The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Friday 27 January 2023
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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No autonomy for Papua New Guinea provinces until financially independent: PM

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, said provinces must be financially independent before they can be autonomous

From News Reports:
Port Moresby, January 27: Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, and Member of Parliament for Tari-Pori in Tari in New Hela Province, has told governors that their provinces should be financially independent before they can be autonomous, reports the National.
“What is functional autonomy when you are still dependent on Waigani Port Moresby for support?” he asked.
He said that Papua New Guinea provinces must be financially independent with fund-raising ability at the provincial level to ensure that the provicnces are sustainable to be autonomous.
Prime Minister, James Marape, was responding to a question put by Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas who asked whether there would be a decentralisation of powers.
“Let us know whether there will be a devolution of power or not, to ensure we effectively discharge our duties according to the Constitution,” he said.
Prime Minister, James Marape said the previous government under former Prime Minister, Peter O'Neil had considered giving autonomy to certain provinces in Papua New Guinea, saying "consideration was made without a clear definition of what autonomy meant for the provinces..
"I spoke with the provincial governments of East New Britain, New Ireland and Enga, the three provincial governments that were designated by the previous Government to have autonomy, after I took office," he added.
He said he would be meeting with all provincial governors to discuss financial independence before the question of autonomy or decentralisation are looked at again.
“The Government that I lead, in fact the party that I lead, is a strong advocate of the provincial government system, he said.
In November 2019 The referendum that would decide whether Bougainville would become independent from Papua New Guinea began with Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President John Momis saying "we should not rush things."
"We should take our time to ensure a good outcome" he said.
President John Momis urged patience, saying "a final result could be five years away."
President John Momis said ahead of the referendum that weapons disposal was a matter to be taken into account by the Papua New Guinea Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
He said the United Nations-supervised weapons disposal process was declared complete by the UN even though it was well known that there were weapons that had not been disposed.
"The Bougainville Peace Agreement will not be complete until negotiations after the referendum outcome have been completed and implemented," he said.
In May 2019 The Papua New Guinea parliament elected former Finance Minister, James Marape, member for Tari-Pori in New Hela province, the new Prime Minister in an overwhelming vote of 101 to eight , two days after the resignation of former Peoples National Congress (PNC) leader and former Prime Minister, Peter O'Neil.
Former Prime Minister Peter O'Neil had resisted calls for his resignation from opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) members, adjourning the parliament for three weeks in an attempt to avoid a vote of no confidence.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia PM stops arrest of land grabbing company director

Arrest of Heng Development Company director, Seang Chanheng, center, for forging land titles was revoked on Thursday January 15, 2023

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 26: Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen has revoked the directive to arrest the director and accomplices of the Heng Development Co Ltd. for forging land titles in order to seize land in Kandal Province, with the Kandal Provincial Court spokesman saying "the Kandal Court will not take action against the director, Seang Chanheng and her accomplices unless there is a new complaint," reports the Khmer Times.
Kandal Provincial Court spokesman, So Sarin, said that a directive to the Kandal Provincial Police Chief Major General Chhoeun Socheth and the Governor of Kandal province, to arrest the director Seang Chanheng and her accomplices of the Heng Development Co Ltd. were given on January 5.
He said that the directive from the Office of the Council of Ministers, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, Sar Kheng to arrest Seang Chanheng and her accomplices at the Heng Development Company was revoked on January 12.
He said the directive from the Council of Ministers was revoked by Prime Minister Hun Sen , saying "the Kandal Provincial Court court will not take action unless there is a new complaint."
Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen said that a decision on the actions of the director Seang Chanheng and accomplices of the Heng Development Co Ltd. "will be made after the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Chea Sophara, provides me with information."
In August 2019 Cambodia's Ministry of Justice undersecretary, Seng Sovannara, was dismissed by King Norodom Sihamoni in a royal decree at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen for land grabbing in a wildlife sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, Koh Nhek and O’Raing districts.
The former Ministry of Justice undersecretary, Seng Sovannara, was then under investigation for holding fraudulent land titles for 990 hectares of land in the Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Nhek district’s Or Buonloeu commune and 292ha in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune.
Justice Ministry undersecretary of state, Seng Sovannara, reportedly colluded with provincial officials including village chiefs to obtain fraudulent documentation in order to claim private ownership of land in protected wildlife sanctuaries in Mondulkiri province.
The Southeast Asian Times


Women on hunger strike after Bangkok Court revokes bail

Orawan Phuphong and Tantawan Tuatulanon called on the Bangkok Criminal Court to revoke their bail on Monday January 16, 2023

From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 25: Thai women, Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong who are calling for the decriminalisation of the Lese Majeste Law that disallows criticism of the monarchy, are on a hunger strike at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution (CWCI) after the Bangkok Criminal Court revoked their bail, reports the Bangkok Post.
"We asked the court to revoke bail to show our solidarity for others who applied for bail but were refused and returned to prison," said the women.
The two woman began a hunger strike at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution (CWCI) after the Bangkok Criminal Court revoked bail for charges under the Lese Majeste Law Section 112.
Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong said they wanted their bail revoked and to return to prison as an act of solidarity with others charged with defamation and sedition under the Lese Majeste Law Section 112.
In August 2020 the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student organisation at the Thammasat University in Bangkok compiled a 10 point manifesto for submission to the House Committe on Political Development Mass Communications and Public Participation that included amendments to the constitution that disallows criticism of the King and the examination in parliament of any wrongdoing by the King.
The 10 point manifesto that calls for reform of the monarchy states that the demands made in the manifesto are not a proposal to abolish the monarchy, saying that the 10 point manifesto is a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy that includes the amendemet to the constitution that empowers the King to endorse military coups.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha who is the current Prime Minister of Thailand was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters on 22 May 2014.
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmars Peoples Defence Force attacks military election offices

Duwa Lashi La, (74) acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG) said that the door was not closed to negotiation with the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar but the military had to stop killing civilians, withdraw from politics and abolish the constitution that enshrines their power

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, January 24: Myanmars People's Defence Force (PDF), who oppose the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, attacked the ruling Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar Union Election Commission (UEC) offices ahead of the national elections in August, reports the Irrawaddy.
The People’s Defence Force (PDF) carried out arson attacks on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar election offices in Tamu township, Sagaing Region on Thursday, saying "the terrorist military is pressuring the Union Election Commission (UEC) to hold a sham election."
The People’s Defence Force (PDF), that was founded by the new civilian National Unity Government (NUG) after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar closed the parliament, said "the People’s Defence Force (PDF) will target anyone or any building involved in the national election."
"We have burned the Union Election Commission (UEC) offices where all the documents collected for the sham election were stored to prevent the election and to deliver a warning against taking part, said the Tamu People’s Defence Force (PDF).
The People's Defence Force (PDF) also attacked the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's immigration office in Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region, saying "the workers were secretly compiling voter lists."
"We destroyed all the documents and burned down the office,” said the People's Defence Force (PDF).
The People's Defence Force (PDF) said that workers were ordered to leave the immigration office before the fire was started, saying "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar soldiers were used to collect Election Commission (UEC) data,"
On Friday the People's Defence Force (PDF) attacked the Yangon Union Election Commission (UEC) office and the Yangon National Reconciliation and Peace Center with a remote controlled mine, saying "the attack was planned to prevent the illegal and sham elections staged by the terrorist military."
"The attack was planned to break the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar administrative mechanisms," said the People's Defence Force (PDF).
The People's Defence Force (PDF have attacked election preparations in Union Election Commission (UEC) offices in Yangon, Mandalay, Monywa in Sagaing Region, Launglon in Tanintharyi Region and Thaton in Mon State with the National Unity Government (NUG) denouncing the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar general election as a sham.
The civilian National Unity Government (NUG) acting president, Duwa Lashi La, from Shan State that has the largest political party in Myanmar and is a member of the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), a coalition of ethnic political parties in Myanmar, said that the National Unity Government (NUG) and democracies around the world have denounced the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's general election plan as a sham.
"Both the United States and United Nations have said that any election held by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar would be neither free nor fair, he said.
The National Unity Government (NUG) was founded under a Federal Democracy Charter in April 2021 in order to eliminate the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar drafted 2008 constitution and dictatorship with the support of the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), a coalition of ethnic political parties in Myanmar including the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in Shan State, the largest political party in Myanmar.
The Southeast Asian Times


