The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
Darwin Ha Noi Cairns Singapore Derby Bangkok Port Hedland Kuala Lumpur Kununurra Manila Townsville Denpasar HCM City Surabaya Penang Dili Port Moresby Phuket Phnom Penh Jakarta
established 2000
Monday 1 June 2020
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to 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


Read the letters to The Southeast Asian Times...open here

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

Move Forward Party to impeach Thai MP convicted of drug trafficking in Australia

Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, who became the Deputy Agriculture Minister in September 2019, is also known as Thammanat Prompao, Yuthaphum Bophlom, Manat Bophlom, and Patchara Prompao

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 1: The opposition Move Forward Party (MFF) established last month following the Constitutional Court dissolution of opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) that campaigned for military reform in the general elections, is to seek impeachment of Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, who was convicted and sentenced to jail for drug trafficking in Australia, reports the Bankgok Post.
Opposition Move Forward Party (MFF) spokesman Natcha Boonchaiya-insawat, one of 55 members of the dissolved opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) to move to the new opposition party said the opposition Move Forward Party (MFF) Members of Parliament would submit a motion to impeach Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw on Wednesday.
He said that Section 98 (10) of the constitution prohibited anyone found guilty of a narcotics trafficking offence from standing for election to parliament, saying "Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, was convicted of trafficking in herion in Australia."
"Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, should have been disqualified from serving as an MP and in the cabinet because of his heroin trafficking related sentence and imprisonment in Australia," he said.
He said that Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, failed to present evidence proving his innocence in a censure debate in February.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, who pleaded guilty to herion trafficking in Sydney in 1991 is one of six Thai Members of Parliament who faced a week-long censor motion in the Thai parliament in February.
The Member of Parliament attempted to block admission of Australian court documents that included the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal's final ruling detailing that Thamanat Prompaw had “participated in the delivery of heroin” to two co-accused.
Thamanat Prompaw argued that accepting an Australian court's decision as proof of his unfitness for office would be tantamount to Thailand becoming a colony.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, spent four years of a six year sentence in a Sydney jail for trafficking in heroin with a street value of $4.1 million and was deported on his release.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines senator calls for repeal of arrest: Covid-19 state of emergency

Philippines Senator Franklin Drilon said that the principle purpose of Section 6 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act is to address an emergency and protect the health of Filipinos

From News Reports:
Manila, May 31: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress to extend "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act", that placed the Philippines under a state of national emergency in March giving the President special powers over the national budget, with Senator Franklin Drilon calling for the repeal of Section 6 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that allows for arrest without a warrant, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Philippine Senate approved the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act" bill on 24, March placing the Philippines under a state of national emergency with President Rodrigo Duterte given special powers over the national budget with the proviso that a weekly report be submitted to the Congress.
Senator Franklin Drilon said that he has "extreme reservations about renewing Section 6 of the Bayanihan Act," saying that "law enforcers have used this provision to arrest people for acts which otherwise would not justify arrests without warrants."
He said that the principle purpose of Section 6 of the Bayanihan Act is to address an emergency and protect the health of Filipinos, saying "many violations listed in the Bayanihan Act were already punishable by other laws."
“The alleged violators are mostly the poor and vulnerable who are driven by hunger and the lack of jobs,” he said.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa also called for the repeal of Section 6 of the Bayanihan Act that allows for arrest without a warrant saying that Section 6 is being used by law enforcers to justify possible abuses, indiscriminate arrests without warrants and discriminatory application of the law.
"The arrest of Cebu-based artist Maria Victoria Beltran and others including the ensuing death of a former military officer for allegedly violating quarantine rules were carried out under Section 6 of the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act," under state of emergency special powers," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


West Papuan political prisoners released under Covid-19 release order

Theo Hesegem, Executive Director of the Papua Human Rights and Integrity Foundation, International Human Rights, said that the Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights should have released the West Papuan political prisoners earlier

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 30: Five West Papuan political prisoners, who were arrested and charged with treason in August last year for flying the banned Bintang Kejora, or Morning Star, flag at the Merdeka State Palace in Jakarta, were released from prison on Tuesday with Papua Human Rights and Integrity Foundation director saying that the West Papuans should have been released earlier due to Covid-19, reports the Jakarta Post.
Papua Human Rights and Integrity Foundation, International Human Rights, executive director, Theo Hesegem, said that the Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights released more than 30,000 prisoners on April 2 in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in prisons but did not release the West Papauan political activists, saying the West Papuans have been held in prison since their arrest in August waiting trial for treason.
"How could the Minister of Justice and Human Rights release 30,000 prisoners in Indonesia and not release the five West Papuan political prisoners," he said.
The West Papuan political prisoners went to trial for treason in April with Central Jakarta District Court judge Agustinus S finding the West Papuan pro independence activists guilty on April 23
The Central Jakarta District Court judge said that the West Papuans were found guilty under Article 110 and Article 106 of the Criminal Code Law (KUHP) for conspiring to promote secession by denouncing the Indonesian flag.
Arina Elopere, Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Anes Tabuni and Issay Wenda were arrested for hoisting the banned Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on August 28.
Judge Agustinus S sentenced the West Papuan pro independence activists to eight and nine months imprisonment in April saying that their actions were an attempt to break apart the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
"All defendants are found guilty of a collective act of treason," he said on April 24.
Papua Human Rights and Integrity Foundation, International Human Rights Division) executive director, Theo Hesegem, said that the West Papuan trial for treason was conducted by the Central Jakarta District Court during the Covid-19 lockdown, saying that places of whorship are closed, school activities are also closed and offices throughout Indonesia are closed."
"But the Judiciary continued to conduct the trial," he said.
In August last year the then Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto, dismissed calls for a Papuan referendum on self determination, saying “Demands for a referendum are inappropriate.”
“NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final, ” he said
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.

The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN military medicine calls for cooperation in eradication of Covid-19: No country can succeed alone

Asean Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), secretary-general, Maj Gen Pramote Imwathana, right, said that sharing information at the table-top exercise (TTX) on Wednesday marked the beginning of transboundary cooperation in ASEAN

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 29: The Asean Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), online conference from Bangkok on Wednesday attended by military repesentatives from 10 Asean member countries including the United States, New Zealand, India, Japan China, Russia, south Korea and Australia called for cooperation in the eradication of Covid-19 in the region, with secretary-general of the Asean Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), saying "no country can succeed in the fight agianst the virus alone," reports the Bangkok Post.
Asean Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), secretary-general, Maj Gen Pramote Imwathana, who is also the commander of the Thai Army Medical Department said that Wednesday's meeting follows the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) meeting held in February that proposed a table-top exercise (TTX) on the ASEAN response to Covid-19.
In February Vietnam Minister of National Defence, General Gho Xuan Lich, said at the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) that Vietnam as the Asean chair for 2020 would act effectively in response to the Covid-19 virus in order to ensure medical security in ASEAN.
He said that Vietnam as also the chair of the Board of Directors of Asean Centre for Military Medicine (ACMM) for 2020, would propose a "table-top exercise in response to the outbreak of Covid-19," in order to improve military medicine preparation to cope with disease outbreaks.
The online table-top exercise (TTX) on the ASEAN response to Covid-19 on Wednesday reportedly analysed the shortcommings of the cooperative efforts between military medicine and other agencies in the ASEAN response to the pandemic.
The analysis of shortcommings in the ASEAN cooperative effort was based on the World Health Organisation's Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) in order to build a joint plan of action to increase ASEAN readiness.
Asean Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), secretary-general, Maj Gen Pramote Imwathana, said that the table top exercise (TTX) on the ASEAN response to Covid-19 on Wednesday was held to share ASEAN member countries experience in the response to the pandemic and to review the lessons learned.
He said that sharing information marked the beginning of transboundary cooperation, saying that cooperation will help stemm the Covid-19 outbreak.
"No country can succeed in the fight against the virus alone," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bangkok doctor moonlighting in illegal commercial surrogacy, arrested

