The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Monday 4 March 2024
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout
the region.  

Thai senate seeks
referendum on new constitution: Lese Majeste law

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 12: The Senate is seeking a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution as dictated by the Referendum Act after the House of Representatives voted for an opposition-sponsored motion on November 3, 2022 to seek a referendum, reports the Bangkok Post.
Senators voted 151 for, 26 against, and 15 abstentions to form a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum that would pave the way for a rewrite of the constitution that includes the Lese Majeste law.
The Senate called on the government to hold a referendum on whether a new constitution should be drawn up by a charter drafting assembly made up of elected representatives, saying "the referendum should be arranged on the same day as the next general election that has tentatively been set for May 7 by the Election Commission (EC).
Senators were critical of voting for the formation of a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum, saying "It is a tactic to stall the referendum"
Sen Kittisak Rattanawaraha said he supported a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution, saying he disagreed with organising the referendum on the same day as the general election,
"This could confuse voters," he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

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


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Cambodia's ruling party warned not to intimidate Australian critics at ASEAN-Australia special summit

Hundreds from ASEAN member countries Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos protest at Parliament House in Melbourne against intimidation of Australian critics on Saturday March 2, 2024

From News Reports:
Canberra March 4: Australia's Labor Member of Parliament Julian Hill warned the Cambodia People's Party (CPP) not to intimidate its Australian critics ahead of the ASEAN-Australia special summit 2024 beginning in Melbourne in the state of Victoria today, saying "the Australian government will take strong targeted action against those involved," reports the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Cambodian ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPC) said that newly elected Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Manet, who was endorced by his father, former Prime Minister Hun Sen as prime ministerial candidate for the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPC), expected to meet hundreds of members of the Cambodian community in Melbourne, with critics in the diaspora saying ''those attending the meeting will be pressured to show up.''
Members of the Cambodian community in Australia reportedly say they have been monitored and intimidated by supporters of the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPC) in Australia, saying ''their family members in Cambodia face reprisals for their advocacy overseas.''
Australia's Labor Member of Parliament,Julian Hill, said the Australian intelligence agencies and police are monitoring the Cambodian ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) supporters in Australia, saying ''people in the Cambodian community in Australia had the right to protest and voice their political views.''
"The Australian government will take strong targeted action against those involved," he said.
Australia's Labor Member of Parliament Julian Hill said the ASEAN-Australia special summit 2024 is a critical diplomatic event, saying '' it is right for the government to pursue closer ties with the region''.
He said that ''hopes that the newly elected Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Manet, might chart a new course away from his repressive father had proven false,'' saying ''the same old regime still held power in Cambodia.''
"Cooperation between Australia and Cambodia in some areas should not be misunderstood as any kind of endorsement of the multitude of human rights abuses carried out under Cambodia People's Party (CPP) rule, both by Hun Sen and now his son Hun Manet," he said.
"When it comes to violations of human rights and freedoms, Australia and the Australian government will always speak up for our values,'' he said.
Southeast Asian leaders excluding Myanmar but including pending ASEAN member Timor Leste are attending the ASEAN-Australia special summit 2024 in Melbourne from 4-6 March to reportedly ''bolster ASEAN-Australia cooperation, Australia's vision for the region’s future and how Austrlia can work together with the ASEAN member countries to address shared challenges.''
A focus of the discussions between Australia and ASEAN member countries will be on Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, a blueprint for stepping up Australia’s economic links with the region, launched by Prime Minister Albanese in September last year.
In September 2023 Australia Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, released the Invested: Australia Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 at the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum in Jakarta saying " the Southeast Asia Strategy to 2040 is an ambitious plan that takes us beyond catching up, "the Southeast Asia Strategy to 2040 positions us for what's ahead."
"Australia's economic future lies with Southeast Asia, "he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines President calls on Australia to help protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, Australia's Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, at Parliament House in Canberrra Thursday February 29, 2024
From News Reports:
Canberra, Sunday 3: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on Australia to help protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in a speech at the Australian Parliament on Thursday, saying ''the Philippines is on the frontline of a battle against powers undermining regional peace,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
''The safety of the vital shipping lane is crucial to the preservation of regional peace,'' said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a a two-day state visit to Australia.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed three Memorandums of Understanding's (MoU's) on maritime cooperation, cyber and critical technology and competition law.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on signing the Memorandums of Understanding's (MoU's) on maritime cooperation that ''security and continued prosperity of the region and countries like Australia relies upon the safety of the vital shipping lane in the South China Sea.''
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that ''the Philippines will not allow foreign powers to take even one square inch of territory, ''saying ''we will not yield.''
Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said after the signing of the three Memorandums of Understanding's (MoU's) that ''Australia and the Philippines were working to build a peaceful region where international law is respected and waterways are open for trade.''
''The Philippines and Australia will work together to deepen understanding of the application of international law in cyberspace,'' he said.
Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia and the Philippines would work together to enhance international cooperation to combat the evolving challenges of cybercrime.
''The siging of the three Memorandums of Understanding's (MoU's) cements international commitments and positively influences negotiation of a United Nations cybercrime convention,'' he said.
In July 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of "historic rights" over the South China Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision followed the Philippine complaint in 2013 that called on the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
The Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in 2016 that China had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking "historic rights" in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling with China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying then that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
"The dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand approves annulment of 2014 Martial Law administration of southern Thailand

Former Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Prayuth Chan-ocha was appointed Comander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on the declaration of Martial Law under the 1914 Martial Law Act with control of all security operations including the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) on Thursday May 22, 2014

From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 2: The House of Representatives approved a draft bill seeking to annul the administration of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in southern Thailand that was imposed on the declaration of Martial law in 2014, with United Thai Nation Member of Parliament for Surat Thani, Paramet Jina, saying "the administration of the deep South should be adjusted to suit the current situation," reports the Nation.
"Ideally by boosting the number of public representatives in the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC)," he said.
United Thai Nation Member of Parliament for Surat Thani, Paramet Jina, said that the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) should focus more on promoting the sustainable use of coastal resources, fishing areas and tourist attractions in border towns in Southern Thailand.
The draft bill seeks to annul National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) No 14/2016, that was imposed by former General Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters on May 22, 2014.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order under the administration of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) reinforced the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat provinces and four districts in Songkhla in southern Thailand.
Last week Bhumjaithai Member of Parliament for Narathiwat, Zakariya Sai, appoved the draft bill, saying "the hundreds of billions of baht given to Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) have rarely been used for actually developing the southern Thailand.
"The two agencies comprise committees that are not local and lack in-depth knowledge of the region," he said.
Pheu Thai Party (PTP) party-list Member of Parliament, Chaturon Chaisang, said that as chair of the Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on promoting peace in Southern Thailand, "the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) allows the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC)
to operate without a public advisory council."
"This lack of representation has prevented the public from voicing their opinions directly to the centre," he said.
He said that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order granted Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), a military unit, jurisdiction over civilian agencies, resulting in power clashes and lack of cooperation to solve problems.
In March 2021 under the then ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) led by Prime Minister Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was also the Commander of the National Council for Peace (NCPO), the then opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) spokesman, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, said that the then coalition of opposition parties would seek to amend Section 279 of the 2017 Constitution that legitimises all orders and announcements of the Commander of the National Council for Peace (NCPO)
He said that the coalition of opposition parties would seek to amend Section 279 of the 2017 Constitution, that legitimises all orders and announcements of the commander of the National Council for Peace (NCPO) the current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and officials, giving them immunity in order to do away with the legacy of the 2014 coup.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former attorney general indicted for helping Red Bull "Boss" heir evade prosecution for hit-and-run

