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established 2000
Sunday 15 December 2019
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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Aung San Suu Kyi dismisses proposal to replace Myanmar's military

Aung San Suu Kyi supporters outside the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday

From News Reports:
Myanmar, December 15: Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar, called on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, to dismiss the charge of genocide brought against Myanmar and also to dismiss the proposal put to the court to implement provisional measures to prevent further alleged abuses against Muslims in Rakhine State, reports the Myanmar Times.
Gambia's Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou who filed charges of genocide against Myanmar on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the International Court of Justice on November 11 rebutted Myanmar's argument against genocide and renewed the call for the court to implement provisional measures that would replace the military justice system.
State counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi warned in Myanmar's final submission at the conclusion of the three day hearing that the proposed provisional measures for Muslim Rakhine state would "undermine the ongoing reconciliation efforts."
The state counsellor said that neutralising the current military justice system in Myanmar and replacing it with an external justice system would be like “surgically removing a functioning body part”
Lawyer for Myanmar Chris Staker that the proposed provisional measures would also hinder the repatriation process in place, saying "that repatriation is supported by the public."
"The implication could be adverse as the situation on the ground remains complex," he said.
The president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) said the court would reach its final decision on provisional measures as soon as possible.
National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the popular vote with about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The military-drafted Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times

Humanitarian organisation denies complicity in Myanmar genocide

Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar and the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) coordinator U Aung Tun Thet deny allegations of genocide in Myanmar's Rankine State

From News Reports:
Myanmar, December 14: The Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) denied allegations made by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the organisation is complicit in genocide in Myanmar's Rakhine State at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday, reports the Myanmar Times.
The Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) that organised the rehabilitation and development of the Muslim Rakhine State denied complicity in genocide in its seizure of Muslim land as claimed by the Gambia's Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Coordinator of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD), U Aung Tun Thet, told the International Court of Justice on Wednesday "such action has never been taken by UEHRD."
The Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) coordinator U Aung Tun Thet, told the panel of judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) does not accept the allegations against the organisation, saying “we categorically deny the allegations made at the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the confiscation of land,” he said.
"The land used for building reception and transit centres was provided by the Rakhine State government," he said.
He said Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) carried out its work to help prepare for the repatriation of refugees in line with the instructions of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar, refuted claims of genicide on the first day of the two day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague saying that "genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis."
State counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi refuted claims of genecide saying that Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou has placed before the Hague Court an incomplete and misleading factual picture of the situation in Rakhine State in Myanmar.
"Currently, an internal armed conflict is going on in the Rankine State – between the Arakan Army, an organised Buddhist armed group with more than 5000 fighters, and the regular Myanmar Defence Services," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Aung San Suu Kyi refutes Myanmar genocide claim in the Hague court

Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi refuted accusations of genocide in Myanmar in her address before the judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on Wednesday, saying that "genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis"

From News Reports:
Yangon, December 13: Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar, refuted claims of genicide at the two day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on Wednesday, saying that "genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis," reports the Myanmar Times.
Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said "there can be no genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing."
She said that although the focus at the hearing is on members of the
military, saying that she said she can assure the court that appropriate action would also be taken against civilian offenders in line with due process.
"There will be no tolerance of human rights violations in the Rakhine or elsewhere in Myanmar," she said.
Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on November 11 on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) accusing the Myanmar government with genocide of the Rakhine State's Muslim minority, claiming that "Myanmar intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part."
The Gambia Justice Minister alleges that Myanmar's campaign against Rakhin Muslims including killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, saying that "the campaign was genocidal in character."
Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi refuted claims of genecide saying that Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou has placed before the Court an incomplete and misleading factual picture of the situation in Rakhine State in Myanmar.
"Currently, an internal armed conflict is going on in the Rankine State – between the Arakan Army, an organised Buddhist armed group with more than 5000 fighters, and the regular Myanmar Defence Services," she said.
She said that the Arakan Army seeks autonomy or independence for Rakhine – or Arakan as it was called – finding inspiration in the memory of the historic Kingdom of Arakan, saying "this conflict has led to the displacement of thousands of civilians in Rakhine."
Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi called on the panel of judges at the hearing in the International court of the Hague to bear in mind the complex situation and the challenge to sovereignty and security in Myanmar when assessing the intent of those who attempted to deal with the rebellion.
"Surely, under the circumstances, genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis", she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Protesters call on Indonesia to release West Papua's political prisoners

Protesters at the South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday call for the release of six West Papua political prisoners arrested for treason in August

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 12: Protesters in support of a referendum for independence for West Papua, called for the release of six West Papuan political prisoners, who were arrested and charged with treason in August for flying the banned Bintang Kejora, or Morning Star, flag at the Merdeka State Palace, with their lawyer saying at the South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday "the law is not valid for Papuan people" reports the Jakarta Post.
About 20 protesters called for the release of the West Papuan political prisoners at a pre-trial hearing at the South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday, blocking the road leading to the entrance of the district court.
Lawyer for the six West Papuans, Michael Hilman, said that the judge denied a pre-trial motion submitted by the six West Papuans, saying that the charge of treason would be pursued by police.
He claims that the judge did not consider the statements of expert witnesses in the submission for a pre trial motion, saying "the law is not valid for Papuan people"
West Papuans, Surya Anta, Isay Wenda, Dano Tabuni, Ambrose Mulait, Carles Kosay, and Arian Lokbere are charged with treason for flying the banned separatist flag, saying as they called on the Indonesian government for self-determination "Papua is not red and white (Indonesian national flag), Papua is the morning star (West Papuan flag)."
They demanded the withdrawal of the Indonesian Military (TNI) from Papua and full independence from Indonesia, rejecting the result of the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) an election held on August 2, 1969 in which the 1,025 voters were selected by the Indonesian Military (TNI).
In October the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) condemned the alleged secretive transfer of seven West Papuans charged with treason from West Papua to East Kalimantan, calling on West Papua police to return the political prisoners.
The seven West Papuans were arrested in Jayapura in August and September following a series of student protests that spread to almost all regions in West Papua including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong with West Papuans calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua.
Agus Kossay, chairman of the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) and Buktar Tabuni, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok, Irwanus Uropmabin who are members of Free Papua Movement affilated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) were reportedly transferred without any legal basis.
The National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) claims that "the transfer process was secretly done, denying the prisoners' rights to legal assistance," saying that "the Law and Human Rights Ministry had yet to issue a letter to justify the transfer of the seven from West Papua to Kalimantan".
"The Papua Police chief and police investigator are in breach of Article 85 of the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP)"
The Southeast Asian Times

