The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Friday 22 June 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Investigation into death in MACC custody to be reopened
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 22: Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to reopen the investigation into the death of Teoh Beng Hock, 31, who was found dead at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor headquaters after he was summoned for questioning in 2009, reports the Star.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said that the Cabinet had endorced the decision to reopen the investigation, saying that “there is an obvious need to determine the cause of death in order to provide justice to the Beng Hock family."
Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo, called for the five Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers to be suspended while the investigations were ongoing.
Teoh Beng Hock, 31, the former reporter for the Chinese-language newspaper, Sin Chew Jit Poh, and assistant to Democratice Action Pary member, Ean Toung Hian Wah, was found dead at the 20-storey building that houses the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor’s headquarters on the day after he was summoned for questioning.
The Court of Appeal three-man panel, chaired by Judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, ruled in 2014 that the death of Teoh Beng Hock on 15 July 2009 was caused by multiple injuries from a fall from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam due to or accelerated by unlawful acts by unknown persons inclusive of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers involved in his investigation.
In July 2011 a Royal Commission of Inquiry found that three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers drove political secretary Teoh Beng Hock, 31, to suicide.
The 124-page report said that anti-corruption personnel were then prepared to go to great lengths to lie and form a “blue wall of silence” in the spirit of brotherhood.
“Having considered all the evidence in its entirety, we found that Teoh was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation to which he was subjected by certain officers…” said the report.
The family of Teoh Beng Hock, 31, former reporter for the Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew Jit Poh and assistant to Democratice Action Pary member, Ean Toung Hian Wah rejected the finding.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia reopens investigation into murder of Mongolian translator

Lawyer Ram­karpal Singh and Shaariibuu Setev who is the father of murdered Mongolian translator Dr at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 20: The murder of Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, in Malaysia twelve years ago was reopened with an announcement made by the newly appointed Attorney General Tommy Thomas on Tuesday that the case would be reopened following the emergence of new evidence, reports the Star.
Lawyer Ram­karpal Singh said that he was "not at liberty" to reveal the new evidence, saying that "the evidence includes old and new evidence."
"There is enough evidence for the case to be reopened", he said.
The newly appointed Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, reportedly gave an assurance that "there would not be any delay", saying that "this case has gone on for 12 years and will not be delayed any further."
Translater, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was believed to be pregnant, reportedly died of two bullet wounds to the head in 2006 with C4 explosives used in an effort to destroy her body in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam.
Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, believed to be the boyfriend of the Mongolian translator and who worked for the then deputy prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, was aquitted of any charges related to her murder with Judge Mohammad Zaki Mommad Yasin saying that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of conspiring to murder the Mongolian woman.
”He is therefore acquitted and discharged,” he said.
In 2009 the trial of the two policemen charged with killing the Mongoloan translator at Mukim Bukit Raja on October 18, 2006 ended with a guilty verdict and a death sentence, with Judge, Mohammad Zaki Mohammad Yasin saying that he found the defence of the policemen, who pleaded not guilty, "unbelievable".
In 2013 the Court of Appeals acquitted police chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of murder but in 2015 a Federal Court decision reinstated the guilty verdict and the death sentence.
Last month following the election of Dr Mahatir Mohomad, Member of Parliament, Lim Lip Eng called on police to reopen the investigation into the murder of the Mongolian translator, lodging a report with the Jinjang police station on 26 May.
"Both the High Court and Federal Court had failed to discover the motive behind the murder or the identity of the person who ordered the murder," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian sister Pat to continue missionary work in the Philippines
From News Reports:
Manila, June 20: Philipine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has allowed Australian nun Patricia Fox (71) who has been accussed of"illegal political activisites" to remain in the Philippines and to continue with her missionary work despite Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte's directive to have the nun deported, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who said that "President Duterte gave me a free hand in running the Department of Justice (DOJ), has made the April 23 Bureau of Immigration (BI) order that downgraded the missionary visa held by Australian nun Patricia Fox to a temporary visitors visa invalid.
The Justice Secretary said that it was unlawful for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to revoke her visa in April with an order to leave the country within 30 days since the Bureau of Immigration (BI) did not have the authority to cancell the visa of a foreign national residing in the Philippines.
"What the Bureau of Immigration (BI) did in this case is beyond what the law provides," he said.
"That is why Bureau of Immigration (BI) April order has to be struck down."
He said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot sanction the Bureau of Immigration (BI) resort to a visa forfeiture proceedure and its deportation order against Australian nun Patricia Fox.
"To hold otherwise will legitimize its assertion of a power that does not exist in our laws,” he said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has reportedly ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to hear the pending deportation and visa cancellation against the nun saying that “until a final resolution of the proceedings is reached or until the expiration of her missionary visa, whichever comes first, Sister Fox may continue to perform her duties as a missionary in the Philippines.”
Australian nun Patricia Fox (71) who is also a lawyer has lived in the Philippines for 27 years, involved in helping peasant and tribal communities in their fight for their right to land.
The Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines said in April that it believed that the arrest and detention of Australian nun Patricia Fox "is part of a large scale crackdown of the government against church people and organisations that oppose anti-poor government policies and that criticise its dubious human rights record."
The Southeast Asian Times