ASEAN, Philippines and Cambodia sign MoU on joint military cooperation

Philippines Army (PA) Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said that signing a joint military cooperation agreement with Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) would develop future collaboration on Thursday January 19, 2023

From News Reports:
Manila, January 23: ASEAN, Philippnes and Cambodia signed an MoU Terms of Reference (TOR) on joint military cooperation agreement at a virtual meeting on Thursday including the establishment of a working group to develop and plan army-to-army exhanges and activities, reports the Philippine Inquirer
"I am certain this TOR signing will truly open new windows of opportunities for our armies for enhanced defense and security collaboration and mutual organizational growth, said Philippines Army (PA) Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr Philippines Army (PA) Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) Commander, Lt. Gen. Hun Manet signed the MoU Terms of Reference (TOR) on a joint military cooperation agreement that would reportedly develop future collaboration.
Philippines Army (PA) spokesperson, Col. Xerxes Trinidad, said "the signing of the MoU Terms of Reference (TOR) was a result of continuous bilateral talks and engagement between the Philippines and Cambodia armies since 2019."
"Philippines Army (PA) and Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) will be established to develop and plan army-to-army exchanges and activities that will further sustain the engagement of both armies," he said.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Clarita Carlos, who headed the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea that monitors incursions by Chinese fishermen, coast guard, and maritime militia forces, resigned on Saturday with International Development and Security Cooperation, President Chester Cabalza saying "her fate was expected and destined to happen."
He said that unidentified militiary sources had said that Clarita Carlos had a "cozy closeness with Beijing", saying that the military sources doubted her judgment as being in the best interest of the Philippines."
"Her platform on human security as national security adviser did not scale up to the expectations of Malacañang, given the intensified power play of superpowers in our backyard," he said.
He said that National Security Adviser (NSA) Clarita Carlos was all rhetoric and was not responsive to security anxieties on the ground in the West Philippine Sea, saying "her lack of experience on the ground and dependence on theoretical frameworks made it laughable for her critics."
"National Security Adviser (NSA) Clarita Carlos operated as if she was teaching in a classroom," he said.
In November 2022 the United States Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated the United States committment to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacanang Palace in the Philippines, saying "We are both proud members of the Indo-Pacific."
"An armed attack on the Philippines armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke United States mutual defense commitments," she said
"I reiterate that the United States stands with the Philippines in defence of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as it relates to the South China Sea.
The United States and the Philippines reitorated committment to the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that was signed under the United States President Barack Obama administration, follows the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 1951 Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. saying that he did not see a future for the Philippines that does not include the United States.
"The Philippine and United States partnership has become more important", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thamanat wants to rejoin Thailand's ruling party after expultion for plotting against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha

Capt.Thamanat Prompow, former secretary-general of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), expelled from the party Monday January 9, 2022

From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 22: Capt.Thamanat Prompow, a former secretary-general of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) who was expelled from the party last year for plotting against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, said he wants to rejoin the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP, reports the Bangkok Post.
Capt.Thamanat Prompow, 56, said on Monday that he would rejoin the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), after the approval of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon.
"I expect to know which party banner I will run under in the next election in May, 2023 pending approval from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)," he said.
Capt.Thamanat Prompow and 21 Members of Parliament were expelled from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) in January 2022, leaving the ruling coalition government with 254 seats of the 500 in the House of Representatives.
The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) expelled Capt.Thamanat Prompow after the ruling party lost two by-elections in January 2022 in southern Thailand with members of parliament blaming Capt.Thamanat Prompow.
Capt.Thamanat Prompow was expelled from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) in September 2022 after he was accused of persuading members of parliament to vote against the prime minister in a no-confidence motion, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha saying "I was not involved in the decision to drop Capt.Thamanat Prompow from the party."
Capt.Thamanat Prompow and 20 Members of Parliament joined the Setthakij Thai Party after they were expelled from the ruling party, vowing to vote against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and cabinet ministers in the no-confidence vote.
Capt.Thamanat Prompow said on Monday that there was time for him to make a decision about which party banner he would run under in the next election in May, 2023, saying "I am a key figure within the Setthakij Thai Party (STP) but I still love my home the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)."
"So, whatever Gen Prawit wants me to do, I'm more than happy to follow," he said.
In December 2021 The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general, Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, said that the inquiry panel decided that Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) Member of Parliament for Phayao and former Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives was eligible to hold Member of Parliament ministerial positions despite having served four years in prison in Australia for drug trafficking.
"The Constitutional Court ruled in May 2021 that for a jail sentence to affect Capt Thamanat's positions under the Constitution, it must be handed down by a Thai court, not a foreign one," he said.
He said that the conviction of Thamanat Prompaw in Australia took place before Capt Thamanat held Member of Parliament ministerial positions and before the code of ethics was introduced, saying "any action committed by an MP or minister before they took office does not warrant an inquiry."
"An inquiry into ethical conduct can be launched only when an MP or cabinet minister violates the code of ethics while in office, he said.
The Consititution Court ruled that a conviction must be made in a Thai court not a foreign court in order for Capt Thamanat Prompow to be disqualified from a position as Member of Parliament and cabinet member.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia court sends court dissolved opposition party president to prison

Former opposition president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, 68, on his way from house dentention to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for his trial for treason on Wednesday October 19, 2022.

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 20: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the former president of the Supreme Court dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kim Sokha, 68, to prison in absentia for defamationa and incitement on Wednesday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Judge Seng Socheath said that Kim Sokha, 68, was charged with two counts of incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest and public defamation under Articles 494, 495 and 305 of the Criminal Code.
He said that the court sentenced Kim Sokha, 68, in absentia to 18 months in prison and fined him 8 million riels (US $2,000) and ordered him to pay 50 million riels (US$12,500) in compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
"An arrest warrant has been issued to apprehend him and send him to prison," he said.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court found the former opposition party president guilty of incitement and defamation for accussing the prime minister of state terrorism following the death of political analysist and commentator, Kem Ley, 46, in July 2017.
Kem Ley, 46, an outspoken critic of the Cammbodian Government, was shot dead in a coffee shop in what was described as an "execution style" killing.
He was shot dead two days after he drew attention to the Prime Ministers Hun Sen's alleged vast business holdings.
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha, 68, was arrested on September 3, 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason ahead of the Supreme court dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party in November 16, 2017.
Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhonn, said then that Kem Sokha had committed a "clear act of treason", saying that a 2013 video showed that the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), president Kem Sokha, had conspired from the United States.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court said prosecutors had sufficient evidence to charge the opposition party president with treason under Article 443 of the Criminal Code for conspiring with a foreign power.
In February 2017 the Cambodian National Assembly unanimously passed amendments to the Constitution, saying it was in the national interest in order to stop foreign interference.
Amendements to the Criminal Code that made insulting the monarchy a crime under the Lese Majeste law were also passed.
Following the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party's (CNRP) Prime minister Hun Sen called on more than 5000 elected officials to defect to his Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
The Southeast Asian Times


Workers killed in protest at Chinese nickel smelter in Indonesia

Workers protest at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter in the North Morowali District of Sulawesi, Indonesia on Saturday January 14, 2023

