The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Saturday 3 July 2020
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout
the region.  

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


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Thai Constitutional Court rejects ineligibility of MP to hold seat

Member of Parliament and Deputy Agriculture Minister, Thamanat Prompaw, center, also known as Thammanat Prompao, Yuthaphum Bophlom, Manat Bophlom, and Patchara Prompao, pleaded guilty to herion trafficking in Sydney in 1991, is one of six Thai Members of Parliament who faced a week-long censor motion in the Thai parliament in February

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 4: The Constitutional Court rejected a petition from 54 Members of Parliament to the Constitutional Court calling on the Court to rule on the eligibility of Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, to hold a seat in Parliament on grounds that his wife held shares in a company that had entered into a land lease contract with the Port authority of Thailand, reports the Bangkok Post.
Parliament President, Chuan Leekpai, submitted the petition to the Constitutional Court after receiving support from 54 Members of Parliament, more than the required one-tenth of sitting members of the House of Representatives.
The petitioners said that Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, who is also the Deputy Agriculture and cooperative minister, was ineligible to hold a seat in the House of Representatives under Section 101 and 184 of the constitution.
They argued that shares held by the wife of the Member of Parliament, in Klongtoey Market (2551) Co Ltd that had entered into a land lease contract with the Port Authority of Thailand, had the potential to hold a monopoly.
The Constitutional Court rejected the petition to rule on the eligibility of the Member of Parliament, saying that the shares held by the member of Parliamen't wife are not monopolistic, saying "there is no reason for Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, to lose his status as an Member of Parliament.
Last month the newly established opposition Move Forward Party (MFF) submitted a motion for impeachment of Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, under Section 98(10) of the constitution that prohibited anyone found guilty of a narcotics trafficking offence from standing for election to parliament, saying "Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, was convicted of trafficking in herion in Australia."
Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, who pleaded guilty to herion trafficking in Sydney in 1991 is one of six Thai Members of Parliament who faced a week-long censor motion in the Thai parliament in February.
Member of Parliament Thamanat Prompaw, also known as Thammanat Prompao, Yuthaphum Bophlom, Manat Bophlom, and Patchara Prompao attempted to block admission of Australian court documents that included the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal's final ruling detailing that Thamanat Prompaw had “participated in the delivery of heroin” to two co-accused.
He argued that accepting an Australian court's decision as proof of his unfitness for office would be tantamount to Thailand becoming a colony.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Member of Parliament, Thamanat Prompaw, spent four years of a six year sentence in a Sydney jail for trafficking in heroin with a street value of $4.1 million and was deported on his release.
The Southeast Asian Times


China's new national security law to be enforced in Hong Kong

Police hold up a warning against breaking the newly passed national security law in the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, July 3: The enforcement of the new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that was adopted by the National People's Congress in May was passed into legislature in Beijing on Tuesday with the director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, Shen Chunyao, saying that the law only targets those who endanger national security, reports Xinhua.
Director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, Shen Chunyao, said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday that "the jurisdiction of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) "will only target the very few criminals that severely endanger national security."
"The promulgation and implementation of the new law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong will uphold and improve the institutional system of "one country, two systems," he said.
He said that the new law on Safeguarding National Security does not target opposing political views in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), saying "political views, including those not favourable to the government can still exist."
"The new law does not criminalize normal international communication and exchanges either," he said.
He said that the new law will fully protect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the vast majority of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate rights and interests of investors in Hong Kong.
The new law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was enforced on the day it was passed into legislature with Hong Kong police arresting 10 protesters.
It was the first time the police in Hong Kong exercised their new powers under the legislation that allows arrest on grounds of national security.
The 10 arrested were among about 370 detained for taking part in an illegal assembly, disorderly conduct and possession of offensive weapons.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets on July 1 in protest against the new law.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine military says soldiers shot dead by police in Mindanao a rubout

Four Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers were shot dead by the Philippines National Police (PNP) in Jolo, Sulu Province, in Mindanao, southern Philippines on Monday in what the military says "is a rubout"