Wife of Cambodian Prince Ranariddh killed in head-on campaign collision

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, 74, and his wife, Ouk Phalla, 39
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 19: Cambodian Prince Norodom Ranariddh, 74, was flown to Thailand yesterday for medical treatment for injuries suffered in a head-on motor vehicle collision in Sihanoukvile on Sunday that left his wife, Ouk Phalla, 39, dead and five passengers injured, reports Rueters.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party and his wife were on their way to meet party supporters in Sihanoukville ahead of the July elections when their vehicle was struck head-on by a taxi.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is the second son of the late monarch Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni, was allocated the majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) parliamentary seats after its dissolution in November 2017.
The Cambodian Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition party followed the arrest of the party's chairman, Kem Sokha, on charges of plotting to overthrowing the Hun Sen government with the help of the United States.
Prime minister Hun sen called on the Cambodia National Rescue Party's (CNRP) more than 5000 elected officials following its dissolution to defect to his Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist Funcinpec party (NRP) reportedly registered with the National Election Committe (NEC) to contest the July elections last month.
Ouk Phalla, wife of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, stood for election in Prey Veng province for the upcoming national elections on July 29.
In April 2015 Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his wife Ouk Phalla were injured while travelling in a convoy from Phnom Penh after meeting with Funcinpec supporters when a sand laden truck side-swiped the motorcade.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia's general Hing Bun Hieng banned from entry to US

General Hing Bun Hieng in Phnom Penh
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 18: The United States has imposed sanctions under the US Cambodian Democracy Act of 2018, on Cambodia's General Hing Bun Hieng for his alleged involvement in human rights abuses that includes a US citizen who was injured in a grenade attack in Cambodia in 1997.
US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence undersecretary, Sigal Mandelker, said in a statement that General Hing Bun Hieng's security unit had allegedly attacked protesters including members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), killing 16 and injuring dozens including a US citizen who reportedly received shrapnel wounds.
"General Bun Hieng has been implicated in multiple attacks on unarmed Cambodians for many years, including in 2013 at Wat Phnom and in 2015 at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh", he said.
He said that in 2015 three members of General Hing Bun Hieng's security unit were imprisoned after they confessed to participating in an attack on Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) legislators Kong Saphea and Nhay Chamroeun.
“As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated today within US jurisdiction is blocked,” he said.
Cambodia's General Hing Bun Hieng said that the sanction will have no effect on his life, saying that he did not want a visa because he had no intention of travelling to the US.
“I do not intend to visit the US because it inflicted suffering on me, my family and my country by dropping millions of bombs to kill Cambodian people in the 1970s,” he said.
The Cambodia ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) reportedly called the sanctions imposed on Cambodia under the US Cambodian Democracy Act of 2018 that was introduced by the US congress last month, "a violation of the independence of Cambodian sovereignty."
The legislation would reportedly freeze assets, restrict all financial transactions with the US, and deny entry of all senior Cambodian government, military and security officials into the US who the US determines have “directly and substantially undermined democracy in Cambodia”.
The Cambodia ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) government spokesman, Phay Siphan, said that "the US congress effort to enact a law to sanction Cambodian government officials could be seen as interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs and could deteriorate the relationship between the two countries.
The Southeast Asian Times

25,000 Indonesians residing in Singapore cannot be identified
From News Reports
Jakarta, June 17: The Singapore Voters Registration Committee that has an office in the Indonesian embassy in Singapore is verificying the identity of about 117 thousand Indonesian citizens residing in Singapore ahead of the 2019 Indonesian elections, with 25 thousand Indonesians unable to be identified, reports Antara.
Indonesian ambassador to Singapore, I Gede Ngurah Swajaya, said that verification of the identity of Indonesian citizens residing in Singapore is based on data provided by the General Elections Commission (KPU) of Indonesia.
"The Singapore Voters Registration Committee conducted verification by telephone contacting each individual listed in the General Elections Commission (KPU) data," he said.
The ambassador claims that the results show that about 25 thousand Indonesian citizens residing in Singapore could not be identified, saying that "only names and date of birth were found."
"Of the 117 thousand Indonesians citizens residing in Singapore, 40,000 have so far been identified", he said.
The Singapore Voters Registration Committee members include Indonesian citizens residing in Singapore from varied backgrounds including migrant workers.
In March 2107 The Indonesian House of Represenatives announced that it would not mandate e-voting in the 2019 elections saying that not all parts of Indonesia have internet access and there was a fear of hacking.
The campaign period for the elections is reportedly limited to six months.
The 2019 elections for Indonesians in Singapore are reportedly planned for Sunday, April 14, 2019, two days after the implementation of the simultaneous elections in Indonesia.
Nominations of candidates for the national and regional legislatures as well as candidates for president and vice president are to be completed by September 2018.
The campaign period from 13 October 2018 to 13 April 2019 is to be followed by three-days of election silence before polling day on 17 April in Indonesia. The final results are to be announced between 17 and 23 September with the swearing-in of the president and vice president on 20 October.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia elected to United Nations Economic and Social Council

