The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Wednesday 20 October 2021
GATHERINGS:
An informed guidexto happenings throughout
the region.  

China calls emergency COVID-19 meeting with ASEAN in Laos
From News Reports:
Beijing, February 19: An emergency meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was proposed by China is to be held in Vientiane, Laos on Thursday and Friday to discuss the COVID-19 virus epidemic.
The COVID-19 virus has so far killed 1,869 and infected 73,336 in China and has spread to the 10 ASEAN member states.
The meeting that was proposed by China is reportedly intended to share information and to improve coordination between China and the 10 ASEAN member states in order to combat the COVID-19 virus.
China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is reportedly to discuss China's measures in countering the COVID-19 virus epidemic at the meeting in Laos, with focus on strengthening joint prevention and control measures against the virus.
The meeting is also to explore the idea of establishing a long term and effective collaboration mechanism on public health to safeguard the region, with China Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying " China and Asean countries have been in close communication since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who will be attending the emergency COVID-19 virus epidemic meeting, said that the meeting will be an opportunity for the foreign ministers to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"The meeting will help strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states in the midst of this global health threat," he said.
His said that Cambodia's participation in the emergency meeting that was proposed by China will demonstrate Cambodia’s support of China and confidence in the measures taken by the China government to address the coronavirus outbreak.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Disciplinary inquiry to be conducted into AGO decision to withdraw hit and run charges against Red Bull heir

Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, who was released on bail after he was charged on September 3, 2012, with a hit and run accident that resulted in the death of a Bangkok police officer, fled Thailand for Singapore in 2017 after he repeatedly failed to report to police

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 20: The Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC) is to conduct a disciplinary inquiry into the Attorney Generals Office (AGO) decision to withdraw hit and run charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, reports the Bankgok Post.
The Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC) is to conduct a disciplinary inquiry into the decision by acting attorney-general, Nate Naksuk, to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir in July 2020 on grounds that new evidence showed that the Red Bull heir was not driving over the speed limit.
Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, was arrested on September 3, 2012 for reckless driving in a hit and run accident in Thong Lor, Bangkok that caused the death of Thong Lor police officer Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, then aged 27, allegedly drove a Ferrari sports car that fatally struck the police officer on September 3, 2012, and was charged with reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime and causing the death of a police officer.
Thong Lor, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, was driving a motorbike to early-morning sentry duty when he was struck by a black Farrari sports car driven by Vorayudh Yoovidhaya and dragged about 200 metres, died as a result of his injuries.
In July 2020 the Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, as acting attorney-general, signed the order to withdraw all charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, based on new evidence provided by two new witnesses during the investigation into the charge of reckless driving conducted by the Office of Attorney General in December 2019.
The two new witnesses stated that the Ferrari sports car was driven between 50-60km/h. and that the motorcycle driven by the policeman had abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari driven by Red Bull heir Vorayudh Yoovidhaya.
The Office of the Attorney General (AOG) concluded that "the crash was not caused by reckless driving on the part of the suspect, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, and that the suspect did not commit an offence under Section 291 of the Criminal Code, act by negligence and causing death.
The Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, who signed the order in July 2020 to withdraw all charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, had reversed the prosecutions earlier decision to indict.
The order to withdraw all charges was followed by the Constitution Court call for an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) decision to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir saying "the nation's justice system has been rendered meaningless after the prosecution decision to drop the charges and the police failure to challenge the decision."
The Southeast Asian Times


ASEAN excludes Commander of Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar from ASEAN summit

Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing has attended ASEAN meetings since the takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government at the exclusion of the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar that was founded after the takeover

From News Reports:
Bandar Seri Begawan, October 19: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair for 2021, Brunei, said after the ASEAN emergency Foreign Ministers meeting on Friday that no consensus was reached for a political representative from the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to attend the October 26-28 ASEAN summit, saying that "a non-political representative would be invited to the summit," reports Reuters.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar said after the Foreign Ministers emergency ASEAN meeting on Friday, that was held to discuss the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar agreement to a five point plan in April that included cessation of violence, that the decison made by ASEAN Foreign Ministers on Myanmar's representation at the October 26-28 ASEAN summit was made without consensus.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar said that Myanmar strongly objects to the outcome of the Emergency Foreign Ministers meeting saying that "ASEAN's decision went against its longtime central principle of consensus."
Brunei, the ASEAN Chair for 2021 said that there was a lack of progress made by the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing who attended the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April that concluded with consensus on a five point plan that included cessation of violence.
Malaysia's Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, said that it would be up to the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar to decide on an alternative representative to the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing to attend the October 26-28 ASEAN summit.
"We never thought of removing Myanmar from ASEAN, we believe Myanmar has the same rights as ASEAN," he said.
He said that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar has not cooperated with ASEAN, saying "ASEAN must be strong in defending its creditibility and integrity," he said.
The ASEAN chair for 2021 Brunei said that ASEAN member states had received requests from the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar to attend the ASEAN summit.
The National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar that was founded by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, has been excluded from ASEAN meetings since the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February 2021.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand compensates for 464 deaths from Covid-19 vaccinations so far

Nattha Nawo, shows the vaccination certificate given to her son Supoj Prasarnchue, 39, who died one week after receiving a mixed dosage, Sinovac followed by the AstraZeneca vaccine on October 7, 2021

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 18: The family of a 53 year-old Thai who died on Friday after recieving a second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine four days earlier, and the family of a 20-year-old who died on Thursday and the family of a 39 year-old who died Thursday week after receiving Covid-19 vaccines, will recieve compensation for their death from the National Health Security Office (NHSO) under the Covid-19 no-fault compensation program, that has paid compensation for 464 deaths so far, reports the Bangkok Post.
Somchai Pramuansab, 53, died at his home in Bangkok's Thanyaburi district on Friday after recieving a second dose of Sinopharm vaccine four days earlier, reportedly complaining of pain in the leg, heart palpitations and fatigue before he died.
Surachai Orsapanich, 20, died at the Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital in Muang district on Thursday of heart failure, ten days after receiving his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Supoj Prasarnchue, 39, died at the Nong Pluang tambon hospital in Bua Yai district on Thursday last week after receiving a mixed dosage, the Sinovac vaccine was followed four weeks later by the AstraZeneca vaccine, reportedly suffering a brain haemorrhage.
The National Health Security Office (NHSO) secretary-general, Dr. Jadej Thammatacharee, said that any illness resulting from a Covid-19 vaccination that requires continuous treatment is compensated to a maximum of 100,000 baht.
He said that up to 240,000 baht compensation is paid for a partial disability resulting from Covid-19 vaccinations and 400,000 baht compensation for death or severe disability under the Covid-19 no-fault program.
"A total of 230 million baht (US$6,837,403.00) has been paid to those who have serious side effects from vaccinations, including 464 vaccine-related deaths." he said.
In January 2021 the Ministry of Public Health called for verification of the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine ordered by Thailand from China following a report from Brazil’s public Butantan Institute, that the vaccine developed in partnership with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd is less effective than stated.
Brazil’s public Butantan Institute revealed that the vaccine is 50.4 percent effective in preventing coronavirus infections, with Thai Ministry of Public Health deputy permanent secretary, Supakit Sirilak, saying the ministry relied on the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that 50 percent efficiency is enough for emergency use.
In September 2021 Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, cautioned opposition Members of Parliament to be careful when criticising China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccine, saying "it could hurt bilateral ties," when answering allegations of corruption in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines in a no-confidence three day Parliament censure debate.
He said that devaluing certain vaccines when there are no facts can have consequences, saying "I urge you to use discretion or you will have to take responsibility for your comments."
The Southeast Asian Times


