The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Sunday 25 June 2017 
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

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 here
Bomb believed dropped by US found in Cambodia
Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) officials unearth the M117 aircraft bomb found in Takeo province on Thursday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 25: A 350-kg M117 aircraft bomb believed to have been dropped during the US bombing of Cambodia was found by local residents in Takeo province, Tram Kak district on Thursday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) Director Heng Ratana said residents discovered the large bomb buried 5 metres deep while excavating for a pond.
"It was likely left behind from the US bombardment of Cambodia’s countryside during the Vietnam War," he said.
He said that it was very common for the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to receive reports of bombs found in the Cambodian country side, saying that "an M117 bomb is not a very common find."
"We have only found three M117
this year," he said.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre

(CMAC) Director Heng Ratana says that an estimated 2,000 square kilometres of land has yet to be demined.
"It is worrying that residents attempted to clear land that the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) had not declared free of mines.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hune Sen has condemned the US for the carpet bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
The Prime Minister said that the US owed Cambodia a larger debt for the destructon the bombardment caused than the debts the Lon Nol regime incurred during the 1970's,

The Southeast Asian Times

Australia to assist Philippines in fight against ISIS in Muslim Mindanao
From News Reports:
Canberra, June 24: The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is to fly intellegince-gathering aircraft over the southern Philippines in order to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its fight with Maute Abu Sayyaf ISIS who lay seige to Marawi City in Mindanao last month, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said that Australia will operate two of its P-3 Orion aircraft over the southern region of Mindanao.
"The regional threat from terrorism in particular Islamic State (IS) foreign militants is a direct threat to Australia and our interests," she said
The Australian Defence Minister said that she had spoken to Philippine Secretary of Defence Delfin Lorenzana about providing assistance to the Philippines in its fight with the Maute Abu Sayyaf ISIS.
"We agreed the best way to defeat terrorism in our region is for us to work together, she said.
The Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) security forces have been in battle with the Maute Abu Sayyaf ISIS militants who lay seige to the city on May 23 following the unseccessfull attempt by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) security forces to arrest Isnilon Hapilon.
Isnilon Hapilon who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 and who is reportedly the commander of the Abu Sayyaf Maute ISIS militants, escaped arrest as militants took over the city, burning buildings and seizing hostages incuding a Catholic priest.
About 400 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) security forces arrived in the city last Wednesday to carry out President Rodrigo Duterte's instructions under martial law declared over Muslim Mindanao on 30 May.
President Duterte ordered Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) security forces to "crush" the militants, saying that "you can arrest any person, search any house without a warrant.''

The Southeast Asian Times

Former health minister sentenced to prison for bribery
Former health minister Siti Fadilah Supari at the Jakarta Corruption Court
From News Reports
Jakarta, June 23: The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced former health minister Siti Fadilah Supari to four years imprisonment for accepting bribes in the procurement of state-funded medical equipment, reports the Jakarta Post.
Former health minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, was found guilty of abusing her authority in the procurement of medical equipment for the Center for Health Problems (PPMK) in 2005, causing more than Rp 6 billion in state losses.
The former health minister also accepted bribes of Rp 1.9 billion and Rp 1.3 billion, from PT Graha Ismaya finance director Sri Wahyuningsih and traver's cheques from company president director, Masrizal Achmad Syarif.
The former health minister who has returned Rp 1.35 billion was ordered to return an outstanding Rp 550 million to the state.
Former health ministry crisis center chief, Rustam Pakaya, was also found guilty of abusing his authority in the medical equipment procurement for the crisis center in 2007, causing Rp 21.3 billion in state losses.
Rustam Pakaya was sentenced to four years in prison.
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established on 29 December 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti - five years after Indonesia said that it had had enough of corruption and President Soeharto.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted "a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court. The corruption courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia grants more land title certificates
From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 22: Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has issued a further 2,500 land title certificates in central Java as part of the agrarian reform program that includes the certification of 126 million hectres of land throughtout Indonesia, reports the Jakarta Post.
The 2,500 land title certificates were issued in four regencies in Central Java, Purbalingga, Wonosobo, Banjarnegara and Cilacap.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said that of the total 126 million hectares of land in Indonesia only 46 million hectares had been certified.
"Efforts to issue certificates of ownership for the remaining 80 million hectres would be stepped up in the next few years" he said.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranomo said that local people could mortgage their land to obtain a loan from a bank in order to start a business when they received a land title certificate showing ownership of their land.
In December 2016 Indonesian President Joko Widodo granted 2,082 land title certificates to the Kubu Raya District community in West Kalimantan, saying that the land title certificates "can be used as collateral for a bank loan."
In October 2016 the Indonesian Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Layout Ministry and National Land Agency (BPN) announced a plan to issue land certificates throughout Indonesia by 2025.
Sugeng Suparwoto, spokesman for the Ministery and Land Agency said that President Joko Widodo had included the land certification program in the medium-term national development plan in 2015.
In January 2015 Palm-oil tycoon, Budiono Tan was arrested in Jakarta for the misappropiation of land titles belonging to palm oil farmers in West Kalimantan.
Budiono Tan, who was on the police most-wanted list since 2009, is accused of misappropriatting 1,535 land titles in Ketapang, West Kalimantan through his company, PT Benua Indah Grup (BIG).
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian nurse denies organising surrogate pregnancies in Cambodia

