The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Saturday 24 February 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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

Former 7-Eleven Jakarta employees want their severence pay
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 23: Former 7-Eleven employees demanded that the parent company pay their severence pay a year after the closure of all franchises
in Jakarta, at a rally at the company office in Jakarta on Wednesday, reports The Jakarta Post.
The former 7-Eleven employees say that PT Modern Internasional, the parent company of PT Modern Sevel Indonesia, failed to pay them after closing all 7-Eleven stores in Jakarta in June last year.
PT Modern Putra Indonesia Workers Union, official, Sumarsono, said that the 7-Eleven workers had not received their severance pay in the eight months since the closure of the convenience stores.
He says that the amount owed by 7-Eleven to union members is Rp 17.5 billion (US$1,28 million) and non-union members are owed about Rp 20 billion.
"PT Modern Internasional should have paid the former employees their severence pay by December 31 last year," he said.
Failure to reach an agreement for the aquisition of the 7-Eleven stores in Jakarta between the parent company PT Modern Internasional and PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia ened in the closure of the stores.
In July 2017 The Federal Court in Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland ordered the former franchisee of the Vulture Street 7-Eleven store in Brisbane to pay $28,000 in penalties and his company JS Top Pty Ltd to pay $140,000 to 7-Eleven employees.
The former franchisee Jim Chien-Ching was found to have underpaid his employees, that he had made false and misleading entries in the 7-Eleven payroll system and had provided false records.

The Southeast Asian Times

PM Hun Sen warns Cambodian protesters in Australia against effigy-burning

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned Australia that "A joint Asean-Australia statement would not be issued if there was any order or activity that opposed the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia or interfered with its internal affairs" during his visit to Australia next month

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 23: Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen warned Cambodian protesters in Australia, ahead of the Asean-Australia Special Summit to be held in Sydney next month, against effigy burning reports the Khmer Times.
Prime Minister Hun Sen warned Cambodians living in Australia, who he says are planning to protest against his government during his visit to Australia in March, that "you have your right to burn my photo, I have my right to respond.''
The prime minister warned members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that was dissolved by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court last year "not to dare show their faces at demonstrations in Australia next month."
He said that the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is an illegal organisation.
He warned it's members ahead of the Asean-Australia Special Summit to be held in Sydney next month "not to show up".
In November 2017 prime minister Hun Sen announced that the government supported the Supreme Court decision to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) opposition party, saying that "the Supreme Court decision was made according to the principle of rule of law.
The dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) followed the arrest of its president, Kem Sokha, who was arrested in September 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason.
Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn said then that Kem Sokha had committed a "clear act of treason",
The Foreign Minister said that a 2013 video showed that the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, had received assistance from the US and that the US had told him what to do.
The Southeast Asian Times


Family of slain Cambodian broadcaster arrives in Australia on humanitarian refugee visa

Bou Rachana with her five sons en route to Australia last week 18 months after her husband a political analysist and broadcaster was shot dead at a coffee shop