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations, ambassador, Ry Tuy, third from left, in New York seeking support for Cambodia's bid for election to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 16: Cambodia has been elected to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with 183 of 188 countries supporting the Cambodian candidacy, reports the Cambodian Daily.
Cambodia's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Chum Sounry, said Cambodia has been working towards membership to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2014, saying that Cambodia has spent four years seeking support from United Nations member countries."
“It will be an opportunity for Cambodia to participate in the discussion on the raising of living standards, generation of employment and socio-economic growth," he said.
Cambodia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the election of Cambodia to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was "a great success for the Kingdom of Cambodia".
"It will promote our national prestige and honour in the international arena,” said the statement.
Cambodia was also elected vice president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this month, a position that Cambodia will hold for a year beginning September.
“Cambodia will do its best to contribute to the promotion of high living standards, full employment and economic and social progress,” the statement said.
"Cambodia will promote international culture, education cooperation, economic and social health solutions, human rights and fundamental freedoms."
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian ambassador calls on ASEAN to mediate between US and North Korea
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 15: Indonesian ambassador to Singapore has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Indonesia is a member state, to mediate between the United States and North Korea in an effort to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, reports Antara.
Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore I Gede Ngurah Swajaya reportedly said following the signing of a denuclearisation agreement between President Donald Trump and North Korean chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un, in Singapore on Tuesday that Singapore was selected as the venue for the unprecedented meeting between the US and North Korea because Singapore as an ASEAN member state is "trusted".
"We see that Singapore's contribution has yielded a positive result," he said.
He said that Singapore's selection as a location for the meeting between the two heads of state reflected a positive contribution to the settlement of the US-North Korean conflict.
In August 2017 a North Korean delegation led by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho met with Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member state ministers including dialogue partner China in the Philippines at the Asean Regional Forum (ARF).
The Asean Regional Forum (ARF) is reportedly the sole regional multilateral mechanism where senior officials from North Korea can meet in order to hold dialogue with representatives from South Korea, China, Japan and the US.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho had reportedly sent a letter to the Philippines as ASEAN chair for 2017 calling on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as the chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to provide a "proper proposal" to de-escalate tentions in the Korean Peninsula.
President Duterte, who described Pyongyang as "a good dialogue partner" reportedly reiterated Asean's continued support for dialogue and peaceful resolution of regional conflicts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia to reopen embassy in North Korea
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 14: Malaysia will reopen its embassy in North Korea's capital, Pyongyong, following the unprecedented meeting between
United States President Donald Trump and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday that ended with the signing of a denuclearisation agreement, reports the Star.
Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that "Malaysia will re-open its embassy in Pyongyong and re-establish its relationship with North Korea.
"Yes, we will reopen the embassy", he said.
President Donald Trump and chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un, agreed to cooperate on denuclearisation and peace on the Korean Peninsula and reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration, signed after the North and South Korean leaders met on April 27 that stated the Democratic People's Republic of Korea committment to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
The Malaysian Embassy in Pyongyang was closed in April 2017 with the withdrawal of its diplomats following the assassination in February 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur International airport of Kim Jon Nam, the estranged half brother of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, who were charged with the murder of Kim Jon Nam, said in their defence that they were acting in a televsion prank show at the Kuala Lumpur airport when they smeared the highly lethal VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam’s face.
North Korea reportedly held three Malaysian embassy employees and six family members hostage at the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyong demanding the release of three North Koreans who were held by Malaysian police as suspects in the murder of Kim Jon Nam.
Negotiations reportedly resulted with the release of the Malaysian hostages at the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyong in exchange for the release of the three North Korean suspects and the body of murdered Kim Jong-nam.
The Southeast Asian Times

US and North Korea meet to denuclearise Korean peninsula
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump meet in Singapore
From News Reports:
Singapore, June 13: United States President Donald Trump and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un met in Singapore yesterday ahead of the US and North Korean delegates meeting, with the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and an end to the Korean War on the agenda, reports the Associated Press.
US President Trump said that he expected the discussion to be "tremedously successful," saying that it was his honour to meet the North Korean and that he was assured that the US and North Korea would have a "terrific relationship."
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un, said that "the way forward is not easy".
He said that "old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward."
"But we overcame all of them and we are here today", he said.
The US delegation includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, and National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger.
The North Korean delegation includes Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Yong Chol, Party Vice-Chairman and Director of North Korea's International Affairs Department Ri Su Yong, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that "the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was the only outcome that the United States will accept"
He said that North Korea had previously confirmed its willingness to denuclearise, and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un claims that he wants a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula."
"Pyongyang wants to establish new relations with the US in a changed era", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