Christmas in Hong Kong the worst ever for retailers

Shops closed in shopping mall in Admiralty district of Hong Kong 5 October 2019

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, December 11: Thousands of retail jobs could be lost and thousands of stores could be out of business during the next six months as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue to disrupt sales over Christmas, with the Hong Kong Retail Management Association saying "this will be the worst Christmas in Hong Kong history," reports the Straits Times
Hong Kong Retail Management Association chairwoman, Annie Tse, said that a survey conducted by the association shows that 30 percent say they would cut jobs while 43 percent say they cannot continue to operate beyond six months.
"If cash flow doesn't improve and landlords don't help there will be a wave of layoffs and business shutdowns," she said.
She said that the Hong Kong Retail Management Association interviewed 176 retailers, covering 4,310 stores and 89,700 employees.
"The month of December that is typically a busy shopping season with the Christmas and New Year holidays is looking glum this year," she said.
"This will be the worst Christmas in Hong Kong history," she said.
She said that retail sales for the this month are likely to be similar to the record-low levels of October or less.
"We don't feel positive about the situation in January either," she said.
The Hong Kong Retail Management Association represents about 63,000 businesses, the majority of which are small- and medium-sized enterprises.
In August the Hong Kong Retail Management Association called on Hong Kong landlords to cut rents by half for six months to counter slowing retail sales amid mass street protests that contnued in the streets on Sunday with an estimated 800,000 marching through the streets.
Protests that began with the "pro-democracy umbrella movement" in 2014 became a symbol of defiance against Beijing with the students calling on Beijing to give Hong Kong direct elections and for the resignation of the then Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was elected by committee in Beijing.

The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi leaves for the Hague to defend genocide

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to leave for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Monday to contest the charge of genocide against Myanmar in Myanmar's Rakhine State

From News Reports:
Yangon, December 10: National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, left for the Hague to attend the two day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) yesterday to defend charges of genocide in Myanmar's Rakhine State with the parliamentary speaker saying "Aung San Suu Kyi is not the president but the leader of the nation," reports the Myanmar Times.
State counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, is accompanied by the minister of the State Counsellor’s office, U Kyaw Tint Swe, and the minister of International Cooperation, U Kyaw Tin, and other senior Myanmar government officials at the hearing that begins today.
Former Hluttaw parliament speaker and chair of Union Betterment Party (UBP) said in support of the state counsellor's defence of charges of genocide that "Aung San Suu Kyi is the most responsible person in Myanmar."
“The State Counsellor is not the president but the leader of the nation,” he said.
He said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would provide an opportunity for Myanmar to explain the real situation in northern Rakhine including that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army August 25, 2017 attacks worsened the deep-rooted problems in Rakhine.
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, 2017.
Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou who filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on November 11 on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) charging the Myanmar government with genocide of the Rakhine State's Muslim minority, claims that "Myanmar intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part."
The Gambia Justice Minister alleges that Myanmar's campaign against Rakhin Muslims including killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, claims that "the campaign was genocidal in character."
National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the popular vote with about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The military-drafted Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian government cannot act against mass Islamic organisation

Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization charman Rizieq Shihab is charged with alleged defamation of the Pancasila and former president Sukarno

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 9: The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) called on the Indonesian government to immediately decide on the renewal of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization, saying that the proposal by the mass organisation for renewal "seems to have been set aside", reports the Jakarta Post.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator, Yati Andriyani, says that setting aside the renewal of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization by the government "deepens suspicion that there is political colusion."
She said that the government cannot act against the mass Islamic organisation's encouragment of the establishment of an Islamic caliphate while the renewal of the mass organisation is set aside, saying that "it is vital that government agencies maintain a discourse with the mass organisation."
"Evidence shows that the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization encouraged the establishment of an Islamic caliphate against Pancasila", she said.
She said that setting aside the renewal of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization hinders the enforcement of the law.
"The government must be committed to the implementation of Law No. 17/2013 for the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) organization," she said.
In October 2019 the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) spokesman Rivan Lee Ananda rebuked President Joko Widodo's Inauguration speech, saying that the President excluded law enforcement, human rights and corruption eradication from his inaugural speech at the People’s Consultative Assembly.
In February 2017 Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) chairman, Rizieq Shihab was questioned by police for insulting state ideology, the Pancasila, after failing to respond to two summons to attend the West Java Police headquarters in Bandung.
Rizieq Shihab said that he was questioned on the history of Pancasila and state ideology and the implementation of Islamic Law.
West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said then that the questioning of Rizieq Shihab on suspicion of alleged defamation of state ideology the Pancasila and first president Soekarno "is not over yet."
"The investigation is ongoing," he said.
In October 2015 the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) chairman Rizieq Shihab refused to apologise to the victims of the 1965 communist purge in Indonesia saying that an apology from president Joko Widowo for the mass killing of communists "would lead to the rise of a communist ideology and threaten Muslims."
The Southeast Asian Times


New reform party campaigns against military conscription in Thai schools

Future Forward Party (FFP) member for Chachoengsao, Chirat Thongsuwan, asked students to raise their hands if they didn't want to become a soldier, saying that the response encouraged him to scale up his campaigne and visit more schools