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 22: The family of slain political analysist and broadcaster, Kem Ley, 46, who was shot dead in Phnom Penh in July 2016 in what was described as "execution style" have been granted a special humanitarian refugee visa for residency in Australia, reports Rueters.
Wife of the slain political analysist and broadcaster, Bou Rachana, and her five children fled Cambodia for Thailand following the funeral
in Phnom Penh that was attended by tens of thousands of mourners.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court doctor, Norng Sovannaroth, said then that the political analysist and broadcaster was shot dead "execution-style".
"Once behind his left ear and once under his left arm,"
he said.
But alleged killer, Chuob Samlab, who was arrested within an hour in proximity of the coffee shop where the broadcaster was shot dead in broad daylight, claims that he shot Kem Ley because the broadcaster owed him money.
About 2000 gathered at the coffee shop to dispute the claim that the political analysist and broadcaster was shot dead over an unpaid debt, with some blaming Prime Minister Hun Sen for the killing and others shouting,
"I don't believe it."
Labor rights group Central official and friend of the slain political analysist and broadcaster, Moeun Tola, rejected the idea that he was killed due to an unpaid debt, saying that "anyone who wanted to kill the broadcaster would know where to find him."
He said that political analyst and broadcaster Kem Ley was a very outspoken critic of the Cambodian government.
"Only two days before he was shot he was on Radio Free Asia talking about the Global Witness report,” he said.
Broadcaster Kem Ley reportedly said on the Radio Free Asia program that the Global Witness report showed how Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family controlled Cambodian society.
The Global Witness report that reportedly detailed the vast business holdings of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family drew a fierce rebuke from the the Prime Ministers family.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for an investigation into the killing of political analysist and broadcaster Kem Ley, immediately after his death, saying that he condemned "the cruel and savage act by the gunman.”
Australia's Victorian Member of Parliament, Hong Lim, said on Monday that Bou Rachana, wife of the slain political analysist and broadcaster, and her five sons arrived in Melbourne on Saturday.
"The community is celebrating and will welcome the family at the temple this Saturday," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sanofi Pasteur refuses to refund Philippines for anti-dengue vaccine
From News Reports:
Manila February 21: French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, stands by its decision that it will not refund the Philippine government
P3-billion for the purchase of the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia that is held responsible for the death of at least five children, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The death of five children in the Philippine provinces of Cavite and Luguna have reportedly been linked to the innoculation of Dengvaxia against dengue fever conducted by the Philippines Department of Health (DOH)
The Department of Health (DOH) halted the immunization programme on December 1, three days after French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, that developed Dengvaxia, announced that the vaccine worsened symptoms in those vaccinated who had no previous exposure to the dengue virus.
More than 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia before the Department of Health (DOH) stopped the immunization program.
Records from the Cavite provincial health office reportedly show that 68,366 schoolchildren had received the first dose of Dengvaxia, while 37,966 had
received the second dose and 36,860 had completed the three doses.
French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, rejected demands made by the Department of Health (DOH) for financial support and indemnification fund, saying that "we respectfully decline both requests."
Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement that "the company stood firmly behind their product and that a rufund for the used doses of Dengvaxia would imply that the vaccine was ineffective."
“Dengvaxia vaccination in the Philippines will provide a net reduction in dengue disease, including severe dengue,” Sanofi Pasteur said.
Last month the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) director of Forensic Laboratory, Dr Erwin Erfe, said that the forensic examiners had observed a pattern in the death of five children who had been inoculated with Dengvaxia, saying that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory examined the body of an 11-year-old boy from Bataan province, who died within 12 hours of developing a headache and fever following the innoculation of Dengvaxia.
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory, examined the bodies of two schoolchildren, Zandro Colite, 11, from Cavite province and Lenard Baldonado, 10 from Laguna province on January 7 after their bodies were exhumed.
The Forensic examiners found bleeding in the lungs and enlarged organs in the case of Lenard Baldonado, 10, from Laguna Province.
The death certificate for Zandro Colite, 11, reportedly indicated that he had died from a ruptured appendix on December 27.
The Southeast Asian Times

Lawyer charged with obstruction in
e-ID card corruption case

Former lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, with a doctor's note at the Medika Permata Hijau Hospital dated 16 November 2017, saying that no visitors for the former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto were allowed