North Korea and the United States to talk peace in Singapore today
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un and Prime Minister of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore on Saturday
From News Reports:
Singapore, June 12: The summit to be held in Singapore today and attended by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump is an attempt to adddress the legacy of the Cold War, reports the Straits Times.
"Bringing the Korean War to a formal end 65 years after hostilities have ceased is on the table at the first summit to be held between a North Korean leader and a sitting US President," reports the Straits Times.
United States president Donald Trump who arrived in Singapore on Sunday described the summit "a one time shot at peace."
North Korea's nuclear arsenal that has reportedly been subject to several United Nations Security Council Sanctions and threatened with military action by the Trump administration will reportedly "top the agenda," at the historical summit.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim Jong Un said at a meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on arrival in Singapore on Saturday that "the entire world is focusing on the historic summit between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States."
"Singapore would surely go down in history if the summit is successful," he said.
The Asociation of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) member country, Singapore, was reportedly chosen by the US to host the historical summit due to its neutrality and security with diplomatic ties with both North Korea and the US.
Singapore, hosted a historic summit in 2015 with a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou who met for the first time since the sparation of Taiwan from mainland China in 1949.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam National Assembly approves law to reduce military involvement in business
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 11: The National Assembly amended the Law on National Defence in order to draw a clear line between national defence objectives and economic objectives in business run by the Vietnam People's Army (VPV), with approval from a majority of National Assembly members on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
National Defence and Security Commission head, Vo Trang Viet, said that "legislators have called for a clear line to be drawn between national defence objectives and economic objectives in business run by the Vietnam People's Army (VPV)."
He said that the Ministry of National Defence’s (MND) is restructuring business in the Vietnam's People's Army (VPV) in order to reduce the number run by the military from 88 to 17.
The Vietnam News Service quotes General Vo Hong Thang, director of the Ministry of National Defence’s (MND) economics department, as saying
"the Central Army Commission’s stand is very clear that only business that serves both civilian and military purposes will remain after the restructuring."
He said that the reduced number of businesses in the military would streamline the government's procurement process and structure in order to assist foreign private entities to do business with the government of Vietnam.
In July 2017 The Deputy Minister of Defense said amid public debate on whether the military should relinquish its economic activities in order to stay focused on national defense that "the military does business in line with the market-driven economy of Vietnam, saying that "no business is allowed to break the law and a military-run enterprise is no exception."
"The military will maintain all business that directly fulfills national defense requirements – manufacturing weaponry, developing defense technology, protecting the country’s sovereignty in the East Vietnam Sea, our other seas, islands and borders", he said.
He said then that the military had 88 such companies and was determined to have only 17 military-run businesses in the future.
"These 17 companies would be major firms with dual-purpose operations that would include Viettel, the Saigon New Port Corporation and the Vietnam Helicopter Corporation," he said.
The Vietnam News Agency reports that in 2000 the Vietnam People's Army (VPV) ran 305 businesses and that by 2016 this number had been reduced to 88.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia elected to the United Nations Security Council

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, centre, at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, held at United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 10: Indonesia was elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term on Friday with Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations, Dian Triansyah Djani, saying that "many countries had declared their support for Indonesia's bid to become the Security Council's non-permanent member for the next two years," reports Antara.
Indonesia won 144 votes, defeating the Maldives 46 votes, for the one seat allocated to the Asia-Pacific.
Indonesia was elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) from 2019 to 2020.
South Africa was elected from the African Group; the Dominican Republic from the Latin American and Caribbean Group; and Belgium and Germany from the Western European and Others Group.
The Belgium government said in a statement that it was joining the council at a "pivotal moment."
"It's a period when multilateralism no longer seems obvious to all, with some even questioning it, even as the planet is confronted with multiple global challenges, including climate change, the (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, the fight against terrorism and illegal migration," said the statement.
There are 15 members on the UN Security Council, including the five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States and 10 non-permanent members, of which five are elected each year.
Indonesia previously held the seat in 1973-1974, 1995-1996, and 2007-2008.
Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security, with all United Nations Member States required to comply with Council decisions.
The council is the sole United Nations body that can make legally binding decisions and has the power to impose sanctions and authorise the use of force.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australia agrees to extradition of Malaysian convicted of murder of Mongolian translator in 2006
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 9: Australian authorities have ageed to extradite Malaysia Special Action Squad member Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 43, who was arrested by the Australian Immigration officials in Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland in January 2015, reports the Star.
Special Action Squad, member Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who fled Malaysia in October 2014, was one of two Malaysian special police sentenced to death in January 2015 in the Kuala Lumpur Federal court in absentia for the murder of Mongolian translater, Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28.
Special Action Squad, member Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who is in detention at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Sydney, claims that a superior had ordered him to help Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged in 2008 with conspiring to murder the Mongolian woman, believed to be his girlfriend.
He said that he had done no more than to meet Altantuya Shaariibuu and advise her not to harass Abdul Razak Baginda, 56, or create a 'ruckus' outside Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda's residence.
Translater, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was believed to have been pregnant, reportedly died of two bullet wounds to the head in 2006 with C4 explosives reportedly used in an effort to destroy her body in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam.
Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, who worked for the then deputy prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, was aquitted of any charges with Judge Mohammad Zaki Mommad Yasin saying that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of conspiring to murder the Mongolian woman.
”He is therefore acquitted and discharged,” he said.
In 2009 the trial of the two policemen charged with killing the woman interpreter ended with a guilty verdict and a death sentence, with Judge, Mohammad Zaki Mohammad Yasin saying that he found the defence of the policemen, who pleaded not guilty, "unbelievable".
Lawyers for the elite guards said then that they would appeal the decision.
In 2013 the court of appeals acquitted police chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the murder but in 2015 a Federal Court decision overturned the 2014 Court of Appeal decision that had revoked the 2009 High Court guilty verdict and death sentence handed down to the two men.
Last month following the election of Dr Mahatir Mohomad, Member of Parliament, Lim Lip Eng called on police to reopen the investigation into the murder of the Mongolian translator, lodging a report with the Jinjang police station on 26 May.
"Both the High Court and Federal Court had failed to discover the motive behind the murder or the identity of the person who ordered the murder," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