From News Reports:
Bangkok, December 8: Thailand's newly established Future Forward Party (FFP) that campained for military reform in the March general elections is accused of campaigning against conscription at Thai schools to "turn students against mandatory military conscription, " reports Bangkok Post.
Thai Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan accused the Future Forward Party (FFP) of attempting to turn students against military conscription, saying "it is not right for a politician or a political party to take advantage of students.
He said that it was not right that Future Forward Party (FFP) member for Chachoengsao, Chirat Thongsuwan, took advantage of students, saying that the member of parliament "had no right to lure students into believing
any specific political propaganda."
"The Education Ministry already supports students learning about democracy in various extracurricular activities including the student council," he said.
He said that the Future Forward Party (FFP) is instigating hatred against the military among the young, saying "this is an evil thing to do."
"Every member of Parliament should instead contribute to promoting education, not exploit the young for political advantage," he said.
Future Forward Party (FFP) member for Chachoengsao, Chirat Thongsuwan, who campaigned for the end of military conscription at the Phai Kaew Witthaya school in Plaeng Yao district in his electorate on Monday, said that he had been given permission to speak to students by the school executives.
He said that his speech against military conscription was delivered in the presence of the school director and teacher, saying that "the young have every right to information about conscription as it is they who are affected, not the military, the government or any cabinet minister."
"The military must make conscription open to debate," he said.
Newly established Future Forward Party (FFP) returned 244 votes, second after the pro-Royal Thai Armed Forces ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) with 500 votes, effectively electing Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in as Prime Minister of Thailand in the general elections held in March.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian police accused of sexual harassment of West Papuan student

Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw says that an internal investigation will be conducted into the alleged sexual harassment of a West Papuan female student in police custody

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 7: Two Indonesian National Police officers are under investigation for the alleged sexual harassment of a West Papuan female student at the Papua Police headquarters in Jayapura, reports the Jakarta Post.
The female student has been in police custody since her arrest in October for her alleged involvement in separatists protests in Wamena in West Papua that ended in the razing of government offices and the closure of the Wamena Airport.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw confirmed on Friday that two police officers are under investigation for sexual harrasment of the female prisoner, saying that "the police officers are being dealt with by police internal affairs."
"We will investigate these deplorable human beings,” he said.
Papuan Human Rights Advocacy Association lawyer Yohanis Mambrasar for the student said that sexual harrasment occurred on the morning of November 14 and on December 2, saying that "the first occurred in the Papua Police headquarters visitors room at about 10am as the prisoner swept the room."
The lawyer said that police officer identified as RO entered the room and asked the student to have sex with him, saying that he asked her four times but that the prisoner ignored him.
The second police officer identifed as W reportedly entered the students cell in the early hours of December 2, waking the detainee as he sat on her bed.
The student said that police officer identified as W asked questions about her family including personal questions that ended with him asking the detainee to have sex with him.
The student reportedly screamed, waking other detainees held in the Jayapura Papua Police headquarters.
The student who was detained on October 11 for alleged involvement in protests in Wamena West Papua on September 31 was intitially held in police custody at the Jayawijaya Police station in Wamena before moved to Jayapura.
Lawyer Yohanis Mambrasar said that the student was intimidated by the police officers at the Wamena police station with accusations that she had set fire to a university building.
The lawyer said that a police officer woke the student in the middle of the night and accused her of setting fire to a university building in Wamena while pointing a weapon at her feet.
About 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were reportedly deployed to secure West Papua's provinces including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong following protests that began in August calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in West Papua.
West Papuans separatists reportedly organised by the West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) brandished machetes and arrows in the streets of Wamena in September, setting government offices ablaze and forcing local officials to close the Wamena Airport.
The West Papua provincial administration called on South Sulawesi migrants in Wamena, Jayawijaya regency, West Papua not to join the mass exodus of Indonesians following the riots in Wamena that left 33 dead amd more than 70 injured.
The Southeast Asian Times


Fiji women fly banned Morning Star flag in solidarity with West Papua

Women at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in Suva fly the banned West Papuan 'Bintang Kejora" Baru or Morning Star flag in solidarity with the West Papuan "struggle for independence"

From News Reports:
Suva, December 6: Fiji's women hoisted the banned West Papuan 'Bintang Kejora" Baru or Morning Star flag in Suva in solidarity with the West Papuan 58th anniversary of the declaration of Independence and the founding of the separatist Organisation Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement, reports the Fiji Times.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and other civil organisations reportedly showed solidarity for the West Papuan call for Independence from Indonesia by flying the banned in Indonesia West Papua 'Bintang Kejora" Baru or Morning Star flag at the Suva crisis centre on Sunday.
Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) coordinator, Shamima Ali, said the Morning Star flag was a symbol of West Papua’s unity in its quest for freedom and justice, saying "the flag is a source of inspiration for thousands of Papuans and it has become the main icon embodying the territory’s struggle for independence."
She claims that reports have shown that four out of 10 Papuan women are subjected to violence perpretated by Indonesia state authorities.
In May 2016 thousands held simultaneous rallies in Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
In June 2015 the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP ) that represents independence from Indonesia was admitted as an observer to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) while Indonesia was admitted as a full member to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)
Indonesia is represented in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), that includes member countries Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS ), by elected officials of its "ethnic" Melanesian provinces including West Papua,
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) failed in its bid for full membership to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) but was instead granted observer status on condition that the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) only represent West Papuans living outside West Papua.
The Southeast Asian Times