1MDH to summons Malaysian, Singaporean and Swiss bank for criminal conspiracy

Former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak who was Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board as found guilty of the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds and subsiduary SRS International Sdn Bhd and sentenced to 12 years in prison

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 17: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDH) state fund that reportedly amassed RM42 billion in debts under the administration of former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was found guilty of the misappropriation of RM42 million from the fund, has obtained permission from the High Court to summons a Malaysian, Singaporean and Swiss bank for criminal conspiracy in the misappropriation of 1MDH state funds, reports the Star.
High Court Judicial Commissioner, Quay Chew Soon, allowed 1Malaysia Development Bhd state fund application to serve a writ of summons against bank Deutsche Bank Malaysia, Singapore banking company Couts & Co Ltd, Switzerland banking company J.P. Morgan Ltd, companies incorporated in Saudi Arabia, PetroSaudi International Limited and PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Limited, and individuals, Saudi Arabian, Tarik Isam Ahmed Obaid and British, Patrick Andrew Marc Mahony for alleged breach of contract, negligence and criminal conspiracy for the misappropriation of 1MDB funds.
The election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018 followed the declassification of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report that had been marked secret by the Najib Rajak government under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover RM2.6 billion (US$700 million) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts that included transactions with Malaysian, Singapore and Swiss banks.
Singapore reportedly closed Swiss bank BSI AG operations in July 2015 following criminal proceedings in Switzerland against the private bank in its transactions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or Finma said in Zurich that Swiss-based BSI AG had committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations through business relationships and transactions 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Invstigation into the missapropriation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDH) state funds began in August 2014 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara and Royal Malaysia Police following allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts that included transaction with Malaysian, Singapore and Swiss banks.
The Southeast Asian Times


Dismissed anti-corruption investigators establish new political party in Indonesia

Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator,Yudi Purnomo, one of 57 dismissed for failing the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test, at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta Thursday September 16, 2021

From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 16: Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and investigators who were dismissed last month for failing the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test, plan to establish a new political party with former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator, Rasamala Aritonang, saying "a political party is a strategic vehicle," reports the Jakarta Post.
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator, Rasamala Aritonang, who is one of 57 prosecutors and investigators who was dismissed after failing the test that includes questions on religious, political and ideological beliefs, said that "a political party is a strategic vehicle if we intend to make a big impact."
"The name of the new political party is the 'United Liberation Party', he said.
He said a new political party in Indonesia is an opportunity to build a party that is transparenct, has integrity and is accountable, saying "the 'United Liberation Party' would free Indonesia from the shackles of corruption."
The 'United Liberation Party' would show that the Pancasila is not just jargon." he said.
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), investigator Yudi Purnomo, who was among the 57 dismissed last month after failing the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test, said he supported the founding of a new political party, saying he supported the aspirations of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and investigators that include ideals expoused in Pancasila, the state idiology of Indonesia.
Amnesty International Indonesia, executive director, Usman Hamid, called on President Joko Widodo to reinstate 57 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and senior investigators last week, saying "the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has ignored President Joko Widodo order not to use the results of the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test as a reason for dismissal of employees."
He said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had ignored the Indonesian Ombudsman findings that the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test had deviated from procedure.
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had abused the authority of state agency officials, saying "the KPK had ignored President Jokowi's order not to use TWK as a reason for dismissing KPK employees."
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had also ignored National Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM findings of human rights violations in the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test, including discriminatory questions on religious, political and ideological beliefs.
"Ignoring the findings of independent state institutions, Indonesian Ombudsman and the National Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM shows the arrogance of the KPK leadership and the government's unwillingness to correct violations that have clearly occurred," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore Parliament repeals Sedition Act last used to prosecute publishers of The Real Singapore

Co-founders of "The Real Singapore" Australian Ai Takagi, 23, and Singaporean Yang Kaiheng, 27, were found guilty of Sedition in June 2016 for articles published in the online "The Real Singapore"

From News Reports:
Singapore, October 15: The Singapore parliament has repealed the Sedition Act that was introduced to the island state by the British in 1938 and last used in 2016, with the Law and Home Affairs Ministery saying "key aspects of the Sedition Act have not been relevant in modern Singapore for a long time," reports the Straits Times.
Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, said in the Singapore Parliament last Tuesday that the Sedition Act that seeks to criminalise conduct that is deemed seditious "is hardly being used for prosecution."
He said that conduct deemed seditious 'to excite disaffection against the government' should not be criminalised, saying "a lot of people, including many in the parliament would be considered criminals if the Sedition Act was used to prosecute."
He said that sections of the Sedition Act including "Bring into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffection against the Government," "has not been done away with sooner because some of the provisions were relevant."
The Singapore Parliament said in the first reading of the Sedition (Repeal) Bill in September that the Sedition Act is of limited application and can be repealed, but that one aspect of the Sedition Act continues to be relevant.
Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act that safeguards social cohesion in Singapore, by criminalising conduct that promotes feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population that was last used in 2016 is reportedly relevant.
The Sedition Act that safeguards social cohesion in Singapore was last used to prosecution Australian Ai Takagi, 23, and her Singapore husband Yang Kaiheng, 27, publishers of the online "The Real Singapore" that under the Sedition Act was deemed to have encouraged anti-foreigner sentiments.
Co-founders of "The Real Singapore" Ai Takagi and Yang Kaiheng were found guilty of Sedition in June 2016 for "sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners" in a series of articles on the online publication including an article entitled "Why Some Singaporeans Feel Annoyed With Pinoys (Filipinos) in Singapore"
The article that was published in "The Real Singapore" in June 2014 quoted a Singaporean who had quit his job claiming Filipinos working at his company gave preferential treatment to their countrymen, describing the Filipinos as "two- faced" and "relentless back-stabbers".
Yang Kaiheng defended the articles published on "The Real Singapore", described as xenophobic, saying that only seven of more than 30,000 articles published over four years were deemed sedious.
Judge Chay warned in sentencing that "nationalism can degenerate quickly into xenophobia, racism and intolerance and violence, saying "at the heart of this case against the accused lies the exploitation of such feelings purely for financial gain and not for some noble ideology, misguided or otherwise."
Australian Ai Takagi, 23, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and Singaporean Yang Kaiheng, 27 to eight months with Judge Chay saying that Ai Takagi, had authored the seditious articles and had refused to produce financial documents showing the "The Real Singapore" advertising revenue to the police, that was reportedly about A$550,000 from December 2012 to April 2015.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia's Department of Environment calls for public feedback on construction of radioactive waste refinery

Senior representatives of the Delegation of the European Union visit Australian Lynas Corporation Ltd Rare Earths mine at Mount Weld in Western Australia June 24, 2021 under the European Union Action Plan on Critical Raw Material (CRM) that was established in 2020 to diversify supply chains

