestic vegetable oil prices, saying "palm oil sellers must sell 30 percent of crude palm oil (CPO) locally from a previous 20 percent before exporting."
The Southeast Asia Times

ASEAN fails to raise human rights and democracy at U.S-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington

Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, and President of the United States at the U.S-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington Thursday May 12, 2022

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 18: ASEAN member countries including Cambodia agreed to increase cooperation with the United States from a "strategic partnership" to a "comprehensive strategic partnership" in a communique, "ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement " at the U.S-ASEAN Special Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden that ended on Friday, with Cambodia saying "ASEAN failed to raise human rights and democracy in the region," reports Phnom Penh Post.
ASEAN is to grant the United States "comprehensive strategic partnership" status in November at the 10th ASEAN-US summit to be held in Phnom Penh, with Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, saying "ASEAN is committed to working closely with the United States to ensure that cooperation in all priority fields identified during the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit will bring tangible mutual benefit to the peoples of ASEAN and the US."
"Increased ASEAN and U.S. cooperation will contribute to regional peace, stability and properity," he said.
The "ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement " includes commitment to strengthening cooperation for pandemic recovery and health security to strengthen regional health resilience under the ASEAN-US Health Future Initiative program that will strengthen sustainable manufacturing capacity for medical device and drug products and joint research.
ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement commits to increasing economic cooperation and connectivity to strengthen the supply chain and regional connectivity for medical equipment, medicines, vaccines, and agricultural commodities.
It would encourage the promotion of sustainable transportation, including electric vehicles, strengthening cyber security capacity and promote inclusive digital literacy.
ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement commits to Cooperation in climate change through the US-ASEAN Climate Future program.
ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement commits to increasing educational cooperation, including strengthening collaboration between universities and companies under the Billion Future program to enhance education development, teacher training, and promotion of gender mainstreaming.
ASEAN-US Joint Vision Statement under the Maritime cooperation through the ASEAN-led mechanism would increase collaboration awareness of the maritime domain, search and rescue, maritime security, and prevent illegal, unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Cambodia's Peoples Centre for Development and Peace president Yong Kim Eng, said that the ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was necessary, saying "ASEAN did not talk much about human rights and democracy at the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit held in Washington."
He said that the ASEAN failure to raise human rights issues and democracy in the region may hinder positive change on these issues, saying "this failure makes the region remain weak and fragile in matters of human rights and democracy." he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam calls on USAID for continued support for consequenses of Agent Orange at U.S.-ASEAN Summit

Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power and Prime Minister of Vietnam, Ph?m Minh Chinh, at U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Washington Thursday May 14, 2022

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 17: Prime Minister of Vietnam, Pham Minh Chinh, met with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington at the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House that ended on Friday, with the Prime Minister of Vietnam calling for USAID to continue support to overcome the consequuences of the American war in Vietnam between 1961 and 1971, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Prime Minister of Vietnam, Pham Minh Chinh, called on the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power to increase support to overcome the consequuences of the American war in Vietnam, focusing on Post-war Unexploded Ordinance and defoilent Agent Orange Toxic Chemical consequences in seven provinces including Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) military airfield, Bien Hoa Air Base, outside Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam.
He also called on the USAID administrator to continue to provide health care, medical treatment and physical rehabilitation to Vietnamese affected by the defoilant Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin that was supplied by multinational chemical companies to US military forces during the American war in Vietnam.
He also called for continued support from USAID in the search for the remains of Vietnamese including support of Vietnamese scientists in DNA assessment with the construction of a technical centre.
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power, reaffirmed the USAID commitment to work with Vietnam in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that formalises the USAID partnership with the Vietnamese Government on combating climate change and environmental pollution with ocean plastics as a key area of collaboration.
"USAID would continue to focus on supporting Vietnam in Post-war Unexploded Ordinance clearance and defoilent Agent Orange Toxic Chemical consequences," she said.
She said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between USAID and the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in Hanoi would end in 2028 with official development assistance of US$100 million, saying "USAID is committed to an open, prosperous, and secure Vietnam that is effective and inclusive in tackling its development challenges."
United States President Joe Biden opened the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit at the White House in Washington from Thursday 12 May to Saturday 14 May 2022, promising the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the U.S. would spend $150 million on infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness and other efforts, with the U.S. State Department saying that the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pact that is to be launched in Japan this week is aimed at countering the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific.
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (AO) (AVAO) first lodged a lawsuit against chemical companies, that manufactured the toxic defoiliant Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin for use by the U.S. military forces in Vietnam, after the launch of the association in Hanoi in 2004 in an effort to obtain justice for the Vietnamese civilian victims of the toxic defoilant.
The multinational chemical companies including Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Harcros Chemical, Uniroyal Chemical and Thompson Hayward Chemical that manufactured the toxic defoiliant Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin argue that the manufacturing companies of the toxic defoilant cannot be held responsible for the use that US military forces made of their product.
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 “gencocide” made by seven international judges after two days of hearing expert evidence including the testimony of three victims.
The Southeast Asian Times

President Joko Widodo sells Indonesia's rivers to American business at
U.S-ASEAN summit in Washington

U.S President Joe Biden and Indonesia President Joko Widodo at the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington on Thursday May 12, 2022

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 16: Indonesia's President Joko Widodo met with the US-ASEAN Business Council ahead of the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington that ended on Friday, saying Indonesia possesses a vast wealth of green energy in rivers, reports Tempo.
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, who met with US-ASEAN Business Council Ted Osius, Special Envoy for Climate Change, John Kerry and Google, Chevron, Boeing, Qualcomm, ConocoPhillips, and Marriot InternationalCEO's, said "Indonesia is very rich in green energy potential."
"There are 4,400 rivers in Indonesia,” he said.
He said that the development of the energy sector including power plants in Indonesia would be developed in accordance with environmentally-friendly principles, saying "we ensure that essential goods are produced from environmentally-friendly power plants."
He said that the new and renewable energy potential in Indonesia is at least 29,000 megawatts, saying "we invite US businesses to invest in Indonesia," he said.
United States President Joe Biden opened the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington on Thursday with a promise to the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to spend $150 million on infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness and other efforts, with the U.S. State Department saying that the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pact that will be launched in Japan next week "is aimed at countering the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific."
Deputy Assistant to United States President Joe Biden and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs on the United States National
Security Council, Kurt Campbell said "Washington remains focused on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China,"
saying "We need to step up our game in Southeast Asia."
"We are not asking countries to make a choice between the United States and China. We want to make clear, though, that the United States seeks stronger relationships," he said.
Earlier this month Japan and Indonesia confirmed cooperation towards realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific as outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) with Indonesia President Joko Widodo saying "Indonesia and ASEAN stand ready to build cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners."
The Southeast Asian Times


Interim President of West Papua
calls for release of protesters against Jakarta division of Papua

Jeffry Wenda, spokesperson for the Papua People's Petition (PRP) at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) office secretariat, arrested in Jayapura on Tuesday May 10, 2022