Bomb squad investigates explosion at National Monument in Jakarta

An explosion believed to be a smoke grenade on Jl. Medan Merdeka on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara at the National Monument in Central Jakarta on Tuesday morning injured two Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 5: Indonesia's bomb squad are conducting an investigation into an explosion believed to be a smoke grenade at the National Monument in Central Jakarta near the State Palace and government offices on Tuesday morning that left two Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel injured, reports the Jakarta Post.
National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said that the explosion took place at 7.15am on the northern side of the monument complex across from the Home Ministry on Jl. Medan Merdeka on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara about 400 meters from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s office at the State Palace.
“Our team at the crime scene found that the explosion was caused by a smoke grenade,” he said.
He said that the victims, two military garrison personnel, Sgt. Maj. Fajar and Chief Pvt. Gunawan, were on a regular morning exercise with other Indonesian Military TNI personnel when they were injured by the explosion.
"The two victims are recovering from their injuries at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital," he said.
The day before the explosion took place, the area surrounding the National Monument in Central Jakarta was reportedly the site of a gathering of Muslim activists commemorating the third anniversary of a December 2, 2016 rally, held to demand the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
The National Police Gegana bomb squad and the Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (Inafis) Unit, have been deployed to investigate the site of the explosion.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said police were investigating the explosion to determine wheter it was linked to terrorism, saying "we are still looking into the matter," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Students accused of treason for refusing to salute Indonesian flag

Two junior high school students were accused of treason for refusing to salute the Indonessian national flag at a ceremony at the Batam 21 Junior High School in the Riau Islands last week

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 4: Two junior high school students, expelled for refusing to salute the Indonessian national flag at a ceremony at the Batam 21 Junior High School in the Riau Islands last week, are accused of treason, reports the Jakarta Post.
The students, who were in their final year of study at the school, were reportedly following their religious beliefs as Jehovah Witnesses, had refused to salute the national flag, sing the anthem, or attend religion classes since their enrolment at the junior high school.
Indonesian Military (TNI) Batam Barat 02 Military Rayon commander Capt. R. Sitinjak said that their religious beliefs barred them from saluting the national flag and singing the national anthem, accusing the students of treason.
"What the two students did was treason," he said.
Human rights advocacy group Setara Institute deputy head Bonar Tigor Naipospos said that freedom of religion and belief is indeed the right of every person and must be respected by the state.
"But citizens must comply with state laws and regulations in a public place," he said.
He said that every Indonesian citizen must honor the national flag as the state symbol, saying that "there is no other option but for citizens to honour the national flag."
Head of the Batam 21 Junior High School committee, Dadang M.A said that the committee had asked the students and their parents to abide by the rules, saying that "the school does not ban religious beliefs."
"Their parents said that saluting the flag means they have betrayed their God', he said.
He said that the Batam 21 Junior High School committee meeting was attended by represenatatives from the the Batam Education Agency, the Ministry of Religious affairs and Indonesian Military (TNI) Batam Barat 02 Military Rayon
In August West Papuan students were forcibly removed from their dormitory in Surabaya in East Java on Indonesia's 74th Independence Day anniversary on August 17 for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian national flag.
The Southeast Asian Times


West Papuans fire on Freeport mine vehicle ahead of OPM anniversary

West Papuan gunmen fired on a PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) copper and gold mine vehicle in the West Papua province of Mimika near Timika at Mile 60 in Tembagapura subdistrict on Saturday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 3: West Papuan gunmen fired on a PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) copper and gold mine vehicle in the West Papua province of Mimika near Timika, a day ahead of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) anniversary on December 1, reportedly with no casualities, reports the Jakarta Post.
Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Colonel, Eko Daryanto, said that the gunmen who fired at the escort vehicle belonged to an armed West Papuan rebel group.
"The military and police will be on alert for the armed Papuan criminals who were keen to disrupt Papua's security", he said.
The gunmen fired at a PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) copper and gold mine vehicle at Mile 60 in Tembagapura subdistrict, Mimika District at about 3.50pm on Saturday.
The driver Ramadhani and passengers Latif and Matthew Philips were reportedly waiting for the arrival of the
the PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) employee shuttle bus from the Timika bus terminal when attacked by the gunmen.
West Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw reportedly warned of the potential security threats posed by armed West Papuan groups at the PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) copper and gold mine sites ahead of the commemoration of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) anniversary on Sunday December 1
"Several groups of armed Papuan rebels from Pegunungan Tengah in Jayawijaya District were observed in Intan Jaya District and were heading toward the mining areas of PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI)", he said.
In February 2018 the Indonesian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the West Papua provincial administration and the Mimika regency administration, granting the local government a 10 percent stake in the pending divestment of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), located in Timika in the eastern region of Papua.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that under the MoU both the West Papua administration and Mimika regency would jointly own a 10 percent stake of the 51 percent of divested PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) shares.
“The portion of the stake is to accommodate the rights of indigenous people who are affected by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) operations,” she said.
The Independent Traditional Community spokesman, Vinsen Oniyoma, said that "the traditional rights of major tribal communities in Amungme and Kamoro over land used by Freeport had not been respected since the establishment of the mine in 1967.
"Freeport has caused extensive damage to the environment," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia to monitor West Papua separatist movement commemoration

West Papua Police Chief Brig. Gen. Herry Rudolf Nahak said there would be no additional personnel stationed in West Papua for the commemoration of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) on December 1

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 2: National Police chief General Idham Azis and Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto arrived in West Papua on Wednesday saying there would be no additional personnel deployed to West Papua ahead of the commemoration of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) on December 1, reports the Jakarta Post.
General Idham Azis and Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto are on a five day visit to West Papua reportedly to monitor the banned commemoration of the founding of the West Papua separatist Organisation Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement that includes the hoisting of the banned Bintang Kejora, or Morning Star, flag, on December 1.
National Police chief insp. Gen Paulus Waterpauw said that at least 3000 personnel would be stationed in West Papua until the end of the year, saying that "their assignment was extended in order to secure the the West Papua separatist Organisation Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement anniversary and would include Christmas Day and New Year.
"We have extended their duty to December 31," he said.
West Papua Police Chief Brig. Gen. Herry Rudolf Nahak said that there would be no additional personnel stationed in West Papua for the commemoration of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) on December 1.
“There will be no additional security as the areas have already been reinforced," he said.
About 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were reportedly deployed to secure West Papua provinces including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong following protests in August and September calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in West Papua.
West Papuan human rights lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy called on the Indonesian government not to stigmatize the December 1 separatist Organisation Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement anniversary commemoration in Papua.
“I remind the Indonesian government and the authorities not to label December 1st in a negative light as it is a historic day for indigenous Papuans,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam adds new policy to new National Defence White Paper