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 20: The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has charged the former lawyer for former House of Representatives speaker, Setya Novanto, who is charged with corruption, for obstruction, reports the Jakarta Post.
Lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, is accused of arranging the admittance of the former House of Represenatatives speaker to the Medika Permata Hijau Hospital in order to evade questioning by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in his involvement in the procurement of e-ID cards that allegedly caused Rp 2.3 trillion (US$161 mil­lion) loss to the state.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutor, Fitroh Rohcahyanto, said that the lawyer had arranged to have the House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto admitted to hospital with hypertention on 16 November.
The prosecutor claims that the lawyer submitted a medical record showing that Setya Novanto suffered from hypertention to doctor Bimanesh Sutarjo at the Medika Permata Hijau Hospital.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) failed to arrest the former House of Representatives speaker in a raid on his home in Kebayoran Batu South Jakarta on 15 November.
The former House speaker was reportedly admitted to hospital on 16 November the day after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had failed to arrest him.
He was reportedly admitted to hospital following a motor vehicle accident in which the former speakers vehicle had struck an electric light pole.
The former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto was formally charged on 13 December with corruption in his involvement in the procurement of e-ID cards that allegedly caused Rp 2.3 tril­lion (US$161 mil­lion) loss to the state.
The former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto reportedly arrived at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Wednesday claiming ill health and saying that his ill health prevented him from standing trial.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) convinced the court that the former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto was fit to stand trial following an order from the Judge that Setya Novanto undergo a medical examination conducted by the courts medics.
The Indonesia Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said that House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto was "suspected of having a key role in setting the budget for the procurement of the electronic identity cards between 2011and 2012."
The budget was split with 51 percent or Rp2.662 trillion used for the procurement of the e-ID card and the balance were embezzled and devided between senior officials of the Home Affairs Ministry and lawmakers of the Commission II of DPR.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found in July that there was sufficient preliminary evidence to charge Setya Novanto under article 2 paragraph (1) of Law No.31/1999 as amended by Law No. 20/2001 on corruption eradication adj. article 55 paragraph (1) of the Penal Code.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia does not want Indonesia to stop export of domestic workers
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 19: Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi called on Indonesia not to stop sending domestic workers to Malaysia following the alleged murder of Indonesian maid, Adelina Lisao, 21, in Penang last week, reports the Star.
Malaysian maid employment agencies and employers also asked Indonesia not to stop sending Indonesian workers to Malaysia, saying that the death of the Indonesian maid was an "isolated case."
The Indonesian maid who died at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital of multiple organ failure on 11 February after she was found on the porch of the home of her employer with wounds to her body.
The Star reports that the maid was forced to sleep on the porch with the family dog, a Rottweiler.
The unidentified family, a brother aged 39, his sister, 36 and their mother 60, have been arrested for the murder of their Indonesian maid, who had been in their employ since 2014.
The Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers deputy chairman, Teguh Hendro Cahyono, claims that Indonesian maid, Adelina Lisao, had obtained work in Malaysia through an illegal agent.
Indonesia imposed a freeze on the export of Indonesian maids to Malaysia on June 26, 2009, following reports of regular abuse of the women workers by their employers.
The freeze was lifted following the agreement between Najib Tun Razak and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a meeting in Bali, November 2012
The Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies President Jeffrey Foo said then that the re-entry of the Indonesian maids was via a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysia and Indonesia governments that was signed in November 2011.
“Employers are now obliged to open a special account for Indonesian maids to remit their salary, which would be monitored to ensure no manipulation,” he said.
Their duties were confined to household tasks and it was for them to decide whether to accept the additional responsibility of looking after a child or the elderly.
Their minimum monthly wage has been set at ringgit 700, about US$229.
Malaysians employing Indonesian maids will have to pay overtime of ringgit 27 a day if the hired help have to work on their four-a-month rest days.
In October 2012 in the month that the ban on Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia was lifted, mother-of-four Yim Pek Ha, 44, began a 12-year sentence in Malaysia’s Kajang Women's Prison after three Appeal Court judges confirmed her conviction eight years previously for the physical abuse of her Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonat, 28.
Yim Pek Ha, a former air attendant and boutique-shop proprietor was initially charged with four counts of causing grievous injury to her maid - twice with a hot iron, hot water and a metal cup - at her house in Villa Putera, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, in January, March, April and May 2004.
Judge Akhear Tahir found her guilty of three counts and sentenced to 18 years in jail in November 2007, but the sentences was reduced to 12 years on appeal.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bureau to enforce environmental laws to be established in the Philippines
From News Reports:
Manila, February 18: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is to form a bureau to enforce environmental laws following the order from Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte's to clean up Boracay Island, found to be dumping raw sewerage in the sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary, Roy Cimatu, said that the environmental law enforcement bureau would operate with the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney general's Office.
He said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is unable to enforce environmental law, saying that "we have laws but we have a hard time implementing them.”
He said the proposed bureau would be empowered to arrest and prosecute violators, confiscate and destroy structures and equipment used to pollute the environment.
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to clean up Boracay Island last week, saying that the island is a cesspool after tourist resorts including casinos were found to have no wastewater treatment facilities, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President Duterte ordered Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, Roy Cimatu, to "close down" tourists resorts including casinos on Boracay Island for dumping raw sewerage in the sea.
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, Roy Cimatu, said that up to 60 percent of all tourist resorts including casinos were compliant with the
environmental laws, "all the rest drain their raw sewerage into the sea".
Notices for violation of Chapter 5, Section 27 of the rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9275, or the Clean Water Act of 2004 were served on 51 tourist resorts including casinos on Tuesday.
He said that the resorts were ordered to either connect to the sewage treatmen plant or install their own wastewater treatment facilities.
“Otherwise, we will close them down,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian National Assembly makes insulting the king a crime
Funcinpec President, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, said that the Funcinpec party would work with the government
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 17: The Cambodian National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the Constitution and Criminal Code, making it illegal to insult the King under the Lese Majeste Law, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