Royal Thai Police Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) raid an illegal commercial surrogacy operation in Bangkok's Lat Phrao district on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 28: A Bangkok doctor employed at a Bangkok public hospital is under arrest for engaging in commercial surrogacy, deemed a criminal offence in Thailand, with the Royal Thai Police Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) saying that the unidentified doctor was summoned to police headquarters to answer charges of "conspiring in transnational criminal activity and engaging in commercial surrogacy," reports the Bangkok Post.
Royal Thai Police Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) chief Pol Maj Gen Worawat Watnakornbancha said on Tuesday
that police suspect that the doctor was responsible for the transfer of embryos into wombs of surrogate mothers.
"Four doctors will be summoned to provide testimony," he said.
He said that police are preparing to make a further 10 arrests of those involved in commercial surrogacy including doctors.
Police also arrested a Thai woman for her alleged involvement with a group allegedly involved in an illegal commercial surrogacy operation from a house in Samut Prakan province Phra Pradaeng district, saying that the woman was allegedly responsible for the transfer of funds to the operating group.
The unidentifed Thai woman is also charged with "conspiring in transnational criminial activity and engaging in commercial surrogacy" facing a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht if found guilty.
In February 2015 the Thai parliament voted 160 to 2 to pass the law that would make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence in Thailand following the discovery of 13 surrogate babies believed to have been fathered by Japanese national, Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24.
The Japanese national and his female assistant Ohno Yuki, 17, fled Thailand after the discovery of the surrogate babies and a raid on the in vetro fertility clinic in Bangkok believed to have provided the Japanese national with in vetro fertility services including surrogate mothers.
The Bill was also proposed after two Australian couples were stopped from leaving Thailand at the Bangkok Airport in August 2014 with babies born to surrogate mothers without a court order from the Thai Family Juvenile Court.
A raid on in-vitro-embryo clinic believed to have provided obstetrician and gynaecologiscalt services to Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, and Australians, David and Wendy Farnell proved that the clinic was in violation of the licence issued by the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam rubber company bulldozes Cambodian land in Covid-19 lockdown From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 26: Communities in Cambodia's Andoung Meas District in the north-eastern province of Ratanakiri demand that a Vietnamese rubber company cease clearance of their land, saying that the rubber company bulldozed their land while they waited for official ratification for the return of their land, delayed by Covid-19 lockdown, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Kak village community representative, Sev Suen, said that the Vietnamese rubber company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), bulldozed two spiritual mountains, wetlands, traditional hunting areas and burial grounds in March while the communities waited for the official ratification for the return of indigenous land from the Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
"The ratification of the return of the land was delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown," he said.
He said that the land cleared by the Vietnamese rubber company has destroyed old-growth forest, saying "the clearance has caused irreparable damage to land that is of priceless spiritual value to the communities."
"The area cleared by the Vietnamese rubber company was included in the land that was designated for return to the communities of Muoy, In, Mas and Kak villages.
The Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was reportedly to return 742ha of indigenous land that had been improperly included in the Vietnamese rubber company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) agricultural land concessions.
The decision to return the land to the communities in Ratanakari province reportedly resulted form mediation with the Vietnamese rubber company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) that was convened by Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank, after the communities filed a complaint in 2014.
In September 2015 Vietnamese rubber company Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) agreed to return the land within its concessions that belonged to the communities.
The Southeast Asian Times

Member of Aung San Suu Kyi party
jailed for corruption

The former chief minister of Myanmars' Tanintharyi Region, Daw Lei Lei Maw, was sentenced to 30 years jail for corruption as charged by the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)

From News Reports:
Yangon, May 26: The former chief minister of Myanmars' Tanintharyi Region and member of National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Daw Lei Lei Maw, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found the chief minister guilty of corruption as charged on Friday, reports the Myanmar Times.
Former chief minister of Tanintharyi Region, Daw Lei Lei Maw, was arrested in March last year and charged with four counts of corruption by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The former chief minister, who is the most senior government official to be convicted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), was charged with the misappropriation of Government regional funds.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found that the former chief minister had abused her authority as chief minister in granting projects to local company F-22 Sunny Construction that included a mowing and pruning contract at the gardens at the regional capital Dawei airport worth K400 million ($283,622).
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also found that the former chief minister had allocated K1.9 billion of regional government funds to the Construction Ministry’s Road Management Department to build fences for two compounds she owned in the regional capital, Dawei.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found that the former chief minister had sold her two-storey house to a local company, Global Grand Services (GGS) at a much higher price in exchange for granting the company permission for several construction projects.
Former chief minister, Daw Lei Lei Maw, was found to have favoured Global Grand Services (GGS) in granting a joint-venture contract for electricity generation between the company and the regional government.
Global Grand Services (GGS) was to pay the Electricity and Energy Ministry K8 billion under the contract but failed to pay the government.
Global Grand Services (GGS) managing director, U Thein Htwe, director U Aung Myat and general manager U Thura Ohn were also charged by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for their involvement in the misappropriation of government funds and received five to 10 years jail.
Daw Lei Lei Maw is a member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).
She was elected member of the parliament in the 2015 election and was subsequently appointed chief minister of Tanitharyi Region.
National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the popular vote with about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The military-drafted Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former Papua New Guinea PM Peter O'Neil arrested for corruption

Former Prime Minister Peter O'Neil arrested on arrival at Port Jackson Internatioal Airport in Port Moresby on Saturday was granted bail of K5,000 with orders that he remain at his Touaguba Hill residence in self isolation until June 2 when the state of emergency lapses

From News Report:
Port Moresby, May 25: Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neil, was arrested at Port Moresby's International Airport on arrival from Brisbane, Australia on Saturday with Papua New Guinea Assistant Commissioner saying "there is reasonable evidence of misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption, reports the Post Courier.
Papua New Guinea Assistant Commissioner Crimes, Hodges Ette, said that former Prime Minister Peter O'Neil was arrested at Port Jackson Internatioal Airport in Port Moresby for questioning for his role in the purchase of two generators from Israel.
"Former Prime Minister Peter O'Neil was brought in for questioning at the Fruad Squad office in Konedobu on Saturday on his return from Brisbane Australia," he said.
He said that the former Prime Minister Peter O'Neil is charged with directing payments for the purchase of two generators from Israel without due consideration for procurement processes as required under the Public Finance Management Act.
"The former Prime Minister directed the National Executive Council to convene and approved the payment of K50 million ($14.2million ) for the generators after the purchase was made," he said.
He said that the purchase of the two generators was not approved by the National Parliament, saying "the purchase did not go through the tender process and that there was no legal clearance from the State Solicitors for such a payment."
"There is reasonable evidence of misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption," he said.
In May 2019 The then Prime Minister Peter O'Neil and Peoples National Congress (PNC) leader announced his resignation at a press conference after weeks of resisting calls for his resignation from opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) members and after adjourning the parliament for three weeks in an attempt avoid a vote of no confidence
In April 2019 Peoples National Congress (PNC) party member and former Finance Minister, James Marape, member for Tari-Pori in New Hela province and now the current Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, resigned his position as Finance minister citing "lack of trust in Prime Minister Peter O'Neil."
His resignation was followed by defections from the Peoples National Congress (PNC) ruling party to opposition National Alliance Party (NAP) party including the resignation of Peoples National Congress (PNC) party member, the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Davis Steven, who said that his resignation had nothing to do with "personal differences", saying that "Papua New Guinea's political leadership is weakening state institutions."
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam NA calls out government for withdrawal of land law from agenda