British labour rights activist wins appeal in Bangkok court

Supporters give flowers to British human rights activist Andy Hall at the Supreme Court in Bangkok on 3 November 2016
From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 8: The Bangkok Appeals Court dismissed the guilty verdict handed down by the Criminal Court against British labour rights activist Andy Hall, for criminal defamation charges and breaching cyber crime laws over his report on work conditions at Thai Natural Fruit Co. Ltd., a canning factory in Bangkok, reports the Bangkok Post.
The labour rights activist was found guilty in September 2016 of defamation under the Computer Crimes Act for allegations made in his 2013 report on poor work conditions, low wages and child labour at the Thai Natural Fruit Co. Ltd., canning factory.
Criminal defamation charges against the British labour rights activist were launched by Thai Natural Fruit Co. Ltd., president, Virat Piyapornpaiboon, who denied the allegations in the report and launched a civil case against the activist seeking US$10 million in damages.
The company president accused the British activist of violating his rights saying that "no foreigner should think they have power above Thai sovereignty."
The British activist said then that he stands by his research findings and accused the Thai Natural Fruit Co. Ltd. of detracting from the report's damning findings.
The alleged defamatory act was committed in an interview given by Andy Hall to Al-Jazeera television in Myanmar in April 2013 about his report on work conditions at the Thai Natural Fruit Co. Ltd and his subsequent prosecution by the company for defamation.
The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced the human right activist to four years in prison and imposed a 200,000-baht fine. The court gave the labour rights activist a suspended sentence, reducing the sentence to three years and cutting the fine to 50,000 baht.
"The verdict shows people are not free or at liberty to do this kind of research," he said.
The report titled, "Cheap Has a High Price", that contains allegations of mistreatment of the migrant labour force, was published by the Finnish civil rights group Finnwatch.
Sunya Joongdee, lawyer for the British labour rights activist, said that Thursday's court dismissal of the criminal defamation case has also resulted in the collapse of allegations under the Computer Crimes Act that outlaws publishing what is deemed false information.
"The Criminal Court accepted that intervews with migrant workers revealed allegations of rights violations that should be made public," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Wife of ousted PM questioned by Anti-Corruption Commission

Rosmah Mansor, 66, wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, at Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Tuesday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 7: The wife of Malaysia's ousted prime minister Najib Razak was questioned by the the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Tuesday over efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to the former prime ministers' private bank accounts.
Former investigations and intelligence director at the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Abdul Razak Idris, said prior to the questioning of Rosmah Mansor, 66, that questioning by the Commission would be intense and thorough.
"She may be asked to reveal her bank accounts and explain the source of the cash and jewellery found by police in two condominiums that were raided by police," he said.
The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned by the family members of former Prime Minister Najib Razak last month including 150 womens handbags carrying the French brand name "Hermes" seized in an apartment registered in the name of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak's daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
The former prime minister was summoned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning into the misappropriation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds in the week following the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) to the coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad appointed a Finance Ministry advisor immediately after his election on May 9 to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by a son of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who was then the Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, denied the allegations.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million that was seized in Bali in February.
The Southeast Asian Times


King consents to appointment of non-Muslim attorney general

Malaysia's new attorney general, non-Muslim, lawyer, Tommy Thomas
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 6: Malaysian lawyer Tommy Thomas, who reportedly believes in a secular state, was appointed attorney general yesterday despite opposition to his appointment by the Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) on the grounds that the attorney general was a non-Muslim, reports the Star.
Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) official, Prof Mahamad Naser Disa claims that because the new attorney general is not a Muslim he cannot assist the King Yang di-Pertuan Agong in preserving the sanctity of Islam at all times, saying that "the appointment of the new attorney general is in breach of Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution."
He said that Article 145(2) states that it is the duty of the Attorney General to advice the King or Cabinet on any legal matter, saying that "lawyer Tommy Thomas stand that Malaysia is a seculur country clearly infringes on the Constitution that states that Islam is Malaysia's official religion."
"The Attorney General's post should be held by any judge or senior lawyer who is well versed in Islamic and royal matters, not just on principles of law and democracy", he said.
The King Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, reportedly gave his consent to the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new Attorney General on the advice of newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad according to Article 145 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
Royal Household spokesman,Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz, said the King has called on Malaysians to accept the appointment of the Attorney General, saying that the appointment should not create conflict.
"Every Malaysian should be treated fairly regardless of their race or religion," he said.
The Star reports that the proposed appointment of non-Muslim Lawyer Tommy Thamas had at first been rejected by the King with the King insisting that more than one name be submitted for the position of Attorney General.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reportedly quashed allegations that the Pakatan Harapan (H) led government will not pro
tect Islam, saying that "the government would continue to be responsible in administrating the country without doing anything contrary to Islamic teachings."
The Southeast Asian Times


Call for senate enquiry into increasing number of Chinese nationals in the Philippines