From News Reports:
Manila, July 2: Four Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers were shot dead by the Philippines National Police (PNP) in Jolo, Sulu Province, in Muslim Mindanao, southern Philippines on Monday, with the Philippine National Police saying that the shooting of the soldiers was a "misencounter" and the Armed Forces of the Philippines saying the shooting was unprovoked carnage, reports the Philippines Inquirer.
Commander General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, rejected the Philippines National Police (PNP) claim that the shooting of the soldiers by police outside the Jolo Police station was a "misencounter" saying that the shooting of the soldiers "is a rubout."
He said that despite proper identification, the police fired on the soldiers," saying "it is murder."
He said that the soldiers were on a mission to identify the location of known terrorists in the area, saying that "based on eyewitness accounts, no altercation transpired between the soldiers and the police nor was there any provocation on the part of army personnel to warrant such carnage," he said.
“There’s no misencounter because our troops never fired a shot," he said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said that the shooting of the soldiers is considered a misencounter.
The soldiers were reportedly returning from Patikul to their headquarters in Jolo when they were stopped at a quarantine checkpoint and instructed to proceed to the Jolo police station.
The soldiers, who were reportedly wearing civilian clothing, were later identified as members of an intelligence unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The soldiers who were instructed to drive to the Jolo Police station, allegedly fled towards Barangay San Raymundo, and were chased by the police.
The soldiers allegedly disembarked from the vehicle with their firearms pointed at the police.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) shot the soldiers allegedly in self defence.
The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore judge dismisses submission to stop elections

Singapore Deputy Attorney General says that the attempt to derail this general election is made in contravention of the law and in ignorance of the science and the facts, and is nothing more than a naked attempt at political grandstanding

From News Reports:
Singapore, July 1: The Singapore High Court has ruled against stopping the general elections filed hours after Prime Minister Lee Hsien loon called the election last week, dismissing the claim that holding the election during the Covid-19 pandemic was disproportionately unfair to Singaporeans and opposition parties, reports the Straits Times.
Supreme Court Justice Chua Lee Ming dismissed the submission by Singapore Lawyer, M. Ravi to be granted a Prohibitory Order to stop the Returning Officer, who is a public officer appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the election, from holding an election on 10 July on grounds that "current Covid-19 regulations will inhibit voting."
He said that there is no basis for the Prohibitory Order that lawyer M Ravi seeks to stop the Returning Officer from holding an election now and ordered his client, Daniel De Costa, to pay $8,000 in costs to the Attorney-General.
Singapore Lawyer, M. Ravi filed an application in the Supreme Court on Friday on behalf of his client Daniel De Costa that he be granted a Prohibitory Order enjoining the Returning Officer from proceeding with the holding of the general election as per section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act.
He said in his submission to the Supreme Court on Monday that the key provisions under the Parliamentary Elections Covid-19 Special Arrangements Act that are included in the election campaign guidelines issued by the Elections Department are disproportionately unfair to Singaporeans and opposition political parties.
He said that the Parliamentary Elections Covid-19 Special Arrangements Act that was passed in May allows for those on stay-home notices at designated facilities to vote outside their electoral divisions at special polling stations, while those on quarantine orders or stay-home notices will be excused from voting, saying "those on stay homes notices will not be able to violate their quarantine orders claiming their right to vote."
"This is a serious violation of their rights as a Singapore citizen," he said.
He said that the Parliamentary Elections Covid-19 Special Arrangements Actprovides wide powers to the Returning Officer and the director of medical services, saying that a Singaporian can be prevented from voting if he exhititsacute respiratory symptoms or a fever or if he has been exposed to the risk of being infected with Covid-19.
"The Singapore Election Department campaign guidelines are unfair and insufficient to level the playing field between the Government and the opposition political parties, he said.
Singapore Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumer said that the submission by lawyer Mr Ravi to stop the elections was completely without legal merit, saying that it was pursued to make Political and scandalous attacks in an "egregious abuse of the court's process".
He said there is no evidence that the pandemic will abate between now and January next year, saying "the Parliament would be automatically dissolved at the end of the Government's term in January."
"The attempt to derail this general election is made in contravention of the law and in ignorance of the science and the facts, and is nothing more than a naked attempt at political grandstanding," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Muslim organisations want ban of Communist Party of Indonesia included in Pancasila

Islamist organisations, the National Anti-Communist Alliance (Anak NKRI), the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) including Indonesia's largest Muslim clerical organistion, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) are calling on the House of Representatives to include a ban on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) bill and to recognise Islam in the Constitution