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 15: United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) interim President Benny Wenda, who seeks Papua independence from Indonesia, has called for the release of six members who were arrested in Jayapura on Tuesday protesting against the revised 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua that includes the division of Papua and West Papua into six new provinces, reports Tempo.
United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) interim President Benny Wenda, who declared himself the interim president of the provincial government of Papua and West Papua in 2020, then calling on Indonesia's President Jokowi Widodo to end martial law in Papua, said on Tuesday "the protesters had committed no crime. "
"We demand that the Indonesian government immediately release Jeffry Wenda, Ones Suhuniap, Omizon Balingg, Imam Kogoya, Esther Haluk, and Marthen Manggaprouw," he said.
He said the protestors gathered peacefully and had notified police of their intention to gather, saying "their treatment is further proof that there is no democracy and no freedom of expression in West Papua."
Jeffry Wenda, spokesperson for the Papua People's Petition (PRP) at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) office secretariat in Jayapura, was arrested for alleged violation of the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.
KontraS Deputy Coordinator, Rivanlee Anandar, said "the rejection of the division of Papua and West Papua into five new provinces is a legitimate and constitutional expression as regulated in Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution."
"Actions by the Indonesian National Military (TNI)-Indonesian National Police (POLRI) joint forces such as forced dispersal, beatings, pursuits, shootings, and arbitrary arrests during the disbandment of protestors against the revised 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua showed that the state was discriminatory and prioritized a security approach in response to the voices of the Papuan people, instead of using a humanitarian approach," he said.
In April 2022 the Papua People's Council (MRP) Manokwari chairman, Timotius Murib, said "the House of Representatives (DPR) legislative body (Baleg) approved the establishment of three of six provinces in Papua without adequate consultations."
He warned that new administrative units in Papua could eliminate the Papua People’s Council (MRP) cultural territories, saying "the Papua People’s Council (MRP) consists of customery leaders."
"Jakarta should not be hasty about carving up Papua," he said.
"These bills ignore the rules stipulated in the 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua that requires consultations with the people of Papua," he said
He said that the under the 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua the establishment of new administrative units must be consulted with and approved by the Papua People’s Council (MRP).
West Papua People's Council (MRP) Manokwari chairman, Timotius Murib, said ahead of the passing of the revised 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua in July 2021 that the council was "silenced", saying the Papua People’s Council (MRP) was not involved in the revision process of the 2001 Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law on Papua that now includes the division of Papua into six provinces.
The Southeast Asian Times


U.S. to spend $150 million on ASEAN in new trade pact to counter China in the Indo-Pacific

U.S. President Joe Biden, centre, with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the special U.S.-ASEAN summit at the White House in Washington Thursday May 12, 2022

From News Reports:
Washington, May 14: United States President Joe Biden opened the two day U.S-ASEAN Special Summit at the White House in Washington on Thursday promising the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the U.S. would spend $150 million on infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness and other efforts, with the U.S. State Department saying that the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pact is aimed at countering the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific," reports Reuters.
Deputy Assistant to United States President Joe Biden and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs on the United States National Security Council, Kurt Campbell said "Washington remains focused on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China," saying "We need to step up our game in Southeast Asia."
"We are not asking countries to make a choice between the United States and China. We want to make clear, though, that the United States seeks stronger relationships," he said.
He said that the United States would raise areas of cooperation with ASEAN leaders in the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pact that is to be launched by President Joe Biden in Tokyo next week.
“We’re quite confident that we’re going to be able to have a substantial launch with a very broad range of potential players,” he said.
He said he expected substantial interest from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pact that includes a $40 million investment in infrastructure intended to help deccarbonize the regions power supply, $60 million in maritime security and about $15 million in health funding to aid in early detection of COVID-19 and other respiratory pandemics.
"The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) commits the United States to work with partners on key economic priorities including ensuring smooth supply chains, fighting corruption and promoting green energy," he said.
He said that unlike traditional trade pacts the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) would not guarantee market access to the United States, saying "the United States is the usual sweetner to persuade nations to make concessions."
He said that President Joe Biden knew that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiative "needed to be fundamentally based on the needs and desires of the people of Southeast Asia."
“I think we recognize quite clearly that any initiative that is simply designed for competition is likely to have difficulty gaining altitude in Southeast Asia," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Hong Kong Bishop arrested for colluding with foreign forces

Cardinal of the Catholic Church and former Bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, 90, Cantopop singer and actor Denise Ho, former legislator Margaret Ng, and academic Dr Hui Po Keung trustees of the defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund were arrested on Wednesday, accused of colluding with foreign forces

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, May 13: Cardinal of the Catholic Church and former Bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, 90, was among four trustees of the defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund who were arrested on Wednesday under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) accused of colluding with foreign forces.
Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) said that Cardinal Joseph Zen, Cantopop singer and actor Denise Ho, former legislator Margaret Ng, and academic Dr Hui Po Keung would be released on bail, saying that under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) "they must hand over their passports."
Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) said that the former trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund are suspected of appealing to foreign countries or organisations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong, saying under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) "they are a threat to the People's Republic of China's national security."
The 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund that provided funds to pro-democracy protesters to pay legal and medical fees, was disbanded in 2021 after the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) demanded under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that "the organisation hand over sensitive information including details about its members and donors."
The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) exercised new powers, arresting protesters for taking part in the 2019 protests that were deemed an illegal assembly under the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that was adopted by the National People's Congress and passed into legislature in Beijing in May 2020.
In July 2019 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China condemned the United States and United Kingdom for their alleged interference in the ongoing mass protests in Hong Kong that included the storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, saying that "the Chinese government does not allow any external forces to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs,
Millions of Hong Kong residents took to the streets in recurring protests against China rule over Hong Kong that began in June 2019
with the march of about 3000 Hong Kong lawyers and was followed by mass protests that included business representatives, foreign diplomats, academics, public servants and thousands of students.
The Hong Kong Law Society called on extensive consultations on the amended Fugitive Offenders Ordinanace and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance that was to be passed in June amid fears that political opponents and disidents in Hong Kong would be extradited to China under the proposed law.
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Hua Chunying cited the U.S. Department of State call on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government to respect freedom of speech and assembly in Hong Kong as an example of interference in the Hong Kong's affairs.
"I remind the US that Hong Kong belongs to China and that the Chinese government absolutely does not allow any foreign interference in Hong Kong's affairs, she said.
She said that the policy of "one country, two systems" has been smoothly implemented since Hong Kong's return to the motherland", saying that "Hong Kong residents now enjoy unprecedented rights and freedoms.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai PM will not take sides at US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington

Members of the Khana Ratsadon or Peoples Party called for the repeal of Section 112 of the Thai constitution that would abolish the lese majeste law on Tuesday May 10, 2022 at the US embassy in Bangkok for submission to US President Joe Biden and ASEAN leaders at the US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington on Thursday and Friday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 12: Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said he would not take sides in the war between Ukraine and Russia at the US-ASEAN Special Summit hosted by the United States President Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday and Friday, with Chiang Mai University political scientist, saying "The United States is trying to make Thailand choose the United States side," reports Bangkok Post.
Chiang Mai University, political scientist, Naing Lin, said that "Thailand is one of the ASEAN countries that the United States is trying to make choose the U.S. side."
"The United States is trying to make Thailand choose the United States side not only on the current Ukraine crisis but also on China," he said.
He said that he did not think that Thai's would care which side Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha may support, saying "it's all about what Thailand would get or lose from siding with the United States or remaining neutral."
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said that the US-ASEAN Special Summit is a typical meeting, saying "the meeting is like the
ASEAN-Japan, or ASEAN-China meetings, ASEAN members will discuss many topics and will not focus on just one dominant issue."
He said that Thailand was attending the US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington as an ASEAN member to discuss the economy, trade, investment and the regional situation, saying "the ASEAN-U.S. meeting is just another ASEAN meeting but it coincides with the war in Ukraine."
In March Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said following calls from more than twenty Ambassadors in Bangkok to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine "that Thailand must maintain a neutral stance," saying "we support the peace process to end the conflict and war."
"We should tread carefully and act through ASEAN's mechanisms," he said.
ASEAN foreign ministers issued a statement demanding immediate ceasefire in Ukraine following the special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on March 4, 2022 that voted in favour of the resolution that condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine with abstentions from two of ten ASEAN member countries, Laos and Vietnam.
In April seven of ten ASEAN member countries abstained from voting in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), with Vietnam voting against the suspension and the Philippines and Myanmar government-in-exile, the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (NUG) voting in favour of the suspension.
The Southeast Asian Times

Son of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos elected 17th President

Presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., 69, son of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, beat rival Vice-President Leni Robredo in the Philippine Presidential elections on Monday May 9, 2022