Kien Giang Province National Assembly (NA) deputy, Nguyen Thi Kim Be, called for accountability for the withdrawal of "the much-anticipated amended Vietnam Land Law," from the National Assembly plenary session next week

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 24: National Assembly (NA) deputies called the government out for its failure to submit legislatve draft proposals for review as listed in the legislative agenda 2020, including the proposed amended Vietnam Land Law, with Kien Giang Province deputy, calling for accountability for the delay of the "much-anticipated amendments to the land law", reports the Vietnam News.
National Assembly (NA) deputies called out the government for its move to change the approved legislative agenda 2020 that would withdraw current legislative draft proposals and introduce new legislative draft proposals for review, saying "the government has not given legislators enough time to deliberate the newly introduced legislative draft proposals at the plenary session next week."
Kien Giang Province National Assembly (NA) deputy, Nguyen Thi Kim Be, said that the legislative agenda for 2020 was more flexible and transparent than in previous years but that there was room for improvement.
She called for accountability for the withdrawal of "the much-anticipated amended Vietnam Land Law," to the plenary session next week, saying "the government has moved to withdraw the submission for review of the land law from the agenda altogether."
"The government withdrew review of the Vietnam Land Law on the grounds of insufficient preparation, "she said.
She said that the proposed legislative draft review of the Vietnam Land Law was also withdrawn from the 2019 sitting of the National Assembly.
"The majority of legal complaints from the public was to do with land disputes, she said.
Bac Kan Province National Assembly deputy, Trieu Thi Thu Phuong said that in 2019 the government withdrew the submission of four legislative draft proposals and introduced nine new legislative draft proposals.
"The government moved to withdraw legislatve draft proposals completely from the 2019 agenda," she said.
The European Union-Vietnam free trade agreement and solutions for the socio-economic impact of Covid-19, including the national target program for socio-economic development of areas inhabited by ethnic groups, are high on the agenda for the National Assembly plenary session next week.
The Southeast Asian Times


Central Jakarta makeshift Covid-19 hospital overloaded

President Joko Widodo at the opening of the newly renovated makeshift Covid-19 hospital at the Asian Games athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta on March 23

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 23: The makeshift hospital at the athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta is overloaded following a surge in confirmed Covid-19 infections in the last two weeks bringing the number of Covid-19 pateints to more than a 1000, with hospital deputy coordinator saying on Thursday that the trend is by no means moving downwards, reports the Jakarta Post.
Kemayoran, Central Jakarta makeshift hospital, deputy coordinator, Dr. Stefanus Donny, said the number of Covid-19 patients has grown in the last two weeks from 500 to 800 to 900 to more than 1,000 at present,” he said.
“The trend is by no means moving downward," he said.
He said that patients from outside Jakarta have also been admitted to the Kemayoran makeshift hospital, saying that patients have admitted themselves while others have been transferred from hospitals overloaded with Covid-19 patients.
"If the trend continues the makeshift hospital will soon reach its limit." he said.
He said that a plan to increase capacity is underway, saying that the government is renovating a second tower in the 2018 Asian Games athletes village into a makeshift hospital.
The Kemayoran makeshift hospital that was designated to treat patients with mild Covid-19 symphtoms has treated 3,700 patients since it began operations on March 23.
Last week the Jakarta provincial administration instructed municipal authorities to conduct rapid Covid-19 testing in the kampungs or slums of Jakarta where at least 118 of Jakarta's 267 subdistricts are slums.
Jakarta Health agency officials reported that Covid-19 is spreading in Jakarta's population of ten million, saying "millions living in Jakarta slums are at high risk of catching and spreading the disease."
Jakarta's Covid-19 infections reached 6,301 with 481 deaths on Friday and are included in the nationwide Covid-19 infection toll of 20,162 infections and 1,278 deaths
Earlier this month the Indonesian Doctors Association disputed the Ministry of Health's Offical Covid-19 nationwide death toll, with the chairman of the association saying "deaths from probable Covid-19 infection should be included in the death toll too."
Indonesian Doctors Association chairman, Daeng Muhammad Faqih said that the nationwide death toll from probable Covid-19 infection is likely to be high," saying that the inclusion of probable Covid-19 infections in Indonesia's Covid-19 death toll could quadruple the official Covid-19 death toll.
He said that the number of buried in Jakarta almost doubles the nationwide Covid-19 death toll and four times that of the official Covid-19 death toll for Jakarta, saying that "the official Covid-19 death toll includes only those who died after testing positive for the Covid-19.
"Some who died with Covid-19 symptoms were not tested at all," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar MP warns of resistance and protest against Australian miner

From News Reports:
Yangon, May 22: Myanmar's Kachin State, Amyotha Hluttaw Member of Parliament, J Yaw Wu, warned of resistance and protest to the proposed Australian large scale mining exploration proposal in Myanmar's northernmost Khaunglanhpu Township in Putao District in northern Kachin State, saying "the state government should give the exploration project to a local company", reports the Myanmar Times.
Kachin State Member of Parliament, J Yaw Wu, said in the Naypyitaw parliament on Wednesday that people in Khaunglanhpu Township are concerned about the confiscation

Myanmar's Kachin State, Amyotha Hluttaw Member of Parliament,
J Yaw Wu

of their land, losing natural resouces and their livelihoods.
He said that the feasibility study covers farmland, communty forests, historical places and lands that local communities manage for rotational farming using customary tenure practices, saying that "they do not have ownership certificates or land titles."
He warned the Parliament of local resistance and protest, saying the people in Khaunglanhpu Township have not been adequately consulted about the proposed mining project.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) deputy U Ye Myint Swe said that the Kachin State government granted Australian company, Fortuna Metals Co. Ltd, permission to conduct a feasibility study to mine gold, metals and other minerals on almost 300,000 acres of land reportedly in Myanmar's largest protected forest reserve in November 2019.
He said that the Kachin State Government granted the company permission to conduct a feasibility study for two blocks located in Khaunglanhpu Township, saying "the blocks are not in the protected forest reserve."
"The feasibility study proposed by the Australian company, Fortuna Metals Co. Ltd, would not significantly affect protected forest reserves, the environment or local land, " he said.
He said the Australian miner must carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a social impact assessment (SIA) and a corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan in accordance with Myanmar’s environmental law, saying "the company will have to submit such a proposal to the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOFPI), the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER), the Ethnic Affairs Ministry and other related departments."
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnamese contracts Covid-19 in Cambodia: Cambodia rejects claim

Cambodia's Ministry of Health spokewoman, Or Vandin, said that "the claim that a Vietnamese had contracted Covid-19 in Cambodia could adversly affect Cambodia's efforts in combating the virus."