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 30: Muslim organisations and Islamist political parties, who after successfully blocking the passing of the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) draft bill in the House of Representatives earlier this month, are protesting the non inclusion of the ban of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in the Pancasila, saying that deliberation of the draft bill has been carried out "in secrecy" and "in great silence" during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports the Jakarta Post.
Islamist organisations, the National Anti-Communist Alliance (Anak NKRI), the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) and including Indonesia's largest Muslim clerical organisation, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) are calling on the House of Represenatatives in South Jakarta to include the ban on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), in the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) bill and also to include the recognition of Islam in the Constitution.
Indonesia's largest Muslim clerical organisation, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) objects to the passing of the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) without including a ban on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), saying "the passing of this bill without a ban on the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and recognition of Islam in political party ideology will only trigger public protests from Muslims who have fought to protect Pancasila."
President Joko Widodo halted the deliberation of the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) draft bill in the House of Representatives earlier this month following a reportedly "contentious plenary session involving Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians including former president of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, sparring with lawmakers from Muslim-based political parties."
In June 2016 Islam Defenders Front ( FPI ) spokesman Muhammad Rizieq Shihab warned that President Jokowi would be impeached if he agreed to a state apology for the 1965 mass killings of communists as demanded by human rights activists and families of the victims.
"We will oppose anyone, including state officials, who instigate the rebirth of the Indonesian Communist Party ( PKI )," he said.
In May 2017 President Joko Widodo called for religious leaders and politicians not to mix religion and party politics, warning that "mixing religion and politics was dangerous and could lead to divisions within society."
"The two should be separate so that people can know what is religion and what is politics, he said."
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam PM warns Covid-19 threatens millions: Travel corridor for ASEAN

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the opening of the 36th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit video conference held in Hanoi on Friday that "the Covid-19 pandemic has swept away the successes of recent years threatening the lives of millions in the region"

From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 29: The 36th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit video conference held in Hanoi on Friday began with a warning from the Prime Minister of Vietnam, that Covid-19 threatens the lives of millions in the region and included the proposal from the President of Indonesia of a regional travel corridor in an effort to accelerate economic recovery, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said that "the Covid-19 pandemic has swept away the successes of recent years threatening the lives of millions in the region."
"ASEAN leaders will carry a heavy burden in the comming months in leading the region out of difficult times," he said.
He said that there were serious consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic development of the ASEAN member countries, warning that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause an economic calamity as it sweeps away years of economic gains in the region.
ASEAN member country Indonesia, President Joko Widodo, said at the summit video conference from Indonesia that "regional leaders must give clear direction to accelerate post-Covid-19 ASEAN economic recovery."
He said that Indonesia and other ASEAN member country leaders have proposed a regional travel corridor, saying "a regional corridor would accelerate economic recovery."
"It's time for ASEAN as a community to think about ASEAN travel corridor arrangements," he said.
He said that ASEAN travel corridors would be crucial to the maintainance of regional connectivity and to economic growth, saying that ASEAN travel corridors would signal the stratigic significance of the ASEAN community in the region.
ASEAN member countries Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia are reportedly planning to open an ASEAN travel corridor that would allow safe travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Indonesia and Singapore are planning a "fast lane" travel corridor with China, Malaysia is planning a "green lane' travel corridor with Singapore and Brunei that is expected to open at the end of the month in an effort to accelerate economic recovery.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore lawyer calls on Supreme Court to stop general elections

Singaporean, Daniel De Costa and lawyer, M Ravi, have called on the Singapore Supreme Court to stop the general elections announced by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon on Tuesday