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima called for a Senate inquiry into the influx of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines
From News Reports:
Manila, June 5: Senator Leila de Lima has called for a senate enquiry into the increasing number of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines, saying that "the government should evaluate the implementation of existing immigration and labor laws to ensure that Filipinos are protected against the adverse effect caused by immigration surge, reports the Manila Bullitin.
“The increasingly lax control mechanisms over the influx of Chinese nationals in the Philippines have led to concerns on whether we have the capability to properly enforce our immigration and labor laws to the detriment of our national interest,” she said.
She said that the Duterte administration has in the past 19 months awarded more than 50 offshore gambling companies permits to operate in Manila to cater to overseas Chinese
"This translates to about 200,000 Chinese workers granted Alien Employment Permit (AEP) who are now employed and who have arrived in the Philippines since 2016", she said.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reports that there is an increase of 33.4 percent in the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) granted to foreign nationals intending to engage in employment in the Philippines. This has risen from from 28,371 in 2015 to 41,993 in 2016.
Senator Leila de Lima claims that there is a danger that the real estate market will price Filipinos out of there homes with the influx of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines.
"Particularly in areas that employ Chinese nationals such as casinos and tourist resorts," she said.
The senator also claims that there is a danger that the Philippine economy would become dependent on Chinese tourists, saying that "change in policies by the China government could effectively stall, if not cripple, our local economy.”
In November 2016 the Philippines signed a $13.5 billion package agreement including private sector memorandums of understanding with China during Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte state visit to China at the invitation of China President Xi Jinping.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech to the Filipino community in Beijing during his visit that he was "fed up with the Philippines’ foreign policy being dictated by a Western agenda".
Foreign policy under Rodrigo Duterte who is the former Mayor of Davao City in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines, has 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.
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.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar to investigate massacre of Hindu's
by Muslim Rohingya liberation fighters

From News Reports:
Yangon, June 3: The Myanmar government has formed an Independent Commission of Enquiry including an international represenative to investigate the massacre of Hindu's in Maungdaw in northern Rankine state by the Arakal Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25, reports the Myanmar Times.
The commission will investigate the violation of human rights following the terrorist attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army”, the government said in a statement.
The statement reportedly described the formation of the Independent Commission of Enquiry as part of a national initiative in order to build reconciliation, peace and stability and development in Rakhine state.
The formation of the commision follows the A1 Amnesty International report last week on the massacre in Maungdaw by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Muslim Rohingya liberation fighters in Myanmar's northern Rankin state.
Up to 99 Hindu men, women and children were killed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and dozens remain missing following Muslim Rohingya liberation fighters attacks on government security outposts, says the Amnesty International report.
The killing of Hindu's reportedly came after ARSA liberations fighters attacked about 30 Myanmar security posts on 25 August, prompting an unlawful and disproportionate campaign of violence by Myanmar’s security forces.
Amnesty International has reportedly documented in detail how the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) campaign was marked by killings, rape and other sexual violence, torture, village burning, forced starvation tactics, and other violations which constitute crimes against humanity under international law.
A United Nations Security Council delegation that visited Rakhine in May urged the government to also conduct a proper investigation of the alleged human rights violations perpetrated by Myanmar security forces against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Rankine state.
Myanmar reportedly considers the Muslim Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh but Bangladesh rejects the Rohingya's, rendering them stateless.
The exudus of up to 700,000 Rohingya Muslims across the Mynmar border to Bangladesh reportedly follows Myanmar's retaliation to the assualt on police outposts and military bases by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) denied the assertions made by Amnesty International in the A1 report, describing the report as “unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations”.
“We categorically deny all of these unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations mentioned in the said report,” said the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in a statement.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia relinquishes sovereignty of islands off Johor to Singapore

Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, claimed sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh or Pedra Branca island on 14 February 1980

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 3: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague announced on Friday that Malaysia has withdrawn a submission before the United Nations World Court to overturn a decades-old dispute with Singapore over sovereignty of islands off Johor Baru on the eastern approach to the Singapore Strait from the South China Sea, reports the Agence France Presse.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said in a statement that Malaysia had notified the Court that the parties had agreed to discontinue the proceedings ahead of a two week hearing scheduled to begin on June 11.
The World Court said in a statement that the court has ordered the discontinuation of court proceedings following proceedings institutated by Malaysia directing the removal of the case from the Court's list.
In February 2017 Malaysia lodged an appeal against the 2008 World Court ruling that granted Singapore sovereignty over the disputed islands located 7.7 nautical miles off Peninsula Malaysia's southern city Johor Baru and 25 nautical miles from the island state of Singapore.
Kuala Lumpur argued that new documents had been discovered in British archives backing its territorial claim over the islands, claiming that
Singapore was seeking to subvert the arrangements reached between Johor and Great Britain over 150 years ago.
Malaysia argued that Johor had given permission to Great Britian to build and operate a lighthouse on the Pulau Batu Puteh island, saying that Great Britain and then Singapore have operated the lighthouse on the island ever since with Johor's consent.
Malaysia argued that the islands in dispute were not terra nullius as claimed by Singapore.
The dispute over the island began in 1979 after Malaysia published new official maps showing Pulau Batu Puteh or Pedra Branca as part of its territory.
Pulau Batu Puteh that is about the size of a football field holds a lighthouse, communication tower, helipad and a jetty constructed by Singapore.
The Parliaments of Malaysia and Singapore signed an agreement in February 2003 to accept and be bound by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague decision.
The Southeast Asian Times


Luther King Jr., condemns Australian government for its treatment of First Nations peoples