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 21: Cambodia's Ministry of Health rejects the Vietnamese claim that a Vietnamese national contracted Covid-19 in Siem Reap claiming that the Vietnamese male contracted the virus in Vietnam not Cambodia, with the Ministry saying that the claim could adversely affect Cambodia's effort in combating Covid-19, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodia Ministry of Health spokeswoman, Or Vandine, says that the Vietnamese national did not contract Covid-19 in Cambodia, saying that the claim that the Vietnamese male contracted Covid-19 in Siem Reap cannot be confirmed.
She said that officials in Siem Reap conducted an investigation into the claim that the Vietnamese national had contracted Covid-19 in Siem Reap but found that he was not a resident.
She said that the Ministry of Health did not receive official information on the Vietnamese national contracting Covid-19 in Siem Reap from the Mutual Reporting System of new diseases in ASEAN initiative, saying instead the information was posted in a Vietnam newspaper.
The online VnExpress reported on May 23 that a 39 year-old Vietnamese male from Tan Chau district in Vietnam's southeastern province of Tay Ninh that borders Cambodia, tested positive for Covid-19.
The newspaper claimed the infected man had travelled by bus from Tay Ninh in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia on January 10 and returned to Vietnam illegally on May 2, crossing the border that has been closed since March.
Cambodia Ministry of Health spokeswoman, Or Vandine, said that the Vietnamese male had been out of Cambodia for 14 days before he tested positive for Covid-19 in Vietnam, saying that it could not be assumed that he had contracted Covid-19 in Cambodia.
She said that Cambodia had not received official confirmation from Vietnam that a Vietnamese citizen had contracted Covid-19 while in Cambodia.
"The Ministry of Health has asked Vietnamese authorities to adhere to international technical and regulatory standards on the recording of infectious diseases, saying that "the claim that a Vietnamese had contracted Covid-19 in Cambodia could adversly affect Cambodia's efforts."
The Southeast Asian Times


Covid-19 infection increase: Metro Manila warned of return to lockdown

Shoppers are disinfected before entry into Manila's massive shopping malls that reopened after easing of quarantine restrictions on Saturday after two weeks in lockdown

From News Reports:
Manila, May 20: Filipino's are warned that the government will place Metro Manila in lockdown anew should Covid-19 infections increase following the easing of quarantine restrictions that allowed the reopening of shopping malls after two weeks in lockdown, with the Department of Health (DOH) saying that "the fight against Covid-19 is not over yet," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported 205 new Covid-19 infections on Monday of which 145 were recorded in Metro Manila bringing the total Covid-19 infections in Metro Manila to 1,057 with 91 deaths, with the national total for infections at 12,718 and the national death total at 831.
The Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire, said the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila did not mean the threat of Covid-19 infection was no longer there, saying "the easing of quarantine restrictions is the start of a new phase of the Covid-19."
"But we remind everyone, the fight against Covid-19 is not over yet."
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government eased quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila on the assumption that the public would follow health measures to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19.
He said that health protocols particularly physical distancing were ignored as large crowds trooped to shopping malls on the first day of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) on Saturday.
“After Saturday, I am sure we will see a steep increase in infections because we disregarded social distancing and other health protocols,” he said.
He called on shopping malls to comply with health protocols and ensure safe physical distancing or face closure or legal action.
“There would be criminal liability if they do not exert or if they do not fulfill their obligations," he said.
He said that the Philippines would be like other countries that saw an increase in Covid-19 infections after relaxing restrictions if people did not comply with health protocols.
The Southeast Asian Times


King warns MP's not to drag Malaysia into political uncertainty

King of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, warned Members of Parliament on Monday that they should not touch on sensitive matters of religion and race or the sovereignty and position of the Malay rulers

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 19: The King of Malaysia warned Members of Parliament at the first parliamentary sitting since the swearing in of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in March, after the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is seeking a vote of no confidence, "not to drag the country into political uncertainty," reports the Star.
The third session of the 15th parliamment on Monday ended immediately after the King's address, effectively blocking the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from seeking a vote of no confidence in the new leadership
King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said in the royal address at the opening of parliament on Monday that differences of opinion between the Members of Parliament (MPs) "should not end in enmity and personal attacks."
“Instead, these differences should serve as a base to spark new ideas to develop and unite the country, not the reverse,” he said.
“I wish to advise, do not drag the country into political uncertainty, when the citizens are already facing various problems and a difficult future due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly instructed the speaker of the parliament to end the parliament sitting after the King had delivered the Royal opening address.
Speaker of the parliament, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, said that a motion seeking a vote of no confidence in current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin brought by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was approved last week.
But that he received a notice signed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin saying that the "Order of the First Proceeding of the Third Term, the 14th Parliament, will be amended.
"The government has the power to amend the schedule under Parliamentary Standing Order 11(2) and 15(2), " he said.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad claimed he had the support of the majority members of the lower house of parliament, following the swearing in of Muhyiddin Yassin as the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia on March 1, saying then that he would seek an emergency sitting of parliament.
The King of Malaysia said at the opening of parliament on Monday that he had advised former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad not to resign, saying "but he was firm in his decision and despite my sadness I had to accept his resignation."
"I found Muhyiddin Yassin commanded the confidence of the majority of MP's," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Worshippers protected from Covid-19 by Jesus: Myanmar pastor says

Pastor U Saw David Lah, founder of Dream Ministry International rejected said “I can guarantee if your church seriously believes in Jesus, you will not get the Covid-19 disease ”

From News Reports:
Yangon, May 12: Myanmar has charged a Baptist pastor and a preacher for holding sermons in townships in Yangon under the Natural Disaster Management Law that banned mass gatherings to curb the spread of Covid-19, with the pastor telling worshippers that those who are deeply devoted to Christianity would be protected from Covid-19 by Jesus, reports the Myanmaar times
Lawyer, Wai Phyo Han says that the Yangon Regional government intends to sue founder of Dream Ministry International, Christian pastor, U Saw David Lah, and preacher, U Wai Tun, under the Natutrual Disaters Management Law for holding religious gatherings in five townships in Yangon including in Insein township and Mayangone township since the ban was invoked.
He claims that pastor, U Saw David Lah, had told worshippers that those who are deeply devoted to Christianity would be protected from Covid-19 by Jesus.
He said that pastor, U Saw David Lah, and preacher U Wai Tun, are charged for holding a sermon at the Baptist church in Insein township that included performers Myanmar rockstar, Myo Gyi, singer Ni Tar and rapper J-Me in violation of the Natural Disaster Management Law that banned mass gatherings.
The gathering at the church in Insein township emerged as a Covid-10 cluster with 71 testing Covid-19 positive.
Myanmar vice president U Henry Van Thio and 30 close contacts were tested for Covid-19 after a photograph taken with pastor U Saw David Lah was shown on social media.
Myanmar vice president U Henry Van Thio and the 30 contacts reportedly tested negative.
Pastor U Saw David Lah and preacher, U Wai Tun, are also charged with holding a sermon at the Mayangone center in Mayangone township.
The number of people who have tested Covid-19 positive in Mayangone township has risen to 15.
Pastor U Saw David Lah and preacher U Wai Tun, have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine in Botahtaung township for 14 days.
Lawyer, Wai Phyo Han said that legal proceedings will continue against Pastor U Saw David Lah and preacher, U Wai Tun, after they complete 14 days quarantine, saying that they face up to six months in jail.
Myanmar has tested 11,222 for Covid-19 of those tested 180 have tested positive with six deaths reported.
The Southeast Asian Times