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 14: Malaysia's Department of Environment (DOE) has called for public feedback on the proposal by Lynas Corporation, Ltd. an Australian rare-earths mining company, to construct a permanent disposal facility for radioactive water leach purification (WLP) residue at the proposed Australian Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (lamp) refinery in Malaysia's Gebeng Industrial Estate in Kuantan, Pahang.
The Department of Environment (DOE) said that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is available for public perusal of the site where Lynas Rare Earths Limited seeks to construct a permanent disposal facility for radioactive water leach purification (WLP) residue.
A peat mangrove with a biologically rich estuary and floodplains and a marine and coast ecosystem, that is protected by law, is located adjacent to the site of the proposed construction of a permanent disposal facility for a radioactive waste refinery at the Gebeng Industrial Estate in Kuantan, Pahang.
In April 2021 the Department of Environment (DOE) rejected Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths Limited application to build a permanent disposal facility for radioactive waste in Gebeng Industrial Estate in Kuantan, Pahang.
The Department of Environment (DOE) rejected the Lynas Rare Earths Limited proposal despite the Lynas insistence that the proposed site did not sit on a water catchment area.
The Department of Environment (DOE) said in an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the Gebeng Industrial Estate in Kuantan, Pahang, "the proposed project site is located within the Sungai Riau catchment."
Opposition to the proposed construction of a permanent disposal radioactive residue refinery in Gebeng Industrial Estate in Kuantan, Pahang that is located about 2 km from a residential population of 30,000 and 700,000 living within a 25 km radius including Kuantan city with a population of over 400,000 began in 2011.
The Australian Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (lamp) refinery has proposed to process ores in Malaysia from the Lynas Corporation, Ltd. Mount Weld mine in Western Australia with production beginning in September 2011 and expected to earn up to $1.3billion a year.
Opposition to the construction of the Australian Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (lamp) refinery in Malaysia began in May 2011 with then Kuantan Member of Parliament for the People's Justice Party, Fuziah Salleh, coordinating protests against the proposed plant saying that "thorium radioactive waste would be left behind long after the rare earth from Australia was completely mined".
The Southeast Asian Times


EU Parliament supports NUG as legitimate representative of democracy in Myanmar

Member of European Parliament, Miguel Urban Crespo, calls for sanctions against all companies including oil, gas and minerals linked to the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar at the European Parliament Thursday October 7, 2021 Photo: Alexis Haulot EU

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, October 13: The European Parliament voted in support of the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar that was founded by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) after the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, calling on ASEAN to include the National Unity Government (NUG) in any dialogue.
"The European Parliament supports the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and the National Unity Government (NUG) as the only legitimate representatives of the democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar and calls on ASEAN and the international community to include and involve the NUG in any dialogue and effort aimed at a peaceful solution of the crisis based on the respect of the rule of law."
The European Parliament vote in support of the National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) was adopted in a "motion for a resolution on Human rights situation in Myanmar, including the situation of religious and ethnic group" on Thursday October 7, 2021.
The European Parliament proposal to support the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) received 647 yes votes, two no votes, and 31 abstentions, taking into account that "the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) on 16 April 2021 formed a National Unity Government (NUG) including representatives of the National League for Democracy, ethnic minority groups, and various minor parties."
The European Parliament also took into account that the ASEAN leaders’ Five Point Consensus on 24 April 2021 in the call for ASEAN and the international community to include and involve the National Unity Government (NUG) in any dialogue and effort aimed at a peaceful solution of the crisis based on the respect of the rule of law.
The National Unity Government (NUG) has been excluded from ASEAN meetings since the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar takeover of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February 2021 including from the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April, 2021 organised by ASEAN chair for 2021 Brunei, to discuss peace and stability in ASEAN and the region.
The commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing attended the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta that concluded with consensus on a five point plan including cessation of violence.
The National Unity Government (NUG) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moe Zaw Oo, who was excluded from the meeting said then that "ASEAN will not achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the National Unity Government (NUG)."
"It's imperative that the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar State Administrative Council (SAC) is not recognised as the legitimate government of Myanmar at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia's ban on dual citizenship includes Sam Rainsy exiled to France

King Norodom Sihamoni to review draft proposal to ban dual citizenship for Cambodia's national leadership including political party leaders
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 12: Prime Minister Hun Sen's proposal to ban dual citizenship for Cambodia's national leadership positions is before King Norodom Sihamoni for approval and includes the ban on dual citizenship for former opposition party president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, who is in exile in France, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Constitutional Council of Cambodia (CCC) president, Im Chhun Lim, said that the proposed amendemnts that mandate that Cambodia's national leadership positions would be filled by Cambodians with sole citizenship are ready for review by King Norodom Sihamoni.
He said that the position of Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly, Senate and Constitutional Council would be filled by persons who hold Cambodian citizenship , saying "no Cambodian with dual-citizenship will be allowed to hold those positions."
Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed the Ministry of Justice to amend the Cambodian Constitution to include the ban on dual citizenship on political party leadership positions, saying "the ban should include political parties in order to ensure that political party leaders do not flee Cambodia to seek intervention from foreign governments.
"Political party leaders must hold sole Cambodian citizenship to show loyality to the nation and avoid foreign interference," he said.
Former opposition party president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, who founded the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in exile in France and who holds both Cambodian and French citizenship, fled Cambodia in 2015 fearing arrest after parliamentary immunity was removed and he faced multiple criminal defamation charges for his accusation of corruption against the Hun Sen Cambodia's People's Party (CPP).
Sam Rainsy, and eight former high ranking members of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have since been charged in absentia with plotting against the Hun Sen government and incitement under articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code including meetings in the United States on January 20, 2019 where the former members reportedly planned the return of the former president of the disolved party, Sam Rainsy, to Cambodia.
The Phnom Penh Municiple Court charged the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) led by Sam Rainsy and supporters of inciting the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to revolt against the Hun Sen government and for invovlement in the plan for Sam Rainsy's return to Cambodia from Paris.
The Southeast Asian Times


Wife of former ousted Malaysia PM claims conspiracy in bribery charges

Rosmah Mansor, wife of former ousted Malaysian PM Najib Razik, arrives at Kuala lumpur High Court on Thursday, October 7, 2021 for cross examination by prosecution

From News Reports
Kuala Lumpur, October 11: Wife of former ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia maintains that the bribery charges brought against her were conspired by prosecution witnesses including her former aid, who turned witness for the prosecution, and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), claiming that former aid Rizal Mansor had masterminded the soliciting of millions of ringgit involving the solar hybrid project, reports the Star.
Rosmah Mansor, wife of former ousted Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is charged under Section 16(a) (A) of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, for soliciting RM187.5mil and receiving bribes of RM6.5mil .
Rosmah Mansor is accused of soliciting and recieving bribed for securing a contract worth RM1.25 billion for Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd for the supply and installation of Hybrid photovoltaic-thermal solar systems in 369 rural schools in Sarawak in negotiations with the Education Ministry.
Rosmah Mansor, claimed that her former aid, Rizal Mansor, and other witnesses for the prosecution had conspired to frame her for recieving bribes in securing the contract for Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Four charges against former aid, Rizal Mansor, who was charged under Section 16(a) (A) of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, for seeking and receiving bribes of RM5.5 million from Jepak Holding Sdn Bhd for himself and Rosmah Mansor, were withdrawn in January, a month before his trial for bribery was to begin, with the former aid becoming a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Rosmah Mansor.
Rosmah Mansor maintained under cross-examination in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday that former aid, Rizal Mansor and six other prosecution witnesses had allegedly conspired with the Attorney General’s Chambers to draw up false charges against her.
"There is clearly a malicious agenda by Rizal Manor to defame me after the charges against him were dropped by the prosecution," she said.
Prosecutor Sri Ram, a former judge, who had served in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, said in cross examination of Rosmah Mansor that her insistence that Rizal Mansor had conspired with the prosecution "held no basis."
Former aid, Rizal Manor who was also special advisor to former ousted Prime Minister, Najib Razak, denied that he had "cut a deal" with the prosecution to testify against Rosmah Mansor in order for four counts of soliciting and acceptng bribes against him be dropped.
The Southeast Asian Times