Australian Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, who was arrested in November for allegedly organising surrogate preganancies, is transported in a prison van to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 21: An Australian nurse denied that she organised surrogate pregnancies at the opening of Cambodia's first surrogacy trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, who is the founder of Fertility Solutions Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), denied that she was the central figure in Cambodia's surrogacy industry, describing her role "as only one cog in a broader machine."
Australian, Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, Cambodian Ministry of Commerce employee, Penh Rithy, 28, and Cambodian nurse Sambath Chakriya, 34, were arrested in November last year, two weeks after the Cambodian Ministry of Health banned commercial surrogacy.
The three women were reportedly charged not for commercial surrogacy but for allegedly being intermediaries between an adoptive parent and a pregnant woman and for fraudulently obtaining documents such as birth certificates.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied the charges saying that she did not recruit women to be surrogates or seek intended parents, saying that her role was "to supervise surrogates and provide medical care including ultrasounds and medication during the pregnancies."
“I monitored the surrogate mothers to care for them and make sure they were safe,” she said.
The Australian nurse said that she had tended to 23 pregnancies of which 18 were Australians and five Americans, since her arrival in Cambodia in 2015.
She reportedly objected to the police statement saying that she had employed the surrogates and was paid $50,000 for each pregnancy,
The Australian nurse denied employing the surrogate mothers and denied receiving payment for each pregnancy.
"I explained that many times at the police station and the police officers and the translator would not listen,” she said.
Deputy chief of the Municipal Anti-Human Trafficking Police, Phat Phalla, said that "the translator did not force her to fake her answers."
"Tammy Davis-Charles agreed her translator was acceptable at the time," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bodies of US sailors retrieved from US Navy ship after collision with Philippine tanker
US Navy ship, USS Fitzgerald in port at Yokosuka, Japan after a collision at sea with Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal.
From News Reports:
Manila, June 20: The search for seven U.S. Navy sailors missing after the US Navy ship, USS Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine container ship 56 miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan was called off Sunday after their bodies were found in the ship's flooded compartments, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The U.S. Navy has identified the seven sailors who were found in the USS Fitzgerald on Sunday the day after the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was damaged in a collision with Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal.
U.S. Navy said in a statement that the bodies of the seven US sailors were located in flooded compartments after divers gained access on Sunday.
US Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet said that three sailors including commanding officer, Bryce Benson of the USS Fitzgerald were evacuated and transferred to the Yokosuka naval hospital, Japan.
He said that the ship returned under its own power to port Yokosuka with damage to its hull.
The collission reportedly occurred at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.
"It was only through the heroic efforts of the ship's crew that the ship was prevented from foundering or sinking," said US Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin.
He said that the damage to the shp is beneath the waterline, saying that "it's a large gash near the keel of the ship".
"The water flow was tremendous," he said.
Japanese investigators have reportedly questioned the crew of the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal about the collision, saying that they will be cooperatig with US officials in determining the cause of the collison.
The Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal with 29,000 tons displacement, it is about three times the size
of the US Navy ship, USS Fitzgerald.
The Japanees Coast Guard reports that none of the 20 crew members aboard the Philippine -flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal

were injured.
The Southeast Asian Times

Khmer Rouge genocide trial in Phnom Penh comes to an end
Prosecutors William Smith and Nicholas Koumjian give closing statements in the genocide trial in the United Nations-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh on Friday
From News Reports:
Phnom Pehn, 19 June: Prosecutor in the United Nations-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh delivered their closing statement in the trial of Khmer Rouge officials, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who are charged with genocide, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea charged of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese, includes forced marriages and rape, internal purges, alleged crimes committed against Buddhists and former Khmer Republic officials including crimes allegedly committed at four security centers, three worksites and at work cooperatives.
The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) began hearing evidence in February 2016 related to charges of genocide and other crimes alleged against the Vietnamese minority in Cambodia during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.
Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, were convicted in August 2015 of breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 including crimes against humanity.
Prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, said in his closing statement that the role of the accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, as Pol Pot's most trusted advisers, were equally responsible for the development and implementation of his policies.
He said that it was Khmer Rouge policy to remove the Vietnamese from Cambodia, saying that "we see in the latter years of the regime that the intent was to kill all those that remained."
Prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, said that the strongest evidence that Cambodia’s ultimate goal was to destroy the Vietnamese people lies in a statement from Pol Pot broadcast on the radio in 1978.
"Pol Pot estimated that each Cambodian soldier was capable of killing 30 Vietnamese, and therefore Cambodia could wipe out the entire population with only 2 million soldiers", he said.
Council for the defence argued that Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan had limited knowledge of the crimes carried out despite Khieu Samphan being the country’s head of state, claiming that the accused was not a high ranking official within the Khmer Rouge.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia accuses the US of interference in domestic affairs

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 17: The Malaysian government has accused the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) of having an ulteria motive that goes beyond the seizure of assets alledgedly misapropriated by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (IMDB), reports the Star.
Spokesman for the Malaysian Prime Ministers office, Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, said that "the US has a motivation that goes beyond seizing assets following the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) notice to seize a further US$540mil (RM2.3bil) in assets allegedly belonging to 1MDB.
He said that the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) naming of individuals and matters in the lawsuit against the alledged misapropriated of funds by 1Malaysia was "unnecessary and gratuitous".
He accused the US of "domestic political manipulation and interference" in the naming of individuals and matters in the US lawsuit against Malaysia, saying that "numerous and extensive investigations by Malaysian authorities into 1MDB had been conducted and no crime had been found".
In July 2016 the United States Justice Department (DoJ) seized assets worth more than $3.5 billion including artworks and real estate that was allegedly owned by individuals related to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and that was allegedly misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on 2 July 2014 that funds that had allegedly been donated by one of nine sons of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who is Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, denied the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) allegations, saying that he would take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has reportedly amassed RM42 billion in debts since its establishement in 2009.
The Wall Street Journal reported that US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) was deposited into Prime Minister Najib Razak account between 2011 and 2013, more than the US$681 million identified in the initial investigation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cuba to learn from Vietnamese economic model
Cuban National Assembly Chairman, Esteban Lazo Hernandez and Vietnam National Assembly Chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
in Hanoi this week
From News Reports:
Hanoi. June 16: Vietnam and Cuba agreed to the development of legislature between the two countries in order to facilitate bilateral trade, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam National Assembly Chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Cuban National Assembly Chairman, Esteban Lazo Hernandez, agreed to legislative ties between the two countries during the visit of the Cuban National Assembly Chairman to Hanoi.
Vietnam and Cuba agreed to exchange their experiences in the development of laws in order to facilitate bulateral trade.
Vietnam and Cuba also agreed to foster co-operation in agriculture, bio-technology, construction, tourism infrastructure, telecommunications and electronic equipment.
Cuban National Assembly Chairman, Esteban Lazo Hernandez, said that he aimed to learn from the Vietnam 30 year experience of Doi Moi in order to apply the Vietnamese economic model to Cuba.
The introduction of Doi Moi in 1986 at the 6th Congress of the Vietnam Communist Party in Hanoi was a historical moment in Vietnam's political and Social history.
Vienam's economic association with the former Soviet Union and the socialist mode of production ended with the introduction of Doi Moi.
The focus on economic development rather than on war strategy began in I986 and with it came the shift to a market economy.
Vietnam National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said that Vietnam's legislature "is gearing towards transparency."
"Vietnamese legislature plans to take an active role in multilateral forums, regional and international inter-parliamentary organisationn"
In April the Vietnam Glass and Ceramics for Construction Corporation, Viglacera, opened its first showroom under the Cuban Ministry of Construction’s Escambray chain stores in Havana.
The Southeast Asian Times