COVID-19 crisis a wake-up call: ILO warns ASEAN Labour Ministers
From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 17: The Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN labour ministers called for an urgent response to the impact of Covid-19 on labour and employment at a Special Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers in Response to the Impact of COVID-19 on Labour and Employment on Thursday that was attended by International Labour Org anisation (ILO) who warned that the COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to social protection.
International Labour Organisation, Director of the Department of Social Protection, Shahra Razavi, said that the COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call, showing that a lack of social protection affects not just the poor, it exposes the vulnerability of those who have been getting by relatively well, saying "medical charges and loss of income can easily destroy decades of family work and savings.”
She warned that the Covid-19 health crises has exposed gaps in health benefit coverage, saying that gaps can force workers to go to work when they are sick or should self-quarantine, increasing the risk of infection.
"The loss of income increases the risk of poverty for workers and their families that could have a lasting impact."
International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that while Covid-19 infection does not discriminate between rich and poor its impact is uneven, saying that the ability to access affordable, quality, healthcare has become a matter of life and death."
International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that the COVID-19 crisis has exposed devastating gaps in social protection coverage in developing countries, saying that recovery will only be sustained and future crises prevented if developing countries that include the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) can transform their ad hoc crisis response measures into comprehensive social protection systems.
The Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN labour ministers called on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for future cooperation
The meeting of ASEAN labour ministers, also attended by ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, endorsed and adopted a joint statement on labour and employment including the social protection of workers, wages, safety and access to health benefits saying that ASEAN would adhere to the determination and commitment of ASEAN Member States, in the spirit of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN, to remain united and to act jointly and decisively to control the spread of the disease while mitigating its adverse impact, safeguarding the people’s well-being and maintaining socio-economic stability
The Southeast Asian Times

KL court drops money-laundering charges in 1MDB state fund case

Riza Shahriz Abdul, 50, stepson of former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, charged with money-laundering, has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to the Malaysian government in return for an acquittal

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 16: The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court dropped money-laundering charges amounting to US$248 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state funds against the stepson of former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, with the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court granting a Discharge Not An Acquittal (DNAA), reports the Star.
The Sessions Court discharged, Riza Shahriz Abdul, 50, from money-laundering charges on agreement that he pay an undisclosed amount to the Malaysian government following a Discharge Not An Acquittal (DNAA) application to the court by the prosecution.
Prosecutor, Gopal Sri Ram, said that the prosecution would not be proceeding with the charges against Riza pending the completion of the agreement, saying “an agreement has been arrived at between the prosecution and the accused in which the federal government will receive a substantial sum.”
He said that appropriate steps would be taken to ensure that Riza Shahriz Abdul receives a full acquittal of the charges if he satisfactorily fulfills the agreement, saying "the prosecution would pursue the charges against him if he fails to fulfill the agreement."
Riza Aziz was arrested in July 2019 and released on bail after an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found that his company Red Granite Pictures and Good Star Ltd, had syphoned funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) claimed that Red Granite Picures that produced the Oscar-nominated ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, received money from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) saying that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London and in the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million by Red Granite Pictures and Good Star Ltd.,
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began an investigation into allegations that funds were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to former ousted Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts,
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak who was Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board was arrested in July 2018 following the declassification of the 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
The audit report was declassified less than a week after the May 2019 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party, lead by former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak and the swearing in of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former PM Mahathir blocked from seeking vote of no confidence

Former PM Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday that the decision to end the parliament sitting on Monday immediately after the King delivers the opening Royal Address is a possible sign that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin lacks majority support

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been blocked from seeking a vote of no confidence in the leadership of current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at the next Parliamentary sitting on Monday with the Speaker of Parliament saying Parliament proceedings will end immediately after the King delivers the opening Royal Address, reports the Star.
Speaker of Parliament, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will not face a confidence vote on May 18 as scheduled, saying "the government had decided to list only one order of parliamentary business for the day, the opening address by the King."
A motion seeking a vote of no confidence in current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that was brought by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was approved by the Speaker of Parliament last week.
But Speaker of Parliament, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, said he received a notice signed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin saying that the "Order of the First Proceeding of the Third Term, the 14th Parliament, will be amended,”
"The government has the power to amend the schedule under Parliamentary Standing Order 11(2) and 15(2), " he said.
The Speaker said that the decision to end Parliamentary sittings immediately after the King delivers the opening Royal Address was reached by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the government effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad claimed he had the support of the majority members of the lower house of parliament, following the swearing in of Muhyiddin Yassin as the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia on March 1, saying then that he would seek an emergency sitting of parliament.
Mahathir Mohamad claimed then that Muhyiddin Yassin did not have the majority of support from the 222 Members of Parliament.
He said on Wednesday that the decision to end the parliament sitting on Monday immediately after the King delivers the opening Royal Address is a possible sign that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin lacks parliament majority, saying “Parliament is not allowed to convene, which means Muhyiddin does not have majority support.”
“It looks like there is an attempt to block me from even speaking as a Member of Parliament,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


WHO commends transparency on death of Covid-19 patient from liver cirrhosis in Vietnam : Zero deaths

World Health Organisation WHO Representative in Vetnam, Dr Kidong Park, warned at a meeting in Hanoi on Tuesday that Vietnam remain vigilant for a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections despite 26 days without a new infection and zero Covid-19 deaths

From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 14: The World Health Organisation WHO commended Vietnam for its immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic and for transparency in the death of Covid-19 patient No.251 who reportedly died from liver cirrhosis after discharge from hospital, reports the Vietnam News Service.
World Health Organisation WHO representative in Vietnam, Kidong Park, said at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam in Hanoi on Tuesday that the agency appreciated Vietnam's close coordination, transparency and information sharing of the Covid-19 infection count that yesterday was 288, with the Covid-19 recovery count at 252, Covid-19 zero death count and no new Covid-19 infections for 26 days.
He said that the World Health Organisation WHO appreciated Vietnam's transparency in the death earlier this month of Covid-19 patient No.251 from liver cirrhosis after diagnosed free of Covid-19 infection last month after six Covid-19 tests returned negative.
Covid-19 patient No. 251, a 64 year old male from Ha Nam Province, reportedly tested positive for the virus on April 7 but was reportedly free of the virus when he died of liver cirrhosis on May 1.
World Health Organisation WHO representative in Vietnam, Kidong Park, said that the agency was confident in Vietnam's conclusion that Covid-19 patient No.251 died of liver cirrhosis after a thorough review of the case that included hospital procedure, treatment and testing for the Covid-19 infection.
"The information provided gave the WHO agency no reason to doubt the diagnosis, " he said.
He said that the World Health Organisation's WHO confidence in Vietnam's diagnosis stemmed from the agency's long cooperation with international experts in the health sector, laboratories, preventative medicine centers and research units in Vietnam.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that Vietnam was ready to share information and contribute its initiatives and experience in the fight against COVID-19 with the international community, particulary poor and developing countries.
The Southeast Asian Times