Son of US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., asks "how do you justify mistreating human beings who were here first"? in Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Darwin, June 2: The son of US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., condemned Australia's treatment of its indigenous population in a speech in Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory on Tuesday, saying "here I am 20 years later and I don't see much has changed in how the First Nations peoples are treated," reports the Australian Associated Press.
Martin Luther King Jr., delivered a speech highlighting the poverty and disadvantage that indigenous Australians suffer, citing the Whitegate or Irrkerlantye community town camp near Alice Springs where the water was cut off by the Northern Territory government in 2014 and that has no reliable power.
He claimed that Australia's indigenous population was worse off than when he first visited Alice Springs in central Australia two decades ago, saying that "for some reason, there's been a desire to re-oppress people who are already oppressed."
Martin Luther King Jr's., visit to Alice Springs was hosted by the Igniting Change organisation and children's charity Children's Ground, whose chairman, William Tilmouth said that the cutting of water supply by the Northern Territory Government to the Whitegate or Irrkerlantye community town camp near Alice Springs was just one example of the way Australia treated Indigenous people, saying "it's a sad indictment on Australia when you think about it."
"Australia's First Nations peoples live outside a very affluent town that has no space for them, has no consideration of their lives and the way they live," he said.
Martin Luther King Jr., said that "it is not a good look that the central building in Alice Springs is the Supreme Court", saying that "Australia's First Nations people were locked up more than those of any other nation on Earth."
"Youth crime and alcohol abuse are major problems in the town," he said.
He said that the Australian government has the resources and ability to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities but chooses not to.
"That is wrong, that's unjust, that's unfair, that's ungodly," he said.
Aboriginal groups this week marked the first anniversary of the Uluru Statement that called for Indigenous Australians to be guaranteed a constitutional voice in parliament, but that was rejected by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai Constitiution Court passes bill that allows election to go ahead in February
From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 1: The Thai Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that clauses in the bill on the election of Members of Parliament passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is legal, with the judges saying that the bill does not violate the 2017 constitiution, reports the Bangkok Post.
The ruling by the Constitutional Court on whether two clauses of the bill were constitutional is reportedly a deciding factor on whether the November general elections that were postphoned by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in January would be held in February 2019 as scheduled.
Clause 35 of the bill on the revocation of political rights for Members of Parliament who fail to vote and clause 92 on allowing others to mark the ballot card at a polling booth for voters with disabilities, passed by the Constitutional Court, clears the way for the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) Commander, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to submit the bill for royal endorsement.
The law that would become effective 90 days after publication in the Royal Gazette, with the constitution requiring an election to take place within 150 days of that date, does not necessarily mean that the law is immediately effective, reports the Bangkok Post.
Enforcement of the court ruling could reportedly take up to a year to become effective, prompting calls from Pheu Thai Party, lawyer, Chusak Sirinil, to National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) Commander, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to disban the ban on political activities and restriction of freedom of assembly in preparation for the election.
In January Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reportedly warned that the government would not call a general election in November unless public order was maintained despite authorities saying that there was no sign of public disorder.
Thai Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that he would not call an election while there was conflict, saying "keep the peace if you want an election."
In May 2014 the Royal Thai Army declared martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act on the grounds that ongoing protests between political rivals were a threat to Thailands security and to the safety of life and property.
An extention of the Internal Security Act was invoked prior to the announcement of the elections in February 2014 following a warning by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary general, Suthep Thaugsuban, who threatened to "completely shut down Bangkok" in the lead up to the election.
Martial law commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was declared the director of the Peace Keeping Command Centre (PKCC) on the signing of the Martial Law act, took control of all security operations including the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), Royal Thai Police Office army, navy, air force, Interior Ministry and relevant government agencies.
The Southeast Asian Times

East Timor Court of Appeal rules Xanana Gusmao election winner

East Timor opposition coalition, the Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP) that includes the party led by, Xanana Gusmao, won the majority of parliamentary seats in the May 12 elections

From News Reports:
Dili, May 31: The East Timor Court of Appeal has ruled that the opposition three parties, the Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP), that includes the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party led by independence hero, Xanana Gusmao, won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in the elections held on May 12, reports Rueters.
East Timor Court of Appeal, spokesman, Deolindo dos Santos, said that the Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP) won 49.6 per cent of the votes.
The opposition coalition party that includes the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) and two other parties reportedly secured 34 of the 65 seats in parliament.
The Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin) founder, Prime Minister Alkatiri won 34.2 per cent of votes.
The September 2017 parliamentary election produced no clear winner, with the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin) party winning 0.2 per cent more votes than National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) and forming a minority government.
In January 2018 East Timor President, Francisco Guterres, dissolved the national parliament and called for new elections following the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin) party, Prime Minister Mari bin Amude Alkatiri inability to form government.
A legislative stalemate ensued with the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) led coalition with the majority of seats in parliament refusal to pass the government's economic programmes and the associated 2018 budget.
The parliamentary standoff led to Mari Alkatiri accusing the opposition of an attempted coup and the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) describing the Alkatiri government as "unconstitutional"
Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP) coalition official, Fidelis Magalhaes, said the result should break the deadlock in Parliament.
"East Timor must have a government that stands and comes from an absolute majority in parliament," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