Red Bull heir Boss Vorayudh Yoovidhaya fled Thailand for Singapore in 2017 leaves a house in London on Wed 5 Apr 2017
From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 1: The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has indicted former attorney-general, Nate Naksuk, former police commissioner, Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmuang, and six other individuals with malfeasance in office for allegedly helping Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya evade prosecution following a fatal hit-and-run accident in 2012, reports the Bangkok Post.
The six other individuals are Pol Maj-Gen Thawatchai Mekprasetsook, a former divisional commander, Pol Col Veeradol Thaptimdee, a former enquiry officer at Thonglor police station, public prosecutor Chainarong Sangthongaram,Deputy Professor Dr. Saiprasit Kerdniyom, Thanit Buakhiewand Chuchai Lertpongadisorn.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokesman Prayut Bejraguna said that the Office of the Attorney General has also retained four other suspects as prosecution witnesses.
They are Pol Col Vivat Sitthisoradej, Air Marshal Chakkrit Thanomkulavutr, Pol Lt-Col Pannaphon Namuang and Air Marshal Surachate Thongsaluay.
Suspects, Pol Lt-Col Songvuth Charoenvichayadej, Voraphol Soktiyanurak, Usa Chusin and Natnjcha Thongchuen were cleared of any of any wrongdoing.
Red Bull heir, "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, then aged 27, was released on bail in Bangkok after he was charged on September 3, 2012, with reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime, causing the death of police officer, Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48.
Red Bull heir, "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya fled Thailand for Singapore in 2017 after he repeatedly failed to report to police to answer the charges.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, who was driving a motorbike to early-morning sentry duty in Thong Lor, was struck by a black Farrari sports car driven by Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya and dragged about 200 metres, died from his injuries.
In July 2020 the Attorney General Office (OAG), Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, 67, withdrew all charges against the Red Bull heir after a new investigation found new evidence, that the Red Bull heir hit and run accident that resulted in the death of Bangkok police officer Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, was not caused by reckless driving.
Two new witnesses testified in July 2020 that the Red Bull heir "Boss" drove a Ferrari sports car at between 50-60km/h on September 3, 2012, and that the motorcycle driven by the Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, who was killed in the hit and run accident, abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari sports car.
The Office of the Attorney General (AOG) Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, concluded that "the crash was not caused by reckless driving on the part of the suspect, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, and that the suspect did not commit an offence under Section 291 of the Criminal Code, act by negligence and causing death.
In February 2022 the Attorney General Office (OAG), Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk , who signed the order in July 2020 to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir "Boss" in the hit and run death of a police officer in Bangkok, announced that he would work with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) that is conducting an investigation into officials involved in the charges against the Red Bull heir "Boss".
He said he would begin work with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) ahead of the outcome on February 14, 2022 of the Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC) disciplinary inquiry into his decision to withdraw all charges against Red Bull heir, "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya.
The acting attorney-general chief justice, Nate Naksuksaid that he was disappointed by the Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC) announcement in October 2021 that the commission would conduct a disciplinary inquiry into his decision to withdraw the charges , saying that the disciplinary inquiry is unfair."
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar military forcibly recruits Rohingya from Internally Displaced Persons camps

ree Rohingya Coalition co-founder, Nay San Lwin, says that Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar are forcibly recruiting Rohingya men to be used as human shields against the Arakan Army (AA) on the Myanmar-China border on Friday February 23, 2024
From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, February 29: The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar are forcibly recruiting Rohingya men from villages and camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rakhine State following the enforcement of the 'People's Military Service Law', that was enacted this month, with Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) saying "each Rohingya recruit will receive a citizens identity card," reports Irrawaddy.
"Rohingya people are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar," said Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) co-founder, Nay San Lwin,
Free Rohingya Coalition co-founder, Nay San Lwin, said the coalition was warned by residents in Rakhin State that Rohingya recruits would be used as human shields in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar conflict against the Arakan Army (AA) on the Myanmar-China border.
"At least 400 Rohingya men have already been forcibly recruited from villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Sittwe and Buthidaung in Rakhine State to fight against the Arakan Army (AA)," saying "the training period is only two weeks.
He said the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar that enacted the compulsory conscription law on February 10 intends to draft 60,000 men annually, saying "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar have forcibly recruited more than 100 Rohingya men since the enforcement of the 'People's Military Service Law'."
"The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar have told Rohingya men that each recruit will receive a citizens identity card, a sack of rice, and a monthly salary of 50,000 kyats (US$ 41)," he said.
He said that the People's Military Service Law' only applies to Myanmar citizens, saying "the Rohingya people are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar."
Rohingya, Ko Tun, who lives in a village near a Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Sittwe in Rakhine State said he is " anxious for himself and his family, " saying his age makes him eligible to serve in the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar.
"Instead of getting killed at the frontline by taking up arms for the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, we would rather fight them and join the Arakan Army," he said.
The Arakan Army (AA), the military wing of the United League of Arakan (ULA) are fighting against the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) in Kachin and Shan states that are located on the Myanmar - China border against the attempt by China to secure transport routes for the expansion of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) included in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) that published a report in October 2023 titled “Bloodstained Gateways: escalating State Administrative Council (SAC) abuses in northern Burma pave the way for BRI expansion," said "China will find itself complicit in the mounting atrocities associated with the planned Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects."
The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) spokesperson, Ja Ing, said the reports shows that "most abuses are clustered along the main transport routes in northern Myanmar,"
saying "the transport routes are vital gateways for the development of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)."
The report shows that attacks and abuses by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar on civilians in Kachin and Shan States that border China have caused 14,000 new Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the last fifteen months.
"The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar are pushing plans to close camps that are housing more than 107,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)," said the KWAT spokesperson.
The Southeast Asian Times

Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People’s Party wins all but two seats in the Senate

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen cast his ballot in the Fifth Legislative Senate Election in Takhmao town, Kandal province on Sunday February 25, 2024
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 28: The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won more than 50 of the 58 seats of the 62-seat Senate in the Fifth Legislative Senate Election on Sunday with Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, saying "obviously, Hun Sen has won a seat," reports Agence France Press.
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan said "the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) would nominate former Prime Minister Hun Sen as the president of the Senate" saying "allowing Hun Sen to act as head of state when the king is overseas."
National Election Committee (NEC) chairman, Prach Chan, said that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP had won a clear majority over three other political parties, the royalist Funcinpec Party, Khmer Will Party and the National Power Party, "with 99.86 percent of 11,747 registered voters casting their ballots in the senate elections on Sunday," he said.
"A sweeping victory for Hun Sen's party," he said.
Of the 62-seat Senate, 58 seats are voted by 125 Members of Parliament and more than 11,000 local administrators, with King Norodom Sihamoni appointing two senators and the National Assembly appointing two others.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would not continue in his position as Prime Minister of Cambodia within a week of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) winning the 7th National Assembly elections on July 23, 2023 saying his son, Lieutenant General, Hun Manet, would succeed him.
Cambodia Prime Minister, Hun Sen, who endorsed his son Lieutenant General, Hun Manet, as the prime ministerial candidate for the ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPC) in April 2023 announced the succession of his son on July 26, 2023 after a meeting with King Norodom Sihamoni.
"I met the king, and declared I won't continue the position as prime minister," he said.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Manet said that the Fifth Legislative Senate Election on Sunday was held in a free, fair, transparent, harmonious and non-violent environment."
"Democracy in Cambodia is mature, open to all to participate in the competition based on the ideals of the common interests of the nation and the people of Cambodia," he said.
In October 2022 ruling Cambodia's People's Party (CPP) then Prime Minister Hun Sen warned opposition political parties ahead of the 7th National Assembly elections on June 23, 2023, of associating with founder of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Sam Rainsy, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), saying he would dissolve political party's that associated with Sam Rainsy.
The Candlelight Party (CP), formerly known as the Sam Rainsy Party and the Khmer National Party, was founded in 1995 and merged with other opposition forces to form the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in 2012 but was dissolved in a Supreme court ruling in 2017.
Sam Rainsy, went into exile in Paris in 2015 fearing arrest after parliamentary immunity was removed and he faced multiple criminal defamation charges in his accusation of corruption against the Hun Sen Cambodia's People's Party (CPP).
In September 2013 the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotted parliament in September 2013 following the July general elections which saw the fourth consecutive victory of the Cambodian People's Party gain 68 seats of the National Assembly and the opposition occupying the remaining 55 seats.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claimed that up to 1.25 million Cambodians who were eligible to vote were not on the electoral role and accused the ruling party of poll fraud.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bangkok Criminal Court denies bail for anti-Lese Majeste activists charged with sedition