Vietnam Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General, Nguyen Chi Vinh, said on the release of Vietnam's National Defence Paper 2019 earlier this week that Vietnam’s previous “three no's” defense policy has turned to “four no's” policy

From News Reports:
Hanoi, December1: Vietnam's National Defence White Paper 2019, the fourth since 1998 that was released earlier this week, includes a further commitment to the previous "three no's" policy, reaffirming Vietnam's policy of non-participation in military alliances, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The National Defence White Paper 2019 reaffirms Vietnam's commitment to the "three no's" defence policy that was included in the three previous National Defence White Papers in 1998, 2004, and 2009, and that now includes a fourth commitment to the reaffirmaton of Vietnam's non-participation in military alliances.
Vietnam Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General, Nguyen Chi Vinh,, said that the new National Defence White Paper reaffirms that Vietnam will not join military alliances with another country, will not align with one country against another and will not allow foreign military bases on Vietnamese soil as in previous National Defence Papers but that a "fourth no's" defence policy was included in the National Defence White Paper 2109.
"Vietnam has committed not use force or threaten to use force in international relations in the Defence White Paper 2019", he said.
Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said that the National Defence White Paper 2019 also includes a commitment to Vietnam's self reliance in defence that includes the provision of defence investment that is in line with Vietnam's economic development.
The Southeast Asian Times

China rejects US human rights law that imposes sanctions on Hong Kong

China Ministry of National Defense spokesperson, Ren Guoqiang, said on the signing of the United States Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law that the People’s Liberation Army was determined and ready to safeguard China’s sovereignty and the long-term stability of Hong Kong

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, November 30: China rejects the United States Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 that imposes sanctions on Hong Kong should China not maintain autonomy, calling the United States law a "blatant hegemonic move," reports Xinhua.
The government of the People's Republic of China warned the United States of America in a statement issued on the signing of the United States Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 by President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying that "China would take countermeasures and the U.S. must bear the consequences."
"We remind the United States that Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs and no foreign government or force shall interfere, " said the statement.
The government of China said in the statement that "the United States Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 "would further expose the malicious and hegemonic nature of United States' intentions towards the people of China and Hong Kong."
"We urge the United States not to go down this path," the statement said.
United States President Donald Trump also signed the Protect Hong Kong Act into law that prohibits the sale of American munitions including tear gas and rubber bullets to law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong.
United States President Donald Trump said that the United States Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and the Protect Hong Kong Act were signed into law out of respect for the President of China President Xi Jinping, the people of China and of Hong Kong.
“They are being enacted in the hope that China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences, leading to long-term peace and prosperity for all," he said.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 reportedly enables the United States to annually assess Hong Kong's level of autonomy from Beijing and reportedly cancel Hong Kong's trading privileges if autonomy is compromised.
In September thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong marched on the US Consulate in Hong Kong urging the United States to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 that was proposed in 2017 by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China in order to reportedly "renew the historical commitment of the United States to uphold freedom and democracy in Hong Kong at a time when autonomy in Hong Kong is increasingly under assault."
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans arrested ahead of anniversary of separatist movement

West Papuans hoist the banned symbol of independence the 'Bintang Kejora" Baru or Morning Star flag at the State Palace in Jakarta in September amid protests across Indonesia calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua

From News reports
Jakarta, November 29: The Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police in West Papua's capital, Manokwari, arrested eight West Papuans believed to be involved in the preparation of the anniversay of the founding of the separatist Organisation Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement on December 2, confiscating 29 banned Bintang Kejora, or Morning Star flags , reports the Jakarta Post.
West Papua Police Chief Brigadier General Herry Rudolf Nahak said that the arrest of eight West Papuans was carried out in an early morning raid
by the Manokwari police.
"According to the initial investigation, the eight arrested claim they were given flyers calling for participation in the upcomming commemoration that is planned to be held at the Borasi Manokwari field." he said.
He said that the source of the flyers calling for participation in the banned commemoration of the founding of the separatist Organisasion Papua Merdeka (OPM) "will be thoroughly investigated "
"Including how innocent residents of the West Papua mountains were used by the separatist movement", he said.
He said that those arrested were not aware of the legal consequences of their actions in the illegal participation of the commemoration of the founding of the separatist movement.
In September Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo) member of the West Papua Sorong City office was arrested at the Manokwari Rendani airport in possession of 1,500 banned Bintang Kejora or Morning star flags.
Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo) member, Sayang Mandabayan, was to take part in a protest in Manokwari in support of students in Surabaya who were forcibly removed by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian national flag on Indonesia's Independence Day anniversay on August 17.
The West Papuan call on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua had spread to almost all regions in West Papua with West Papuans setting fire to the Manokwari West Papua Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) building
About 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were reportedly deployed to secure Indonesia's most eastern provinces including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong.
Papuan students also protested at the United States embassy in Jakarta against the United Nations-brokered New York Agreement in 1963 that transferred control of western Papua New Guinea from the Netherlands to Indonesia, demanding the withdrawal of the Indonesian Military (TNI) from Papua and a referendum for independence from Indonesia.
The Papuans reject the result of the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) an election held on August 2, 1969 saying that the 1,025 voters were selected by the Indonesian Military (TNI).
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnamese in Australia want PM to intervene in HCMCity terrorist conviction