From News Reports:
Manila, May 11: Presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., 69, son of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, has defeated rival Vice-President Leni Robredo in the Philippines Presidential elections on Monday to become the 17th President and the first candidate to win a Philippines presidential election majority, reports Reuters.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reports that Presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., received 30,395,246 votes from 96 percent of 65.7 million election returns on Tuesday morning.
Former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. received almost twice as many votes as incumbant President Rodrigo Dutere received in the 2016 Presidential elections in the count on Tuesday.
Incumbant President Rodrigo Dutere received 16,601,997 votes in the 2016 Presidential elections.
Presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., running mate, Davao mayor in Muslim Mindanao, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the daughter of former Davao mayor in Muslim Mindanao, the incumbant President Rodrigo Dutere, received 30,735,256 votes.
Vice President Leni Robredo was defeated by former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., in the Presidential elections on Monday, received 14,478,817 votes.
In 2017 former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. ran for vice president but was defeated by Vice President Leni Robredo by more than 260,000 votes.
Former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. protested the results of the election calling on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to recount the ballots in three provinces of his choosing and to nullify the results in Lanao Dev Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) released a report in October 2019 showing that Vice President Leni Robredo had increased her lead over Marcos by 15,093 votes after the recount, revision and re-appreciation of ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
In July 2010, the then newly-elected Nacionalista Party Senator for Ilcocos Norte Province, northwest Luzon, Ferdinand Bong Bong Marcos Jr, son of former first lady Imelda Marcas and former president Ferdinand Marcos, revealed that an estimated US$658 million that his father amassed before it was frozen in Swiss bank deposits had disappeared.
The Swiss government froze the money after Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in a popular revolt in 1986 and transferred it to an escrow account in 1998.
In 1995 the Philippine government and representatives of more than 1,000 Filipinos - or their descendants - arrested, tortured and executed during the 13 years from 1972 in which Ferdinand Marcos ruled by decree and martial law, won US$2.7-billion in exemplary damages against the former president’s estate at a hearing in the United States federal court, Hawaii.
The Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations.
A "people power" revolt ousted Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986, forcing him and his family to flee to Hawaii, where he died in exile in 1989.
His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993 and is preserved in a refrigerated crypt at his Batac hometown in Ilocos Norte.
The Southeast Asian Times


Presidential candidate Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., set to replace President Rodrigo Duterte

Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., set to replace President Rodrigo Duterte at the Presidential elections on Monday May 9, 2022

From News Reports:
Manila May 10: Presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., son of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who announced that he would run for president rather than vice president at the Filipino-Chinese business club in Manila, is set for victory over ten competing Presidential candidates to succeed incumbant President Rodrigo Duterte at the elections held on Monday, reports Philippine Inquirer.
"Many of my supporters prefer me to run for president rather than running as vice president, " he said at the Filipino-Chinese business club in September 2021.
He said that there were political parties willing to back him if he would run for president but would withdraw support if he would run for vice president.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed a Philippines and China agreement on the "Build, Build, Build" (BBB) infrastructure programme and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during his six year term giving assurance that the infrastructure development agreement made in October 2019 would continue.
China Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said then that "China is ready to work with the Philippines to implement the agreements on infrastructure developent including a feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project in Mindanao in the southern Philippines and for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project conducted by Construction Communication Corp. Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., (CCCC) and funded by a grant from the China government.
In January 2022 Presidential candidate former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., said that the Philippines should continue to engage with China, saying he would dismiss any help from the United States in negotiations with China over the South China Sea if elected president.
"If Americans are involved in negotiations in the West Philippine Sea with China, it is bound to fail,” he said ahead of the Presidential elections .
He said that is was not feasible to seek to enforce the 2016 International Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea " saying that China has rejected the verdict that the Philippines has sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea."
He said that the Philippines was not strong enough to engage in a defensive war with China, saying "China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea is a problem between the Philippines and China.
"Going to war with China over the South China Sea would not be an option and should be considered a ludicrous idea," he said.
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. campaigned for the 2022 presidential election following the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissal of petitions for his disqualification to run for President on grounds of a tax evasion conviction in 1995.
The Southeast Asian Times


Beijing selects National Security chief for chief Executive of Hong Kong

John Lee Ka-chiu, 64, centre, at polling station at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Sunday

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, May 9: John Lee Ka-chiu, 64, who was appointed Hong Kong Chief Secretary of the vetting committee to screen out candidates deemed unpatriotice to China or a threat to national security in the Hong Kong District Councillor elections in November, 2021, was selected by the 1,461 member election committee to be the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), reports the Associated Press.
John Lee, 64, is to replace incumbant Hong Kong Chief Executve Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, 65, who ends her five year term on July 1.
Incumbant Hong Kong Chief Executve Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced that she would not seek another term in April, saying
"I will complete my five-year term as chief executive on June 30 and officially conclude my 42-year career in government."
Incumbant Hong Kong Chief Executve Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor appointed pro-Beijing officials including John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Secretary of the vetting committee that would screen out candidates deemed unpatriotic or a threat to national security ahead of the oath-taking ceremony for the November 2021 Hong Kong District Councillor elections.
The Hong Kong District Councillor elections required candidates to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that upholds the one country two system Beijing policy and to the ruling that allows only candidates deemed patriots to stand for election.
John Lee Ka-chiu said ahead of the 1,461 member election committee selection on Sunday that Hong Kong has deep-rooted problems and reiterated his intention to bring a results-oriented approach, saying Hong Kong has to seize its opportunity, we cannot afford to wait, we cannot be late."
"We will have to consolidate Hong Kong as an international city, to develop Hong Kong’s potential as a free and open society, to connect the mainland of China to the world," he said.
In May 2020 the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was adopted by the National People's Congress and passed into legislature in Beijing with the police in Hong Kong exercising their new powers for the first time, arresting protesters under the new National Security law for taking part in protests that were deemed an illegal assembly.
In July 2020 the Japan Communist Party (JCP) Chair Shii Kazuo said that the central government of the People's Republic of China under the exclusive political leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) unilaterally imposed the new law without consultation with the Hong Kong Legislative Council, saying "thereby ignoring the democratic process."
He said that the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) would further strengthen the forces of suppression of human rights in Hong Kong, saying "the new law enables direct intervention and suppression of individuals and movements of those working for civil and political freedom in Hong Kong."
He said the new law is in direct contradiction to China's international commitment to recognise Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, saying
"the new law is also contrary to a series of international human rights laws and the International Human Rights Covenants enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law."
The Southeast Asian Times

Singaporeans convicted of largest share market manipulation in Singapore's history

Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh and Ms Quah Su-Ling were convicted by the Singapore High Court for share market manipulation and cheating on Thursday May 5, 2022

From News Reports:
Singapore, May 8: The Singapore High Court convicted two Singaporeans for share market manipulation and cheating offences involving a scheme to manipulate the value of shares in trading accounts with n key accomplice pleading guilty in 2019 and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) saying "this is the largest manipulation case in Singapore history, wiping out $8 billion from the Singapore stock market," reports Straits Times.
Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh and Ms Quah Su-Ling were convicted by the Singapore High Court on Thursday after a 200 day trial, for share market manipulation and cheating offences involving a scheme to manipulate shares in Blumont Group Ltd (Blumont), Asiasons Capital Ltd (Asiasons) and LionGold Corp Ltd (LionGold).
Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh and Ms Quah Su-Ling, who were convicted of 180 and 169 charges respectively, were charged on 25 November 2016 under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and the Penal Code (PC), with Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh also charged under the Companies Act (CA).
High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng who said that participation in criminal conspiracy itself is an offence, said in her verdict on Thursday that Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh and Ms Quah Su-Ling had carried out the scheme to manipulate the value of shares by controlling and using 187 trading accounts that belonged to 58 share holders, saying "trading between the controlled accounts were conducted to generate artificial liquidity and a demand for the shares."
"The trading accounts retained control of large amounts of shares without disclosure to the market," said High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng.
Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that the conviction of the two Singaporeans was the largest manipulation case in Singapore history, saying "the scheme to manipulate the value of shares in trading accounts had wiped out more than $8 billion from the stock market in October 2013."
Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) raided over 50 locations and interviewed more than 70 persons, saying "the investigations covered extensive documentary evidence comprising over two million emails, half a million trade orders, and thousands of telephone records and financial statements, said the Singapore Police Forces (SPF).
Key accomplice, Goh Hin Calm, who pleaded guilty on March 18, 2019 to two charges under Section 197 of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) for intentionally aiding Soh Chee Wen also known as John Soh and Ms Quah Su-Ling in the manipulation of shares in Blumont Group Ltd (Blumont), Asiasons Capital Ltd (Asiasons) and LionGold Corp Ltd (LionGold) between March 18, 2013 and October 3, 2013, was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia's Ministry of Justice rejects Candlelight Party call to drop charges against party members

Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay, centre, at a meeting with Ministry of Justice officials on Tuesday April 3, 2022
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 6: Cambodia's Ministry of Justice has rejected the revived opposition Candlelight Party (CP) call to drop all charges against party members, including treason against the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) for their involvement with founder of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Sam Rainsy, who attempted to overthrow the Hun Sen government, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodia's Ministry of Justice spokesman, Chin Malin, said that the Ministry of Justice has no lawful power to interfere with the proceedings, saying "the decision to drop charges or grant bail to members of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP), who are charged with treason for involvement with Sam Rainsy, is under the jurisdiction of the judiciary."
He said that the judiciary is an independent institution that must base its ruling on facts and the law, saying "this means that the Ministry of Justice has no lawful power to interfere with the proceedings."
He said that the accused opposition Candlelight Party (CP) members should find defence lawyers who can make arguments on their behalf and explain the legal procedures to them, saying "only by participating in the court proceedings can the defendants help themselves."
Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president, Son Chhay, called on the Ministry of Justice to drop all charges against party members for involvement with founder of the Candlelight Party (CP), Sam Rainsy, who was found guilty of treason in absentia and who announced his return to Cambodia from exile in France should the oppositio Candlelight Party (CP) win in the upcoming Commune Elections on June 5.
He called on the Ministry of Justice to delay proceedings such as the issuance of summonses for hearings until after the Commune Elections on June 5, saying "summonses and court proceedings were open threats that could have a chilling effect on Cambodia's political climate in the lead-up to the elections.
"The issue of summonses before the elections would undermine the very principle of holding a free and fair election," he said.
Ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan said that Sam Rainsy's prediction that the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) would defeat the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) in the Commune elections showed that "Sam Rainsy’s announced return after the commune election on June 5 revealed he has had an indisputable connection with the Candlelight Party (CP)."
"The Law on Political Parties oulaws anyone convicted of a crime from becoming a leader of a political party," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights call on Myanmar military to implement Five Point Consensus

Association of Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), chairman and Member of the Malaysian Parliament, Charles Santiago, issued an open letter on the first anniversary of the introduction of the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) for implementation by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 6: The Association of Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), who promote democracy and human rights in Southeast Asia, issued an open letter on the first anniversary of the introduction of the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) at ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta on 24 April 2021 calling for the implementation of the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, reports the Star.
The Association of Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), chairman and Member of the Malaysian Parliament, Charles Santiago, addressed the letter to ASEAN member countries and ASEAN dialogue partners, drawing their attention to the failure of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, to implement the Five Point Consensus (5PCs).
The Five Point Consensus plan that includes a commitment from Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who attended the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta on 24 April 2021, to restrain security forces, commencement of dialogue, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair with assistance from the Secretary General of ASEAN to facilitate mediation, that ASEAN would provide humanitarian assistance, and that a special ASEAN envoy and delegation would visit Myanmar to meet with all parties including the National Unity Government (NUG).
The Association of Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), chairman and Member of the Malaysian Parliament, Charles Santiago, said in the open letter that Asean should now accept the fact, repeatedly demonstrated over the last months, that Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has no intention whatsoever of abiding by the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) unless he feels strong pressure to do so, saying "it is imperative that the member states escalate measures to put real pressure on the military."
"It is time for ASEAN to move on to sanction Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing for the continued suffereing he is inflicting on the people of Myanmar and his blatant disregard for his regional partners," he said.
He called for on ASEAN to apply pressure on the the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to stop it from brutalising its own population and turning the country into a failed state, saying "ASEAN should do all they can to work towards the fulfillment of the Myanmar people’s aspirations for peace and democracy."
The Association of Southeast Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) proposed three steps in the open letter to ASEAN member countries and ASEAN dialogue partners "in order to stop the Myanmar military’s atrocities, hold the perpetrators accountable, and initiate a real process towards peace and democratization."
"First make the position of the Special Envoy to Myanmar more effective by ensuring the appointee is exclusively dedicated to this mission, appointed on a long-term basis, and respond to Asean as a whole, rather than based on the rotating Asean Chair position."
"Second, there has to be a timeframe and enforcement mechanisms if not the Five Point Consensus (5PCs) will be rendered virtually toothless."
"Third, Asen should immediately and publicly meet with the National Unity Government (NUG) as well as representatives of Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) in dialogue to ensure that all voices are heard."
T he National Unity Government (NUG) that was formed on April 16, 2021 following the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government on February, 1, 2021 was excluded from ASEAN meetings including the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta on 23 April 2021 that was attended by Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
National Unity Government (NUG) deputy foreign minister Moe Zaw Oo, said then "we have little confidence in ASEAN's efforts."
The Southeast Asian Times

Japan, Indonesia confirm cooperation in realising free and open Indo-Pacific

Japan Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida and Indonesia President, Joko Widodo, at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Friday, April 29, 2022
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 5: Japan and Indonesia confirmed cooperation towards realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific as outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) on Friday with Indonesia President Joko Widodo saying "Indonesia and ASEAN stand ready to build cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners, reports Jakarta Post.
Newly elected Japan Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, who visited Indonesia during an eight day tour of ASEAN member countries Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and ASEAN dialogue partner Britian and European dialogue member partner, Italy, said in Jakarta on Friday that "Japan has been pushing forward on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
"A free and open Indo-Pacific as outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) was spearheaded by Indonesia," he said.
Japan Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, who was elected Prime Minister in November 2021, affirmed predecessor Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's support of Indonesia's adoption of the 'ASEAN Outlook on Indopacific' (AOIP) initiative, saying "maintaining and strengthening the rules-based, free and open Indo-Pacific international order has become more important."
"We are facing many challenges, including the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the South China Sea territorial disputes including Vietnam's East Sea and nuclear arsenal in North Korea," he said.
He said that he would respond to Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
In October 2020 then Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, said at a meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo at the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java that Japan fully supports Indonesia's adoption of the 'ASEAN Outlook on Indopacific' initiative.
He said that Japan's determination to contribute to peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia is evident by Japan's recognition that ASEAN plays an important role in realizing a free and open Indo-pacific, saying "Japan and Indonesia are maritime countries located in the Indo-pacific region."
"Japan and Indonesia are strategic partners," he said.
In Novemebr 2020 Indonesia Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, called for a strong ASEAN-US partnership at the online meeting held at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit in Hanoi, attended by US National Security Advisor, Robert C.O'Brien, and representatives from ASEAN member countries, with Minister, Retno LP Marsudi saying that Indonesia wants the United States to be a strong strategic partner with ASEAN in the region including the Indo-Pacific.
"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.
In September 2020 the U.S. State Department reitorated the U.S. support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) online in Hanoi with emphasis on the role of ASEAN in the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific, with the then U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, saying that ASEAN centrality is fundamental to the U.S.vision for the Indo-Pacific.
The US Secretary of State said then that the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership is built on shared principals as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) including ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and rule of law, good governance, transparency, inclusivity, rules-based frameworks and openness.
"The US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific, " said the US Secretary of State.
The Southeast Asian Times