Anti-Lese Majeste law activist, Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, charged with sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code at the Bangkok Criminal Court on Wednesday February 14, 2024
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 27: The Bangkok Criminal Court has denied bail submitted by the father of one of two anti-Lese Majeste law activists, who are on a hunger strike at the Department of Corrections Hospital in Bangkok, with the Court saying " the two activists did not meet the requirements for bail outlined in their warrants of arrest that includes sedition, reports the Bangkok Post.
The bail requests for Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, and Natthanon Chaimahabut, 23, were submitted by Sommai Tuatulanon, father of Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, who said at the hearing on Sunday that "their health had seriously deteriorated since they were taken into Royal Thai Police (RTP) custody on February 13.
Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, and Natthanon Chaimahabut, 23, face five charges including sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code, violation of the Computer Crimes Act and the Traffic Act, and insulting Royal Thai Police (RTP) officers on duty on February 4.
Anti-Leste Majeste law activist, Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, who is also known as "Tawan Thaluwang" or "shattering the palace" after the name of an anti-monarchy group, claimed on Monday that she did not know that the motocade that she followed belonged to a Royal Family member.
"I did not realise that it was HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s motorcade," she said.
Anti-Leste Majeste law activist, Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22 claims that she encountered the motorcade as she drove towards the Victory Monument after attending a funeral, saying "we did not know there was a royal motorcade and we didn’t intend to cause trouble to it,"
"We didn’t disrupt the motorcade as reported," she said.
"Those who watch the video clip carefully will see that we didn’t disrupt the motorcade or cut across it, as reported by several TV stations," she said.
The vido clip reportedly shows Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, in the front passenger seat of a car as it honks continuously behind the motocade.
The Royal Thai Police (RTP) escort blocked the car from overtaking the motorcade.
Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22 was seen in the video clip arguing face to face with a police officer.
Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, demanded to know the name of the royal in motocade, saying "the roads belonged to the people," after the Royal Thai Police (RTP) explained that it was a royal motocade.
Pro-royalist and former advisor to the House committee on legal affairs, Sonthiya Sawasdee, submitted a petition to the Bangkok Criminal Court
against granting bail to the two anti-Leste Majeste law activists, Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, and Natthanon Chaimahabut, 23, saying that despite being a father himself he wanted Sommai Tuatulanon, father of Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, to respect the court's decision saying "the activists have to repect the nation's three pillars, nation, religion, and monarchy, for the rest of their lives."
The Southeast Asian Times
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Australia reitorates Australia's none support of the Free Papua Movement

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Richard Marles, left, and Indonesia's President and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta on Friday February 23, 2024

From News Report:
Jakarta, February 26: Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Richard Marles, reitorated that Australia does not support the
the Free Papua Movement (FPM) at a meeting with Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta on Friday ahead of the signing the Defence Cooperation agreement between Indonesia and Australia next month, reports Tempo.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles said "We, Australia, fully recognise the territorial sovereignty of Indonesia, full stop,"at a press conference at Indonesia's Defense Ministry’s office in Central Jakarta on Friday.
"And there is no support for any independence movements," he said.
"We support the territorial sovereignty of Indonesia. And that includes those provinces being part of Indonesia. No ifs, no buts. And I want to be very clear about that," he said.
Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who declared victory in the presidential election on February 14, 2024 said at the press conference at the Defense Ministry’s office in Central Jakarta on Friday that Australia and Indonesia are close neighbours.
"We are destined to be close neighbours and we are determined to be good neighbours and we have very good relationships," he said
"Historically, there are ups and downs, but we consider Australia a good friend who's always in many critical instances have sided with Indonesia. And we are determined to maintain and enhance this relationship,'' he said.
In November 2007 the Indonesian House of Representatives ratified a security treaty with Australia – the Lombok Treaty - that formally acknowledges Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua.
Former Indonesia Golkar Party Vice President Theo L Sambuaga said then that “we all feel relief because Australia has formally acknowledged our territorial integration, including Papua."
“The treaty also requires Australia to prohibit its territory from being used by separatist movements against us. It means that we have less pressure from separatism,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailands Khao Yai National Park calls for reclaimation of land for farming

Protected Area Committee (PAC) members protest at the Khao Yai National Park at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) in Nakhon Ratchasima against granting of Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 25: Thailand's Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is calling for the reclaimation of plots of land in the Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima, a Unesco World Heritage site, granted by the Ratchasima Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) for farming, with Baan Hew Pla Kang, Protected Area Committee (PAC) member, saying, "none of those who recieved Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots were local residents," reports the Bangkok Post.
The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) director-general, Attapol Charoenchansa, said that about 2,933 rai of land in tambon Moosi in the Pak Chong district, within the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, were wrongfully designated as agricultural land for farming, saying "Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for 42 plots of land have been granted."
"Land titles found to have been wrongfully issued will be automatically voided," he said.
He said that the Ratchasima Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) allegedly granted "Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates to farmers residing on land under agriculture reform within the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site.
"The decision by the Ratchasima Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) to investigate the possibe involvement of its officials in the alleged granting of Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, is welcome," he said.
"It will be up to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to carry out a further investigation," he said.
Baan Hew Pla Kang, Protected Area Committee (PAC) member, Kittisak Prompinij, and his son-in-law said that Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) announced twice last year that "a select number of people would be granted Sor Por Kor 4-01 land titles for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park.
"The Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) officials didn't say where the plots were located, only that the plots were in a fertile area within the Khao Yai National Park," he said.
"None of those who received Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots in the the Khao Yai National Park were local residents," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnamese workers suffer toxic gas poisoning at Taiwanese company in northern Vietnam

Quang Yen Town People's Committee representative visits one of 57 workers admitted to hospital from the Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. manufacturing company suffering from toxic gas poisoning on Wednesday February 21, 2024
From News Reports:
Hanoi, February 24: Vietnamese workers at a Taiwanese fitness and sports equipment manufacturing company in northern Vietnam were hospitalised on Wednesday suffering from toxic gas poisoning, with Vietnam's Quang Ninh provincial Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in coordination with other agencies investigating the cause of the poisoning, reports Tuoi Tre.
57 Vietnamese workers at the Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. manufacturing company in the Dong Mai Industrial Park in Quang Yen Town in Quang Ninh Province in northern Vietnam were admitted to hospital for emergency treatment for toxic gas poisoning on Wednesday.
Quang Yen Town People's Committee representative said the gas was believed to have been generated by a faulty air compressor at the Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. manufacturing company, saying "the suspected gas poisoning was first noticed at about 9.30am on Wednesday."
"Workers began complaining of fatigue, nausea and difficulty breathing," the Quang Yen Town People's Committee representative said.
The Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. manufacturing company transferred 33 Vietnamese workers to the Vietnam-Sweden Hospital in Uong Bi City and 24 to the health center in Quang Yen Town for emergency treatment.
The Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. that employs 500 Vietnamese suspended operations at the manufacturing company after workers complaining of fatigue, nausea and difficulty breathing on Wednesday.
The Quang Yen Town People's Committee representative said that a team of investigators were sent to the Taiwan Yuan Chi Group, Vega Balls (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. manufacturing company "to find the cause of the gas poisoning to prevent gas poisoning in the future."
The Southeast Asian Time

Thai reporters arrested for reporting anti-Lese Majeste Law graffiti on Grand Palace wall