In a full plenary session, the 123 parliamentarians of ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), royalist Funcinpec, and two other minor parties unanimously approved the amendments, with Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh saying that he voted for the Lese Majeste Law because the law "would benefit Cambodians."
"The Funcinpec Party would participate in Lese Majeste investigations," he said.
Violation of the new lese majeste law incurrs a penalty of between one and five years in prison and a fine of 2 million riel to 10 million riel ($500 to $2,500).
The amendments to the Constitution that include restrictions for political participation were reportedly passed in the national interest in order to stop foreign interference.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that amendments to the Constitution and Criminal Code were necessary in order to protect Cambodia from outside influence, saying that "all political parties, politicians and Cambodians should work together to protect Cambodia’s independence and sovereignty."
"They should work against any interference from outsiders,” he said.
He announced in November 2017 that the government supported the Supreme Court decision to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) opposition party, saying that "the Supreme Court decision was made according to the principle of rule of law.
The dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) followed the arrest of its president, Kem Sokha, who was arrested in September 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason.
Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn said then that Kem Sokha had committed a "clear act of treason",
The Foreign Minister said that a 2013 video showed that the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP),Kem Sokha, had received assistance from the US and that the US had told him what to do.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines reject China's naming of underwater areas east coast of Luzon
From News Reports:
Manila, February 16: The Philippines have rejected China's naming of five underwater areas at Philippine Rise known as Benham Rise, located on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines, the approval of which was given by various international organisations, reports Rueters.
Presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, said the Philipines did not recognise the names given by China to five underwater areas.
He said that the names, Jinghai Seamount, Tinabao Seamount, Haidonquing Seamount, Cuiqiao Hill and Jujiu Seamount given by China to areas located within 200 nautical miles of the east coast of Luzon are not recognised by the Philippines.
He said that the Philippines has lodged its concern, saying that
"The Philippine embassy in Beijing has raised our concern to China."
He said that the Philippines had also raised its concern with the organisations that had approved China's application to name the five underwater areas.
China's proposal to name the underwater areas were submitted to International Hydrographic Organization – Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) at a sub-committe meeting in October 2015 and again in September 2017.
Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal said that the names of three of the underwater areas were first submitted to the sub-committee by the China Navy Hydrographic Office in 2014 with the other two submitted for approval by the China Ocean Minerals R&D Association in 2016.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang claims that the naming of underwater areas was permitted, saying that “China respects the Philippines’ relevant rights to Benham Rise."
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte declared on Monday that maritime scientific research in the Philippine Rise known as Benham Rise by foreigners had ended, saying that "only Filipino scientists will be allowed to conduct research and exploration in the Philippine Rise.”
The Philippine president directed the Department of National Defense to deploy Navy vessels and the Philippine Air Force to conduct fly overs over the Philippine Rise known as Benham Rise located on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines on Monday.
In July 2016 the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea that included the West Philippine Sea.
China rejected the Hague ruling, saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
China reportedly claims that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine president orders tourist Island clean up
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to close Boracay Island for dumping raw sewerage into the sea
From News Reports:
Manila, February, 15: Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to clean up
Boracay Island, saying that the tourist island is a cesspool after sewage from resorts including casinos were found to have raw sewerage running into the sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President Duterte has reportedly ordered Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, Roy Cimatu, to "close down" tourists resorts including casinos on Boracay Island for dumping raw sewerage in the sea.
Notices for violation of Chapter 5, Section 27 of the rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9275, or the Clean Water Act of 2004 were served on 51 tourist resorts including casinos on Tuesday.
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, Roy Cimatu, said that up to 60 percent of all tourist resorts including casinos were compliant with the environmental laws, "all the rest drain their raw sewerage into the sea".
He said that notices would be served on resorts to either connect to the sewage treatment plant or install their own wastewater treatment facilities.
“Otherwise, we will close them down,” he said.
In August 2010 the National Indigenous Peoples Commission issued a certificate of Ancestral Domain title to the Ati people of Boracay Island for 2.0596 hectares in Barangay Manoc-Manoc at the northern end of the island with crucial access to fishing.
In July 2010 Philippines Tourism Secretary, Alberto Lim, claimed that the once pristine Boracay Island was extremely overdeveloped with its famous beach choked with sewage and too many bars, saying then that the 10.3-square kilometre island drew 650,000 tourists a year.
"The sprawl that follows the tourist dollars has caused the seawater off the four-kilometre white-sand beachfront to grow algae that is fed by sewage discharged from hotels and restaurants," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Counter-terrorism squad to investigate attack on Yogyakarta Catholic church
From News Reports
Yogyakarta, February 14: Indonesian Special Forces counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, began an investigation into the attack on churchgoers at a catholic church in Yogyakarta on Sunday, with the questioning of a 23 year-old suspect, reports the Jakarta Post.
The suspect identified as Suliyono, who is reportedly from Banyuwangi, East Java, allegedly attacked churchgoers with a machete during Mass held at the St Lidwina Church in Sleman regency in Yogyakarta..
One priest, three churchgoers and one policeman were injured in the attack.
The suspect allegedly defaced statues of Mary and Jesus located inside the church.
Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Ahmad Dofiri said that "the suspect was immobolised with a bullet to the leg."
"Indonesian Special Forces counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, that is part of the Indonesian Police Force, is also involved in the investigation", he said.
He said that police have met with several organizations in Yogyakarta to address inaccurate information posted on social media in order "to prevent Yogyakarta residents from provokation."
Police said ahead of Christmas Day and New ear celebrations that there would be no mass organisations including the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), that incorporates all Indonesian Muslim organisations including the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) conducting raids on Christian church services and venues celebrating Christmas and New Year.
Police coordinated with relevant agencies including the Indonesian National Militant (TNI) to maintain security with the deployment of 10,000 police to guard 1,629 churches in Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi including the installation of metal detectors at the entrance of the churches.
Te anti-bomb squad was reportedly deployed to safeguard several Christian churches including the cathedral in central Jakarta
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian Navy arrests Taiwanese vessel flying Singapore flag