Millions in Jakarta slums at high risk

Indonesia's Central Statistics Agency defines Jakarta slum, Nasib Warga Kampung, as a residential area with dense unihabitable structures, poor environmental sanitation and population density of about 14,400 residents per square kilometer, saying that Jakarta is expected to reach a population of 11 million in 2020

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 13: The Jakarta provincial administration has instructed municipal authorities to conduct rapid Covid-19 testing in the kampungs or slums of Jakarta after Jakarta Health agency officials reported that the Covid-19 is beginning to spread saying "millions living in Jakarta slums are at high risk of catching and spreading the disease," reports the Jakarta Post.
Central Jakarta health agency official, Erizon Safari, said that 24 of the 170 who were tested for Covid-19 in the kampungs or slums in Kebon Kacang subdistrict tested positive for Covid-19.
"It's a given that people living in the slums of Jakarta have contributed to the city's confirmed Covid-19 infection tally," he said.
The Covid-19 death toll nationwide is 1007 including 443 in Jakarta with 14,749 Covid-19 infections nationwide including 5,375 infections in Jakarta.
He said that Kebon Kacang, Johar Baru, Kemayoran are densely populated subdistricts of Jakarta, saying that at least 118 of the Jakarta's 267 subdistricts are slums.
North Jakarta's health agency official, Yudi Dimyati, said that 18 kampungs or slums in North Jakarta were priotised for rapid testing but that health authorities would focus on neighbourhoods where confirmed Covid-19 infections had been reported.
He said that the North Jakarta health agency had conducted rapid tests on 299 people living in Kampung or slums in Akuarium in Penjaringan subdistrict after a Covid-19 test returned positive seven days after the resident had died, saying "no additional infections were found in those tested," he said.
The North Jakarta health agency is waiting for rapid test kits from the Jakarta administration to continue testing, saying "a second round of rapid tests will be conducted on those already tested in Kampung or slums in Akuarium in Penjaringan subdistrict.
"There is a potential for false negatives in rapid testing," he said.
He said that people living in Kampungs or slums are prone to Covid-19 infection, saying that millions live in densely populated areas known as kampung or slums in Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia's factories want landlords to lower rents: production suspended

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general, Ken Loo, has called on landowners to lower rents for factory operators

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 12: The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has called on landowners to lower rents for factories impacted by Covid-19 following the suspension of production by more than 180 factories with a further 60 at risk, affecting the livelihoods of about 200,000 garment workers directly and two million indirectly, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general, Ken Loo, called on landowners to lower rents by at least 30 percent for three to six months, saying that dropping rents will reduce the burden on factory operators.
"The expense of renting a factory building and property is a great burden on factory operators," he said.
He said that factory owners are at risk of suspending production because orders for clothing, footwear and travel products have been cancelled, saying "there must be negotiations for lower prices between landowners and factory operators. "
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said that factories had intended to shut down but agreed to suspend production after the government exempted them from taxes and delayed payment of a fixed levy to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
“The government has taken a series of measures to maintain jobs and income for workers whose factories have suspended production," he said.
He said that factories wanted to close but the government encouraged the factories to suspend production rather than shut down, saying "that way workers would not have to lose their jobs forever," he said.
The government offered suspended workers $40 a month in addition to what is provided by their factories," he said.
More than 130 clothing, footwear and travel products factories have applied for suspension of production since January
The Southeast Asian Times

Doctors and nurses: At least 4 percent of total Covid-19 deaths in Indonesia

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo, who was appointed chief of the National Covid-19 Task Force says that "we can't afford to lose more doctors"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 11: Indonesia's National Covid-19 Task Force reports that at least 26 doctors and 12 nurses are included in the Covid-19 death toll that on Saturday had reached 959 deaths with 13,645 infections in a population of more than 272 million, with the head of the Covid-19 Task Force saying, "we can't afford to lose more doctors," reports the Jakarta Post.
National Covid-19 Task Force, chief, Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo, said on Sunday that the Task Force had learned that at least 26 doctors and 12 nurses have fallen victim to Covid-19.
“Doctors and nurses are our heroes," he said.
He said that Indonesia with a population of more than 272 million has a very low number of physicians, when it comes to specialist doctors.
“We have about 34,800 specialist doctors and only 1,970 of them are respiratory specialists," he said.
He urged Indonesians not to go to hospitals except for emergency treatment to avoid adding to the burden, saying "we cannot let the public flood hospitals, otherwise doctors will be exhausted due to longer working hours that gives them little time to rest,” he said.
He said that hospital admissions have been greatly reduced in the past several weeks as more patients recover from the Covid-19 infection, saying that it was hard to get a hospital bed in the first two weeks after the declaration of a national emergency on March 13.
"Demand for hospital beds began to decline by the seventh week after the declaration," he said.
He said that 800 hospitals across the country are capable of handling Covid-19 patients with occupancy rates nationwide at 73 percent and municiple owned hospitals at only 53 percent occupancy.
"This news comes as a great relief to the Covid-19 Task Force," he said.
Indonesian Doctors Association chairman, Daeng Muhammad Faqih, disputed the official Covid-19 death toll in Indonesia, saying that "alot more people have died from Covid-19 than the government claims."
He says that the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Indonesia is based on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method of testing, saying "the official Covid-19 death toll includes only those who died after testing positive for the Covid-19.
"Deaths from probable Covid-19 infection are not included in the death toll," he said.
He said that the death toll from probable Covid-19 infection is likely to be high but cannot be confirmed," saying that funeral services in Jakarta have buried 1,592 in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.
He said that the number of buried almost doubles the national Covid-19 death toll and four times that of the official Covid-19 death toll for Jakarta, saying that "the official Covid-19 death toll includes only those who died after testing positive for the Covid-19.
"Some who died with Covid-19 symptoms were not tested at all," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police raid Singapore oil trader: False transaction documents
From News Reports:
Singapore, May 10: The police raid on the offices of Singapore oil trader, ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd, follows a Singapore High Court order on Friday, that placed ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd under judicial managememnt for providing false transaction documents to HSBC banking, reports the Straits Times.
HSBC alleges that Singapore oil trader, ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd provided false transaction documents in its loan application to HSBC banking that used the same cargo of oil as collateral to obtain more than one loan.
HSBC alleges that the Singapore oil trader was involved in a series of “highly dishonest transactions” in a report made to the Singapore Commercial Affairs Department on April 28.
"HSBC has lost confidence in the management of ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd, in Singapore in its ability to pay an almost $49 milion debt to the bank," HSBC said in the report.
HSBC claims that ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd., provided false transaction documents in its loan applications to the bank.
HSBC says that ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd., has wrongfully diverted payments of funds that should have been paid directly to the lending banks, dissipating the funds beyond the reach of the bank.
The Singapore High Court has appointed KMPG accountants to restructure debts incurred by ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd., reportedly resulting from the impact of Covid-19 on oil prices.
Covid-19 lockdowns that have affected about one-third of the worlds population have reduced demand for oil with sellers outnumbering buyers and oil producers willing to pay oil traders to store oil.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesians warned: Death penalty for corruption related to Covid-19