Prachatai News reporter, Nattaphol Meksobhon, left, and photographer, Nattaphon Phanphongsanon, at the Bangkok Criminal Court on Tuesday February 13, 2024
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 23: Two Thai reporters were charged with "collaborating in vandalising an historical site" on Monday for reporting the arrest of an anti-Lese Majeste Law activist who painted anti-Lese Majeste Law graffiti on the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the grounds of the Grand Palace in March last year, reports Rueters.
Prachatai News reporter, Nattaphol Meksobhon, and freelance photographer, Nattaphon Phanphongsanon, were arrested on Monday, almost a year after anti-Lese Majeste Law activist, Suttawee Soikham, 24, painted 112 with a line drawn over the number on the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the grounds of the Grand Palace on March 28, 2024.
The line drawn over number 112 on the wall of the Grand Palace had effectively repealed Section 112 of Thai Criminal Code of the Constitution that says "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years."
Reporter, Nattaphol Meksobhon, and photographer, Nattaphon Phanphongsanon said after they were charged on Monday with "collaborating in vandalising an historical site" that "we were only carrying our jobs as reporters."
Prachatai News editor-in-chief, Tewarit Maneechay, said that the reporters went to the temple of the Emerald Buddha without knowing in advance that it would have anti-Lese Majeste Law graffiti painted on the wall.
"They were covering the news," he said.
He said that the reporters were unaware of the charges before their arrest on Monday.
Reporter, Nattaphol Meksobhon, and photographer, Nattaphon Phanphongsanon were held in custody at separate police stations after their arrest on Monday.
The Bangkok Criminal Court released the two reporters on bail of 35,000 baht ($980) each on Tuesday
On March 28, 2023 anti-Lese Majeste Law activist, Suttawee Soikham, 25, from Khon Kaen Province northeast of Bangkok, was arrested at the Temple of the Emeral Buddha at the Grand Palace in Bangkok for painting anti-Lese Majeste Law graffiti.
Royal Thai Police (RTP), witnessed Suttawee Soikham, 24, paint number 112 on the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the grounds the Grand Palace and the draw a line over the number 112 that effectively repealed Section 112 of Thai Criminal Code of the Constitution.
Suttawee Soikham, 24, was charged with violating the Cleanliness Act, that carries a penalty of up to one month in prison and or a fine of 10,000 baht, and also charged under Section 32 of the Ancient Monuments Act, that brings a prison term of up to seven years and or a fine up to 700,000 baht.
Suttawee Soikham, 24, was released from detention on bail of 50,000 baht.

The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand PM proposes establishment of pollution mitigation funds at the United Nations

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday September 22, 2023
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 22: Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin proposed that the United Nations establish a pollution mitigation fund on Tuesday, saying "pollution problems are linked to the global economy and should not be considered a domestic problem," reports the Bankok Post.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said that he raised the proposal with United Nation's deputy secretary-general Amina J Mohammed, at a meeting on sustainable development, saying "the UN pollution mitigation fund would help solve Thailand's environmental problems and support national development."
"Pollution worsens in Thailand when locals and neighbouring countries burn their agricultural plantations," he said.
He said that part of the problem is a lack of money to purchase herbicides due to the downturn in the economy, saying "the UN pollution mitigation funds would be expected to offer financial support to lower-income countries to mitigate against pollution."
"The funds would be expected to offer financial support particularly for fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5)," he said.
On September 22, 2023 Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York "As the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cordinator on Sustainable Development Cooperation, we are committed to forging closer partnerships among ASEAN countries and beyond to drive forward sustainable development and build resilience."
"Thailand is ready to form regional and global partnerships for sustainable development, including through South-South and triangular cooperation," he said.
He said that Thailand piloted the sustainable agronomy model that reimagined the way farmers cultivate their lands and manage water supply, saying "the sustainable agronomy model will not only reduce the impact on the environment but will also reduce vulnerability to climate change and enhance the well-being of farmers nationwide.
In March 2023 the Northern provinces of Thailand including Chiang Mai, that has the world's highest level of toxic air pollution, was blanketed by smoke from agricultural burning of crop stubble with the Ministry of Public Health saying the level of toxic air pollution exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard and that more than 200,000 had been admitted to hospital."
Ministry of Public Health director-general, Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, said the level of toxic air pollution exceeded the local safe threshold nine times and the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard 32 times, saying "more than 200,000 were admitted to hospital and more than 1.3 million were suffering from the effects of toxic air pollution last week."
He said the levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter (PM2.5) exceeded 91 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in 24 hours in the eight northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao and Phrae.

The Southeast Asian Times

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Thailand denies granting land for farming in national park Unesco World Heritage site

 
Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) director-general, Akkradech Rianghin, has denied granting Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 21: Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) has denied granting Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, with Baan Hew Pla Kang, community leader, saying "None of those who received a Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificate for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park were local residents," reports the Bangkok Post.
Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) director-general, Akkradech Rianghin, said the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) is investigationg the possibe involvement of its officials in the alleged granting of Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site.
"Land titles found to have been wrongfully issued will be automatically voided," he said.
He said that about 2,933 rai of land in tambon Moosi in the Pak Chong district, within the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, were found to have been wrongfully designated as agricultural land for farming, saying "Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for 42 plots of land have already been granted."
He said that the Royal Thai Survey Department has surveyed the land in tambon Moosi in the Pak Chong district, within the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, using satellite
imagery, saying "the data will be used by Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) in its investigation."
Baan Hew Pla Kang, community leader, Kittisak Prompinij and his son-in-law said that Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) announced twice last year that "a select number of people would be granted Sor Por Kor land titles for farming plots in the Khao Yai National Park.
"The Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) officials didn't say where the plots were located, only that the plots were in a fertile area within the Khao Yai National Park," he said.
"None of those who received Sor Por Kor 4-01 land title certificates for farming plots
in the the Khao Yai National Park were local residents," he said.
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) director-general, Athapol Charoenshunsa, said that the decision to investigate the encroachment by the Nakhon Ratchasima's Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) was welcomed, saying "it will be up to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to carry out a further investigation."
"The encroachment of the Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, shows the necessity for an integrated map that shows the claims to the area's lands, the national park's boundaries and plots designated for land reform," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand parliament to deliberate second referendum to decide amendments to Constitution

 
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman, Deputy Prime Minister, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, says "the cabinet will deliberate the referenduum questions"

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 20:The Thailand parliament is deliberating the questions for a second referendum to decide constitutional amendments, with the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairmain, Deputy Prime Minister, Commerce Minister, Phumtham Wechayachai, saying on Thursday "the cabinet will deliberate the referenduum questions", reports the Bangkok Post.
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman, Deputy Prime Minister, Phumtham Wechayachai, said the panel was studying the referendum to pursue amendements to the 2017 Constitution that was drafted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces and signed into law by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"A report will be tabled in the parliament for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and cabinet for consideration," he said.
He said that the coalition party leaders have agreed with the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) on the uncertainty of the number of referendums to be pursued for amendements to the 2017 Constitution, the referendum question or questions, and the methods involved in a Constitution rewrite.
"The cabinet will discuss these requirements with the findings to be presented to the Election Commission," he said.
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman, Deputy Prime Minister, Phumtham Wechayachai, said "the parliament was looking to petition the Constitutional Court to seek a ruling over how many referendums should be held for Constitutuional amendements.
In August 2016 About 50 million voted in a referendum with about 60 percent of voters approving a new Constitution that reportedly entrenched Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) power that appointed legislators and selected the Prime Minister of Thailand.
The draft constitution stipulated that the 250-seat senate would be fully appointed by the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) administered government that followed the declaration of martial law in May 2014.
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) approved a provision that allows military-appointed legislators to have a decisive say in the event that no party holds a majority in the lower house or National Assembly of Thailand.
Prior to the May 2014 coup and the declaration of Martial Law more than half of the upper house seats were directly elected and the remainder were appointed.
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) also approved a provision that would open the position of Prime Minister to both Members of Parliament and non members of Parliament.
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) reportedly studied the previous 1997 and 2007 Constitutions when drawing up the 2016 draft constitution provisions on community rights.
In February 2016 the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) agreed to reinstate omitted content in the draft 2016 Constitution on rights and liberties of Thais that included the protection and managment of natural resources.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former commander anti-terror squad Suharto New Order regime declares victory in presidential election