The Taiwanese crew under arrest on board the seized MV Sunrise Glory at Batu Ampar Port, Batam, Riau Islands for drug smuggling

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 13: The Indonesian Navy has seized the Taiwanese registered vessel, MV Sunrise Glory, flying under the Singapore flag and its Taiwanese crew for smuggling one ton of crystal methamphetamine drugs into Indonesia, reports Antara.
Deputy Navy Chief Vice Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrochman said on Saturday that the Indonesian navy acted on a tip-off from Indonesia`s National Narcotics Agency (BNN), saying that "the navy has been tracking the MV Sunrise Glory since December last year,"
The MV Sunrise Glory was apprehended by Indonesia's war ship Sigurot 864 in the Philip Channel off Batam in the waters bordering Indonesia and Singapore last Wednesday.
The MV Sunrise Glory that was disguised as a fishing vessel was flying the Singaporean flag when it was cited by the Indonesian Navy during a routine patrol in the waters on the border between Indonesia and Singapore.
The ton of crystal methamphetamine was found hidden in 41 rice sacks in the lower deck of the vessel.
A Taiwanese flag together with various other country flags were also found on-board MV Sunrise Glory.
National Anti-Narcotics Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (BNN) head, Budi Waseso, said from Batam, Riau Islands Province, on Sunday said that the four Taiwanese crew members of the MV Sunrise Glory are being held in Riau Island Province for questioning.
"An investigation is underway into the flying of false flags and drug smuggling", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Bangkok police deployed to keep order at pro-election rally