Vietnamese in Australia at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday called on the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrision to intervene in the terrorist conviction of Australian Vietnamese Van Kham Chau at the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court on 11 November

From News Reports:
Canberra, November 28: Vietnamese in Australia called on the Australian government to intervene in the terrorist conviction of Australian Vietnamese Van Kham Chau at the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court for attempting to overthrow the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with wife of the 70 year-old found guilty of terrorism accusing the Australian government of discrimination.
The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court sentenced Australian -Vietnamese Van Kham Chau, 70, to 12 years imprisonment on November 11 after finding him guilty of terrorism.
His wife, Quynh Trang Truong, said in a letter addressed to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrision, "one would have to wonder if my husband were a white Australian that the intervention might not be so weak or reluctant to date,"
"He's just following his passion to fight for democracy in Vietnam, his crime is loving his country," she said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly replied to Quynh Trang Truong, saying "the Australian government cannot intervene in another country's legal matters."
Van Kham Chau, reportedly a former navy veteran of the former US-backed state of South Vietnam, sought asylum in Malaysia after fleeing Vietnam in 1975, arriving by boat as a refugee in Australia in 1982.
The Vietnam Ministry of Public Security says that Chau Van Kham was tried for his involvement as a member of the US-based human rights group, Viet Tan, saying "Vietnam regards the Viet Tan as a terrorist group".
"Chau Van Kham had raised funds for anti-state activities, joined anti-Vietnam protests in Australia and recruited members to Viet Tan, says the Ministry of Public Security.
The Ministry says that Chau Van Kham Kham entered Vietnam from Cambodia in January this year and provided funds of US$400 to Viet Tan operations, saying that "providing funds for Viet Tan was an infringement of national security."
Viet Tan, chairman, Do Hoang Diem, said that Viet Tan will continue to support human rights defenders, saying that Chau Van Kham entered Vietnam to gain first-hand insight into the human rights situation in Vietnam, dismissing the trial at the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court as a "sham trial."
In June 2019 the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court sentenced three Vietnamese nationals and an American-Vietnamese to a total of 30 years in prison for their involvement in the Brotherhood for Democracy' organisation that attempted to overthrow the Vietnamese government.
Vietnamese Huynh Ðuc Thanh Bình, Tran Long Phi, Huynh Ðuc Thanh Bình and Vietnamese-American Nguyen Michael Phuong Minh, pleaded guilty to involvement in the activities of the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' organisation.
The Court found that the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' organisation was reportedly responsible for the purchase of weapons, for organising demonstrations including the occupation of government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the instigation of riots between March 2013 and July 2017.
The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court reportedly found that activities carried out by the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' organisation aimed to overthrow the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and abolish the leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam.
The 'Brotherhood for Democracy' was reportedly a guise for its members to collaborate with illegal organisations both in and outside Vietnam."
The members of the organisation were accused of seeking funds and support from "hostile overseas forces" in order to "spread anti-government propaganda.
The 'Brotherhood for Democracy' was reportedly accused of formulated internal and external policies and guidelines to recruit and provide training programes for new member in order to subvert the political system of Vietnam and replace it with a pluralistic multi-party system.
The Southeast Asian Times


Hong Kong council elections results hailed a democratic tsunami

Hong Kong New Territories East pro-democracy candidates Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, Gary Fan Kwok-wai, Steven Kwok Wing-kin and poll organiser Andrew Chiu Ka-yin

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, November 27: Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates won the majority of votes in the District Council elections on Sunday following months of violent protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, with pro-democracy candidates hailing the results a ‘tsunami’.
Pro-democracy candidate Cheung Sau-yin, who defeated incumbent Wilson Wong Wai-shun in the Yuen Lung constituency in Yuen Long, describes Sunday's election results a “tsunami”.
He called on his allies in the pro-democracy camp to keep up their efforts in both the District Council and on the streets, saying "to achieve our goal of universal suffrage."
Student protester Tommy Cheung who won the seat in the Yuen Long district close to China’s border, said "this is a democratic tsunami.”
Almost three million voted for democratic candidates on Sunday with the pro-democracy camp securing almost 406 of the 452 District Council seats, an overwhelming increase over the 2015 District Council elections in which the pro-democracy camp secured only 100 of the 452 seats.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress pro-establishment candidate, Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, who held positions in the District Council, the Legislative Council and the Executive Council, lost his seat in the Sai Wan constituency of Central and Western District Council to a pro-democracty candidate.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was selected by a nominating committee from Beijing, said that the government respected the results, saying that "the government would listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect."
“There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society,” she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Referendum not to be rushed says Bougainville President John Momis

Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President John Momis castes his vote in a referendum for independence from Papua New Guineaat the Bel Isi Peace Park in Buka on Bougainville on Saturday

From News Reports:
Port Moresby, November 26: The referendum that would decide whether Bougainville would become independent from Papua New Guinea began on Saturday 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.
The peace process began with the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in 2001 after an estimated 15,000 people were killed in the conflict between the former Bogainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and the Me’ekamui Defence Force (MDF) over the open pit copper mine at Panguna in the late 1980's.
President John Momis said that both the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Papua New Guinea government must be ready to continue their cooperation and work to avoid any renewal of conflict.
The open pit copper mine at Panguna mine was closed but could be reopened after the referendum to provide a valuable source of export revenue and make the island a destination for resource investors.
“Just as the peace agreement was a remarkable success, we now have the opportunity to again develop something new and extraordinary,” he said.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape reportedly made a commitment to a referendum for Bougainville when he became Prime Minister in May.
He said that the referendum is the next important part of the peace process, saying that "the referendum means that the voices of the people of Bougainville will be heard."
"The referendum is the basis on which the government of Bougainville and the government of Papua New Guinea will consult after the referendum has taken place," he said.
He said that political independence is meaningless without economic independence, saying that "complex discussions and negotiations would take place after the referendum before any proposed political settlement is reached."
The Southeast Asian Times