Presidential candidate, Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, declares victory in Presidential elections on Wednesday February 14, 2024
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 16: Presidential candidate, Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, a former commander in the Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad in the New Order regime of former president Suharto, declared victory in the presidential election on Wednesday after the unofficial vote count showed that he had won the majority of the more than 204 million expected votes in the Indonesian 2024 general elections, with losing candidates claiming election fraud, reports Reuters.
The unofficial results of the Indonesian 2024 general elections for a president and vice president, for members of the House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD), and for Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD) at the province, city, and district level, shows that Presidential candidate, Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, won almost 58 percent of the of the more that 204 million expected votes.
Four independent pollsters showed that presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, who has run for president twice before, held about 58 percent of the vote on 'quick count' samples at stations nationwide, with the number of votes counted ranging from about 86 to 95 percent at 14.00pm on Wednesday.
Rival presidential candidates Anies Baswedan and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is the eldest son of President Joko Widodo, trailed behind Prabowo Subianto with about 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.
A preliminary count by the General Elections Commission (GEC) showed that Prabowo Subianto had secured 57.7 percent of the votes after 6 percent of the ballots were counted, with Prabowo Subianto saying he was "grateful for the quick result"
“We should not be arrogant, we should not be proud, we should not be euphoric, we still have to be humble, this victory must be a victory for all Indonesian people,” he said.
Rival presidential candidates Anies Baswedan and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, urged the public to await the official result that is expected in March, saying that their campagne teams were investigating reports of election violation, with both candidates saying the election violation was structural, systematic and massive fraud."
Presidential candidate, Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, a former commander in the Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad in the New Order regime of former president Suharto, revived the authoritarianism of the New Order regime of President Suharto under the outgoing President Joko Widodo administration.
The Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad proposal that Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) officers hold positions in state ministries and institutions under the Reserve Component (Komcad) program for state civil servants (ASN).
In December 2023 University of Indonesia (Puskapol UI) Deputy Executive Director Hurriyah of the Center for Political Studies, warned that "the New Order regime of government by President Suharto was "mono-loyalty" in character with the weapon being the mobilisation of the state apparatus," saying "the mobilisation of the state apparatus does not just include the security forces."
Puskapol UI Director, Hurriyah, said that the Reserve Component (Komcad) program for state civil servants (ASN) that was practiced by the New Order regime of former president Suharto includes the mobilisation of village officials for political support in the 2024 presidential elections
"The biggest loss in efforts to mobilise village officials for political support in general elections is the erosion of our democracy," she said.
Puskapol UI Director, Hurriyah, said that village officials at grassroot level should not be underestimated, saying "village officials are important in the mobilisation of state apparatus."
"The New Order regime could perpetuate its power with impunity with hands that reach down to the grassroot level of government," she said.
She said that "the New Order regime of former president Suharto had a serious impact on the centralisation of power, it had become hegomonic," saying "the New Order regime of former president Suharto could perpetuate its power with impunity."
"The New Order regime of former president Suharto could influence, reach into almost all political and government institutions," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand's former fugitive PM Thaksin Shinawatra faces 2015 Lese Majeste charge
 

Office of the Attorney General announced on Tuesday February 6, 2024 that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra faces lese majeste charges over an interview he gave to foreign media in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday May 21, 2015

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 12: Former fugitive prime minister, Thanksin Shinawatra, who returned to Thailand in August 22, 2022 after fleeing the country in 2008 to avoid trial for nonfeasance and malfeasance while holding the position of Prime Minister, faces Lese Majeste charges, with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) saying that the complaint was lodged by the Privy Council on February 16, 2016, reports the Bangkok Post.
Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokeman, Prayut Phetkhun, said that former fugitive prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was accused of defaming the monarchy under the Lese Majeste Law and computer crime law of Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
He said that the Office of the Attorney-General had received advice from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) at the Technology Crime Suppression Division on a complaint from the Privy Council of Thialnd that Thanksin Shinawatra had allegedly defaimed the monarchy in a foreign media interview in Seoul, South Korea on May 21, 2015.
The Privy Council of eighteen appointed advisors to the monarchy of Thailand had commended prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for his leadership in the establishment of Marshal Law that had ousted the Yinluck Shinawatra government, sister of former prime minister Thanksin Shinawatra in May, 2014.
In May 2016 the Department of Consular Affairs director-general, Thongchai Chasawat, issued an order to revoked Thaksin Shinawatra's Thailand passport claiming that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's interview in Soeul in South Korea
had undermined "national security and dignity."
The passport was revoked after the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra accused the privy councillors of supporting the 2014 coup that ousted the former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is also his younger sister, in the media interview in Soeul in South Korea on May 21, 2015.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order 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 Royal Thai Army reportedly declared martial law on grounds that ongoing mass street protests between political rivals were a threat to Thailand's national security, declaring a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, suspended the constitution and ordered former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and 22 outgoing cabinet ministers to report to military headquaters in Bangkok.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indo-Pacific countries face China's rapid military build-up
 

Australia's Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, third from left, at the 7th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) "Towards a Stable and Sustainable Indian Ocean" in Perth Western Australia on Friday February 9, 2024

From News Reports:
Perth, February 11: Australia hosted the 7th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) "Towards a Stable and Sustainable Indian Ocean" in Perth, Western Australia, also known as Australia's Indian Ocean capital, on Friday with Australia's Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, saying "Indo-Pacific countries face China's rapid military build-up without the transparency and reassurance that the region looks for from great powers," reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Australia's Foreign Minister, Penny Wong said at the 7th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) attended by more that 400 delegates from 20 nations from South Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and East Africa, "with an increasing level of commercial and military passage through the Indian Ocean comes a greater need for transparency and reassurance."
Australia's Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong said there is a greater need for transparency and reassurance from China to guard against the risks of miscalculation and accident that is seen in other vital international waterways.
"The Indian Ocean hosts more than a third of the world's bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of global oil shipments, saying "any slowdown or interruption, from piracy, disputes or disruptions, would have costly consequences around the world."
The United States National Security Council, senior director for South Asia, Rear Admiral Eileen Laubacher, called on the United States, Australia and India to share more intelligence with South Asian and Indian Ocean states about China's Military strategic aims in the Indo-Pacific at the 7th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC).
"I think the way to influence countries and make changes and help them to see things clearly is to provide them with information which allows them to understand better what the motivations of the People's Republic of China (PRC) might be," she said.
"Then they can make their own decisions in regard to their own security."
India's Ministry of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar, said at the 7th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) that the challenges besetting the world are on full display "as we gaze at the Indian Ocean."
"At one extremity, we see conflict, threats to maritime traffic, piracy and terrorism. At the other, there are challenges to international law, concerns about freedom of navigation and overflights, and of safeguarding of sovereignty and of independence," he said.
"Any disregard for arduously negotiated regimes like United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 is naturally disturbing," he said.
He said that instability increases when long-standing agreements are no longer observed, with no credible justification to justify a change of stance, saying "all of them, separately and together, make it imperative that there be greater consultation and cooperation, among the states of the Indian Ocean".
The Southeast Asian Times