Prosecution star witness withdraws drug trafficking accusations against Philippine Senator Leila de Lima

Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been in detention without trial at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since her arrest on 24 February 2017
From News Reports:
Manila, May 4: The prosecution star witness who gave evidence against Senator Leila de Lima, that brought her arrest in 2017 for involvement in drug trafficking at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) under the Rodrigo Duterte administration, was withdrawn on Monday with the senator's lawyer saying "the greatest frame-up in Philippine history is unraveling," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been in detention without trial at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since her arrest on 24 February 2017 is a former Justice Secretary and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair.
Sen. Leila de Lima has denied charges of alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), accusing President Duterte of political persecution.
Lawyer, De Leon said that the prosecution star witness, Rafael Ragos, a former Bureau of Corrections officer, has withdrwan statements accusing Senator Leila de Lima of invovlement in drug trafficking at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during the Senator's term as Justice Secretary.
"The withdrawal by the former Bureau of Corrections officer of the accusations against Senator Leila de Lima in an affidavit should compel the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop all charges against Senator Leila de Lima," he said.
He said that former Bureau of Corrections officer, Rafael Ragos, said in the affidavit that was notarized on April 30 in Pasig City and that was made public on Monday that the then Justice Secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre II, had coerced him into testifying against Sen Leile De Lima.
Lawyer, De Leon said that the Rafael Ragos retraction followed the retraction of key witness Rolan Kerwin Espinosa, who said he had been misled by the police into signing his affidavit against the senator in exchange for the dropping charges against him.
In April 2009 Senator De Lima in her role as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair, said that the Commission would prove there is a Davao Death Squad (DDS) in Mindanao in the southern Phillipines following a statement made by the then Mayor of Davao City Rodrigo Duterte, at the opening of the public inquiry into the Davao Death Squad March 30, 2009
The former Mayor of Davao City, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said that he would submit his resignation to the chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Leila De Lima "if here is an iota of evidence that he, the military or police are behind the killings."
Senator De Lima said at the public hearing that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report had "found evidence of complicity and at times direct involvement of government officials and members of the police in killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS)."
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia PM accepts invitation from US President Biden to ASEAN-US Special Summit

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen said that "Cambodia fully supports the UN's global leadership and commits to Implementing our shared responsibility" at the 73rd session of the United Nations in September 2018
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 3: Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen has accepted the invitation from United States President Joe Biden to the ASEAN-US Special Summit that will commemorate 45 years of partnership to be held in Washington on May 12 to 13 with President Joe Biden saying "ASEAN and the United states have advanced a shared vision for a free and open region in the Indo-Pacific," reports the Phnom Penh Post.
United States President Joe Biden expressed "gratitude to ASEAN and its member states for more than four decades of enduring partnership," in the invitation to Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 20, 2022, saying "US and ASEAN have accelerated innovation and deepened ties between their combined one billion people."
He said that innovation and ties between the US and ASEAN have advanced a shared vision for a free and open region as outlined in both the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and the US Indo-Pacific Strategy.
He said that in the face of unprecedented challenges and new opportunities, the US and ASEAN have joined together to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen regional health systems, increase climate change awareness and promote supply chain resilience.
"At the summit, we will commemorate 45 years of enduring partnership and raise our collective ambition for a new age of US-ASEAN relations. I look forward to welcoming you and the other ASEAN leaders to the White House,” he said.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the United States President Joe Biden's reaffirmation of commitment to further strengthening relations between the United States and ASEAN will be a stepping stone towards elevating the US- ASEAN partnership to new heights.
He said that Cambodia is strongly supportive of elevating ASEAN-US relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, saying
that as ASEAN chair for 2022 he wished to reiterate "Cambodia’s strong desire to explore more opportunities to expand ASEAN-US cooperation on all possible fronts."
"I am confident that the ASEAN-US Special Summit will serve as an excellent opportunity for us to discuss opportunities that would further enhance our cooperation, and exchange views on issues of common concern and interest to both ASEAN and the US,” he said.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy reportedly aims to assert the US as a Pacific power with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacific conducting maritime security missions with regional partners that have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity, ensuring that the US will remain the maritime partner of choice in the region.
In October 2020 former United States National Security advisor, Robert O'Brien, said 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.
The Australia, India, Japan and the United States, Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) foreign ministers press conference in Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2022 reaffirmed support for countries in the Indo Pacific in their effort to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific, with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Ann Payne, saying "we continue to support ASEAN partners to advance the practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
She said that the four Quad countries are focused on working closely with Indo-Pacific partners to address the region’s most important challenges, saying "working together as the Quad, we are more effective in delivering practical support to the region."
"The Outlook’s principles are fundamental to regional stability and prosperity and will be key to guiding the region’s economic and political future," she said.
The Quad countries Australia, India, Japan and the United States are reportedly "shaping the contours of a new techno-democratic statecraft" that includes "effective collaboration and co-ordination on space launch technology, the deployment of 5G wirleless technology, cyber security and semiconductors and other areas that would strengthen each country in the Indo-Pacific’s economic competitiveness and national security."

The Southeast Asian Times

US-ASEAN Special Summit in May hosted with non-politicaal representatives from Myanmar

United States President Joe Biden at the US-ASEAN Summit October 26-28, 2021.
From News Reports:
Jakarta May 2: The United States is to host the US-ASEAN Special Summit on May 12 and 13 to reaffirm the United States continued committment to ASEAN Centrality under President Joe Biden with the summit to go ahead without the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, showing that the United States supports the ASEAN decision to invite non-political representatives from Myanmar to ASEAN summits, reports Reuters.
The US-ASEAN Special Summit, that was scheduled for March 28 and 29 but postphoned, will reportedly show that the meeting between United States President Joe Biden and ASEAN leaders will demonstrate the enduring commitment of the Joe Biden administration to ASEAN centrality.
United States Department spokesperson said that the United States supports the Brunei ASEAN chair for 2021 decision ahead of the October 26-28 ASEAN summit in 2021 to invite non-political representatives from Myanmar to future ASEAN summits, with ASEAN chair Brunei saying "a non-political representative would be invited to the next summit."
The Brunei ASEAN chair for 2021 said ahead of the October 26-28 ASEAN summit in 2021 that "no consensus was reached for a political representative from the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to attend ASEAN summits," with the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, saying that "ASEAN's decision went against the ASEAN longtime central principle of consensus."
“As we plan for the US-ASEAN Special Summit, we will continue to follow ASEAN’s standard," said the United States Department spokesperson.
The United States Department spokesperson said that the United States supports the Brunei ASEAN chair for 2021 decision that there was a lack of progress by the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing towards the implemenation of the Five-Point Consensus Plan, including the cessasion of violence in a commitment to restrain security forces from the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting (ALM) held in Jakarta on April 24, 2021.
"The regime has failed to make progress on ASEAN's Five-Point Consensus Plan and continues to escalate violence against the people of Burma,” said the United States Department spokesperson.
The ASEAN chair for 2021, Brunei, said then that ASEAN member states had received requests from the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar to attend the October 26-28 ASEAN summit in 2021.
The National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar that was founded by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, has been excluded from ASEAN meetings since the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February 2021.
"We will also continue to support the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar and all those working peacefully to restore Burma’s path to democracy," said the United States Department spokesperson.
In May 2021 the United States called on ASEAN to hold the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar accountable at the 34th U.S-ASEAN Dialogue video conference that was co-chaired by US Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap and Laos Deputy Foreign Minister Bounleua Phandanouvong, was attended by Foreign Ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states including the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chan Aye who attended as a non-political representatives from Myanmar.
US Ambassador Atul Keshap said that the US supported the ASEAN role in returning Myanmar to a path to democracy, calling on Foreign Ministers of the 10 ASEAN member states to hold the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar accountable to the fFve-Point Consensus Plan endorsed by ASEAN at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting held on April 24, 2021.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia's Kartina Day celebrations are meaningless if women's rights are ignored