Pro-election protestors at Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Saturday saying "Stop putting off the election" and "Stop power succession"

From News Reports:
Bangkok, Monday 12: More than 300 police were deployed to a pro-election rally held at Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Saturday following the
postponment of general elections that were to be held in November to February 2019, reports the Bangkok Post.
Protesters, Rangsiman Rome, Sirawit Serithiwat and Anon Nampa, each made a speech at the Monument on Friday calling for the elections to go ahead in November as scheduled.
The three protesters are wanted by police for unlawful assembly on January 27 in Bangkok, calling for the elections to go ahead and for the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) "to stop prolonging its stay in power."
Rangsiman Rome said that “we ultimately want democracy to return to this country,” saying that "the junta has taken over the country for almost four years.
The Thai National Legislative Assembly (NLA) decision last month to extend the enforcement of the organic bill on elections for a further 90 days , effectively postponed the general elections until February 2019.
Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had reportedly warned that the government would not call a general election in November unless public order was maintained despite authorities reportedly saying that there was no sign of public disorder.
He claimed that he would not call an election while there was conflict, saying "keep the peace if you want an election."
The Thai prime minister, who is also the commander of the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO), has the power to call an election under Article 44 of the interim constitution.
Article 44 of the interim constitution reportedly gives National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) Commander, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha absolute power over executive, legislative and judicial decisions and allows it to overrule judicial and legislative authority.
In 2014 the Royal Thai Army declared martial law on the grounds that ongoing protests between political rivals were a threat to Thailands security and to the safety of life and property.
The Southeast Asian Times