Pita Limjaroenrat's latest conviction could lose him chance to become PM
 

Former Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, first left, former Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, second left, at the Pathumwan District Court in Bangkok on Monday, February 5, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 10: Thailand's Pathumwan District Court on Monday sentenced re-instated Move Forward Party (MFP) member of parliament, a former nominee for prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat, and seven others to four months in prison, for staging a mass protest against the ruling pro- Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF), Palang Pracharath Party (PPP), attended by thousands in the vicinity of the Sa Pathum Palace or Grand Palace without permission in 2019, with Move Forward Party (MFP) spokesman, Parit Wacharasindhu disputing comments that "Pita Limjaroenrat has lost his chance to become prime minister for good,"
reports the Bangkok Post.
The Pathumwan District Court sentenced Pita Limjaroenrat and seven others including Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit leader of the now dissolved Future Forward Party (FFP) under section 160(7) of the constitution for staging a mass protest on the Pathumwan Skywalk in support of the then new Future Forward Party (FFP) with arrests made over alleged derogatory references to the monarchy during the protest against the then ruling pro- Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF), Palang Pracharath Party (PPP).
The eight defendants including Nuttaa Mahattana, Parit Chiwarak, Thanawat Wongchai, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, Pannika Wanich and Pairatthachote Chantharakachorn were charged with multiple offences including staging a mass protest without permission at the Pathumwan skywalk that is located within 150m of the Grand Palace, disrupting the operations and service of the Bangkok Transit System (BTS), and using loud speakers without permission on December 14, 2019.
Move Forward Party (MFP) spokesman, Parit Wacharasindhu, disputed comments that "Pita Limjaroenrat has lost his chance to become prime minister for good," that were reportedly made by an unidentified constitutional scholar and law professor following the Pathumwan District Court ruling, saying "the eight convicted of staging a mass protest would appeal their convictions and sentences."
"If Pita Limjaroenrat proves his innocence during the appeal process, his political rights will remain intact," he said.
He said the appeal would question if the protest really took place within the restricted 150-metre radius of the Sa Pathum Palace or Grand Palace, saying "the appeal would question if the rally leaders deserved a four-month-long prison term."
"The iTV Plc had ceased to be a media company in March 2007 when the government revoked its broadcasting licence for failure to pay concession fees," said the judges.
The judges said that Pita Limjaroenrat could have been found guilty if he held just one share in the iTV Plc media company if the
media company was a functioning company, saying "but it was not a functioning company, despite apparant attempts by Pita Limjaroenrat opponents to prove otherwise."
The former Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat, was rejected as the prime ministerial candidate in the first sesion of parliament on July 13, 2023 and again in the second session of parliament on July 19, 2023 despite winning the 14 May elections with 151 seats of 500 parliamentary seats, followed by the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) with 141 seats and the Bhumjaithai Party with 71 seats.
The Southeast Asian Times

Kachin Independence Organization calls on Myanmar to shun general election held by military rulers
 

Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) chairman General N’Ban La called on Myanmar to shun general elections held by Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, February 9: Myanmar's Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in Kachin State in northern Myanmar on the border with China, called on Myanmar "to shun general election held by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, reports the Irrawaddy.
Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) chairman General N’Ban La urged the people of Myanmar "to shun any general election held by the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar at the anniversary of the 63rd Kachin Independence Revolution Day on Monday.
Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in Kachin State is one of 10 Ethnic Armed Organizations that is engaged in armed conflict against the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar that overthrew the elected League for Democracy (NLD) government on February 1, 2021.
Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) chairman General N’Ban La said the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is engaged in armed conflict against the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in Kachin and Shan states and the upper Sagaing region, saying "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar is forcibly recruiting militias to cause dissension between the ethnic organisations."
"I urge all civilians to refuse to fight for the regime," he said.
The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) chairman General N’Ban La who is also and the chairman of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) said "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar is attempting to hold an election to legitimise its power and control over Myanmar for the long term," saying "
In August 2023 the ruling Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar extended the state of emergency for a further six months to February 2024
The state of emergency was extended for the fourth time since the forcible takeover of the elected League for Democracy (NLD) government on February 1, 2021, delaying the general elections for the fourth time since November 8, 2020 under State Councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar arrested Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) President, Win Myint and State Councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi on the declaration of the State of Emergency on February 1, 2021 ahead of the would-be first National League for Democracy (NLD) dominated session of the parliament in February 2021 following the November 8, 2020 general elections.
The Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar handed over the administration of the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government to the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who
stated then that the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) would investigate alleged voter irregularities and suspected fraud under National League for Democracy (NLD) November 8, 2020 elections.
The November 8, 2020 elections under Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) President, Win Myint and State Councillor, Aung San Suu Kyi had left the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) with only 21 seats of the 440 seats in the parliament with the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, saying then that "the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar would hold another general election and transfer power to the successful party."
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines reject any secessionist movement in Muslim Mindanao from former President Duterte
 

Philippines Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Carlito Galvez Jr., at the ninth anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on the established of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Pasay City on Monday March 27, 2023.

From News Reports
Manila, February 8: Philippines Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, the former Officer-In-Charge of the Defense Department, Carlito Galvez Jr., reitorated his rejection of former President Rodrigo Duterte's proposal to separate Mindanao in the southern Philippines from the rest of the country at a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Carlito Galvez Jr., said that "any secessionist movement from Duterte would bear negative effects on establishing peace in Mindanao."
He said that the call from former President Rodrigo Duterte for the secession of Mindanao from the Philippines on Tuesday "is an anathema to the letter and spirit of the Philippine Constitution," saying the Philippine Constitution is the bulwark of our nation's identity as a people."
Former President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that "local political forces would be regrouping in the Davao Region to start a movement for Mindanao independence."
|"The new movement for Mindanao independence that would be headed by Davao del Norte member of parliament, Pantaleon Alvarez, a former House Speaker, won't be a blooody one," he said.
Philippines Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Carlito Galvez Jr., cautioned that former president Rodrigo Duterte's proposal for the secession of Mindanao from the Philippines "could derail the peace process including the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) that ended the decades-long conflict in Mindanao."
In March 2014 the Philippine government and the then would-be seccessionists, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, signed the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) designated as the Republic Act No. 11054, of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on the established Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at the Malacañang Palace in Manila.
Under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), would-be seccessionists, agreed to the decommission of weapons in exchange for agreement on wealth and power sharing in the established Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In March 23, 2019 former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and former Mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, revived his call for a shift to federalism ahead of the general elections in May 2019, calling for a major revision of the constitution.
Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called for a major revision of the constitution in order to pave the way for a shift to a federal government in a bid to decentralize powers of the state to the provinces, saying "away from imperial Manila."
He said that 260 legislators belonging to the majority coalition in the House of Representatives were amenable to the idea of dividing Congress into 12 states, saying "Federation would resolve decades-long unrest among Muslim Filipinos who have felt left out of economic development that has been achieved by other regions."
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand's Anti-Corruption Commission pettitioned to investigate Move Forward Party
 

Political activist, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, pettitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate 44 Move Forward Party (MFP) members of parliament for violation of ethical standards in support of amendments to the Lese Majeste Law

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 7: Political activist, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a former member of the pro-Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF), Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and also a former member of the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP), pettitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the Move Forward Party (MFP) members of parliament to find if the members have violated ethical standards in their support of amendments to the Lese Majeste Law, reports the Bangkok Post.
Political activist, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, said that the petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Sunday February 4 was based in the Constitutional Court ruling on Wednesday January 31, "that the Move Forward Party (MFP) proposal to amend the Lese Majeste Law was an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and had breached the 2017 constitution."
The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday January 31 that the "the Move Forward Party's (MFP) continuous efforts to amend the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes indicates the Move Forward Party's (MFP) intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy."
In July 2023 the then Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenra withdrew his nomination for prime minister after the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate of 728 members rejected his nomination for prime minister for the second time since the May 2023 general elections.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenra, aimed to amend or enact 45 bills in the first 100 days in government that included amendments to the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes that called for the repeal of the criminalisation of criticism of the Thai King under the Lese Majeste law.
Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, said that he had petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in September 2021 to investigate the then opposition Pheu Thai Party (PTP) Members of Parliament to find if they had violated ethical standards as in Section 234 (1) of the 2017 constitution in their proposal to amend the Lese Majeste Law.
Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, had petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in September 2021 after the then opposition Pheu Thai Party (PTP) called on the parliament in April 2021 to amend the 2017 Constitution that was drafted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces and signed into law by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said in January 2022 that an investigation found that the bill to amend the Lese Majeste law proposed by the then opposition Pheu Thai Party (PTP) contained flaws and was not included in the House of Representatives agenda.
The Southease Asian Times