From News Reports:
Singapore, June 28: An application to the Supreme Court to stop the Singapore general election hours after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon called an election on Tuesday, with Singapore lawyer M Ravi, saying that he has filed a constitutional challenge against the decision to call an election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and for the right to vote to be included in the Singapore constitution, reports the Straits Times.
"Singaporeans do not enjoy the right to vote as a basic right," he said.
Singapore lawyer, M Ravi, wants to stop the Returning Officer from holding an election on 10 July until the right to vote is included in the Singapore Constitution on behalf of his client, Singaporean, Daniel De Costa.
“I have filed a constitutional challenge on behalf of Daniel De Costa that he be granted a Prohibitory Order enjoining the Returning Officer from proceeding with the holding of the general election as per section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act,” he said.
Singaporean, Daniel De Costa, said that his lawyer has filed a constitutional challenge against the decision to call an election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and that he wants the Supreme Court to declare "the right to vote and the right to free and fair elections are fundamental rights guaranteed to all citizens of Singapore under the Constitution”.
Singapore Human Rights lawyer, M Ravi, said that his client is seeking to stop the Returning Officer who is a public officer appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the election, from holding an election on 10 July on grounds that "current Covid-19 regulations will inhibit voting."
He said the Singapore Elections Department has put in place measures, including distancing and modified campaign rules, saying that "distancing rules that restrict the size of public gatherings to five people mean traditional campaign mass rallies cannot be held."
"Political parties have had to scale back election campaigns," he said.
Singapore Human Rights lawyer, M Ravi, has reportedly asked the Supreme Court that is to hear the application to stop the election on Monday to allow the hearing to take place in an open court as a "matter of public interest."
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon said that he decided to call an election now, "while the Covid-19 pandemic was stable" in order for the government to seek a new mandate.
"After the election, the new government can focus on the national agenda which includes handling the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and jobs," he said.
He said that the option of waiting till the pandemic is over was ruled out as there is no way to be sure the Covid-19 pandemic would be over before the Government's term ends in April next year.
The Southeast Asian Times


Duterte government to rename Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Mindanao, Davao City Representative, Paolo Duterte, son of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, wants to change the name of the Manila international airport from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PPP or International Airport of the Philippines

From News Reports:
Manila, June 27: A proposal to change the name of the Manila international airport from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PPP) or International Airport of the Philippines, was put to the parliament by Mindanao, Davao City Reprentative, Paolo Duterte, son of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Davao City Representative, Paolo Duterte, together with Marinduque representative, Lord Allan Jay Velasco and ACT-CIS party represenatative, Eric Go Yap, filed House Bill 7031 to change the name of the Philippine international airport, with Davao City Representative, Paolo Duterte,
saying "the proposed name is more representative branding for the international gateway of our country."
He said that the new name, Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PPP), bears no color, no political agenda, saying "it only signifies our warmth as Filipinos in welcoming our own kababayans and foreign visitors."
“The proposed name Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas in the national language clearly represents the whole nation and brings pride to the Filipinos," he said.
Representative for Marinduque, Lord Allan Jay Velasco, who is to be the speaker of the House, said "having a Filipino name for our international gateway sparks nationalism in each and everyone of us."
He said that the Filipino language should be the first thing visitors must see upon landing at the airport, saying "the name in the national language is an indication that they are proud of their heritage."
ACT-CIS party represenatative for Eric Go Yap said that there are many personalities who deserve to have institutions including roads named after them, saying "when it comes to our airport it should mirror our nation and our people."
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was named after former Senator Beningo "Ninoy" Aquino Jr in 1987, a year after the People Power revolution that installed his widow Corazon Aquino as president and toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
Senator Beningo "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was assassinated on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, now named Ninoy Aquino Internationalon on Sunday, August 21, 1983.
Son of Senator Beningo "Ninoy" Aquino Jr and Corazon Aquino, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, was the predecessor to the incumbent, Rodrigo Duterte.
Aquino's Liberal Party is currently the political opposition.
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia's military deployed to Melbourne to fight Covid-19

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said that Australian Defence Force personnel will help monitor returned international travellers held in hotel quarantine and provide logistical and medical support to Covid-19 testing in Melbourne

From News Reports:
Melbourne, June 26: The Australian military is to be deployed to the city of Melbourne, in Australia's state of Victoria, to contain Covid-19 in fear of a second wave of infections following 150 new infections over the last week, with Australian Defence Minister saying yesterday that "1000 troops would be rapidly deployed to Victoria in the coming days."
Australian Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, said that Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel would help monitor returned international travellers held in hotel quarantine and provide logistical and medical support to Covid-19 testing facilities.
Premier of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, called on the military to help manage the outbreak of Covid-19 clusters that emerged at a hotel used to quarantine returned international travellers and in large family groups across Melbourne, saying that investigations in Covid-19 transmission between hotel workers and security guards and multiple families are underway.
He said that the military would be involved in logistics, saying that military personnel would support medical teams at large Covid-19 testing sites, with transportation that would involve the transport of international returnese from the airport to hotel quarantine and administrative support at the Department of Health and Human Services at the State Control Center.
He said that the Australian Defence Force would also support more testing of Covid-19, saying "the state of Victoria needs to increase overall testing capacity."
“I have reached out to the premiers of New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, and I’m very pleased to say that they have agreed to give us some of their laboratory capacity.
He said that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be in charge of transporting samples to laboratories for the Covid-19 tests to be processed.”
“We’re very grateful that the request for military support has been granted," he said..
Australia has recorded about 7,500 Covid-19 infections and 103 deaths in a population of 25 million, with several regions to be effectively virus free.
The Southeast Asian Times