Sunarti, the 1992 All Indonesia Trade Union (SBSI 92) former chairperson of the Womens' Bureau, called for the implementation of women's rights guaranteed by the 1951 Labour Law at the House of Representatives (DPR) protest in Jakarta on Kartini Day, April 21, 2022
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 1: Women wearing traditional Javanese dress to comemorate Kartini Day on April 21 joined workers protesting at the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta, saying "Kartini Day celebrations are meaningless if women's rights are ignored."
Workers and student protesting at the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta, last week, organised by the Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI), called for the Joko Widodo government to implement the November 2021 Constitutional Court ruling that declared the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law unconstitutional.
Sunarti, the 1992 All Indonesia Trade Union (SBSI 92) former chairperson of the Womens' Bureau, who called for the implementation of women's rights guaranteed by the 1951 Labour Law that included rights to maternity leave at the workplace, said she intentionally wore traditional Javanese clothing at the workers protest to commemorate Raden Ajeng Kartini.
"Today I'm wearing traditional clothing to show respect for, Raden Ajeng Kartini, a hero who liberated Indonesian women," she said.
She said that women, who joined the protest at the House of Representatives (DPR) against the passing of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law November 2, 2021 that workers argue fails to bring prosperity to ordinary people, have come from outside Jakarta.
"Thousands of women who joined the protest have come from outside Jakarta including from Solo in Central Java, Garut and Bandung in West Java and Surabaya in East Java ," she said.
She said that demands by workers at the House of Representatives in Jakarta are the same as the women, saying "there is no difference."
"We want to abolish the Omnibus Law on Job Creation." she said.
President Joko Widodo who signed the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law that determined the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) for 2022 in October 2021 said "the revision of over 70 existing laws is vital to investment and to labour market competitiveness in the plan to develop at least 27 industrial parks in regions across Indonesia."
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), president, Said Iqba, warned of escalating protests against the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) for 2022, saying that if the Joko Widodo government fails to implement the Constitutional Court’s ruling that deemed the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law unconstitutional "a nationwide strike of two million workers from 60 federations of national labor unions will paralize the economy."
The Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law proposes that the minimum wage be determined by the regional governor of each region, based on the inflation rate and economic growth in the region, with the increase of the minimum wage that was derived from the Omnibus Law on Job Creation in Jakarta only Rp37,538, per month, increasing the minumum wage per month to Rp4,453,724.
Workers in Central Java received the lowest Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) increase of Rp14,032, per month, increasing the minimum wage per month to Rp1,813,011.
Raden Ajeng Kartini was the daughter of an Indonesian regent when Java was part of the Dutch colony of the Dutch East Indies. She outlined her dreams of a better life for Indonesian women in her letters .
In 1964, President Sukarno declared Raden Ajeng Kartini birth date, 21 April, ‘Kartini Day’, an Indonesian national holiday.
The Southeast Asian Times


Kick boxer new candidate for Thai ruling party in May elections

Olympic gold medal-winning amateu Thai kickboxer, Somrak Kamsing, was asked by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to become a candidate for the northeastern region of Thailand in the elections on May 22, 2022
From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 30: The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) announced 22 new candidates for the upper Northeastern region of Thailand for the next general elections on May 22, 2022, including Olympic Thai kick boxing gold medallist, Somrak Kamsing, who said he "was asked by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to help the party's efforts to inform the public about the work and policies of the party," reports the Bangkok Post.
Olympic Thai kick boxing gold medallist, Somrak Kamsing, said that he "decided to become a candidate for Khon Kaen Constituency 3 in order to help change the political arena that is currently plagued by conflict."
He said the popularity of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is very high in the Northeast region of Thailand, saying he was "confident the party could compete with rival parties in the upcoming election."
"The Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) is a popular party for low-income earners with one concrete result being its state welfare card," he said.
He said that sport is important in building people and nations, saying "boxing is an important soft power that can create identity and fame while generating income for Thailand."
"I would become a voice for the people and will focus on important policies to make the country strong," he said.
Newly appointed secretary-general of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP). who said earlier this month at the general-assembly that was attended by party executives and about 500 party members from across Thailand that "the goal has been set for least 150 Members of Parliament for the next general election."
He said that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha Prawit had set a goal that the party emerge with at least 150 Members of Parliament in the 400-seat House of Representatives after the next general elections, saying "the party would regularly organise seminars in all 400 constituencies and the heads of all 10 regional offices in an effort to convey the party's policies to the people and to generate confidence."
He said following the defeat of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) in the Bangkok by-election on January 30, 2022 by the Pheu Thai Party, (PTP), that advocates reform of the Royal Thai Armed Forces 2017 drafted constitution, that "the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) needs to reinvent itself after its fourth-place finish in the by-elections."
In November 2021 Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) would not support any moves to amend the 2017 Constitution that would change the regime of government with the King as Head of State, saying "the royal institution must continue and be protected."
He said that the government would oppose any proposed amendements to the 2017 Constitution that was drafted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces and signed into law by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, saying "Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) remains opposed to any changes to the law that would change the regime of government with the King as Head of State."
"All Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) coalition parties must work together to prevent the moves to amend the 2017 Constitution, " he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysian executed in Singapore
despite United Nations call to halt on grounds of intellectual disability

Malaysian, Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 34, is to be buried at the Hindu cemetery in Buntong, Malaysia on Friday April 29, 2022
From News Reports:
Singapore, April 29: Malaysian, Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 34, was executed in Singapore on Wednesday for drug trafficking, despite calls by the United Nations to halt the imminent execution on grounds that he had an intellectual disability, reports the Star.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, was hanged at Changi Prison following the Singapore Court of Appeal dismissal on Tuesday of the challenge on grounds that he had an intellectual disability.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, was found with 43g (1.5oz) heroin strapped to his left thigh as he crossed into Singapore from Malaysia in 2009, saying at the trial that he was coerced into carrying the drugs.
He said later that he had committed the offence because he needed money.
The court ruled that Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam's initial defence was "fabricated", sentencing him to death by hanging.
He appealed to have the death sentence communted to life in prison on grounds that he suffered from an intellectual disability, with his lawyers saying "the execution of a intellectual disabled person is prohibited under International Human Rights Law (OHCHR)."
The court found that Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was not intellectually disabled, saying that "crossing into Singapore from Malaysia with heroin strapped to his thigh was the working of a criminal mind."
"He weighed the risks and countervailing benefits associated with the criminal conduct."
Lawyers for Malaysian, Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, argued that he should not have received the death penalty, saying "he was incapable of understanding his actions."
During the trial it was revealed that Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam had an IQ of 69, with the United Nations saying that the IQ of 69 was recognised as representing an intellectual disability.
"Death sentences must not be carried out on persons with serious psychosocial and intellectual disabilities," said the United Nations.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said that Singapore had amended its drugs legislation in 2012, allowing drug raffickers to be sentenced to life in prison if they assist the Public Prosecutor, or in cases of intellectual disability, with the death penalty remaining mandatory in other cases.
“We urge Singapore to further reform its legislation to ensure the death penalty is never compulsory, as mandatory death sentences are inherently over-inclusive and unavoidably violate human rights law,” said the United Nations.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam and Laos to make effort to enhance central role of ASEAN