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Firli Bahuri, says "the KPK has no choice but to hand down the death penalty if found guilty of corruption during a national disaster"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 9: Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) warned Indonesians that they face the death penalty if found guilty of corruption related to Covid-19 government relief funds under the 2001 Anticorruption law, with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) saying "we have no choice but to hand down the death penalty if found guilty of corruption during a national disaster," reports the Jakarta post.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Firli Bahuri, said that the 2001 Anticoruption Law stipulates that those found guilty of corruption or self-enrichment offenses that cause state losses during a national disaster may be sentenced to death, saying that "the safety of the people shall be the highest law."
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has identified four areas of the government Covid-19 response that are prone to corruption, saying goods and services procurement, third party donations, budget reallocation and aid distribution are prone to corruption.
"The KPK has formed a task force to oversee these sectors," he said.
He said that the KPK has asked assistance from National Police to monitor the budget and the distribution of social aid to remote areas, saying "the KPK will collaborate with ministries and various agencies."
The Indonesian government has allocated an extra Rp 405.1 trillion (US$24.6 billion) in funds for COVID-19 relief that includes Rp 75 trillion for healthcare spending and Rp 110 trillion for social safety programs.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, Arteria Dahlan, said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) should also oversee the procurement of goods and services and donations, saying "the KPK should oversee the policymaking process."
He said that the KPK should protect the government and provide recommendations for bad policies, saying "KPK should also monitor the governments' appointment of partners for its relief programs."
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established in 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti who founded the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and is the current leader.
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


Not right time to employ Chinese miners: Sulawesi governor

Southeast Sulawesi Governor Ali Mazi says that Southeast Sulawesi will abide by Indonesian Ministry of Manpower approval of the recruitment of the Chinese workers

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 8: The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower has issued a permit for the recruitment of 500 Chinese nationals to work at Chinese operated nickel mines in Southeast Sulawesi despite the Coronavirus Disease Response Acceleration Task Force ban on entry of foreigners and possible social upheaval in the community, with southeast Sulawesi Governor Ali Mazi saying “it is not the right time to bring in foreign workers from China when the community is dealing with coronavirus," reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesian Ministry of Manpower official, Aris Wahyudi, said that the 500 Chinese workers would replace the Chinese workers in southeast Sulawesi whose contracts have expired, saying that their employers PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry (VDNI) dan PT Obsidian Stainless Steel mines want business continuity during the Covid-19 economic crisis.
"The Chinese mining company has tried to employ workers in Indonesia but the mining company is unable to find workers in Indonesia with the required qualifications," he said.
Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) president, Said Iqbal, said that the employment of 500 foreign workers would hurt Indonesian workers, saying "the employment of Chinese workers would provoke a sence of injustice in Indonesian workers," he said.
Southeast Sulawesi Regional Legislative Assembly (DPRD) rejected the arrival of the Chinese workers at a plenary session on April 29, 2020, with Southeast Sulawesi governor Ali Mazi saying "it is absolutely within the rights of the legislative body to oppose the arrival of the Chinese workers."
Southeast Sulawesi governor Ali Mazi said that the provincial government will abide by Indonesian Ministry of Manpower approval of the recruitment of the Chinese workers because the regulation was issued by the central government, saying "we are not rejecting the government approval."
"Instead we request that the government delay the arrival of the workers," he said.
The recruitment of the Chinese workers was issued under Ministry of Law and Human Rights’ Regulation Number 11 of 2020 that stipulates that foreigners who will work for a national strategic project are not prohibited from entering Indonesia during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regent, Kery Saiful Konggoasa, of Konawe in Southeast Sulawesi, the location of the Chinese operated mine and refinery, also objected to the employment of the Chinese workers, saying that he did not want "the arrival of the Chinese workers to trigger social upheaval in the community."
The Southeast Asian Times


Singaporean claims she is not subject to Singapore law: Sovereign citizen

Paramjeet Kaur, 40, who was charged under the Singapore Public Order and Nuisance Act for being a public nuisance at the Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road in central Singapore and charged under the Covid-19 Temporary Measures Act for not wearing a face mask in public, says that she is not subject to the laws of Singapore

From News Reports:
Singapore, May 7: A Singapore woman who refused to wear a face mask in a public place, as required under the Covid-10 Temporary Measures Act, on grounds that she is a sovereign citizen and as such not subject to the laws of Singapore was arrested on Monday, with the Singapore Home Affairs Minister saying that the womans claim of sovereign citizen "is odd", reports the Straits Times.
Paramjeet Kaur, 40, was charged under the Singapore Public Order and Nuisance Act for being a public nuisance at the Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road in central Singapore and charged under the Covid-19 Temporary Measures Act for not wearing a face mask in public.
Paramjeet Kaur is accused of allegedly assaulting a 47 year-old woman who had told her to wear a face mask and confronting other members of the public at the Shunfu Mart without wearing a face mask and repeatedly saying that she is a soverign citizen and as such not subject to the laws of Singapore.
"I am a sovererign, I am a sovereign", she said.
Last month she was fined by the National Environment Agency in breach of the 1-metre safe distancing rule under the Covid-10 Temporary Measures Act while purchasing food at a market.
Singapore District Court Judge Clement Tan remanded Paramjeet Kaur to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric observation for two weeks with an order to return to the court on May 19.
Paramjeet Kaur called on Singapore lawyer Satwant Singh to represent her in her claim that she is not subject to the laws of Singapore, saying "I extend my sovereign immunity to Satwant and I asked Satwant to represent me," she said.
"I am a living woman and that is my only defence in this matter," she said.
Singapore Home Affairs Minister, K. Shanmugam, said that the claim made by Paramjeet Kaur that she is a sovereign citizen "is odd" saying that reference to herself as a sovereign citizen maybe related to a US movement, saying "there is a movement in the US, and adherents to that movement broadly speaking reject government, reject the police and any kind of authority." he said.
He said that if Paramjeet Kaur did not follow the Covid-10 Temporary Measures Act and infects someone or if she falls ill herself, she will be imposing a medical burden on the rest of the society - whose rules she rejects, presumably.
"Very odd, " he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia calls for debt relief at
Non-Aligned Movement Summit

President Joko Widodo called on developed countries to improve global health governance in preparation for future pandemics at the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held on Monday in commemoration of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 6: President Joko Widodo called for debt relief for developing nations at the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit "United against the Covid-19" on Monday, attended by 120 mostly developing nations including the 10 Associationa of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) that after the United Nations is the largest group of states worldwide, was held online on Monday to promote international solidarity to combat Covid-19 pandemic.
President Joko Widodo called for a global cooperative for developing nations at the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit that was chaired by
Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev.
The Summit emphasised the value of multilateralism in addressing the challenges faced by Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) nation members in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Joko Widodo said that debts to official creditors should be transferred to a Covid-19 fund, saying “we should be vocal in our commitment to development and humanity including debt relief."
"Multilateralism must remain as the grounds to conduct international partnerships," he said.
The Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit was also attended by President of the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande; Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO ) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; and Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres taking parting in the Summit via a pre-recorded message.
Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit adopted a Declaration as a unified voice of the movement to call for intensified international cooperation in combating the pandemic, with chair, Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev,
saying "the Declaration will endorse the establishment of a NAM Task Force to identify social and humanitarian requirements of NAM Member States in their fight against Covid-19."