Prosecution of Buddhist monk to go ahead, says Myanmar judge
From News Reports:
Yangon, February 11: The prosecution of a Buddhist monk for leading a protest at the US embassy in Yangon is to go ahead, with Justice Thandar Shin saying that the prosecution of the monk will go ahead under sections 19 and 505(b) of the penal code, reports the Myanmar Times.
Magwe monastery monk, U Par Mauk Kha, pleaded not guilty to the charge, that carries a penalty of up to six months’ imprisonment, saying that
"the decision to prosecute is inappropriate".
Lawyer, U Aung Therein Tun, argues that by joining the protest at the US embassy the monk was doing his duty as a citizen.
“He did not commit any offense under section 505(b) as charged,” he said.
Four other protest leaders were sentenced to seven months’ jail in August last year after they were convicted of violating sections 19 and 505(b) of the penal code incuding section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law.
About 300 protesters including Buddhist monks protested at the US embassy in Yangon on 28 April 2016 against the use of the term Rohingya.
Rohingha is the term used by the US for the about 1 million Muslims in Myanmar's northeastern Rakhine state that borders Bangladesh
Lawyer, U Aung Therein Tun claims that "the Muslims in Rakhine state are Bengalis."
“Today, we, from Myanmar, want to declare to the U.S. embassy and to the new ambassador to Myanmar, to all the other countries, that there is no Rohingya in our country,” said Buddhist monk , U Par Mauk Kha at the U.S. embassy in Yangon at the US embassy in Ynagon in April 2016.
The demonstration was sparked by a statement from the US embassy expressing condolences for an estimated 21 Muslims, identified by the US as Rohingya, who had drowned off the coast of Rakhine State.
Lt. Col. Kyaw Htut, head of the western Yangon region police, said following the protest at the US embassy that protest organizers would face charges for holding the demonstration in an unapproved location.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy said the United States supports the right to demonstrate, saying that “around the world, people have the ability to self-identifty”.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bollywood film banned from Malaysian screens
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 10: Malaysia's National Film Censorship Board (LPF) has banned the Bollywood film, Padmaavat, from screeing in Malaysia following its release in India last month, saying that "the movie provided a negative portrayal of a Muslim leader", reports Rueters.
Director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is accused of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler in a romantic relationship with Queen Padmavati of the Hindu Rajput warrior clan.
India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared the film for viewing in India on January 25 despite protests from two states and after five modifications including changing the title from Padmavati to Padmaavat.
But Malaysia's National Film Censorship Board (LPF) would not clear the film for viewing in Malaysia, saying that "the film might offend Muslims in Malaysia."
National Film Censorship Board (LPF) chairman, Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz, said that the film touches on the sensitivities of Islam.
"That in itself is a matter of grave concern in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country," he said.
The chairman of Malaysia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said that the Muslim ruler is portrayed as arrogant, cruel, inhuman, devious, unreliable and he does not practice Islamic teachings in full.
The Film Censorship Board (LPF) of Malaysia reportedly rejected an appeal by the film distributors to have the film viewed in Malaysia, saying that "the film was not suitable for screening".
The film, based on the16th century epic poem, Padmaavat, by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, is accused of "distorting historical facts."
The Film Censorship Board (LPF) of Malaysia has previously banned films deemed religiously insensitive including "The Prince of Egypt", "Babe", and "Beauty and the Beast."
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Indonesia again calls for ASEAN to agree on RCEP
Indonesia's Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, said that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement between 10 ASEAN member countries and 6 non-member countries will represent 28.5 percent of global trade and 31.6 percent of gross world product (GWP)
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 9: Indonesia has again called on the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) member countries for agreement at the 21st round of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), held in Yogyakarta that ended today, reports the Jakarta Post.
President of Indonesia, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, had previously called on India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018 held in New Delhi last month amid calls in Indonesia to reject the agreement.
The Indonesian People Coalition for Economic Justice (IPCEJ) rejected the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in July 2017 on the grounds that the agreement includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) that would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue the Indonesia government for compensation at an international arbitration tribunal should government regulations such as rise in minimum wage limit corporate profits.
The call for completion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations last month in India follows the failure of the 16 member trade partnership to reach agreement at the 31st ASEAN Summit held in the Philippines in November last year.
Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTIP) trade undersecretary, Ceferino Rodolfo, said then that "contentious issues remain unresolved" between the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and the 6 ASEAN dialogue partners.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, said in New Delhi last month that the 16 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries that include the 10 ASEAN member countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and six non-ASEAN memeber countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea would increase prosperity and improve stability in ASEAN and India.
“Indonesia calls for an intensive effort to complete Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in 2018,” he said.
Indonesia's Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in Yogyakarta this week at the 21st round of negotiations that "Indonesia is commited to accelerating negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)."
"Once ratified the RCEP would become the largest trade bloc in the world, boosting economic growth in the member countries", he said.
In June 2016 former World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Supachai Panitchpakdi urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN to focus on the Regional Cooperation on Economic Partnership (RCEP) that recognises ASEAN centrality.
The Southeast Asian Times

The Philippines extend martial law
From News Reports:
Manila, February 8: The Supreme Court voted 10-5 yesterday to extend the proclamation of Martial Law in June last year and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus over the southern Philippine province of Mindanao for one year, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Supreme Court dismissed petitions submitted by former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod, former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Ann Rosales, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao seeking to to stop the one-year extention of martial law.
The judges rejected the argument put by the petitioners that the extension should be limited to 60 days, saying the Constitution does not set a limit to the number of times Congress can extend martial law declared by president Rodrigo Duterte.
The Supreme Court ruled that the basis for martial law remained, citing recommendations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the extention of martial law in Mindanao for one year.
Martial Law Administrator, Secretary of National Defence, Delfin. N. Lorenzana, recommended the extension of Martial Law for a further twelve months from January 1, 2018, saying that the purpose of the extention of Martial Law over Mindanao in the southern Philippines was "primarily to ensure total eradication of DAESH-Inspired Da’awatul islamiyah Wi Masriq (DIWM), other like-minded Local and Foreign Terrorist Groups (L/FTGs) and Armed Lawless Groups (ALGs), and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers.”
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, said that he could not see any valid reason for the Supreme Court to sustain the decision to extend martial law in Mindanao, saying that "the only justification for the extention of martial law is to maintain the rebellion in Mindanao".
"The President and state forces could deal with the threats to security in Mindanao without extending martial law," he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, Col. Edgard Arevalo, said that martial law under president Rodrigo Duterte is different from the martial law during the Marcos administration.
He said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) "will faithfully perform its duty to protect the people and secure the state, respecting Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law."
The South East Asian Times