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 20: Two workers were killed and others injured protesting at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter in the North Morowali District of Sulawesi, Indonesia for an increase in wages and improved safety, with Central Sulawesi police, saying "clashes occurred between striking workers with workers who did not strike," reports Rueters.
An Indonesian and a Chinese worker were killed and others injured on Saturday from the about 11,000 indonesian workers and about 1,300 Chinese workers employed at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter that is owned by the Jiangsu Delong Nickel Industry in China.
Central Sulawesi police spokesperson, Didik Supranoto, said that striking workers forced their way into the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter grounds, saying that "security attempted to drive them away but they managed to get onto the grounds."
"Company vehicles were torched and about 100 rooms at the workers dormitories were damaged," he said.
He said that 500 members of Indonesia's security forces were deployed to secure the area surrounding the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter, saying that 17 of the 71 workers in detention are suspected of vandalism."
Protesting worker, Minggu Bulu, said there had been serious safety lapses at the smelter, saying "safety and health at the smelter is very poor."
He said that protesting workers have demanded that the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter follow safety reguations, saying "workers lacked proper protective gear."
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has summoned the manager of the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter, with China Foreign Minister spokesperson Wang Wenbin saying "the Chinese embassy in Indonesia has been in contact with Indonesian authorities about the incident."
"China will continue to maintain close communication with the Indonesian side and promote a lawful and appropriate resolution to this incident," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam President bears responsiblility for Communist Party officials: Resigns

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, resigned from his postion as President of Vietnam, the Political Bureau (Politburo) of the Party Central Committee (PCC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and chairman of the Council for National Defense and Security on Tuesday January 17, 2023

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 19: The 15th National Assemly of Vietnam has approved the 13th Party Central Committee (PCC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) submission for the resignation of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, saying the President must bear responsibility for bribery allegations brought against state officials in pandemic repatriation flights, reports Vietnam News Agency.
The application for the resignation of the President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, in the 2021-2026 tenure was approved at an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly in Hanoi on December 30, 2022.
"President Nguyen Xuan Phuc must bear responsibility for allegations of bribery brought against state officials at the Ministry of Health, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Vietnam's embassies throughout the world including Malaysia and Japan," said the Party Central Committee (PCC).
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, is held responsible for causing serious consequences to the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) for the allegations of bribery brought against state officials, ministers including the deputy prime minister for the organisation of almost 800 Vietnam Airlines repatriation flights for more than 200,000 Vietnamese citizens from over 60 countries and territories during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 13th Party Central Committee (PCC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) said in the submission to the National Assembly for the resignation of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, that "the President was fully aware of his responsibilities before the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the people of Vietnam."
Director of the Office of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Lieut. Gen. To An Xo, said at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference in Hanoi in April 2022 that an investigation into bribery allegation had resulted in the arrest of Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, head of the Consular Department; Do Hoang Tung, deputy head of the department; Le Tuan Anh, chief of the department’s office; and Luu Tuan Dung, deputy head of the citizen protection desk at the department who were arresed under Article 354 of the criminal code for bribery.
Hoang Dieu Mo, General Director of An Binh Commercial, Tourism and Aviation Services Co., Ltd was also arrested for bribery.
The Southeast Asian Times


PNG and Taiwan to reopen trade office in Port Moresby under One China Policy

Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko at a press conference in Port Moresby on Tuesday January 10, 2022

From News Reports:
Port Moresby, January 18: The new Papua New Guinea government has closed the Papua New Guinea Taipei trade office in Taiwan with the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that the office would be replaced with a new office together with the People's Republic of China (PRC) that under the One China policy includes Taiwan and relocated to Port Moresby, reports the National.
The new Papua New Guinea Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Justin Tkatchenko, said last week that it was decided to close the Papua New Guinea Taipei trade office in Taiwan after a cost benefit analysis, saying "the new Papua New Guinea Taipei Economic office will be located in Port Moresby."
"The Papua New Guinea Taipei Economic office will be headed by a business liason official instead of a diplomat in conjunction with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan," he said.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said in Beijing on Thursday that "China welcomed the Papua New Guinea decision to close its trade office in China's Taiwan," saying China highly praises and appreciates the measure taken by the Papua New Guinea Government."
"It shows again that the one-China policy is an overriding trend that enjoys popular support of the international community," he said.
In June 2022 the then Papua New Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs and International trade of Papua New Guinea, Soroi Eoe, said at a meeting with China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Port Moresby that Papua New Guinea will continue to adhere to the One China policy that includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, saying "the One China Policy is the foundation of bilateral relations and Papua New Guinea's unswerving support for China's position."
"Papua New Guinea is willing to enhance pragmatic cooperation with China in various fields." he said.
China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said then that sound relations between China and Papua New Guinea will boost regional peace and development, saying "such relations are conducive to upgrading China's overall ties with Pacific island countries."
"Papua New Guinea is China's key strategic cooperation partner in the South Pacific region," he said.
He said that China is willing to work with Papua New Guinea to build China-Papua New Guinea relations in order to advance China's ties with Pacific Island countries.
China and Papua New Guinea agreed then to cooperate in the China Belt and Road Initiative (BIR) and the Connect Papua New Guinea infrastructure development strategy, complete a feasibility study on a free trade agreement, expand cooperation in areas including energy, fisheries, communication and healthcare.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia to allow NGO's to work at July national elections

Interior Minister Sar Kheng instructed local authorities to allow registration of civil society Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) at a government and NGO forum in Phnom Penh on Tuesday January 10, 2023

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 17: The Interior Minister of Cambodia has instructed local authorities to allow registration of civil society Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) to work freely without restriction during the upcoming National Election in July, 2023 after Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The Interior Minister of Cambodia, Sar Kheng, said that local administrations have been instructed to coordinate and facilitate the work of registered civil society organisations as well as foreign Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
"Make it convenient for registered NGOs and associations that have signed MoUs with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to work freely without restrictions during the National Election," he said.
Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) advocacy coordinator, Korn Savang, who made recommendations to the National Election Commission (NEC) in response to irregulatities observed in the June, 2022 commune elections, said "local authorities have been nervous when NGOs monitored the election process."
He said that Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) has been in conflict with local authorities in past elections, saying "when we have deployed our officials to investigate or observe the elections the local authorities have stopped us from monitoring the election process."
"Local authorities stopped the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) from providing training to villagers," he said.
He said that in Takeo Province local authorities did not allow the villagers to attend COMFREL training, saying "the local authorities believed that NGOs were against the Hun Sen government."
Oddar Meanchey Province deputy governor Dy Rado said that he would instruct all local authorities to perform their duties according to the laws, saying "all NGOs would be allowed to work freely during the election process."
He said that local authorites cooperated with Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) election observers, saying "we worked closely with civil society organisations during the 2022 commune elections."
"We will not allow our local officials to threaten NGO workers while doing their jobs," he said.
In July 2015 the Cambodian National Assembly in Phnom Penh passed a Law on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) aimed at regulating the about 5,000 Non Government Organisations (NGO) in Cambodia.
Under the new law all domestic and international Non Government Organisations (NGO) are required to register their organisation and to report their activities and finances to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Non Government Organisations (NGO) in Cambodia would be disbanded if their activities "jeopardise peace, stability and public order or threaten national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of Cambodian society.
Failure to comply would result in fines, legal action and possible disbandment.
NGO's in China
In May 2016 China's National People's Congress (NPC) Law Committee approved new regulations for foreign Non Government Organisations (NGO's) that are registered in China at a bi-monthly session in Beijing, with the National People's Congress (NPC) Law Committee deputy head, Xu Xianming, saying "the bill regulates the activities of overseas Non Government Organisations (NGO's) in China and also protects their rights and lawful interests."
The new law bans foreign Non Government Organisations (NGO's) registered in China from establishing organisations in regional China, from recruiting members in China and from raising funds within China.
The new law also subjects NGO's to financial scrutiny, requiring that they submit annual reports detailing their sources of financing, expenditure and changes in personnel.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian workers protest emergency
decree that allows employers to determine working hours and salary