Vietnam Vice President Vo Th? nh Xuan and Lao Vice President Pany Yathotou at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on Tuesday April 26, 2022 reportedly to discuss a number of unidentified international and regional issues of mutual concern
From News Reports:
Hanoi, April 28: Vietnam and Laos agreed to promote coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums including the United Nations, ASEAN and the Mekong sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in Hanoi on Tuesday, saying "Vietnam and Laos would make efforts together to enhance the central role of ASEAN," reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam Vice President Vo Thi nh Xuan and Lao Vice President Pany Yathotou reportedly discussed a number of unidentified international and regional issues of mutual concern, at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi in celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 45th anniversary of the Laos-VietNam Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.
Vietnam Vice President Vo Thi nh Xuan, said at the meeting with Lao Vice President Pany Yathotou that the official visit would "consolidate great friendship, solidarity, and cooperation between Vietnam and Laos."
Lao Vice President Pany Yathotou congratulated Vietnam on the results achieved from the reform policies of Doi Moi that began in 1986 and that had introduced the market economy, saying "national development and international integration in Vietnam is a source of encouragement, inspiration and lessons for Laos."
The Vietnam and Laos Vice Presidents agreed to promote coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums including the United Nations and ASEAN, saying they "would continue to make efforts together with ASEAN member countries to enhance solidarity, unity and the central role of ASEAN."
The Vietnam and Laos Vice Presidents agreed to uphold ASEAN principles, values and stance on issues that are related to regional peace and security, saying they "would strive to settle disputes in the region and the world by peaceful means and the international law."
Last month Vietnam Ambassador Ðang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations (UN), said that Vietnam supports and is willing to contribute to the United Nations humanitarian relief for Ukraine but fell short of reitoriating the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights direct appeal to the Russian Federation to withdraw its military from Ukraine.
Ambassador Ðang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations (UN), reitorated Vietnam's stance at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on solving international disputes.
He said that international disputes should be solved by peaceful measures based on respecting international law, the United Nations Charter and the principle of respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, and not interfering in their internal affairs or to use force.
Vietnam and Laos abstained from voting in the special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on March 4, 2022 that voted in favour of the resolution "Aggression against Ukraine", condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
ASEAN foreign ministers issued a statement demanding immediate ceasefire in Ukraine following the special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that voted in favour of the resolution that condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with abstentions from two of eight ASEAN states, Laos and Vietnam.
Of the 193 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) members, 141 voted in favour of the resolution, with 5 against including Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria and with 35 abstentions including ASEAN member states Laos and Vietnam and including China and India.
The Southeast Asian Times


Ousted former PM Najib Rajak appeals High Court embezzlement conviction and sentence

Ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak cited 94 grounds on why the Court of Appeal had erred in its decision to uphold the High Court’s conviction and sentence on Monday April 25, 2022
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, April 27: Ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was found guilty of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in the misappropriation of RM42 million from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds and sentenced to 12 years in prison appealed the High Court conviction and sentence on Monday as ordered by the Court of Appeal, reports the Star.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, cited 94 grounds on why the Court of Appeal had erred in its decision to uphold the High Court’s conviction and sentence including that he does not have any personal interest in subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds or that the court rejected his belief that the funds in his account were donations from the Saudi Royal family.
He said that his interest in the subsiduary is purely official or professional, saying that his interest came from his position as advisor emeritus, finance minister and prime minister.
"The Court of Appeal erred in fact and in law in rejecting the contention that the RM42mil that flows into the appellant’s accounts is not subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds," he said.
He said the Court of Appeal and the High Court had erred in fact and in law in rejecting that he was of the belief that the funds in his account were donations from the Saudi Royal family.
"The Court of Appeal further erred in holding that the Saudi Royal family defence was not borne out by any hard evidence before the court," he said.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was to file an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision to uphold the High Court Verdict on April 11, said the judgement prepared by the judges of the Appeals Court contained 176 volumes, saying "it was not received by the defence until March 31."
“It is impossible for my defence team to study all the records of appeals and prepare a complete appeal petition in such a short time to address all issues raised by the Court of Appeal judges," he said.
The High Court three-member panel led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim allowed former Prime Minister Najib Razak an extention to file an appeal against the December 2021 Malaysian Court of Appeal decision to uphold the High Court Verdict in July 2020.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak will remain Member of Parliament for Pekan despite the High Court verdict that found the former Prime Minister guilty of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in the misappropriation of RM42 million from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds in July 2020, and the Malaysian Court of Appeal in December 2021 that upheld the verdict.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak can attend parliamentary sessions, debate and vote in any motions and carry out his duties as a Member of Parliament under “Article 48(4)(b) of the Federal Constitution that states that his disqualification as Member of parliament for Pekan takes effect from the final decision made by the Federal Court.
The Southeast Asian Times


Jose Ramos Horta expects Timor Leste to become 11th member of ASEAN by next year

Jose Ramos Horta has declared victory in Timor Leste presidential election, saying he has secured "overwhelming support and would now work to foster dialogue and unity"
From News Reports:
Dili, April 26: Jose Ramos Horta, who has previously served as Timor Leste foreign minister, prime minister and president, has declared victory in the Timor Leste presidential election over incumbant President, Francisco Guterres, saying that he expected Timor Leste to become the 11th member of ASEAN, reports Reuters.
National Election Commission of Timor Leste reports that Jose Ramos Horta received 62 percent of the votes with incumbant President, Francisco Guterres 37 percent after 100 percent of the votes were counted.
"I have received this mandate from our people, from the nation, in an overwhelming demonstration of our people's commitment to democracy," he said.
He said he expected Timor-Leste to become the 11th member of the regional bloc, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), "within this year or next year at the latest."
He said that Timor Leste first applied for Asean membership when he was the President in 2011, saying "while I feel that we were not ready to join ASEAN at the time, things have changed since then. ".
He said that services and the security situation have improved and that Timor Leste is now a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying that the WTO has the same rules and criteria for admission as that of Asean."
He said that Timor Leste has had more than 10 years to prepare and address ASEAN application issues, saying "I feel we are now ready."
In February 2022 ASEAN chair for 2022, Cambodia, and the ASEAN secretary-general announced the launch of a fact-finding mission to evaluate Timor Leste eligibiliy for ASEAN membership, with ASEAN Secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi saying "ASEAN is launching a fact-finding mission to accelerate East Timor’s accession to the regional bloc,"
He said that the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) fact-finding teams are to expediate the evaluation, capability and readiness of Timor Leste to join ASEAN under the three pillars of ASEAN that include the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
"The findings of the fact-finding mission would enable Timor Leste to put forward a roadmap and timeline for accession to ASEAN," he said.
In March 2020 the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries reached consensus in support of Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership, at the 9th Meeting of the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) with chairman for ASEAN 2020, Vietnam Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Quoc Dung, saying "the major task of the ACCWG was to focus on Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership."
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia's government officials face death penalty for corruption in export of crude palm oil

Director-General of Foreign Trade of the Trade Ministry Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana; commissioner of PT Wilmar Nabati Indonesia Master Parulian Tumanggor; senior manager of corporate affairs of PT Pelita Agung Agrindustri/Permata Hijau Group Stanley MA; and general affairs manager of PT Musim Mas Picare Tagore Sitanggang are charged under Articles 2 and 3 of the 2001 Anticorruption law that allows the death penalty.
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 25: Indonesia's Attorney General's Office (AGO) has charged four suspects with corruption in the alleged collusion of the issuance of export permits in the provision of crude palm oil (CPO), saying the suspects including the Director-General of Domestic Trade of the Trade Ministry, Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, who had caused a shortage of domestic cooking oil, were liable for the death penalty, reports Tempo.
Attorney General Office (AGO) Deputy for Special Crimes, Febriansyah, said on Friday that the four suspects who had allegedly colluded in the issuance of export permits for the provision of crude palm oil (CPO), who had caused a shortage of cooking oil on the domestic market, did not comply with requirements under the Domestic Market Obligation (DMO)."
He said that the four suspects including Director-General of Foreign Trade of the Trade Ministry Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana; commissioner of PT Wilmar Nabati Indonesia Master Parulian Tumanggor; senior manager of corporate affairs of PT Pelita Agung Agrindustri/Permata Hijau Group Stanley MA; and general affairs manager of PT Musim Mas Picare Tagore Sitanggang are charged under Articles 2 and 3 of the 2001 Anticorruption law that allows the death penalty.
"The AGO has adopted the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) practice under the 2001 Anticorruption law," he said.
He said that the Attorney General Office (AGO) is to give severe pubishment to perpetrators under certain criteria such as when the crime is committed in a national disaster as in the Covid-19 pandemic.
"If the crime affects large communities and is detrimental to Indonesia's development strict action will be taken, we will definitely take firm action," he said.
In May 2020 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) warned Indonesians that they face the death penalty if found guilty of corruption related to Covid-19 government relief funds under the 2001 Anticorruption law, with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) saying "we have no choice but to hand down the death penalty if found guilty of corruption during a national disaster."
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Firli Bahuri, said that the 2001 Anticoruption Law stipulates that those found guilty of corruption or self-enrichment offenses that cause state losses during a national disaster may be sentenced to death, saying that "the safety of the people shall be the highest law."
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has identified four areas of the government Covid-19 response that are prone to corruption, saying goods and services procurement, third party donations, budget reallocation and aid distribution are prone to corruption.
"The KPK has formed a task force to oversee these sectors," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Workers union warns Indonesian President Widodo that protesters will return to streets