Record number of Hong Kongers
cast direct vote in council elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was selected by a nominating committee from Beijing, casts her vote in the Hong Kong District Council elections yesterday

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, November 25: More than half the population of Hong Kong registered to vote in the District Council elections yesterday with a record 4.1 million from 7 million Hong Kong residents eligible to cast their vote in one of most unpredictable polls in the city’s history, reports the South China Morning Post.
"Hong Kong is bracing for the most unpredictable elections in recent years as millions cast their vote amid continuing street protests that have gripped the city since June" reports the South China Morning Post.
The pro-establishment camp
that supports Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng reportedly fears it will bear the brunt of anger from voters who blame the government for chaos in the city but says that the opposition, who are in support of protesters, may pay the price for recent escalation in violence, including at two universities in the last week.
Pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) vice-chairman Chan Hok-fung said that “a lot of people support the violence so the situation is beyond what we can predict and assess.”
“It will be a tough battle,” he said.
The South China Morning Post reports that there was little optimism in the opposition camp saying that analysts warned that increasing violence could sway voters away from opposition pan-democrats.
Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei said that the pan-democrats have the upper hand but that it "isn’t one-sided", saying that "some voters have switched to the pro-establishment side."
"I remain cautious," he said.
Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said that while voter turnout could set a record, the result of the District Council elections was unpredictable.
He said that the pan-democrats could have won a landslide victory if the elections had been held when the protests erupted in June.
“But after clashes at two universities in the last week, undecided voters may be worried about public order and be discouraged from voting,” he said.
“It will be difficult for the opposition camp to win more than half the seats," he said.
The South China Morning Post reports that 1,090 candidates contested 452 seats across Hong Kong, saying that "It was the first time that no candidate was returned uncontested in the district council polls."
Voters in Hong Kong's 18 districts will directly elect councillors who reportedly handle community-level affairs that include transport and public facilities.
The Southeast Asian Times


Court upholds acquittal of fugitive former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was tried in absentia for malfeasance under Article 157 of the Criminal Code - the law that governs the behaviour of officials of State agencies; the Commercial Banks Act; the Securities and Exchange Act, and the Public Companies Act

From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 24: The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions upheld the acquittal of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on charges of malfeasance in Bangkok on
Friday, reports the Bangkok Post.
The panel of nine judges reportedly found no evidence to support the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) allegations that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his associates profited from the Finance Ministry rehabilitation plan for the Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI).
The National Anti-Corruption Commission claimed that the Finance Ministry had no authority to administer the rehabilitation plan under the
law.
The panel of judges ruled on Friday that "although there was no law allowing the Finance Ministry to oversee the rehabilitation plan for the financially ravaged Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI), the ministry was obligated to intervene to avert a larger crisis."
In August 2018 the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions acquitted fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia of malfeasance with a majority vote saying that Thaksin could not have sought personal gains from his decision to allow the Finance Ministry to administer the Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) rehabilitation plan.
The Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) charged former fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with malfeasance for ordering the Finance Ministery to administer a rehabilitation plan for the bankrupt Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) private company in 2003.
The bankrupt Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI), since renamed IRPC Plc, entered a bankruptsy court-ordered rehabilitation plan that allegedly included the nomination of committe members by former fugitive prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
The court also found that creditor banks, debtors and the labour union of Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) agreed with the role of the Thai government Finance Ministry and that the role was in accordance with an order from the Central Bankruptcy Court.
The court found that Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) financial troubles were the result of the 1997 floatation of the baht during the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh government, causing Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI), foreign debts to double overnight from 65 billion to 130 billion.
The Southeast Asian Times


Aung San Suu Kyi to defend Myanmar against genocide charge

National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, to lead legal team to International Court of Justice in The Hague

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 23: The State Counsellor of Mayanmar Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is to lead the legal team that will contest the charge of genocide in Myanmar's Rakhine State filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague last week, reports the Myanmar Times.
The West African country of Gambia filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on November 11 on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) charging the Myanmar government with genocide of the Rakhine State's Muslim minority.
Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou alleges that Myanmar’s campaign against Rakhine Muslims that include “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, are genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part.”
The office of the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi released a statement on Wednesday saying, "Myanmar has retained prominent international lawyers to contest the case submitted by Gambia."
“The State Counsellor, in her capacity as Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, will lead a team to The Hague, Netherlands, to defend the national interest of Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” said the statement.
In November 2016 Human rights activists in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta called on the Asscociation of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to intervene in the plight of the stateless Rohingya Muslim refugees in Myanmar urging the Myanmar National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the ASEAN community to take action against "the ongoing abusive military action against Rohingyas".
National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the popular vote with about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The military-drafted Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar's armed ethnic goups to fight genocide charges in the Hague

Myanmar's 10 ethnic armed groups, the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), at the fourth Anniversary of the National Cease Fire Agreement (NCA) at Nay Pyi Taw on 29th of October 2019

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 22: Myanmar's ethnic armed groups, the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), are to contest the charges of genocide in Rakhine State, with Colonel Sai Nguen, spokeman for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), saying "Myanmar's problems are our affair, reports the Myanmar Times.
The West African country of Gambia filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on November 11 on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) charging the Myanmar government with genocide of the Myanmar's Rakhine State's Muslim minority.
Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou alleges that Myanmar’s campaign against Rakhine Muslims that include “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, are genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part.”
Myanmar's ten ethnic armed groups, the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, Arakan Liberation Party, Chin National Front, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, the Karen National Union (KNU) armed wing of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), Peace Council, the PNLO, the RCSS, New Mon State Party, and Lahu Democratic Union, who signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in 2015, say that the accussations of genocide against Myanmar by the international community undermine the country's transition to democracy.
"We have discussed ways to counter the internal and external attacks that seek to undermine the Union’s image,’’ the group said in a statement.
The United Nations fact-finding mission warned last month that "there is a serious risk of genocide recurring", saying that "Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against Myanmar Rakhine Muslims.
Myanmar's presidential office spokesman, U Zaw Htay, said that the Myanmar government will answer charges of genocide
brought by the Gambia government before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that settles disputes between nations at the hearing in December.
He said that Myanmar is a member of the United Nations and will attend the first hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December.
But the Myanmar's presidential office spokesman, U Zaw Htay, said that the Myanmar government would not respond to the complaint filed before the International Court of Arbitration (ICC), that seeks to convict individuals, saying that Myanmar did not sign the statute that established the International Court of Arbitration (ICC).
The Southeast Asian Times