Indonesian Workers at the National Monument in Jakarta on Saturday January 14, 2023 with banners saying "say no to outsourcing", "refuse Job Creation replacement law Perpu because there is no emergency situation"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 16: Tens of thousands of workers marched on the National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta on Saturday to protest the replacement of the Omnibus Job Creation Law (Perpu) that was signed into law by emergency decree by President Joko Widodo last month, saying that the Omnibus Job Creation Law (Perpu) allows companies to arbitralily determine labor's working hours and salary, reports Tempo.
President Joko Widodo said at the passing of the emergency decree that determined the Provincial Minimum wage (UMP) and the revision of over 70 existing laws was vital to investment in the development of at least 27 industrial parks in regions across Indonesia with most outside Java.
"Industrial parks will be developed in regions across Indonesia in order to provide employment opportunities and promote equal development in all corners of the country," he said.
Protester Damar Panca Mulia, 38, said the emergency decree signed into law was a government ploy to ensure the implementation of the job law, saying "this regulation degrades worker's welfare and reduces labor rights,"
He said that the emergency decree would cause widespread damage to agriculture and the environment, saying "the Omnibus Job Creation Law should improve workers rights but the emergency decree runs counter to it."
"That's why we oppose it," he said.
Joko Heriono, 59, said the regulations in Omnibus Job Creation Law created uncertainty for workers as they could easily be fired and would get lower severance pay.
The Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) and Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Union (KSPSI AGN) that includes 32 federations filed a challenge to the Joko Widodo government Omnibus Law on Job Creation saying "the Omnibus Law on Job Creation is clearly violating constitutional provisions and the Manpower Act 2003 that protect workers’ rights"
Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) president, Said Iqbal said that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation allows companies to arbitralily determine labor's working hours and salary, saying "the removal of the sectoral minimum wage will lead to a low-wage regime as district governments or city councils are no longer dutybound to set a minimum wage for workers."
He said that if the new provision on outsourcing comes into force, Indonesian workers could be made life-long contract workers as contract periods can be extended indefinitely and the scope is no longer restricted to five types of jobs.
"In short, this is modern slavery,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam PM dismisses former Deputy Prime Ministers after approving their positions in 2021

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh dismissed two Deputy Prime Ministers from the National Assembly on Thursday 5 January 2023 after approving their positions on his re-election

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 15: Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's dismissed two Deputy Prime Ministers from the National Assembly (NA) last week after approving their positions on his re election as Prime Minister in April 2021, reports Vietnam News Service.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh who approved the position of Deputy Prime Minister for Pham Binh Minh, 63, and Vu Duc Dam, 59, on his re election as Prime Minister, dismissed the Deputy Prime Ministers ahead of the completion of the 13th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) 2021-2026 tenure.
Deputy Prime Minister for Pham Binh Minh, 63, and Vu Duc Dam, 59, were dismissed from the National Assembly (NA) with 476 of the 484 National Assembly (NA) votes for and five against with three abstainees.
In September 2021 Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister, Pham Binh Minh and China State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, co-chaired the 13th China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation meeting held in Hanoi, with China and Vietnam agreeing to mutual support for the socialist cause on trade cooperation and Covid-19 vaccine assistance.
China State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said then that working together for China and Vietnam is a natural strategic choice, saying "China and Vietnam being socialist neighbours has given bilateral ties profound meaning."
In July 2022 Vietnam and China agreed to National Assembly (NA) cooperation with National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam Permanent Vice Chairman, Tran Thanh Man, and Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China, Wang Chen, reaffirming the agreement on parliamentary cooperation signed in 2015.
The agreement on National Assembly (NA) cooperation would promote reform for a favorable legal environment for the development of Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" (TCOB) plan that is included in China's "Belt and Road" (BRI) development.
National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam Permanent Vice Chairman Tran Thanh Man and Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Wang Chen agreed that "practical and effective cooperation between the two legislatures are important ties between the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Vietnam Vice Chairman Tran Thanh Man and China Vice Chairman Wang Chen agreed to carry out the agreement between the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China that was signed in 2015 to advance cooperation between the two legislatures "in order to create a favorable legal environment for bilateral
cooperation."
In May 2022 a draft law on the implementation of democracy at grassroots level was presented to the third session of the National Assembly (NA) with the Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra, saying "the draft law on the implemention of democracy at grassroots level is intended to ensure that state power belongs to the people."
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia and Papua New Guinea
to work as equals with Pacific states

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Port Moresby for fourth Papua New Guinea-Australia Annual Leaders' Dialogue Wednesday January 12, 2023

From News Reports:
Port Moresby, January 14: Australian and Papua New Guinea held the fourth Papua New Guinea-Australia Annual Leaders' Dialogue in Port Moresby on Thursday, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese saying in the Papua New Guinea Parliament "as two big Pacific Ocean states, Australia and Papua New Guinea must work as equals with our fellow Pacific states to build a stronger, safer, more secure region," reports Reuters.
"Australia and Papua New Guinea are bound not just by a shared past and a shared border but by a common determination to shape our own futures," said the Australian Prime Minister in the Papua New Guinea Parliament that had suspended Parliamentary Standing Orders to allow Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to address the Papua New Guinea Parliament.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visit to Papua New Guinea is an important bilateral visit, saying "the visit of the new Australia Prime Minister would strengthen economic ties between Papua New Guinea and Australia."
"We have invited the Australian Prime Minister to address the Papua New Guinea National Parliament," he said
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is the first international leader invited to address the Papua New Guinea Parliament, said "Australia and Papua New Guinea are bound not just by a shared past and a shared border but by a common determination to shape our own futures."
"As two big Pacific Ocean states, Australia and Papua New Guinea must work as equals with our fellow Pacific states to build a stronger, safer, more secure region," he said.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reaffirmed the partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia and their shared interests in the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific Prime Minister James Marape and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also reaffirmed the Papua New Guinea and Australian Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP) that commits to elevate the Papua New Guinea and Australia relationship, accelerate strategic and economic cooperation, and build on the connections between the peoples' of Papua New Guinea and Australia, institutions and communities.
In November 2022 the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, committed to development funding in the Indo-Pacific at the ASEAN-Australia summit in Phnom Penh, saying "Australia would advance economic growth in the Indo-Pacific."
He said that Australia would advance economic growth under the Australia for ASEAN Futures Initiative (Aus4 ASEAN Futures Initiative) in the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) initiative
He said that Australia has committed AUS$470 million in development finding to support the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) initiative that would enable support for three ASEAN Community councils
The Australian support for the implementation of the Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) initiative would enable support for the
ASEAN Political- Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia ruling party sues opposition Candlelight Party for malicious intent

Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm sued for malicious intent on Tuesda January 19, 2023