Police arrest soccer fan for wearing banned Papua Morning Star T-shirt at Indonesian National Games

Indnesia's President Joko Widodo opened the Indonesian National Games or PON (Pekan Olahraga Nasional) in Jayapura, Papua, on Saturday, October 2, 2021

From News Report:
Jakarta, October 10: A soccer fan who is also a brother of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) in Papua was arrested for wearing the banned Papuan Bintang Kejora, Morning Star independence flag T-shirt at a soccer match at the Mandala Stadium in Jayapura, Papua, during the 20th Indonesian National Games or PON (Pekan Olahraga Nasional) held every four years, reports Reuters.
Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), brother, Anton Syufi, who wore the banned Papuan Morning Star independence flag T-shirt at the soccer match between Papua and East Nusa Tenggara at the Mandala Stadium in Jayapura was arrested by the Jayapura district police on Sunday 3, October.
A Jayapura district police spokesperson said that Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), brother, Anton Syufi, was arrested for wearing the banned Papuan Morning Star independence flag T-shirt, saying "Anton Syufi was disturbing the PON (Pekan Olahraga Nasional) 20th Indonesian National Games in Papua."
"Wearing a Papuan Morning Star independence flag T-shirt is prohibited in Indonesia", said the Jayapura district police spokesperson.
Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), brother, Kristianus Sasior, said that brother, Anton Syufi, did not intentionally display the banned Papuan Morning Star independence flag T-shirt at the soccer match, saying "brother Anton Syufi was wearing two layers of clothing over the T-shirt."
He said that brother Anton Syufi, "jumped up and down and opened his shirt" when Papua won the soccer game against East Nusa Tenggara, saying "police saw the Morning Star independence flag T-shirt when he opened his shirt."
He said that brother Anton Syufi is in police cutody at the Jayapura district police station, saying "we are waiting for the head of the intelligence unit to arrive."
In December 2019 Papuans 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 2019 for flying the banned Bintang Kejora, or Morning Star, flag at the Merdeka State Palace,
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 as they called on the Indonesian government for self-determination saying "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 August 2019 Indonesia's former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto, dismissed calls for a referendum and self determination for Papua including West Papua saying "the NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final. ”
He said the New York Agreement, signed in 1962 by the Netherlands and Indonesia, had officially made Papua and West Papua legitimate territories of Indonesia.
“That means NKRI is final, NKRI is non-negotiable, including Papua and West Papua,” he said.
He said that referendums are for occupied countries that are given the choice to be independent or to join with the occupying country, saying
Papua and West Papua are legitimate territories of the Republic of Indonesia."
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai law graduate to take perpetrators
of 1976 Thammasat University student massacre to international court

Thammasat University law graduate, Kritsadang Nutcharas, to take the perpetrators of the 1976 Thammasat University student massacre to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 9: A law graduate from the Thammasat University in Bangkok announced his plan to take the perpetrators of the 1976 Thammasat University student massacre to the International Criminal Court (ICC), at the 45th anniversary of the massacre on Wednesday, saying that he has been studying the massacre and believes the case can be taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC), reports the Bangkok Post.
Thammasat University law graduate, Kritsadang Nutcharas, said that he intends to bring the perpetrators to justice in a speech at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus in Bangkok, saying "police and military forces blocked the exits to the university and fired military weapons at students."
He said that October 6, 1976 was "not a political accident", saying "it was an intentional act carried out by those who held power at the time."
"Students calling for freedom and democracy were massacred," he said.
Official records reportedly show that 40 students and 5 government officials were killed with 145 injured and 3,094 arrests at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus October 6, 1976.
In February 2008 former 1970's student activists issued an open letter to Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej condeming him for distorting the facts of the student massacre and his denial of involvement in the Thammasat University student massacre on October 6, 1976.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said before the parliament "If I am not telling the truth, may I face destruction and ill fortune for the rest of my life."
"But if I am telling the truth, may success and good fortune come my way," he said
Former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said he was not involved in the Thammasat Universty student massacare on October 6, 1976, saying he became Interior Minister on October 22, 1976, days after October 6, 1976.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia restates support for Timor Leste admission to ASEAN

Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhonn, centre, restated support for Timor Lest admission to ASEAN at the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council (ACC) meeting on Monday October 4, 2021

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 8: Cambodia restated support for Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership at the 30th ASEAN Co-coordinating Council (ACC) meeting chaired by Brunei Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erywan Pehin Yusof, on Monday, with Cambodia's ministry of foreign affairs saying "Timor Leste membership would benefit Asean", reports Khmer Times.
Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhonn, called on the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) fact-finding teams "to expedite their respective fact finding missions in East Timor"
He called on the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) fact-finding teams to expediate the evaluation, capability and readiness of Timor Leste to join ASEAN in the context of the three pillars of ASEAN, being the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
"The findings of the fact-finding mission would enable Timor Leste to put forward a roadmap and timeline for accession to ASEAN," he said.
In February 2021 Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhonn, assured Timor Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, of Cambodia's consistent support for Timor Leste's accession to ASEAN, saying "Timor Leste's membership would benefit Asean."
In March 2020 the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries reached consensus in support of Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership, at the 9th Meeting of the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG), with chairman, Vietnam Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Quoc Dung, saying "the major task of the ACCWG was to focus on Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership."
"Reports from the ASEAN Co-coordinating Council Working Group Meeting (ACCWG) fact finding teams on the capability and readiness of Timor Leste for ASEAN membership would be submitted to the ASEAN Co-ordinating Council (ACC) for approval by the end of the year," he said,
Singapore and Laos have objected to Timor Leste joining ASEAN on the grounds that East Timor has yet to meet development standards in the context of the three major pillars of ASEAN but former Secretary General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh, said following the ASEAN summit in April 2013 that all member states now supported Timor Leste's admission to the association pending assessment of Timor Leste's capability and readiness for ASEAN membership.
The Southeast Asian Times


Son of former president Marcos runs for president amid campaigne against resurgence of Marcos family

Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr, 64, announces his intention to run for president after filing a certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday October 5, 2021