UN calls for decriminalization of Lese Majeste law
From News Reports
Bangkok, June 15: The United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) has called on Thailand to bring its Lese Majeste law that criminalizes insults against the monarchy in line with international law, reports the Bangkok Post.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) Geneva spokesman, Rupert Colville said that the UN was "very concerned by the rise in the number of lese majeste prosecutions in Thailand since 2014 and the severity of the sentencing."
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters in May 2014.
The military then urged about 20 lese majeste suspects to report to military headquarters in Bangkok in the month following the declaration of Martial Law.
The suspects had allegedly violated article 112 of the Thai criminal Lese-Majeste law that is designed to ensure that the then, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, and members of the royal family were not insulted or defamed.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman, Col Winthai Suvaree said then that those who did not present themselves to the military would be defying National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) orders.
"Their cases would be prosecuted in military courts instead of the criminal court" he said.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) call yesterday for the decriminalization of the Lese-Majeste law follows a thirty five year prison sentence handed down by the Thai military court on Tuesday for violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the Lese-Majeste law, on a social media post that was deemed defamatory and insulting to the monarchy.
In September 2016 Thai Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha ended military court trials for security offences, including offences against the lese majeste law that protects the Thai monarchy from defamatory imputation.
The end of military trials for civilians that for violation of the Lese-Majeste law was made under National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order No.55/2016 did not apply to existing cases but to offences committed after it was implemented on 19 September 2019.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore teacher arrested for support of ISIS
From News Reports
Singapore, June 14: Singapore police have arrested a pre-school assistant teacher under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for the exchange of pro-Islamic State material and her intention to travel to Syria in order to undergo military training, reports the Straits Times.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in statement that Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, 22, was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) that allows for indefenite detention without trial.
Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari is reportedly the first woman of 14 Singaporeans arrested for their support of ISIS since 2015.
The pre-school assistant teacher, who worked for a chain of Singapore government public pre-schools, reportedly planned to travel to Syria with her young child with the intent to join ISIS.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari had been "looking for a Salafi or an ISIS supporter to marry in Syria since 1915."
"The pre-school assistant teacher would reap ‘heavenly rewards’ if her husband died in battle. Her ‘elevated status’ as a ‘martyr’s widow’, would allow her to marry another ISIS fighter in Syria," the statement said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is conducting investigations into family members of the accused who are believed to have destroyed evidence relating to her plans to join ISIS.
The Straits Times reports that the detention of the first Singaporean woman for support of ISIS comes amid growing concern in the ASEAN region about the spread of suppot for the Islamic State.
The Southeast Asian Times

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


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

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

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


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


What they're saying open page 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

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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory


Oz $ buys
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Prices indicative only

East Timor.
Indonesia Rupiah
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Papua New Guinea
Philippines Peso..
Singapore dollar...

properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
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

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