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


PM Mahathir cancels plans for rail link from KL to Singapore

Newly elected Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, right, cancelled the agreement made by his predecessor, former Prime Minister Najib Razak, to construct a high-speed railway line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 30: Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad cancelled plans made by his predecessor, former Prime Minister Najib Razak, for the construction of a highspeed 350 kilometer railway line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, reports the Star.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that while the planned high-speed railway line would cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore from three hours to 90 minutes it was not beneficial to Malaysia.
"The rail project is too costly," he said.
Prime Minister Mahathir reportedly said that the new government would review large-scale infrastructure projects, including Chinese investment, to cut costs after it was revealed that national debt and liabilities were over a trillion ringgit ($251 billion), or 80 percent of gross domestic product.
He said that the decision to cancel the agreement was made in order "to avoid Malaysia being declared bankrupt", saying that the cost of the rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was 110 billion ringgit ($28 billion).
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said prior to his election on May 9 that Malaysia would stop borrowing from China and would review Chinese investments if his Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition alliance party was elected.
He warned that Malaysia had borrowed a large amount of money from China and may not be able to repay it, saying that "Sri Lanka had to give China ownership of a port and other projects to repay the debt.
"Malaysia would talk to the Chinese government about renegotiating unequal treaties including a Chinese company-led $14 billion East Coast rail project along the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, he said.
Newly elected prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said following the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party lead by former Prime Minister Najib Razak that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by one of the nine sons of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who was Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, has denied the allegations.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police seize money stuffed in womens designer handbags at Najib residences

Malaysian police seize boxes containing exclusive brand name womens hand bags including hand bags stuffed with cash from apartments owned by the family members of former Prime Minister Najib Razak
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 29: The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) have seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned by the family members of former Prime Minister Najib Razak since the general elections earlier this month, reports the Star.
The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), Commercial Crime Division, head, Amar Singh, said in an announcment on Thursday that police found 114 million ringgit (28.6 million) stuffed in 35 womens handbags bags in one apartment.
"The banknotes were in 26 currencies with the largest amounts in ringgit and Singapore dollars," he said.
He said that the money was found at the Pavillion Residences in Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, saying that the apartment was vacant.
Police reportedly seized a further 150 womens handbags carrying the French brand name "Hermes" in an apartment registered in the name of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak's daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
Police also seized 284 boxes containing other luxury brand name womens handbags together with a large number of womens shoes and jewelery including watches.
Commercial Crime Division, head, Amar Singh, said that police were conducting investigations into the authenticity of the handbag brand names.
"Police have sent pictures of the "Hermes" handbags to their French designer in Paris," he said.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was summoned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning into the commissions investigation into the misappropriation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds in the week following the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) to the coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) lead by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad appointed a Finance Ministry advisor immediately after his election on May 9 to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by one of the nine sons of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The former Prime Minister who was then the Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, denied the allegations.
The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was seized in Bali in February was allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysian MP calls for investigation into 2006 murder of Mongolian translator
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 28: Member of Parliament, Lim Lip Eng has called on police to reopen the investigation into the motive for the murder of Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shariiburi, 28, in Malaysia 12 years ago, lodging a report with the Jinjang police station on Saturday, reports the Star.
"Both the High Court and Federal Court had failed to discover the motive behind the murder or the identity of the person who ordered the murder," he said.
The Mongolian translater who was believed to have been pregnant reportedly died of two bullet wounds to the head with C4 explosives reportedly used in an effort to destroy her body in a Malaysian jungle clearing in Shah Alam.
Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 56, was charged in 2008 with conspiring to murder the Mongolian woman who was believed to be his girlfriend.
But the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda who was advisor to the then Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, was aquitted of any charges.
Judge Mohammad Zaki Mommad Yasin decided there was insufficient evidence to convict him of conspiring to murder the Mongolian woman.
Abdul Razak Baginda, 48, who faced execution if he had been found guilty, was acquitted of abetment at the Shah Alam High Court, about 24 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur with the judge saying, “There is no prima facie case for him to answer,”
”He is therefore acquitted and discharged,” said the judge.
The Unit Tindakan Khas, or Special Action Squad, member Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 43, and chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 38, members of an elite unit that guarded the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, were also charged with her murder in 2008.
The trial in 2009 of the two elete policemen charged with killing the woman interpreter ended with a guilty verdict and a death sentence, with Judge, Mohammad Zaki Mohammad Yasin saying that he found the defence of the policemen, who pleaded not guilty, "unbelievable".
The two elete guards were charged with murdering Altantuya at Mukim Bukit Raja between 9.54pm on October 18, 2006 and 9.45pm the next day. The Mongolian national was reportedly shot before her body was blown up with C-4 explosives.
Lawyers for the elite guards said then that they would appeal the decision.
In 2013 the court of appeals acquitted police chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the murder but in 2015 the Federal Court decision overturned the 2014 Court of Appeal decision that had revoked the 2009 High Court guilty verdict and death sentence handed down to the two men.
Former chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 38, said in his defence that a superior had ordered him to help Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Baginda, and that he did not have a motive to kill or destroy the Mongolian translator. He said that he had done no more than to meet Altantuya Shaariibuu and advise her not to harass Abdul Razak Baginda or create a 'ruckus' outside his residence.
Former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, 43 described himself as a “sacrificial lamb” during the 2009 court proceedings.
The Southeast Asian Times



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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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

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