Workers and students represented by Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) protest at the House of Representatives (DPR) Jakarta on Thursday April 19, 2022
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 24: The Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) who represented workers and students protesting at the House of Representatives (DPR) on Thursday, warned that "the people would return to the streets if the government did not take the protesters seriously," after claims that President Joko Widodo has failed to bring prosperity to ordinary people with the introduction of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law, reports the Jakarta Post.
Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) representative Ninin Elitos said after a meeting with House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker, Sufmi Dasco Ahmad and lawmaker, Rachmat Gobel, on Thursday that "the Indonesian state under the leadership of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has failed to bring prosperity to the ordinary people under the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law that was passed into law in November 2, 2021, saying "this has been proven by the state's failure to deal with the economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic."
"Data from the Ministry of Labour shows that at least 29.4 million people were sacked during the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.
She said that village communities are confronted by the monopolisation of the land by oligarchs and the increasing price of fertilizer and backward agricultural technology, saying that "this situation is caused by the weak control of prices by President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin administration ."
She said that the government has failed to respond to the high cost of education and an education system that is backward, anti-scientific and undemocratic, saying "this situation has resulted in a decline in the quality of life and economic disparity has become even wider."
She said that the government should be providing subsidies to the ordinary people, saying "instead the government has increased the price of basic commodities without considering how the people will suffer."
"The high price of cooking oil, fuel, drinking water, electricity, fertilizer, toll roads and value added tax means that the burden of the economic and health crisis are falling on the ordinary people", she said.
Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) representative, Ninin Elitos, said that workers and students protesting at the House of Representatives (DPR) on Thursday gave the House of Representatives (DPR) an ultimatum, saying "they would return to the streets if the protest was not taken seriously."
In December 2021 the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI) threatens nationwide strikes if the Joko Widodo government does not implement November 2021 Constitutional Court ruling that declared the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law unconstitutional, ordering the House of Representatives to amend the law in the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law that allows employers to arbitralily determine employees working hours and salary.
President Joko Widodo signed the Omnibus Law on Job Creation Law that determined the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) for 2022 last month saying "the revision of over 70 existing laws is vital to investment and to labour market competitiveness."
Confederation of Indonesian Labor Unions (KSPI), president, Said Iqba, warned of escalating protests against the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) for 2022, saying that if the Joko Widodo government fails to implement the Constitutional Court’s ruling, "a nationwide strike against the Provinvial Minimum Wage (UMP) for 2022 of two million workers from 60 federations of national labor unions will paralize the economy."
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar military sends physician to three years in prison with hard labour

Dr. Htar Htar Lin, Director and Program Manager of the Covid-19 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), was arrested with husband and seven-year-old son together with 26 Mynamar doctors in Yangon in June 10, 2021
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, April 23: Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, that seized the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February, 2021 has sentenced Dr. Htar Htar Lin, former Director and Program Manager of the Covid-19 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), to three years in prison with hard labour for corruption, for withholding a grant from Unicef and the World Health Organization from the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, reports Irrawaddy.
Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar said that Dr. Htar Htar Lin, the Director and Program Manager of the Covid-19 Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) had defied orders to handover 168 million kyats (US$91,000) from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization’s Health System Strengthening grant from Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the week after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar seizured the elected government.
Dr. Htar Htar Lin reportedly emailed colleagues after the seizure of the elected government to say that the dictatorship would try to steal from the vaccination program, saying that she would probably face accusations that she had misused the funds by defying orders to handover the funds.
"We can’t let military dictators use COVID vaccinations as a weapon. I may still be free or detained by the military when you read this. But I will never surrender," she said in an email to colleagues after the seizure of the elected government.
Dr. Htar Htar Lin has been charged with three further offences since her arrest on June 10, 2021 including high treason and incitement under the Unlawful Association Act (1908).
Dr. Htar Htar Lin, who was arrested with her husband and seven-year-old son together with 26 Mynamar doctors in Yangon in June 2021, had joined the the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and supported the newly formed National Unity Government (NUG) that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar had declared "terrorist" groups.
Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, said that Dr. Htar Htar Lin has confessed to communicating with National Unity Government (NUG) health minister, Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, that she helped write speeches and National Unity Government (NUG) health-care policy documents and helped prepare meetings and plan to implement health-care programs including estimating the required drugs and costs.

The Southeast Asian Times

Arrest warrant issued for exiled former PM Yingluck Shinawatra

An arrest warrant has been issued for exiled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for wasting 240 million baht on the "Building the Future of Thailand 2020" campaigne in 2013
From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 22: The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions have issued an arrest warrant for exiled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, for failing to appear in court for the first hearing for spending 240 million baht on the "Building the Future of Thailand 2020" infrastructure development project campaigne that was launched in 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) charged exiled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra together with former Deputy Prime Minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva and private parties including Matichon Public Company Limited and Siam Sport Syndicate Public Company Limited and its director Ravi Lohtong, who appeared in court on April, 19 pleading not guilty to the charges.
The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions issued a warrant for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra under Section 28 of the law of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders for alleged violations of Section 157 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 1999 and Sections 12 and 13 of the law against price collusion law of 1999, saying that the court had not received a request to postpone the hearing.
The "Building the Future of Thailand 2020" infrastructure development projects campaigne was launched by the Secretariat of the Prime Minister on the instruction of then-prime minister Yingluck in 2013 with proposed legislation passed to allow the government to borrow 2 trillion baht to finance the projects.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said the "Building the Future of Thailand 2020" campaigne included exhibitions, seminars and other public relations activities to promote the project,"
In March 2014 the Constitutional Court ruled the bill sponsored by the Yingluck government to authorise the Finance Ministry to seek 2 trillion baht in loans for infrastructure development projects was unconstitutional, rendering the "Building the Future of Thailand 2020" campaign null and void.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said that 240-million baht had by then been spent on the campaigne, saying "it had been wasted."
In August 2017 former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra fled Thailand ahead of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruling in September 2017 that sentenced her to five years in prison in absentia for dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy programme.
The prosecution argued that "inaction" by the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra allegedly caused 518 billion baht in loss to the state.
Prosecutors alleged that Yingluck Shinawatra government officials colluded to help two Chinese firms that were not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the government rice pledging scheme.
The court was told that the state subsidy set aside for the rice-pledging programme during the Yingluck Shinawatra government was higher than the amount allowed by the World Trade Organisation.
The Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders was told that the government rice-subsidy programme went against the main objective of a state subsidy programme which was to help Thai farmers.
The Southeast Asian Times



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


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


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


What they're saying open page here

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



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



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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



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

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



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


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

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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



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Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

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

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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