Call for amendment to Singapore law that reduced jail time for City Harvest Church pastors
From News Reports:
Singapore, February 7: Singapore has called for the amendment of the law that allowed the City Harvest Church founder and five pastors, charged with the embezzlement of church funds, to have their jail sentences reduced, reports Agence France Press.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam called for the amendement of the law following the Singapore Court of Appeal rejection last week of the bid by the prosecution to reinstate the original jail terms of City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five others accused of the embezzlement of up to Sg$50 million of City Harvest Church funds, saying that the sentences were "too low."
"The law that allowed them the shorter jail terms should be amended," he said.
He said it was up to the parliament to amend the law, saying that "the law should be amended as soon as possible."
The six City Harvest Church leaders were initially handed prison terms from 21 months to eight years by a lower court in 2015.
But their sentences were reduced last year by the High Court after the defendants successfully argued they should not have been charged under a law punishing criminal breach of trust by public individuals in senior positions.
The eight year jail term for a senior pastor was reduced to three-and-a-half years under a law for members of the public that carried a shorter sentence.
The reduced sentence was upheld in the Singapore Court of Appeal last week in a ruling based in a gap in the law that Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said "only parliament can amend."
City Harvest Church founder, Kong Hee, and the five church pastors were charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust from 2007 to 2010 in the misappropriation of Sg$50 million that included Sg$26 million spent to "cover their tracks in the complex web of financial transactions."
A church member alleged in 2003 that City Harvest Church funds were paying for the singing career of Ho Yeow Sun, wife of City Harvest Church founder, Kong Hee.
Both reportedly left Singapore for Los Angeles in 2009 to reside in a $20,000-a-month mansion.
Prosecutors laid breach of trust and conspiracy to commit falsification of accounts charges against the City Harvest Church pastors after the Commissioner of Charities published the results of its inquiry that showed that money was diverted from the City Harvest Church to finance the singing career of Ho Yeow Sun, who co-founded the City Harvest Churchin Singapore with her husband, Kong Hee.
The Southeast Asian Times


Six arrested in murder of three Cambodian forestry officials

Wildlife Sanctuary employee, Thol Khna, Environment Ministry ranger, Theun Soknay and Military Police officer Sok Vothana shot dead in the Keo Seima Wildlife sanctuary last week

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh Post, February 6: Police have arrested six suspects including two masterminds for the murder of three forestry officials who were shot dead in the Keo Seima Wildlife sanctuary on the Cambodian Vietnam border last week, believed to be related to illegal logging, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
“Two of the six suspects are believed to be the masterminds,” said provincial Governor Svay Sam Eng.
He said that the alleged masterminds include the head of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Regiment 103, Keut Veha, who turned himself in on Wednesday night, and the chief of the O’Rolear border post and an official in Border Police unit 612, Phal Penh, who was arrested on Friday in Tbong Khmum’s Memot district.
Four soldiers who are related to the two alleged masterminds were also arrested for the murder of Wildlife Sanctuary employee, Thol Khna, Environment Ministry ranger, Theun Soknay and Military Police officer, Sok Vothana.
The three slain Cambodian officials were reportedly on forestry patrol in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary located in the O' Raing district when they were shot by the suspects.
The Cambodian Environment Ministry ranger and the Military Police officer died at the scene while the employee of the Wildlife Conservation Society died en route to Sen Monorom hospital.
The alleged mastermind in the murder of the three forestry officials, chief of the O’Rolear border post and official in Border Police unit 612, Phal Penh, claimed that the three dead patrol officials had attempted to extort money from his men.
Wildlife Conservation Society technical advisor, Phan Setha, who is based in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, said that "the shootings were related to illegal logging."

The Southeast Asian Times


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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Indonesia ready for big 'brother' role in ASEAN
By Prashanth Parameswaran
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Timor-Leste justice threatened by firing of foreign judges
By Susan Marx ...open page here

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

 

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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


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