From News Reports:
Manila, October 7: Former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., son of the late President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, announced on Tuesday that he would run for president in the 2022 presidential elections, with campaigners against the resurgence of the Marcos family, saying "Bongbong was not an innocent bystander during the Marcos dictatorship," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Presidental candidate, Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., announced his intention to run for president after filing a certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday and after taking an oath as chairman of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Federal Party of the Philippines, the party that nominated him presidential candidate.
"I am today announcing my intention to run for the presidency of the Philippines in the upcoming May 2022 elections," he said.
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Federal Party of the Philippines, was formed by allies of President Rodrigo Dutere, who announced that he would retire from politics at the end of his term next year, saying on Monday "it would be a violation of the constitution Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for a standing president to apply for a certificate of candidacy (COC) to contest the vice presidency."
Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang and Martial law (CARMMA), who are victims of human rights violations under martial law under President Ferdinand E Marcos, was launched in 2016 ahead of the vice presidency campaign, to oppose the return of former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., to Malacanang, saying that "Bongbong was not an innocent bystander during the Marcos dictatorship, Bongbong directly benefited while holding positions in crony corporations."
Former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., ran for vice president in 2017, but was defeated by Vice President Leni Robredo by more than 260,000 votes.
He protested the results of the election calling on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to recount the ballots in three provinces of his choosing and to nullify the results in Lanao Dev Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) released a report in October 2019 showing that Vice President Leni Robredo had increased her lead over Marcos by 15,093 votes after the recount, revision and re-appreciation of ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
In 1995 the Philippine government and representatives of more than 1,000 Filipinos - or their descendants, who were arrested, tortured and executed during the 13 years from 1972 in which former President Ferdinand E. Marcos ruled under martial law, won US$2.7-billion in exemplary damages against the former president’s estate at a hearing in the United States federal court, Hawaii.
The Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia again summons China Ambassador to protest China ships, planes in EEZ maritime zone

Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah and China Ambassador to Malaysia, Ouyang Yujing, who took up his post in Malaysia in December, 20, 2020
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October, 6: Malaysia has again summoned the People’s Republic of China Ambassador, Ouyang Yujing, to Malaysia, to protest the activities of China's vessels in Malaysia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of Sabah and Sarawak, saying “the presence of China's vessels off the Malaysian coast are inconsistent with Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1984," reports Reuters.
Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Ouyang Yujing, in June to protest a China coast guard vessel in waters 156 klms from shore and China People's Liberation Army Air Force planes flying over the Malaysia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) maritime zone, with the Royal Malaysian Air Force saying "China flying planes over the maritime zone "is a serious threat to national sovereinty."
The Malaysia's Foreign Ministry summoned the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Ouyang Yujing, again on Monday to convey Malaysia’s position on the presence and activities of China's vessels including a survey vessel, saying "the vessels were present in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) within 200 nautical miles off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak".
"The presence and activities of these vessels are inconsistent with Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1984 and in breach of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), said the statement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling in July 12, 2016 in favour of the Philippines against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea, saying that "China neither accepts nor recognizes the award."
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China said.
The Philippines first filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China in 2013 requesting that the court intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying "China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China argues that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights, saying that China will not accept the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague jurisdiction over the South China Sea.
China's claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea also inlcudes the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) maritime zones of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The Southeast Asian Times


Amnesty International calls on Indonesia to reinstate anti-corruption prosecutors and investigators

Senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, centre, one of 57 prosecutors and investigators dismissed by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack in 2017, losing sight in one eye
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 5: Amnesty International Indonesia called on President Joko Widodo to reinstate Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors who were dismissed last month for failing the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test after the commission had ignored President Jokowi's order not to use TWK results as a reason for dismissing KPK employees, reports the Jakarta Post.
Amnesty International Indonesia, executive director, Usman Hamid, called on President Joko Widodo to reinstate 57 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and senior investigators, who failed the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test that includes questions on religious, political and ideological beliefs, saying "the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has ignored President Joko Widodo order not to use the results of the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test as a reason for the dismissal of employees."
He said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had ignored the Indonesian Ombudsman findings that the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test had deviated from procedure.
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had abused the authority of state agency officials, saying "the KPK had ignored President Jokowi's order not to use TWK as a reason for dismissing KPK employees."
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had also ignored National Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM findings of human rights violations in the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service test, including discriminatory questions on religious, political and ideological beliefs.
"Ignoring the findings of independent state institutions, Indonesian Ombudsman and the National Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM shows the arrogance of the KPK leadership and the government's unwillingness to correct violations that have clearly occurred," he said.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, who is one of 57 prosecutors and investigators who were dismissed after failing to pass the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) or national civil service last month, suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack in 2017, losing sight in one eye.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator was reportedly leading an investigation into a nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam that involved several members of parliament and that incurred Rp 5.0 trillion ($US440million) in state losses when he was attacked.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine President Duterte to retire at end of term

President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bong Go submitt certificate of candidacy (COC) to contest the vice presidency in elections
From News Reports:
Manila, October 4: The 16th president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, announced his retirement from politics at the end of his term next year, saying "contesting the vice presidency in the 2022 elections would be in violation of the spirit of the constitution commission on elections," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said that his aid Senator Bong Go, would take his place as a contender for the vice presidency in the elections, saying "Senator Bong Go has submitted a certificate of candidacy (COC) to contest the vice presidency."
He said that it would be a violation of the constitution commission on elections for a standing president to apply for a certificate of candidacy (COC) to contest the vice presidency, saying "it would be a violation of the spirit of the constitution to circumvent the law."
Senator Bong Go, who submitted a certificate of candidacy (COC) to contest the vice presidency to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Saturday, said that he would continue the initiatives and agreements made by President Duterte during his six year term including the war on drugs campaign and the Phillipines and China agreement on the "Build, Build, Build" (BBB) infrastructure programme and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Senator Bong Go, said he would pursue the war on drugs campaign despite the International Criminal Court's (ICC) call for the Court in the Hague in the Netherlands to proceed with a full investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs campaign..
The International Criminal Court's examination suggests that vigilante-style killings were perpetrated by Philippine police officers, or other private individuals hired by authorities, leading to a death toll of between 12,000 to 30,000 civilians," said International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.
Senator Bong Go, said that he would also continue with the October 2019 agreement for infrastructure development between the Philippines and China under the "Build, Build, Build" (BBB) infrastructure programme and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
China Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said then that "China is ready to work with the Philippines to implement the agreements on infrastructure developent including a feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project in Mindanao in the southern Philippines and for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project conducted by Construction Communication Corp. Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., (CCCC) and funded by a grant from the China government.
The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore pharmaceutical company executive concedes to doctoring expiry dates

Singapore based Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp executive in the Philippines, Krizle Grace Mago, said that she sought protective custody because she "cannot speak freely without feeling threatened
From News Reports:
Manila, October 3: The Philippines Blue Ribbon Senate Committee that is conducting an inquiry into the Department of Health (DOH) expenditure of P72.5 billion, and that includes an investigation into the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS), has placed an executive of the singapore based Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp in protective custody after the executive conceded to changing the expiry date on pharmaceuticals, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay, chair of the committee on good government and public accountability, said Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp executive, Krizle Grace Mago
was placed in protective custody on Friday, saying "she is now in a secure location within the House of Representatives complex."
The Philippine Blue Ribbon Senate Committee has called on Singapore based Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp to explain how Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp with only P625,000 in capital was able to secure a contract worth almost P12 billion from the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) in 2020 and 2021 to supply Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs) to the Philippines Department of Health (DOH).
The Blue Ribbon Senate Committee found that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp who had been awarded a P12 billion contract by the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) to supply Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs) to the Department of Health (DOH), had supplied substandard test kits, expired masks and face shields that were grossly overpriced.
Singapore based Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp executive, Krizle Grace Mago, said that she sought protective custody from the Blue Ribbon Senate Committee because she "cannot speak freely without feeling threatened.
“I feel that my life and liberty is in grave danger because of my coming out and desire to speak the truth," she said.
Krizle Grace Mago, reportedly conceded that she had ordered Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp employees to change the expiry dates on masks and face shields following witness testimony from a Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp employee.
"It's true," she told the Blue Ribbon Senate Committee on Friday.
On Tuesday the Blue Ribbon Senate Committee placed the Singapore based Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, directror in the Philippine, Linconn Ong, in custody for contempt for
his evasiveness in answering questions related to contracts awarded to the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp for the supply of Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs) to the Department of Health (DOH).
Linconn Ong, reportedly acknowledged that the Singapore owned Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp had borrowed funds from former economic advisor to Philippine President Duterte, Chinese businessman, Michael Yang, but declined to provide further details.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Thai security forces killed in Muslim southern Thailand after insurgents renew call to arms

Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgents allegedly detonated improvised bombs, killing and injuring police in Chanae district, Narathiwat province in southern Thailand on Tuesday, September 29, 2021
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 2: Royal Thai Armed Forces and Royal Thai Police personnel were killed in bombings and shoot-outs in Muslim southern Thailand by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgents on Tuesday, a week after the ongoing state of emergency was extended by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, with Narathiwat provincial police chief saying that "it was the single bloodiest day in southern Thailand since the separatist rebels renewed a call to arms last month, reports Reuters.
Narathiwat provincial police chief, Maj. Gen. Narin Busaman, said that at least three military and police personnel and one suspected insurgent were killed in separate bombings and shoot-outs in Narathiwat Province on the Malay Peninsular about 1,140 kilometres south of Bangkok on Tuesday.
He said that improvised explosives were detonated in Chanae district, saying "the road-side bombs were detonated as police patrol cars drove by, killing and injuring police."
He said that military and police personnel were shot and injured in a shoot-out with insurgents in Hutaelueyo Village in Bacho district as police attempted to arrest six suspected insurgents, saying "police officer, Wattachak Promniu was shot in the chest and died in hospital."
Thailand Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) spokeman, Col. Kiatisak Neewong, said that a message linked to the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgents, saying "Siam’s security forces set up raids and conducted summary executions despite COVID difficulties, ” was posted on Facebook on September 6.
He said that Barisan Revolusi Nasional insurgents (BRN), the largest of the armed goups in southern Thailand, urged combatants to resume self-defence operations on the Facebook posting.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law in 2014, calling for the reorganisation of the Internal Security Operations Cimmand (Isoc) in order to continue peace talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgency in southern Thailand where eighty-two percent of the population is Muslim.
The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgency reportedly continued unabated despite the initiation of peace talks and various approaches employed by the state including Baht 50 billion for infrastructure development.
The Thai government also initiated a self-sufficiency programme with each household in Thailand’s majority-Malay-speaking Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces receiving a one-off payment.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam elected to board of International Atomic Energy Agency

Vietnam was elected to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governers at the 65th two day IAEA General Conference, opened by Director General Rafael Grossi on Tuesday September 21, 2021
From News Reports:
Hanoi, October 1: Vietnam was elected to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governers at the 65th IAEA General Conference held in Austria last week, joining ASEAN member state, Malaysia, on the 35 member board for a one year term, with Vietnam saying, "Vietnam will support implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical cooperation (TC) programme in ASEAN member states, Cambodia and Laos, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Nguyen Trung Kien, Ambassador to Austria and Vietnam's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said "Vietnam would coordinate with Cambodia and Laos to implement a tripartite cooperation agreement for sustainable development of safe nuclear science and technology."
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Practical Arrangements (PAs) agreement that includes a new framework for the enhancement of self-reliance and sustainability of safe nuclear science and technology was signed by ASEAN member states Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos at the 63rd IAEA General Conference in 2019.
Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology, Cambodia's Ministry of Mines and Energy Ministry of Lao's Ministry of Science and Technology agreed to the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology that includes "collaboration in non-destructive testing and industrial applications to nuclear medicine and mutation plant breeding."
Vietnam permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nguyen Trung Kien, said that "Viet Nam would support both short and long-term education and training programmes in the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology in Cambodia and Lao."
"Vietnam will implement the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical cooperation (TC) programme by providing experts and lecturers to nuclear science and technology institutions in Cambodia and Laos," he said.
He said that Vietnam would make its own technical facilities including analytical laboraties available to Cambodia and Laos, saying "this would ensure practical and hands-on support."
IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supported 146 countries and territories affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 in the application of nuclear technology through sharing knowledge, assisting medical experts in radiation medicine and therapy, nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging, and training in genetic sequencing to characterise the virus that causes COVID-19.
"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also improved the quality of agricultural products and promoted sustainable agriculture," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines Senate Committee puts Singapore Pharmaceutical director in custody for contempt

Singapore's Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, Philippines based director, Linconn Ong, center, place in custody for contemp by the Philippine Blue Ribbon Senate Committee in Manila Tuesday September 28, 2021
From News Reports:
Manila, September 30: The Philippine Blue Ribbon Senate Committee inquiry into the Department of Health (DOH) expenditure of P72.5 billion, that includes an inquiry into the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS), has placed the Philippine-based director of Singapore owned Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, in custody for contempt, reports Philippine Inquirer.
Singapore owned Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, Philippine-based director, Linconn Ong, was place in custody at the Senate Committee in Manila on Tuesday for contempt for his evasiveness in answering questions related to contracts awarded to the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp for the supply of Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs) that were found to be substandard, test kits had expired and masks and face shields were grossly overpriced.
The Blue Ribbon Senate Committee called on Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, Philippine-based director, Linconn Ong, to explain how the Singapore company with only P625,000 in capital was able to secure a contract worth almost P12 billion with the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) in 2020 and 2021.
Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, Philippine-based director, Linconn Ong, acknowledged that the Singapore owned Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp had borrowed funds from former economic advisor to Philippine President Duterte, Chinese businessman, Michael Yang, but declined to provide further details.
Philippine Senator Richard J. Gordon said that Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, executives including Philippine-based director, Linconn Ong, and Chinese businessman, Michael Yang, have bought multimillion-peso luxury cars, saying "an indication that they rushed to enjoy the fruits of their supply contracts at a time when government was scouring for funds for pandemic response."
Chinese businessman, Michael Yang, who is based in Davao in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, said at the Senate hearing on September 10, that his "only link with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp was to introduce
its officials to four Chinese suppliers of Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs), saying that he had "nothing to do with transactions with the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS).
The Blue Ribbon Senate Committee has reportedly called on the Department of Justice to put Chinese businessman, Michael Yang, on an immigration watchlist after he failed to attend a Senate hearing on September 13, on medical grounds.
Singapore-based Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp, Chief Executive , Huang Tzu Yen, has denied that Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp were favoured by the government Budget and Management-Procurement Service
(DBM-PS), in contracts awarded for the supply of Covid-19 protective equipment sets (PPEs).
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia's KPK officials dismissed for failing TWK test on religious, political and ideological beliefs