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 13: The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is suing the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) for US$500,000 in damages for malicious intent in his criticism of the ruling party, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning that action would be take against the supreme advisor of the Candlelight Party's (CP) for attacking the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), reports the Khmer Times.
Ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) Prime Minister Hun Sen said he would arrest opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm, and confiscate his assets if he continues to criticise the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
"I would like to warn you not to brag about beating the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in the July elections," he said.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) filed a lawsuit at the Tboung Khmum provincial court on Tuesday accusing opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm, of malicious intent in his criticism of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Deputy Chairman of the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) Working Group in Tboung Khmum province and three lawyers.filed the lawsuit in order to convict opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm of incitement to cause chaos and social insecurity, saying "malicious intent is in violation of the provisions of the Law on Political Parties of the Criminal Code."
The ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) claim for damages of $500,000 from opposition Candlelight Party (CP) for malicious intent was reportedly in response to opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm's, claim that the oopposition Candlelight Party (CP) would win five of the eight seats for the province in the National Elections on July 23, 2023.
Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm made the claim that the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) would lose to the Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) on grounds that the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) has foreign roots.
Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) supreme advisor, Kong Korm, claimed that the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) has foreign roots, saying "the Cambodia People's Party (CPP) commemorated the 44th anniversary of the victory over the Khmer Rouge genocide on January 7."
"I used to be a member of the Cambodian People’s Party and they asked me to remember the source of the water whenever I drank it," he said.
In October 2022 ruling Cambodia's People's Party (CPP) Prime Minister Hun Sen warned opposition political parties ahead of June 23, 2023 elections, of associating with Sam Rainsy, founder of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) and the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Prime Minister Hun Sen said he would dissolve political party's that associated with Sam Rainsy, with main opposition Candlelight Party (CP) saying "the party was in line with the Constitution."
In June 2022 ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won the Commune elections with the founder of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Sam Rainsy, saying from exile in France "the results showed the Candlelight Party had successfully revived democracy in what has effectively been a one-party state in recent years."
The Candlelight Party (CP), formerly known as the Sam Rainsy Party and the Khmer Nation Party, was founded in 1995 and merged with other opposition forces to form the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in 2012.
The Southeast Asian Times


Singaporean sentenced to prison for culpable homicide of Myanmar domestic worker

Myanmar domestic worker, Piang Ngaih Don, 24, was pronounced dead in her employers' Singapore apartment July 26, 2016

From News Reports:
Singapore, January 12: The Singapore High Court sentenced Prema S Naraynasamy, 64, to 14 years in prison for her involvement with her daughter, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 42, in the culpable homicide of Myanmar domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, 24, with the Singapore Attorney-General Office saying "this case was one of the worst cases of abuse of a domestic worker in Singapore's history," reports Reuters.
Daughter, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 42, was sentenced to prison in June 2021 for her involvement in the culpable homicide of Myanmar domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, 24 in Singapore in July 26, 2016.
Attorney-General Office prosecutor, Senthilkumaran Sabapathy, said the culpable homicide of Myanmar domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, 24, was the worst case of abuse of a domestic worker in Singapore's history, saying "the abuse involved a high degree of physical and psychological harm and an exceptionally high level of culpability on the part of mother, Prema S Naraynasamy, 64."
"The victim was assaulted on an almost daily basis and suffered shocking humiliation and degradation," he said.
She said the victim was assualted while trying to eat, saying "the victim was dragged and thrown around the house like a rag doll in a manner that showed a complete lack of respect for a fellow human being."
"Her life was nothing short of a living nightmare," she said.
In June 2021 the Singapore High Court sentenced daughter, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 41, to 30 years in prison for culpable homicide and 87 offences involving varying degrees of physical abuse inflicted on Myanmar domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, 24.
Singapore High Court judge See Kee Oon said Myanmar domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, 24."was made to endure agonising physical and psychological harm" for a long period of time before she was pronounced dead in her employers' Singapore apartment."
Myanmar national, Piang Ngaih Don who weighed 39kg when she began working for her Singaporean employer on May 28, 2015, weighed 24kg when she was pronounced dead on July 26, 2016.
Surveillance cameras hat daugher Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 42, and her former husband had installed in the apartment showed Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 41, pouring water, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking and stomping on the domestic worker.
Gaiyathiri Murugayan was also shown hitting the domestic worker with objects, pulling her by the hair and shaking her violently, burning her with a heated iron and choking her.
Piang Ngaih Don slept on the floor tied to a window grille in the Singapore apartment for the last 12 days of her life.
The Surveillance cameras showed that daughter Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 42, had assaulted the domestic worker on the night before she died for being too slow in laundering the family's clothes and continued assaulting her the next morning, chocking her.
A doctor pronounced Piang Ngaih Don dead later that morning on July, 26 2016.
Kevin Chelvam, 42, a former Singapore police officer and the former husband of Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 41 and son-in-law of Prema S. Naraynasamy, 62, faces multiple charges in connection with the abuse and death of Piang Ngaih Don.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia, Indonesia to fight European Union discrimination against palm oil

Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, left, on his first foreign visit since elected in November, 2022 and Indonesia President Joko Widodo driving an eco-friendly electric car at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Monday January 9, 2023

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 11: Indonesia and Malaysia, the worlds largest producers of palm oil, agreed to work together against the discrimination of the commodity, following the European Union plan to phase out palm-oil based transport fuel in Europe, with Malaysia Indonesia President Widodo, saying "Malaysia and Indonesia would fight discrimination against palm oil through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC)," reports Reuters.
Indonesia President Widodo said at the meeting with Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the Presidential Palace in Bogor West Java on Monday "the two countries would fight discrimination against palm oil."
"Indonesia and Malaysia would strengthen cooperation through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries," he said.
Indonesia and Malaysia, who founded the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) in 2015, have invited
palm oil producing countries from Africa, Central America and Asia-Pacific to join the Council, saying "the Council
recognizes the significant contribution of the palm oil sector in generating export revenue, raising the income level of rural small farmers, addressing poverty, creating employment and new business opportunities."
Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that cooperation in various sectors between Malaysia and Indonesia including in the palm oil industry should be further improved to support both economies.
"Collaboration on palm oil would ensure the sustainability of the industry," he said.
He said that Malaysia and Indonesia should form a joint strategy on palm oil via the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), saying "our cooperation should be stronger."
The European Union's plan to phase out palm-oil based transport fuel in Europe by 2030 included an agreement to fight global deforestation, naming palm oil production as one of the causes of large-scale deforestation.
The European Union said that deforestation is caused by land clearance for six commodities including palm oil, cattle, timber, soy, cocoa and coffee, saying that the plan to phase out palm-oil based transport fuel in Europe is designed to minimise Europe's consumption of deforestation risk products.
Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) members Indonesia and Malaysia that produce 85 percent of the worlds palm oil between them said in response to the European Union's plan "Indonesia and Malaysia would continue to fight against palm oil discrimination."
The Southeast Asian Times


Thousands of Chinese return to China from Vietnam after border reopens

Thousands of Chinese nationals wait at Vietnam's Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province for border gates to reopen on Sunday January 8, 2022

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 10: Thousands of Chinese nationals waited at Vietnam's Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province and at Vietnam's Huu Nghi Friendship International Border Gate in Long Son Province on Sunday morning for the border gates to reopen after the Vietnam China-border was closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
Mong Cai City International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province Vietnam and Huu Nghi Friendship International Border Gate in Long Son Province Vietnam has stopped mandatory RT-PCR Covid-19 testing on thousands of Chinese nationals returning to China from Vietnam.
Mong Cai City, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) secretary, Hoang Ba Nam, said that authorities in Vietnam's Mong Cai City and authorities in China's Dongxing City have communicated regularly in order to agree on the time of exit and entry of Chinese nationals.
He said that authorities in Vietnam's Mong Cai City have welcomed Chinese tourists back to Vietnam, saying "authorities have reviewed all facilities at the border gate," saying "duty free shops in border reception areas have been cleaned and disinfected,."
Vietnam's Huu Nghi Friendship International Border Gate in Long Son Province has resumed the transport of goods over the Vietnam-China border.
Trucks from China will reportedly be sterilised before crossing the border to Vietnam with drivers required to wear face masks.
In August 2020 then Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Bình Minh and China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-China Land Border Treaty at Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh province.
Vietnam and China began work on resolving outstanding territorial disputes in October 1992 with a final boundary treaty signed on December 30, 1999.
The Southeast Asian Times