ASEAN and partners agree to sign RCEP: world's largest trading bloc

Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade, Tranh Tuan Tuean Anh, who chaired the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) videoconference on Tuesday, said that ASEAN ministers and partner countries agreed to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement in November

From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 25: Ministers at the 10th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting videoconference in Hanoi are determined to sign the RCEP free trade agreement dispite Covid-19 challenges and India's withdrawal from negotiations, saying that signing the free trade agreement would show support for the multilateral trade system, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade, Tranh Tuan Tuean Anh, who chaired the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) videoconference on Tuesday, said that ministers agreed that the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement in November would show support for the multilateral trade system and would enhance economic integration in the region.
"The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement would contribute to restoring economic confidence and to establishing a new normal in the region post Covid-19," he said.
He said that ministers are well aware of the challenges facing the region saying that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the emerging trend of trade protectionism and the withdrawal of India from the RCEP the ministers were determined to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the fourth RCEP Summit in November 2020.
"Vietnam as the ASEAN chair for 2020 has worked closely with ASEAN member states in maintaining ASEAN's leading role in the RCEP while cooperating with partner countries after the withdrawal of India in order to accelerate the finalization of RCEP negotiations for the signing in Ha Noi in November.
In March, at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Caucus Meeting at the 26 ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Retreat in Vietnam's central city Danang, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) called on India to return to the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement negotiation table.
India withdrew from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in 2019, saying "the RCEP will bring untold hardship to farmers, shopkeepers, and small and medium-sized enterprises in India."
The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of 10 ASEAN member countries, and six member countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand with India absent from the RCEP Caucus Meeting in Danang, agreed that despite India's withdrawal from negotiations "the RCEP is still the world's largest free trade agreement trading bloc."
Indian National Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi said that any decision by the government to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement "will bring untold hardship to farmers, shopkeepers, and small and medium-sized enterprises in India."
He said that India feared that cutting tariffs on dairy and other products would allow for a greater influx of Chinese goods and agricultural imports from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries.
RCEP disagreement also includes the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) that would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue the partner government for compensation at an international arbitration tribunal.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian national police preplanned acid attack on KPK investigator

Indonesian National Police Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis, center, was charged with the drive-by acid attack on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan at the Jakarta Police headquarters in South Jakarta on December 28, 2019

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 24: Prosecutors at the North Jakarta District Court on Monday rejected the defence argument that two Indonesian National police officers had not planned the acid attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan at Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta in April 2017, rejecting that the acid attack that left the KPK investigator with serious acid burns to his face was spontaneous, reports the Jakarta Post.
Lawyers for National Police officers, Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, said that the police officers "had no intention of harming the ant-corruption investigator, saying "the attack was a spontaneous act."
The defence lawyers had sought an acquittal on the grounds that the police officers had not preplanned the attack, arguing that police officer Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette was anxious on the night before the attack and that a perpetrator of a planned crime would likely be more relaxed.
"The defendants had accidentally thrown sulfuric acid in the KPK investigator’s face," the lawyers said.
Prosecutors rejected the defence argument that the police officers had not replanned the attack saying "the fact that there was a period of time for the police officers to calculate their action is enough to prove that this was a planned crime."
"Both National Police officers, Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, had spied on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan before the attack, he said.
"The police officers waited at the Al-Ikhsan mosque on Jl. Deposito Block E In Pegangsaan Due subdistrict where senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan attended dawn prayers."
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack by two men riding a motorbike and was transferred to a Singapore hospital to undergo treatment for his injuries.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, was reportedly leading an investigation into a nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam that had incurred Rp 5.0 trillion ($US440million) in state losses and allegedly invo
lved several members of Parliament when he was attacked.
In January former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Busyro Muqoddas, called on the Indonesian National police to reveal the "mastermind" behind the acid attack on the senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator following the arrest of the two police officers charged with the acid attack in December 2019.
He said that arresting the attackers is not enough, saying that the acid attack on senior corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator, Novel Baswedan, was an attack on the commission.
"Attacks on the residences of former KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo, former KPK deputy head Laode M Syarif and KPK investigator Afif Julian Miftah also investigating the nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam, proves that "the attack on KPK investigator Novel Baswedan was not personal but an attack on the institution.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sam Rainsy charged with defamation of PM Hun Sen in French court