Indonesia's university students called on President Joko Widodo to reinstste Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioners and senior investigators at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in South Jakarta on Monday, September 27, 2021
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 29: Indonesia's university students called on President Joko Widodo to take action against the termination of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and senior investigators, saying that Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) was used to dismiss investigators who did not pass the test on religious, political and ideological beliefs, reports Tempo.
The National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI) protested at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in South Jakarta on Monday, calling on President Joko Widodo to reinstate 57 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors and senior investigators who had failed the Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) on civil knowledge that included questions on religious, political and ideological beliefs.
"The Test Wawasan Kebangsaan (TWK) on civil knowledge was used to dismiss KPK commissioners and investigators," said the students.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees including prosecutors and investigators who did not pass the test on religious, political and ideological beliefs were reportedly classified as "unfit to receive additional career development support."
President Joko Widodo was also called on to revoke amendments to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that were passed into law by the Constitutional Court in October 2019 that included the October 2021 deadline for Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators and prosecutors to be re-classified from independent employees of the KPK to state employees.
Ammendments to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that reportedly weakened the authority of the Commission included the removal of KPK ability to recruit its own investigators and prosecutors and the establishment of a supervisory council that would monitor KPK investigations, with President Joko Widodo saying that he would "handpick the council members without a formal selection process."
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established in 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti on 29 December 2003.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted " a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court.
The corruption courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.
The Southeast Asian Times

"Australia turns its back on 21st century" in AUKUS alliance, rejected

Australia PM Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden, United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson after the newly formed AUKUS alliance at the White House Thursday 16 September 2021
From News Reports:
Canberra, September 28: Australia's Ministry of Foreign affairs rejected the claim that "Australia turned its back on the 21st century" with the newly formed alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and United States AUKUS that would build nuclear-submarines in Australia, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, said following the formation of the AUKUS alliance earlier this month that "Australia turns its back on the 21st century, the century of Asia, for the jaded and faded Anglosphere".
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, said that the claim made by former Prime Minister Paul Keating that AUKUS orientates Australia towards an anachronistic Anglosphere, "shows a deliberate disregard of the many relationships that through hard work we are deepening and enriching."
She said that Australia can have friends in more than one linguistic sphere, on more than one continent, of more than one political persuasion, saying "it is not one or the other."
"We must and will seize every opportunity, whether that is AUKUS, the rapid and positive evolution of the Quad, our strategic partnership with ASEAN, our energetic work as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and with the European Union Strategy for Coperation in the Indo-Pacificon or the strong bilateral friendships we have forged across the region," she said.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, said on his third visit to Singapore in 1996 after signing a declaration on the Australian Singapore partnership with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, that "the declaration on the Australia-Singapore partnership will help ensure that this old relationship between us remains relevant and creative into the next century."
"For me this partnership is especially important because, as Prime Minister, one of my central goals has been to see that Australia is better integrated with the rapidly changing region around us, that we have an opportunity to play a role in shaping it and are better prepared to meet whatever challenges the 21st century may offer," he said.
"The time has come for an Australian, rather than the monarch of Great Britain, to be our head of state. I want Australia to be, as Singapore is, a Republic - and a Republic within the Commonwealth." he said.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating said in Singapore in 1996 that as Australia approached the centenary of Federation in 2001 a new, stronger and clearer vision of Australia's future has begun to emerge, saying "and it now goes without saying that much of the future we see - we see in the Asia-Pacific."
"I have said more than once before - if Australia does not succeed in Asia it will not succeed anywhere," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia to call on ASEAN and China to oppose Australia's plan to build nuclear submarines

University of Indonesia (UI) International Law Professor Hikmahanto Juwana claims that Australia's plan to build nuclear powered submarines in southern Australia violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 27: The University of Indonesia (UI) claims that Australia's plan to build nuclear powered submarines in southern Australia violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying that Indonesia can take steps that include calling on ASEAN and aligning with China to oppose the plan to build nuclear-powered sumarines in Australia, reports Jakarta Post.
University of Indonesia's (UI's) International Law Professor, Hikmahanto Juwana, claimed last week that Indonesia can take various steps to express its opposition to Australia's plan to build nuclear-powered sumarines following the the formation earlier this month of the Indo-Pacific AUKUS alliance between Australia, United Kingdom that would provide Australia with the technology to build nuclear powered submarines.
University of Indonesia's (UI's) International Law Professor, Hikmahanto Juwana, said that one of the steps that Indonesia could take to oppose Australia's plan to build nuclear powered submarines "entails a request to the ASEAN secretariat to hold a special hearing in order to oppose the plan."
"The result of the ASEAN hearing should then be conveyed to Australia," he said.
He said the second step that Indonesia could take to oppose the plan could be to approach China, saying that China also opposes Australia's plan to build nuclear submarines.
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian said at a press conference in Beijing following the annoucement of the formation of the Indo-Pacific AUKUS alliance last week that nuclear submarine cooperation between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, (AUKUS) would undermine regional peace and stability, intensify the arms race and undermine international non-proliferation of nuclear weapons efforts.
"Australia as a non-nuclear weapon state under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a party to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Treaty, has introduced nuclear submarine technology of strategic and military value," he said.
Australia Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in Washington after the announcement of the formation of the AUKUS alliance that "Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency."
He said that the Indo-Pacific alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, AUKUS, formed to build nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, "would significantly enhance Australia's Force Posture Cooperation and Alliance Integration, increase interoperability and deepen alliance activities in the Indo-Pacific."
The Southeast Asian Times


Quad commits to non-military initiatives in new techno-democratic statecraft in Indo-Pacific

Quad members, Australia PM Scott Morrison, India PM Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japan PM Yoshihide Suga at the White House Quad summit Washington Friday September 24, 2021
From News Reports:
Washington, September 26: Australia, India, Japan and United States Quad leaders who committed to non-military initiatives in a free and open Indo-Pacific at the first Quad summit in March reaffirmed the committment to non-military initiatives and also to new techno-democratic statecraft at the second summit hosted by United States President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday, reports Reuters.
United States President Joe Biden said at the face to face meeting at the White House the "the Quad represented four democratic partners who share a world view and have a common vision for the future."
Australia, India, Japan and the US Quad leaders pledged cooperation in a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 10 member countries, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, with Australia Prime Minister, Scott Morrision, saying "we stand here together, in the Indo-Pacific region, a region that we wish to be always free from coercion, and where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected and where disputes are settled peacefully in accordance with international law."
Center for a New American Security in Washington, Martijn Rasser, said "the summit was poised to mark a major step in achieving a comprehensive strategic technology partnership."
"Effective collaboration and co-ordination on space launch technology, the deployment of 5G wirleless technology, cyber security and semiconductors and other areas would strengthen each country’s economic competitiveness and national security," he said.
"The Quad countries are shaping the contours of a new techno-democratic statecraft, he said.
USAsia Centre Perth Western Australia, senior policy official and former Australian Defence official, Hayley Channer, said that "Quad countries should focus on vaccine delivery, quality infrastructure critical and emerging technologies and supply chain resilience."
She said that Quad countries, Australia, Japan, India and United States were politically aligned, saying "the Quad could leverage their strengths and benefit neighbours."
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam reminds AUKUS that nuclear energy must be used for peaceful purposes

Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Le Thi Thu Hang, said at a press conference in Hanoi Thursday September 23, 2021 "nuclear energy must be used for peaceful purposes"
From News Reports:
Hanoi, September, 25: Vietnam reminded Australia that "nuclear energy must be used for peaceful purposes" following the announcement in Washington last week that the newly formed alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, AUKUS, would build nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Le Thi Thu Hang, said at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday that nuclear energy should be used for peaceful purposes, saying "nuclear energy should be developed to serve socio-economic development."
She said that the development of nuclear energy should ensure a safe and healthy environment for humanity, saying "all countries in the region should strive for peace, stability, cooperation in their development of nuclear energy."
"Countries around the world are responsible for contributing to peace," she said in response to Australia's plan to build nuclear submarines, saying "nuclear energy must be used for peaceful purposes,"
Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, announced last week that the newly formed security partnership, AUKUS, would cooperate to develop nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, with Australia's Defence Minister, Peter Dutton saying "Australia is committed to the highest standards for safeguards, transparency, verification, and accountancy measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety, and security of nuclear material and technology."
He said that Australia remains committed to fulfilling all its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying "Australia, United Kingdom and the United States AUKUS are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation."
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian said at a press conference in Beijing following the announcement of the formation of (AUKUS) last week that nuclear submarine cooperation between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, (AUKUS) would undermine regional peace and stability, intensify the arms race and undermine international non-proliferation of nuclear weapons efforts.
"Australia as a non-nuclear weapon state under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a party to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Treaty, has introduced nuclear submarine technology of strategic and military value,"he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

India rejects China's claim that Quad is an Asian NATO

India's External Affairs Minister EAM Jaishankar says the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) looks to the future
From News Reports:
Beijing, September 24: India rejected China's claim that Australia, India, Japan and U.S. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an "Asian NATO" ahead of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit hosted by U.S. President Biden in Washington today, with India's External Affairs Minister saying "there is no relation between the terms NATO and Quad, reports Reuters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reportedly said that the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an "Asian NATO", saying that "an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went against the trend and runs counter to the apirations of regional countries."
India's External Affairs Ministery EAM Jaishankar rejected the claim made by China that the Quad is an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), saying "the Quad looks to the future."
"The term NATO as used by China against the Quad is a misinterpretation of reality," he said,
Australia, India, Japan and U.S. pledged cooperation in a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 10 member countries at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit titled "The Spirit of the Quad," held in March.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) alliance commited to cooperation in a free and open Indo-Pacific, with Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrision, saying "the Quad is not going to be a big bureaucratic structure with a big secretariat, it is going to be “four leaders, four countries, working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific, which is good for everyone in the Indo-Pacific.”
“It's particularly good for our ASEAN friends, and those throughout the South-West Pacific, to ensure that they can continue with their own sovereignty and their own certainty for their own futures,” he said.
Prime Minister Yoshihide said that Japan strongly supports the ASEAN Outlook on Indo- pacific (AOIP) initiative, saying that Japan shares common values and principles with the ASEAN vision for the Indo-Pacific, saying "developments in the South China Sea, have gone against the values upheld by the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-pacific (AOIP)."
The U.S. State Department said ahead of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit that was held in March, that "ASEAN centrality is fundamental to the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific."
Former U.S. Sectertary of State Mike Pameo said "U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership is built on shared principals as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). "
"The US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific, " he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines backs Australia in Indo-Pacific alliance to address military imbalance in Southeast Asia

Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that Australia's neighbours in Southeast Asia do not possess the military resources to maintain peace and security in the region
From News Reports:
Manila, September 23: The Philippines stated support for the new Indo-Pacific alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, AUKUS, formed to build nuclear submarines in Australia, with Philippines Foreign Secretary saying that AUKUS would address a military imbalance in Southeast Asia, report Reuters.
"The Philippines backs the Australia, United Kingdom and United States AUKUS defence pact," said Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday.
He said that the new Indo-Pacific alliance AUKUS, that was announced at the State Department in Washington DC last week, would address the military imbalance in Southeast Asia, saying "there is an imbalance in the forces available to ASEAN member states."
"The main balancer, the United States, being more than half a world away," he said.
He said that Australia's neighbours in Southeast Asia do not possess the military resources to maintain peace and security in the region, saying "there is an imbalance in the forces available to ASEAN member states."
"The ability of a Southeast Asian neighbour to project power should restore and keep the balance rather than destabalize it," he said.
He said that the AUKUS defence pact provides Australia with the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, saying "the submarines would quicken the response time to counter threats in the disputed South China Sea."
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton, said following the announcement of the new Indo-Pacific alliance AUKUS, that would provide the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines in Australia and includes the rotational deployment of U.S. military aircraft to Australia, that "Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibits the use of nuclear energy for any military purpose.
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian said at a press conference in Beijing following the announcement of the newly formed Indo-Pacific alliance that "Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, AUKUS, has introduced nuclear submarine technology of strategic and military value."
The Southeast Asian Times


PM Hun Sen calls for withdrawal of arrest warrant for academic social media posting

Dr. Seng Sary, a social and political researcher at the Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID), says that his analysis of the proposal to form a national unity government was hypothetical
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, September 22: Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Cambodia's Ministry of Justice on Monday to withdraw an arrest warrant issued on Friday for an academic's alleged treasonous social media posting, with the Ministry of Justice saying "the call for the withdrawal of the arrest warrant did not constitute interference with the independence of the judiciary, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin, said that a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Seng Sary, a social and political researcher at the Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID), was issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday, saying "the Prime Ministers request to withdraw the arrest warrant is not an order to the court."
He said that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has the right to nullify the warrant, saying "the decision is up to the court."
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Seng Sary on Friday following the posting on social media in July of his analysis of a proposal for the formation of a national unity government in Cambodia put by Sam Rainsy from self-exile in France.
Sam Rainsy, who is on trial in absentia for treason, is charged with plotting to overthrow the Hun Sen government under the now dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM).
Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the proposal to form a national unity government in Cambodia was an effort by Sam Rainsy to overthrow his government.
Dr Seng Sary said that his analysis of the proposal to form a national unity government was hypothetical and not a call to form a government in exile in order to overthrow the Hun Sen government.
He said that his analysis of the proposal to form a national unity government was his own opinion, saying "this was not against the law."
"I am an independent social and political researcher. I am not dangerous because I’m not affiliated to any armed force or political party,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he accepted Dr Seng Sary's explanation that he was engaged in a hypothetical discussion rather than advocating to overthrow his government.
He said that he considered Dr Seng Sary's explanation to be reasonable and acceptable and called on the judiciary to consider the withdrwal of the arrest warrant.
"I would also like to encourage Dr Seng Sary to continue with his research and analysis of social issues for the benefit of social science research in Cambodia," he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

What they're saying open page here

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



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



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Indigenous Australians in the northern Queensland town of East Trinity aim for economic independence from eco-cultural tourism, reports Christine Howes in "Australian indigenous eco-cultural tourism venture wins best small project national award " ...open here


Kavi Chongkittavorn talks about the UK application to become an ASEAN dialogue partner in "New dynamics of Aseans external ties," with consensus yet to be reached on admitting a former colonial master of four ASEAN member countries into the Southeast Asian bloc....open

Esther Samboh talks about the choise between thousands dying of Covid-19 or from hunger in densely populated Jakarta in the new normal in "Medics dying, infections soaring - it's still the economy" ...open page here



Australian reporter, Chris Ray, investigates why Australia dropped five spots in the World Press Freedom Index...open


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Read what Son Nguyen has to say about the impact of China's virus on Vietnam's economy in "When the economy gets sick" open here


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


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

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



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


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

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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