Papua governor accused of bribery in procurement infrastructure contracts

Papua governor, Lukas Enembe, accused of bribery by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Thursday January 5, 2023

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 9: Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) accused Papua governor, Lukas Enembe, and PT Tabi Bangun Papua director, Rijatono Lakka, of alleged bribery in infrastructure procurement contracts in Papua, with the Commission saying that the accused have violated the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Corruption, reports Tempo.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) accused Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe, of accepting bribes from PT Tabi Bangun Papua director, Rijatono Lakka, of 14 percent of the net value of the contract for infrastructure projects in Papua.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) director of enforcement, Asep Guntur, said that the alleged acceptance of bribes by Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe, from PT Tabi Bangun Papua director, Rijatono Lakka, between 2019 to 2021 involved at least three infrastructure procurement contracts in Papua.
He said that the infrastructure procurement projects in Papua have violated the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Corruption including "the improvement of the Entrop-Hamadi Road with valued at IDR 14.8 billion.
"The rehabiliatation of facilities and infrastructure supporting the Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini (PAUD) or Indonesia Early Childhood Care and Education (ECED) intergration contract valued at IDR 13.3 billion was also in violated the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Corruption," he said.
He said the venue environmental infrastructure procurement project for the Air Force of the Republic of Indonesia (AURI) outdoors project valued at IDR 12.9 billion was also in violated the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Corruption, saying "PT Tabi Bangun Papua director Rijatono Lakka paid Papua governor, Lukas Enembe, 14 percent of the net value of the project in bribes.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) alleges that PT Tabi Bangun Papua director Rijatono Lakka had approached governor Lukas Enembe and other officials for the procurement of infrastructure projects, with director of enforcement, Asep Guntur, saying "the lobbying is believed to have been accompanied by the giving of bribes."
In September 2022 the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) began investigating allegations of money laundering at Indonesia's casino's by Papua governor, Lukas Enemb,e after the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) submitted a report showing financial records for Papua governor Lukas Enembe since 2017.
The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) showed that Papua governor Lukas Enembe had made cash deposits of up to Rp 560 billion ($37 million) to casinos, with Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) chief Ivan Yustiavandana saying that he suspects "the agency suspects gambling is a way for the governor to launder money," he said.
"There are indeed suspicions of money laundering saying "that is was why we submitted the report to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for investigators," he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam ambassador to Malaysia arrested for bribery in repatriation flights during Covid-19 pandemic

Vietnam Ambassador to Malaysia, Tran Viet Thai, 49, was arrested for bribery in repatriation flights for Vietnamese citizens returning to Vietnam during the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday January 4, 2023

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 8: Vietnam ambassador to Malaysia and an embassy official were arrested in Hanoi on Thursday for alleged bribery in repatriation flights for Vietnamese citizens returning to Vietnam during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Vietnam News Agency.
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) director Lt. Gen., To An Xo, said "the Vietnam ambassador to Malaysia and a Vietnamese official have been charged with abusing their position and power while performing duties."
Vietnam Ambassador to Malaysia, Tran Viet Thai, 49, and embassy official Nguyen Hoang Linh, 37, are under investigation for bribery by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) under Article 354 of the criminal code.
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) director, Lt. Gen. To An Xo, ordered an investigation into bribery allegation in January 2022 into the Ministry of Health, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Vietnam's embassies.
He said that the authorities had organised almost 800 repatriation flights for more than 200,000 Vietnamese citizens from over 60 countries and territories during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The Ministry of Public Security has launched criminal proceedings into "giving and taking bribes" in repatriation flights ," he said.
In October 2022 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, To Anh Dung, and Assistant to the Standing Deputy Prime Minister, Nguyen Quang Linh, who were arrested in April, 2022 under Article 354 of the criminal code for bribery in repatriation flights for citizens returning to Vietnam in the Covid-19 pandemic, were expelled from the Communist party of Vietnam (CPV) after the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission Secretariat ruled that the ministers had violated the Communist party of Vietnam's regulations.
The Secretariat ruled that Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, To Anh Dung, and Assistant to the Standing Deputy Prime Minister, Nguyen Quang Linh, had violated the Communist party of Vietnam (CPV) and State law regulations on corruption, saying "the ministers had caused very serious consequences, stirring public concern, and negatively affecting the Communist party of Vietnam's reputation."
The Southeast Asian Times


Opposition Candlelight Party to appeal court defamation verdict

Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay, 66 is to appeal the Phnom Penh Municiple Court decision that found him guilty of defaming the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the National Election Committees (NEC)

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh Post, January 7: Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay, 66 is to appeal the Phnom Penh Municiple Court decision that found him guilty of defaming the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the National Election Committees (NEC) after the Commune elections in June, with Son Chhay's defence lawyer saying "I filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to help find justice because Chhay did not commit the alleged wrongdoing," reports the Khmer Times
Defence lawyer, Choung Choungy, said that opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay considers the guilty decision made by the Phnom Penh Municiple Court unfair.
"Although there is no hope of winning the case, Son Chhay has no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court." he said.
"It is a legal procedure, we have no choice and we can only exercise our right and ability to protest legally. We do not have much hope, but we must appeal according to the law,” he said.
Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay was found guilty in absentia by the Phnom Penh Municiple Court of defaming the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) for saying in an interview with the Cambodia Daily on June 7, 2022 that the preliminarily 2022 Commune election administered by the National Election Committees (NEC) "was not independent and did not reflect the true will of the people and that there was ballot theft."
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won the Commune elections on June 5 with 80 percent of the 11,622 commune councillor positions with opposition Candlelight Party (CP) winning 18 percent of the commune councillor positions dispite the National Election Committee (NEC) disqualification of Candlelight Party (CP) candidates in 11 communes.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Uong Vuthea ordered the seizure of property belonging to Son Chhay, saying the property was seized in lieu of payment of $1 million owed in compensation to the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP for defamation."
"Opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay has indicated that he would not pay compensation to the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) for defamation." he said.
He said that the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay had ignored the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ruling on October 7, 2022 to pay 3,000 million Riel ($750,000) in compensation to the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
He said the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) vice-president Son Chhay had also ignored the order to pay 17 million Riels ($4, 250) in a fine that would be deposited in the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) state budget.
"The court also ordered him to publish a written apology to both National Election Committee (NEC) and the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) in newspapers for eight days and bear the costs," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Passing Omnibus Job Creation Law by decree bad precedent: Judges

Protester against the passing of Omnibus Job Creation Law at the Constitutional Court of Indonesia on Tuesday October 4, 2022