Thailand's Election Commission petitioned to dissolve Move Forward Party
 

Orawan Phuphong, left, Tantawan Tuatulanon, right, with wrists bound and rope around their necks protest against the Lese Majeste Law at the Election Commission (EC) in Bangkok on Thursday February 1, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 6: Political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a former member of the pro- Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF), Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and also a former member of the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP), that was founders by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to dissolve opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) for proposed amendments to the Lese Majeste Law, saying "the pettition is based on Section 92 of the organic law on political parties," reports the Bankgok Post.
"If the Election Commission (EC) finds evidence pointing to a political party's attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, the Election Commission (EC) must petition the Constitution Court to consider disolving that party and ban its executives from applying to run in elections for 10 years," said political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana.
The petition to the Election Commission (EC) on Friday calling for the dissolution of opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) follows the Wednesday Constitutional Court ruling "the Move Forward Party's (MFP) continuous efforts to amend the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes indicates the Move Forward Party's (MFP) intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy."
Political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana said that he would also petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to seek the Constitutuional Court's ruling on whether Move Forward Party (MFP) leaders should be banned from standing for election for their proposed amendments to the Lese Majeste Law, saying he would "file a related petition with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)."
In July 2023 the then Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenra withdrew his nomination for prime ministerial candidate after the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate of 728 members rejected his nomination for prime minister for the second time since the May 2023 general elections.
"Laws on rights and liberty are the core of the Move Forward Party (MFP) manifesto and the party would continue to seek amendments to the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes," he said.
Violation of the Lese Majeste Law under Article 112 of the Criminal Code makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the monarch of Thailand and Aritcle 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes makes it illegal to post insults or threats to the monarch of Thailand.
In August 2023 Pheu Thai Party (PTP) prime ministerial nominee, Srettha Thavisin, received endorcement from the King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, as the new prime minister of Thailand after the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) senate elected the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) nominee as the 30th prime minister.
Pheu Thai Party (PTP) then prime ministerial nominee, Srettha Thavisin, said then that he would not seek to abolish or amend the lese majeste law under Section 112 of and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes
if the parliament approved his nomination as prime minister.
In November 2021 the then prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said that the then ruling pro-military Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) would not support any moves to amend the 2017 Constitution that states "changing the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State or changing the form of the State shall be prohibited" and that "the Prime Minister may not present such a draft Constitution Amendment to the King for signature."
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, said then the government would oppose any proposed amendements to the 2017 Constitution, that was drafted by the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) and signed into law by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, saying "Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) remains opposed to any changes to the law that would change the regime of government with the King as Head of State."
"All Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) coalition parties must work together to prevent the moves to amend the 2017 Constitution, " he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

King of Malaysia halves prison sentence for ousted former PM Najib Razak
 

Former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur court Friday January 19, 2024

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur Sunday 4: Malaysia's former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, who began serving a 12 -year prison sentence in 2022 for the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state subsidiary SRS International Sdn Bhd funds, had his sentence halved on Friday by the Federal Territories Pardons Board, chaired by the new King of Malaysia, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, 65, of Johor, with the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Platform for Reform saying, "the Federal Territories Pardons Board should reveal the justification for commuting Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence and reducing his fine," reports the Star.
The Federal Territories Pardons Board, chaired by the new King annouced on Friday that the prison sentence for former Prime Minister Najib Razak had been reduced from 12 years to six years and the fine from RM 210 million to RM50 million "after reviewing an application for a royal pardon from the former Prime Minister Najib Razak."
"The government should present the reason for the reduction to show their transparancy in fighting corruption," said the CSO Platform for Reform.
The CSO Platform for Reform, that is a coalition of more than 60 Malaysia-based civil society organisations that focus on institutional reform, said the importance of transparency in the decision by the Federal Territories Pardons Board that is chaired by the King goes beyond mere compliance, saying "the Pardons Board needs to function as a foundation, instilling public trust in the pardon mechanism mandated by the Federal Constitution."
"This is clearly enshrined in the Federal Constitution under Article 42(9) that mandates the disclosure of any written opinion by the Attorney General to the king," said the CSO Platform for Reform.
The CSO Platform for Reform said that "questions would arise regarding committments made by the government on how it would eliminate corruption," saying "issuing this amnesty will have profound implications that go beyond its immediate impact on the individuals involved."
“How can the government fulfill their promise to create a clean government and restore the public's confidence in their credibility,” said the CSO Platform for Reform.
In April 2023 the former ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak lost a final appeal to the Federal Court conviction and prison sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state fund, with his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah saying that Najib Razak's only option for release from prison is a royal pardon.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that the one dissenting voice on the panel of justices at the Federal Court had given his client a narrow window to keep the legal avenue open, saying "Najib Razak's only other option to be freed from prison is through a pardon from Malaysia’s king."
The Southeast Asian Times

New King of Malaysia takes oath to preserve Islam and fair administration
 

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor (left), and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, at a guard of honour at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur at the coronation of the Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor as Malaysia's 17th king on Wednesday February 31, 2024

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 4: Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, 65, of Johor, Malaysia became the 17th King of the rotating monarchy on Wednesday, saying
"I, with all my ability, will at all times preserve Islam," at the oath taking ceremony held at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, reports the Star,
"I, with all my ability, will at all times preserve Islam, and stand firmly for fair administration and peace in the country,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar's ascention to the throne was decided in October, 2023 by the Conference of Rulers, a council of nine rulers of the Malay states and governors of the remaining four states.
Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, said in December 2023, after the Conference of Rulers decision that he would succeed Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, to the throne, that he "would not entertain any of the machinations that forced his predecessor to oversee two changes of government in as many years."
"There are 222 of you in parliament. There are over 30 million Malaysians outside. I’m not with you, I’m with them," he said.
In January 2024 Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, called for the tabling of the Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA) Bill in parliament that would prevent the ousting of a sitting government, saying "the FTPA will constrain the Prime Minister’s power to seek royal consent for an early dissolution of parliament.
Opposition leaders allegedly planned to bribe government Members of Parliament to deny the Anwar Ibrahim government the required a majority in Parliament to rule, with opposition leaders including Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, Muhyiddin Yassin, saying the allegations are "nonsensical libel."
The Deputy Prime Minister called for a law that would prevent a mid-term change of government, sayng the Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA) would constrain the Prime Minister's power in seeking royal consent for an early dissolution of parliament.
The Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA) that is a 15th General Election (GE15) manifesto promise of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition reforms called for by 33 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 52 individuals states that "the Parliament must serve its full term of five years unless the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of Parliament or two-thirds or more of Parliament passes a resolution to call for an early dissolution."
The Southeast Asian Times


West Papuans want to release NZ pilot held hostage for a year in exchange for independence
 

Suzi Air pilot New Zealander Philip Mehrtens, centre, with West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) in West Papua's Nduga Regency on Tuesday February 14, 2023