US and Philippines to continue Mutual Defence Treaty relationship

Philippines Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana and United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper reaffirmed their commitment to the 70 year old Mutual Defence Treaty in the Philippines on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Manila, November 21: Visiting United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper called on Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to continue to work closely together as they have done in the past 70 years to uphold international law in the Pacific and in the South China Sea, reports the Philiphine Inquirer.
United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said that the United States remains commited to the Mutual Defence Treaty with the Philippines, saying that "the United States rejects attempts by any nation to use coercion or intimidation to advance its national interests at the expense of others."
He said that United States commitment to the Mutual Defence Treaty applies to the entire Pacific region including the South China Sea, saying that "it is crucial that the Philippines and the United States stand together to preserve freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea."
The United States and Philippines defence ministers reportedly commited to the enhancement of joint military excercises, strengthening of cyber security awareness and improving defence infrastructure, with US Seceretary of defense Mark Esper saying "overall, I'm very pleased with the outcome of the meeting."
"The alliance with the Philippines is absolutely vital to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific," he said.
In May 2014 the United States and the Philippines signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that would allow the US military to maintain its facilities, station its troops for rest and recreation, dock its sea vessels, land its jetfighters, operate spy drones and plan, prepare and lauch operations, inluding power projection maneuvers and wars of aggression within and outside the Asia Pacific region.
In January 2016 the Philippines Supreme Court declared the 10 year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) constitutional amid calls from members of parliament to declare the agreement unconstitutional, saying that the agreement "surrendered Philippine sovereignty to a foreign power"
Supreme Court spokesman Theodore said then that "the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement is not constitutionally infirm."
"It remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Britain two-faced about protesters in Hong Kong, China says

China's ambassador to Britian, Liu Xiaoming, warned that if the protesters overstepped the mark it would be the end of the two nations, one government system that marks Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China

From News Reports
Hong Kong, November 20: China's ambassador to Britian has accused Britian of being two-faced about the increasingly violent anti-China-rule protests in the streets of Hong Kong, saying that the British pretend to be even-handed in the face of the violent demonstrations but in reality support the demands of the protesters, reports the Guardian.
China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, said that UK politicians, including the foreign affairs select committee, were fanning the flames of unrest by referring to violent demonstrators as pro-democracy protesters amid the worst scenes of violence in Hong Kong since June with the British calling for restraint on both sides.
"When the British government criticise Hong Kong police and the Hong Kong government in handling the situation, they are interfering in China’s internal affairs," he said.
He said that the British government and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons published Chin-related reports making irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong and that the US House of Representatives had adopted the Hong Kong Democratic and Human Rights Act, saying that Britian and the US "blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs,"
The British government and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons report says that autonomy, rights and freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law have been gradually eroded in recent years.
China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, said that the true agenda of the anti-China protesters in Hong Kong was the independence of Hong Kong from the motherland, saying that "the demand would never be met by China."
In September thousands of anti-China-rule protesters marched on the US Consulate in Hong Kong urging Washington to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act that was proposed in 2017 by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China in order to reportedly "renew the historical commitment of the United States to uphold freedom and democracy in Hong Kong at a time when its autonomy is increasingly under assault."
The passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in the US Congress would reportedly enable Washington to annually assess Hong Kong's level of autonomy from Beijing and reportedly cancel Hong Kong's trading privileges if autonomy is compromised.
The Southeast Asian Times

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

Singapore fumigates Australian cruise ship: 2000 passengers evacuated
From News Reports:
Singapore, November 18: About 2000 passengers were evacuated from the cruise ship MV Sun Princess in Singapore on Wednesday after 229 passengers including crew reported symptoms synonymous with the contagious norovirus, reports the Straits Times.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) the Ministry of Health and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) reportedly conducted a joint inspection of the cruise ship in Singapore on Wednesday in order to ensure that proper infection prevention proceedures that includes fumigation have been implemented.
"The affected passengers would be assessed by a medical practitioner upon disembarkation to ensure that they were fit for onward travel", said the spokesperson.
Spokesperson for the owners of the Princess Cruises, Carnival Australia, said that cruise ship MV Sun Princess left Fremantle on November 1 for a twelve day cruise and was enroute to Phuket in Thailand when passengers and crew reportedly fell ill.
The spokesperson said that passengers reported vomiting and diarrhea, saying that the symptoms were synonymous with the norovirus.
"A norovirus outbreak typically involves diarrhea and vomiting and is highly contagious", said the spokesperson
The spokesperson said that 229 of the 2000 passengers onboard the MV Sun Princess were affected by the noroviris, saying that "it takes relatively few reports of diarrhea and vomiting onboard for sanitation measures to be increased."
"Passengers suffering with the symptons of the norovirus remain in isolation onboard the MV Sun Princess," said the spokesperson.
In 2016 and 2017, the owners of the Princes Cruises, Carnival Australia, reported outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting on eight consecutive voyages that lead to a large scale Class Action Investigation into Carnival Australia on behalf of the affected passengers.
The Southeast Asian Times

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


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

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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



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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

erty 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