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 6: Former chief justices of the Constitutional Court of Indonesia who voted against the Omnibus Job Creation Law that was passed into law by President Joko Widodo in November 2, 2021 say, "signing the Omnibus Job Creation Law into law by decree was a bad precedent," reports Tempo.
Former chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court Jimly Asshiddiqie said that the passing of the Omnibus Job Creation Law into law by decree by President Joko Widodo is contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
He said that President Joko Widodo's signing of the Omnibus Job Creation Law into law was a bad precedent, saying "the sgning of the Omnibus Job Creation Law by decree violates the principles of the law-making process."
He said that the Constitutional Court ruled after the Omnibus Job Creation Law was passed into law by decree that Law No 11/2020 was flawed.
He said the law was in violation of workers constitution rights on various grounds including job security ssand workers benefits saying "the Constitutional Court stated on November 25, 2021 that Omnibus Job Creation Law was conditionally unconstitutional."
President Joko Widodo said on signing the Omnibus Job Creation Law into law by decree on November 2, 2021 that the passing of the law was vital to investment to labour market competitiveness in the development of at least 27 industrial parks in regions across Indonesia.
Former constitutional court chief justice, Hamdan Zoelva said that the Constitutional Court had provided clear limits for President Joko Widodo
to issue the Omnibus Job Creation Law, saying "President Joko Widodo used the threat of an economic crisis as an excuse to pass the Omnibus Job Creation Law.
"The threat of an economic crisis could not be contested, because overcoming the economic crisis would have been in the national interest," he said.
Former constitutional court chief justice Maruarar Siahaan said that the formation of the Omnibus Job Creation Law did not give enough opportunity to accommodate the aspirations of the Indonesia people as the holders of sovereignty.
"While the Omnibus Job Creation Law meets the legal requirements amid a pressing emergency referred to in the 1945 Constitution Article 22, it remains problematic, " he said.
The Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) and Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Union (KSPSI AGN) that includes 32 federations filed a challenge to the Joko Widodo government Omnibus Law on Job Creation the day after it was passed on November 2, 2021, saying "the Omnibus Law on Job Creation is clearly violating constitutional provisions and the Manpower Act 2003 that protect workers’ rights"
Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) president, Said Iqbal said that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation allows companies to arbitralily determine labor's working hours and salary, saying "the removal of the sectoral minimum wage will lead to a low-wage regime as district governments or city councils are no longer dutybound to set a minimum wage for workers."
He said that if the new provision on outsourcing comes into force, Indonesian workers could be made life-long contract workers as contract periods can be extended indefinitely and the scope is no longer restricted to five types of jobs.
"In short, this is modern slavery,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines President Marcos follows former President Rodrigo Duterte to China after inauguration

Philippines President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr center, arrives in Beijing for stste visit at invitation of China President Xi Jinping, Tuesday January 3, 2023

From News Reports:
Manila, January 5: Philippines President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. state visit to China this week at the invitation of China President Xi Jinping, followed his predecessor Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visit to China also after his inauguration, with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) saying "China is the first non-ASEAN country visited by President Marcos Jr. after his inauguration,"
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Center for Southeast Asian Studies director, Xu Liping, said ahead of the the state visit to China by President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. that "the President of the Philippines brings a large delegation representing Philippines business with him."
He said that the delegation seeks to boost cooperation with China in infrastructure, agriculture, energy and tourism, saying "this proves that the Philippines led by the Marcos administration seeks to prioritize ties with China over ties with the United States."
"The delegation seeks cooperation with China for large-scale infrastructure project development in the Philippines with China's proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," he said.
He said that President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. who is also the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, seeks cooperation with China to boost agricultural development in the Philippines, saying "the Phillipines seek to learn from China's experience in poverty alleviation."
He said that the Philippines recognise China's technological advantages in new energy or clean energy, saying "it's possible that the Philippines and China could reach a new agreement to jointly explore energy resources in the South China Sea."
In October 2016 former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping after his inauguration with 200 delegates representing Philippine business.
Former Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte signed a $13.5 billion package agreement including private sector memorandums of understanding with China during the four day state visit.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in his speech to the Filipino community in Beijing during the visit that he was "fed up with the Philippines’ foreign policy being dictated by a United States agenda".
Foreign policy under President Rodrigo Duterte who was elected president in June 2016 had reportedly "dramatically shifted from that pursued under predecessor Benigno Aquino III."
The Aquino governmenf took Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea that is in the eastern part of the South China Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea in favour of the Philippines in July, 2016 with China President Xi Jinping saying the South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since "ancient times."
He said that China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea "shall under no circumstances be affected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague awards."
The Southeast Asian Times


National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation director-general released on bail after arrest for bribery

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation director-general, Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, was released on bail of 400,000 by the Ant-Corruption Division (ACD) after his arrest on Tuesday 27 December 2022

From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 4: National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation director-general, Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, was released on bail
by the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) after his arrest for bribery and after 5 million baht in cash was found in his office, with the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) saying that "he is not considered a flight risk." reports the Bangkok Post.
"Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya must prove the origins of 5 million baht in cash that was seized by the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) from his office" said the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD).
Anti-Corruption Division (ACD police raided the office of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation after the former director
of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, filed a complaint accusing director-general Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya of demanding bribes from officials.
"Ratchada demanded that each of his senior officials raise 500,000 baht for him or else they would be transferred to remote areas," he said.
He said that Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya also demanded that National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation directors nationwide deduct 18.5 per cent from the annual operations budget and send the money back to him.
"Forest fire protection units were ordered by Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya to deduct 30 percent from their operation budgets and send the money back to him," he said .
Anti-Corruption Division (ACD commander Pol Maj-General Charoonkiart Parnkaew said that the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD had conducted a preliminary investigation and had found the allegations made against National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation director, Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya were credible.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment permanent secretary, Jatuporn Buruspat, said he was shocked by the arrest of Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, saying "a civil service fact-finding committee has been set up to look into the bribe-taking allegation and would give its findings in seven days."
The Southeast Asian Times

Happy New Year Australia!

Australia rings in the New Year 2023 with a fireworks displays in Sydney Harbour Sunday, January 1, 2023

 
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

China claims US airforce surveillance aircraft flying over South China Sea was a spy plane

China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy J-11 fighter and United States Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying over the South China on Saturday December 31, 2022

From News Reports:
Darwin, January 3: The United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) claims that China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during the aircrafts interception of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft over the South China Sea last week, with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command Air Force claiming that "the United States RC-135 airforce surveillance aircraft was a United States spy plane that engaged in dangerous maneuvers," reports Agence France Presse.
The United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) said on Thursday that a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver, saying "the Chinese pilot flew in front of and within 6 metres of the nose of the US aircraft."
"The United States RC-135 airforce surveillance aircraft was forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision," said the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM).
"We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law," said United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM).
The United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) claims "the United States RC-135 airforce surveillance aircraft was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law."
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command Air Force, Senior Colonel Tian Junli, claims that "the United States RC-135 airforce surveillance aircraft was a United States spy plane that engaged in dangerous maneuvers against a Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy J-11 fighter jet," saying "the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy J-11 fighter jet monitored the United States RC-135 airforce surveillance aircraft as the aircraft performed aerial reconnaissance."
"The United States RC-135 aircraft conducted intentional reconnaissance on China's southern coastline and the Xisha Islands of Hainan, South China's Hainan Province on December 21" he said.
In July 2021 China accused the US guided missile destoyer USS Benfold of trespass in the South China Sea on Monday, warning that the United States off the Xisha Islands or Paracel Islands with threats that the United States "would pay the price if it did not leave the vicinity of the Xisha Islands or Paracel Islands ," with China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman Senior Colonel Tian Junli, saying then that the United States has violated China’s sovereignty and security.
The United States 7th Fleet depoloyment of USS Benfold to the South China Sea under the freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling on July 12, 2016 in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea.
" All of our operations are designed to be conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows regardless of the location of excessive maritime claims and regardless of current events."
China rejecting the Hague Court ruling, claiming that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid verdict on the South China Sea dispute, saying that the dispute was not covered by 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia's police criminalize President Joko Widodo's critics

Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) chairperson, Adhyasta Dirgantara, the criminalization of government critics and government opposition groups was very high in early 2022