The Southeast Asian Times

Rohingya starving at sea: ASEAN Human Rights calls for compassion

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in Indonesia, Yuyun Wahyuningrum, called on a humane response from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to the Rohinya

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 5: The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) called on member states to integrate human rights in the ASEAN response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should show compassion for the Rohinya who were denied entry to Malaysia last month.
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) called on a humane response from ASEAN member states to 200 Rohinya
whose boat was intercepted by two Malaysian navy vessels off Langkawi and escorted out of Malaysian waters, with the Malaysian air force saying "maritime surveillance operations will be intensified."
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Indonesia, Yuyun Wahyuningrum, said that Malaysia denied the boat carrying the Rohinya entry out of fear that the undocumented migrants would spread Covid-19 in Malaysia, saying that "ASEAN member states should not be afraid of the Rohinya."
"ASEAN member states should show compassion during the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.
She said that the Rohinya are in desperate need of assistance, saying that hundreds of Rohinya have died of starvation on crowded boats at sea during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) said in a statement on Friday that the commission expects all ASEAN member states, to integrate human rights values and the principles of non-discrimination, participation and inclusion in their response to the Covid-19 crisis, saying that human rights were not mentioned in the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 adopted by ASEAN and three partner countries last month.
On 14 April ASEAN and three partner countries, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN + 3) adopted a Declaration of cooperation for a coordinated effort for the containment of Covid-19 at the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, online with the Prime Minister reaffirming ASEAN determiniation and commitment to remain united in the joint effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said ahead of the summit that the summit demonstrates the shared responsibility and centrality of the bloc, saying that Vietnam has worked to consolidate solidarity and unity in ASEAN including bloc partners since Vietnam assumed the role of ASEAN chair 2020.
"The standardization of policy in ASEAN would improve the effectiveness of a coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia's doctors dispute official Covid-19 death toll

The Indonesian Doctors Association says that " Jakarta has buried 1,592 in accordance with Covid-19 burial protocols," while the Ministry of Health's reports that the Covid-19 death toll had reached 831 on Saturday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 4: Indonesia's doctors have disputed the Ministry of Health's official Covid-19 death toll in Indonesia, that according to the Ministry of Health had reached 831 on Saturday, with the chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Association, saying "a lot more people have died from Covid-19 than the government is saying," reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesian Doctors Association chairman, Daeng Muhammad Faqih, said that he did not want to dispute the Ministry of Health's data because the death toll based on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is valid.
"But deaths from probable Covid-19 infection should be included in the death toll too," he said.
He said that the death toll from probable Covid-19 infection is likely to be high," saying that the inclusion of probable Covid-19 infections in Indonesia's Covid-19 death toll could quadruple the official Covid-19 death toll.
"In Jakarta alone the city's bereavement services have burried 1,592 in accordance with strict Covid-19 protocols," he said.
He said that the number of buried in Jakarta almost doubles the national Covid-19 death toll and four times that of the official Covid-19 death toll for Jakarta, saying that "the official Covid-19 death toll includes only those who died after testing positive for the Covid-19.
"Some who died with Covid-19 symptoms were not tested at all," he said.
Indonesia's National Covid-19 Task Force spokeman, Achmad Yurianto, said that the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 death toll for Indonesia only includes deaths that had been confirmd by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing.
" Probable infections from antibody testing, rapid testing or visible clinical symptoms are not included in the Ministry of Health's number of Covid-19 deaths", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines Offshore gaming resumes: All earnings to combat Covid-19

Senator Franklin Drilon said at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe money laundering in March that the social problems caused by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) is not worth the regulation fees paid to Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)

From News Reports:
Manila, May 3: Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), whose online gambling operations were closed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) orders in March, are to resume gaming operations for the government to raise funds to combat Covid-19, with Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, saying that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), that cater to online gamblers in China, are not subject to closure under quarantine orders, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque claims that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) fall under the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) classification, saying "the operators are third party providors not gamblers."
"No gambling by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) is conducted in the Philippines," he said.
Chairwoman of the statutory corporation that regulates gaming, the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Andrea Domingo, says that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) deprived the government of P600 million in monthly earnings under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) orders.
She said that the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the largest contributor of revenue to the government after the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, saying "revenue from the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) could help to augment funds to combat Covid-19."
"Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) are required to adhere to Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) regulations before resuming offshore gaming operations," she said.
She said that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) were required to update and settle all outstanding taxes; pay all regulatory and license fees, performance bond or penalties; remitt regulatory fees for the month of April; and show readiness to implement safety protocols.
"Pogos must improve their safety measures to ensure that their employees were protected from the virus and to avoid its spread in their communities," she said.
Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) data reportedly shows that 60 licensed Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO),
employed 120,976 workers in March.
The date reportedly shows that 69,613, or 58 percent, of workers were Chinese, 30,521, or 25 percent, were Filipinos, the remaining workers were Vietnamese, Indonesians, Taiwanese, Malaysians and nationals from 44 other countries.
In March the Philippines Department of Finance called on the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to investigate claims that Chinese nationals carried large amounts of cash into the Phillipines saying that more than US$160 million was hand carried through aiports in the previous three months.
The Philippine Bureau of Immigration claimed that Chinese nationals arriving in the Philippines would pay a service fee in exchange for employment in Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) operations without the necessary permits from the government.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia Ministry of Health: Risk of
Covid-19 transmission "not low"

Cambodia's Ministry of Health spokeswoman, Or Vandine, says that she does not want to label the Covid-19 individual transmission risk as high or medium

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, May 2: Cambodia's Ministry of Health warns that the Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission in Cambodia is "not low" despite no new Covid-19 infections reported for 17 days at 122 and nil deaths, with the Ministry of Health saying "a second wave can occur at any time," reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman, Or Vandine, said that Cambodians were throwing caution to the wind and moving freely, going to markets, malls and restaurants with little social distancing, urging Cambodians to continue with social distancing and good hygiene practices.
"Good hygiene practices should become the new norm," she said.
She said that the Covid-19 scenario in Cambodia is at an early stage of the pandemic, saying "a second wave can occur at any time."
"The World Health Organization has warned that Cambodia is experiencing the first stage of the coronavirus pandemic." she said.
She said that despite the apparent flattened curve in infections, the government is very concerned about a second wave of Covid-19, saying "we have to be vigilant and very careful because the risk for individual transmission is not low.”
Cambodia People's Party (CPP) senator Sok Eysan said following the unanimous approval by the Constitutional Council of Cambodia of the draft law on the State of Emergency into legislation on Friday, that it was unlikely that the State of Emergency law would be enforced.
"No new Covid-19 infections has been reported in Cambodia for 17 consecutive days." he said
He said that the possibility of declaring a state of emergency is low, saying "if the situation changes Cambodia would declare a state of emergency immediately."
The Southeast Asian Times



CLASSIFIED Advertisements click here

 

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


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

CLASSIFIED Advertisements click here


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



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


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

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

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

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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



What they're saying open page here


CLASSIFIED Advertisements click here

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

The Southeast Asian Times cannot be bought




;










































Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
..5,0710
East Timor.
..0.7582
Euro..
0.6794
Hong
sKong..
.5.8808
Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
V
iet Nam Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 25: Singapore's largest property developer, the Far East Organization, is to partner with Myanmar's

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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