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 3: The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM), who have held Susi Air pilot, New Zealander, Mark Mehrtens, hostage in Nduga Regency since February last year, say they want to release the Susi Air pilot but "officials in Indonesia and New Zealand are delaying negotiations for his freedom," reports BanarNews.
"We at TPNPB headquarters agreed to release the New Zealand pilot," said the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM), spokesman Sebby Sambom.
He said that the Susi Air pilot, New Zealander, Mark Mehrtens is a pilot from Papua's neighbouring country's," saying, "Australia and New Zealand are supporters of an independent Papua."
"We detained him not as an enemy, but as a friend living with West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) soldiers."
"We’re trying to find the best solution," he said.
On February 7, 2023 New Zealander Philips Max Mehrtens was taken hostage and his aircraft torched by the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization (TPNPB-OPM) at the Paro airport in Nduga regency, Pegunungan Province in West Papua.
Susi Air, that was founded by Indonesia's former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, was set on fire at the Paro airport after West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization (TPNPB-OPM) released the five passengers and took the New Zealand pilot hostage.
Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Indonesian Police (Polri) spokesman, Bayu Suseno, said "the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Indonesian Police (Polri) doubted the sincerity of West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM), spokesman Sebby Sambom.
He said the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) say they want to release the New Zealand pilot, "When ?" he asked.
Why trust armed criminals?" he said.
He said the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Indonesian Police (Polri) had tasked the interim Regent of Nduga, Edison Gwijangge, "to negotiate the freedom of the New Zealand pilot with the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM)," saying "the interim Regent of Nduga is related to a member of the kelompok kriminal bersenjata (KKB) (armed criminal group)."
In July 2023 the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) spokesman, Sebby Sambom, claimed they were not kelompok kriminal bersenjata (KKB) (armed criminal group) and had not demanded ransom money for the release of Susi Air pilot Mark Mehrtens, saying "we are not criminals and are not asking for money."
In May 2023 Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs rejected international Non-Governmental Organization's (NGO's) involvement in the release of Susi Air pilot, New Zealander, Max Mehrtens, held hostage by the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization (TPNPB-OPM), saying "whatever the stakes, international Non-Governmental Organization's (NGO's) cannot intervene."
He said Indonesia did not want the international Non-Governmental Organization's (NGO's) involved in the release of the Susi Air pilot in West Papua, saying "the involvement of international agencies in the release of New Zealand pilot Max Mehrtens would set a precedent for the intervention of Non-Governmental Organization's (NGO') in Indonesia's domestic affairs."
"Indonesia rejects any attempts at international interference offered by the international Non-Governmental Organization's (NGO's)," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand Criminal Court dismisses charges against Myanmar arms dealer associated with Thailand senator
 

Thailand Senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, was charged separately for alleged involvement with the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar in transnational crime, illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking and money laundering on December 14, 2023

From News Reports:
Naypyitaw, February 2: Thailand's Criminal Court in Bangkok dropped charges against the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, arms dealer, Tun Min Latt, and four Thailand partners including son-in-law, Dean Young Gultula, of senator Upakit Pachariyangkun Upaki, with the Court saying "the evidence presented by the defence successfully refuted all allegations, leading to the court’s decision to dismiss the charges," reports the Bangkok Post.
"After careful consideration, the court found that the prosecution’s evidence lacked sufficient weight to prove the defendants guilty of all charges brought against them," said the Bangkok Criminal Court on Tuesday.
The Bangkok Criminal Court dropped all charges against arms dealer
Tun Min Latt and four Thailand partners including Dean Young Gultula, whose father-in-law, Thailand Senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, was charged separately for suspected involvement in transnational crime illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Thailand Senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, who posted 10 million baht (US$287,000) bail after he was charged on December 14, 2023 is scheduled to return to court on May 13, 2024.
Myanmar arms dealer Tun Min Latt and four Thailand partners including Dean Young Gultula, the son-in-law of a Thailand senator Upakit Pachariyangkun Upakit's son-in-law, Dean Young Gultula were arrested by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) in a raid on a luxury condominium in Bangkok in September 2022 and charged with illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking and money laundering in December, 2022.
More than 200 million baht (US$5.4 million) worth of drugs and other items were siezed in a raid in Bangkok including two Siam Commercial Bank passbooks and title deeds to a luxury condominium in the name of Khin Thiri Thet Mon, daughter of the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
The siezure of the Siam Commercial Bank passbooks and title deeds in the name of Khin Thiri Thet Mon and her brother Aung Paye Sone reportedly led to the link between Myanmar arms dealer Tun Min Latt and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar, Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
The arrest of Myanmar arms dealer Tun Min Latt led to a warrant for the arrest of his alleged business partner, Thailand senator Upakit Pachariyangkun, with the Thailand senator rejecting any involvement with the Myanmar arms dealer Tun Min Latt in a censure debate in Parliament in Bankok in February, 2023.
Thailand senator Upakit Pachariyangkun established the Allure Casino in partnership with Myanmat arms dealer, Tun Min Latt, in Tachileik on the Myanmar side of the Golden Triangle through its Myanmar subsidiary, Myanmar Allure Group (P&E) in November 2017.
The Allure casino is part of a money laundering and drug trafficking network that injects illegal funds into the Thai financial system through the cross-border purchase of electricity, involving the Thai company, Allure Group (P&E) of which Tun Min Latt is a director.
In June 2023 the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), imposed sanctions on the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) of Myanmar's Ministry of Defence (MoD) and two state-owned banks, the Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and the Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB).
The Southeast Asian Times

Former National Security Council secretary-general appeals acquittal of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra
 

Senator Thawil Pliensri, petitioned the Office of the Attorney-General (AOG) on Monday January 29, 2024 to appeal acquittal of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for abuse of authority in September 2011

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 1: Thailand Senator Thawil Pliensri, a former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general in the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, has petitioned the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to appeal the December 26. 2023 acquittal of the former prime minister by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, for his transfer to the Prime Minister's Office as an advisor in 2011, reports the Bangkok Post.
Senator Thawil Pliensri maintains that his transfer from the National Security Council (NSC) in 2011 constitutes abuse of authority by former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, claiming in the petition to the Office of the attorney-General (OAG) that the transfer was an abuse of authority by the former prime minister, saying "the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also chaired the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Commission in her capacity as Prime Minister."
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was acquited by the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions for malfeasance in December 2023 in the transfer of the National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general, Thawil Pliensri, to the Prime Minister's Office, with the court ruling that the transfer "was a normal transfer."
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled on December 26 that former Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, "had no intention of causing damage and it was a normal transfer, not part of a plot to vacate the position of national police chief and appoint a relative to the position."
In July 2020 the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had abused her power, in violation of Section 157 of the Criminal Code, for her illegal removal in September 2011 of Thawil Pliensri, from his position as secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) to the Prime Minister’s Office as an advisor.
In May 2014 the Thai Constitution Court dismissed caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office, ruling then that the Prime Minister abused her authority by transferring National Security Council, chief, Thawil Pliensri from his position without due cause.
The Court ruled that caretaker Prime Minister Shinawatra and nine other Cabinet members who took part in the transfer of the National Security chief be removed from the Cabinet.
The court ruled that the transfer of Thawil Pliensri from the post of National Security Council chief was unlawful, unconstitutional and unethical.
National Security Council, chief, Thawil Pliensri, was replaced by national police chief, Wichean Potephosree who relunctantly resigned in September 2011 in favour of his deputy, Police General Priewpan Damapong, the elder brother of Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, the former wife of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Southeast Asian Times


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



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


Kang-Fu the Red Kangaroo is relentless in his fight to protect Australia's sovereignity...Open page here



What they're saying open page here

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



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

 

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


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

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



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


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



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

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



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


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

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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



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Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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ambodia...3,115.36
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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
property sales and marketing company, Min Zin Agency, in Yangon to sell condos in Singapore.
Managing director of the Min Zin Agency in Yangon, Ko Kyaw Min Zin, said that Singapore's Far East Organization has expanded its sales and marketing efforts into Myanmar.
“The Far East Organisation has been selling their Singapore properties to Myanmar buyers since 2009,” he said.
The Far East Organisation reportedly have over 750 properties in Singapore’s residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors,
including 45,500 or one in every six private homes in Singapore listed with the Min Zin Agency in Yangon.
The Southeast Asian Times


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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