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 2: The Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) claims that the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) special team of law enforcement officials are tasked with the criminalisation of government critics and government opposition groups in Indonesia in an end of the year report on the state of law enforcement in Indonesia in 2022, reports the Jakarta Post.
Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) chairperson, Adhyasta Dirgantara, said in Jakarta on Friday that "in early 2022 the criminalization of government critics and government opposition groups was very high," saying the special team of law enforcement officials deploy a similar pattern to criminalise government critics and government opposition groups."
He said that government critics and government opposition groups in Indonesia criticise the government and President Joko Widodo, saying
"the formative character of Indonesian law, in apparatus, enforcement, handling and prosecution is obviously about politics."
He said the pattern of criminalisation of government critics and government opposition groups by the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) special team of law enforcement officials was always similar, saying "the issue is made viral, sensationalised and an uproar created by buzzer groups."
"And we know that these buzzer groups are paid regular wages from the state budget," he said.
He said the government officials who were criticised by government critics or government opposition groups reported them to police under the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law for defamation.
"The government officials who were criticised by government critics or government opposition groups were criticised for their poor performance." he said.
He said that the special team of law enforcers act rapidly and concisely against government critics or government opposition groups, saying, "the government critics and government opposition groups quickly find themselves in court and found guilty."
"The Indonesian National Police (POLRI) special team of law enforcement officials tasked with the criminalisation of government critics and government opposition groups has been institutionalized," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Aung San Suu Kyi faces life sentence on combined charges brought by Myanmar military court

Former National League for Democracy (NLD) State councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and Naypyitaw Mayor U Myo Aung, make their first appearance in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's military court on May 24, 2021 after their arrest on February 1, 2021

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, January 1: Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, faces a combined prison term of 33 years for charges brought by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar including the final corruption verdict on Friday, with Human Rights Watch Asia Division saying "33 years of cumulative imprisonment amount to an effective life sentence against her," reports Reuters.
Human Rights Watch Asia Division deputy director Phil Robertson, said after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar military court's final case against her on Friday "due process and a free and fair trial for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were never remotely possible under the circumstances of the regime’s political persecution against her."
"The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar is obviously hoping the international community will miss the news of the verdict during the New Years's holiday," he said.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar convicted Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, on five counts of corruption on Friday, sentencing the former National League for Democracy (NLD) state councillor to a further seven years in prison .
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar military court found Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of offenses relating to the rental of a helicopter to a government minister during her term as State Councillor of the National League for Democracy (NLD) whose elected government was overthrown by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar on February 2021.
In September 2022 Former National League for Democracy (NLD), state councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for alleged election fraud in the Myanmar November 8, 2020 elections that had resulted in the National League for Democracy (NLD) party winning the popular vote with 97 percent of Yangon regional seats.
In January 2022 State councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi received a prison sentence of four years for the illegal importation of radio transmitters or walkie talkie's under Section 8 of the Export and Import Law, and with the illegal operation of a radio transmitter or walkie talkie without a licence under Section 67 of the Penal Code and Telecommunications Law.
State councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi denied allegations of corruption for reciving $600,000 and more that 10kg of gold in bribes from the National League for Democracy (NLD) Yangon Region chief minister, U Phyo Min Thein.
“The allegations are completely false. I had no reason to take it, no reason to accept it," she said.
On February 1, 2021, three months after the elections, the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar declared a state of emergency cancelling the League for Democracy (NLD) dominated session of the parliament, in an address broadcast on the Myanmar military-owned television network based in Yangon and Naypyiday, saying that power had been handed to the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
State councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and Naypyitaw Mayor, U Myo Aung, who were arrested in February 2021 after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government and the declaration of martial law, were sentenced to two years in prison in December 2021 for incitement under Section 505(b) that criminalizes speech deemed by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, State Administration Council (SAC) to incite public unrest.
State councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and Naypyitaw Mayor U Myo Aung, were also charged with violating Covid-19 restrictions during the November 8, 2020 election campaign under Section 25 of the state of emergency Natural Disaster Management Law under the command of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, State Administration Council (SAC).
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Guests trapped in midnight blaze at hotel casino on Cambodia Thailand border

Flames engulf the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet in Banteay Meanchey Province in Cambodia on the Thailand border on Thursday December 29, 2022

From News Reports:
Bangkok, December 31: The midnight blaze that engulfed the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet in Banteay Meanchey Province in Cambodia on the Thailand border on Thursday night has left 19 dead and 73 injured, with the Banteay Meanchey Province deputy provincial police saying "the majority of the victims were Thai," reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Banteay Meanchey Province deputy police chief, Bun Pheng, said that the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino that is located adjacent to the international border checkpoint on the Cambodia Thailand border caught fire at about 10.45pm on Wednesday.
"Flames engulfed the southern side of the casino before spreading to its north tower and an adjacent building," he said.
He said that the Banteay Meanchey provincial police have found 19 dead and 73 injured with 23 seriously by 3pm Thursday, saying "the majority of the victims were Thai."
"The victims were taken to a Thai hospital in the Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province," he said.
Banteay Meanchey Province police chief, Prum Piseth, said that about 300 Cambodian police and 11 fire engines were deployed to fight the blaze, saying "firefighters from Thailand were also deplyoed to fight the blaze."
"Firefighters efforts were hampered by the flammable nature of the 18-story building," he said.
He said that the fire that destroyed the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino Hotel was the largest fire that Cambodia has ever experienced, saying "it took a sustained effort of many hours by our brave officers and their Thai counterparts to bring this horrendous inferno under control."
Poipet City Town Hall chief of administration, Nhem Phoeng, said that about 400 workers and guests, mostly Thai's, were stranded on the roof of the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino buildings, saying "helicopters were employed to rescue those stranded on the roof."
He said that some of the victims jumped from the roof of the buildings to escape the flames, saying "most died from their fall or sustained serious injuries."
Owner of the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in Poipet, Cambodia, fugitive former Thailand member of parliament, Vatana Asavahame, 86, offered to sell the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in August, 2021 for 12 billion baht, saying that the casino business was facing a downturn."
Fugitive former Thailand member of parliament, Vatana Asavahame, fled Thailand in 2008 after the Supreme Court found the member of parliament guilty of corruption.
Fugitive Vatana Asavahame served as member of parliament for Samut Prakan 11 times and as leader of the Mahachon Party before the Supreme Court sentenced the member of parliament to three years in prison for abuse-of-power in his involvement in the embezzlement of funds from the Klong Dan wastewater treatment project worth Bt23 billion.
The Southeast Asian Times


PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha accepts nomination as candidate for PM from new United Thai Nation Party

Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, accepted nomination as prime minister from new United Thai Nation Party on Friday December 23, 2022

From News Reports:
Bangkok, December 30: Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, whose ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) supports the 2017 Thailand Constitution drafted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces that prohibits changing the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State, has acccepted nomination as Prime Minister from the new United Thai Nation Party (UTN) for the next general elections, reports the Bangkok Post.
"In the past, I received support from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) but the party has decided to nominate a new leader for the next general elections," he said
Former Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, said he acccepts the new United Thai Nation Party nomination as candidate for prime minister after the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) said the party would nominate General Prawit Wongsuwan as candidate for Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, said that his relationship with General Prawit Wongsuwan remains unchanged, saying "General Prawit Wongsuwan was my first superior after graduation from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy."
"Our bond is unbreakable," he said.
Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha who was appointed commander by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej after the declaration of Martial law at the Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters in Bangkok in May, 2014, announced that he has resigned from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and joined the new United Thai Nation Party (UTN).
"The United Thai Nation Party has nominated me as candidate for Prime Minister in the next general election," he said.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who was suspended as Prime Minister by the Constitutional Court in a 5-4 vote in August 2022 but retained full working capacity as Defence Minister, was reinstated in September 2022 with the Constitutional Court ruling that Prayuth Chan-o-cha could serve as Prime Minister until April 5, 2025, under the 2017 Constitution’s eight-year term limit.
The United Thai Nation Party (UTN) led by Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, confirmed support for the nomination of Prayuth Chan-o-cha as Prime Minister in the next general elections, saying "members of parliament from other parties are expected to join as well."
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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Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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