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on September 17, 2013

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 23: Sam Rainsy, former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who is in self exile in France, was charged with defamation by a French Criminal Court for allegedly claiming that Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the killing of a National Police chief, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The French Criminal Court charged Sam Rainsy, former opposition leader in exile, with public defamation on an individual following a complaint by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 20, 2019.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen filed a civil suit against the former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), alledging that Sam Rainsy claimed on Facebook and in an interview that Prime Minister Hun Sen organised the killing former national police Chief Hok Lundy whe died in a 2008 helicopter crash.
Sam Rainsy claimed that Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen had planted a bomb on board the helicopter that crashed in Svay Reing province killing former national police Chief Hok Lundy.
Lawyer for the Cambodian government, Ky Tech, said that the Paris Criminal court charged Sam Rainsy with defamation on June 8, saying "the Paris court found that there is sufficient evidence that Sam Rainsy committed the offence as accused.
"Sam Rainsy did not oppose the charge," he said.
Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy said that he would not oppose the charge of defamation saying "the charges gave him a golden opportunity to reveal the criminal acts of Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family in an independent court.
"The complaint brought by Hun Sen brings hope in the struggle to end impunity in Camboda," he said.
Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) former president and co-founder of the party, Sam Rainsy, went into exile in Paris in 2015 fearing arrest after parliamentary immunity was removed and he faced multiple criminal defamation charges for his accusation of corruption against the Hun Sen Cambodia's People's Party (CPP).
Sam Rainsy and six other former members of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) are charged with committing offences including incitement under the Cambodian Criminal Code that includes plotting in the United States to overthrow the Hun Sen government.
In September 2013 the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotted parliament 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, claiming that that up to 1.25 million Cambodians who were eligible to vote were not on the electoral role and accused the ruling Cambodia's People's Party (CPP) of poll fraud.
The Southeast Asian Times

President Joko Widodo appeals guilty verdict blocking internet access Papua

The Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) and the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) at the Communication and Information Ministry building on Jl. Tanah Merdeka, Jakarta, August 23, 2019 in protest against the Indonesian government blocking of internet access to Papua and West Papua provinces during protests that called on Indonesia for a referendum for independence

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 22: The Indonesian government has submitted an appeal against the Jakarta Administrative District Court’s (PTUN) decision that found President Jokowi and Communication and Informatics Minister guilty of blocking internet access to Papua and West Papua provinces during protests that called on Indonesia for a referendum for independence in August last year, reports the Jakarta Post.
President Jokowi and Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate reportedly filed an appeal against the Jakarta Administration Court Decision ruling No. 230/G/TF/2019/PTUN-JKT on June 3, 2020, after the Jakarta State Administrative Court handed down its decision that the ban on internet communication was unlawful.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, South East Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), Press Legal Assistance Institution (LBH Press), YLBHI, KontraS, Elsam, and ICJR, who filed the lawsuit against the Indonesian government arguing that the Indonesian government ban on internet access in Papua and West Papua was unlawful, have confirmed that the Indonesian government has filed an appeal against the Jakarta State Administrative Court decision.
They argued that the Indonesian government had restricted internet access in several provinces in West Papua and Papua on August19, 2019 from 1pm to 8.30pm, that the Indonesian government banned access to data services and internet access in 29 cities in Papua's provinces and 13 cities and districts in West Papua between 21 August and 4 September last year and that the Indonesian government banned data services and internet access in Papua's Provinces including Jayapura City, Jayapura District, Mimika District, and Jayawijaya District and Manokwari City and Sorong City in West Papua from September 4, 2019 to September 9, 2019.
Jakarta State Administrative Court judge Nelvy Christin, one of three judges on the panel, said in the court decision June 1, 2020 that actions carried out by President Joko Widodo and Minister for Communication and Infomatics Johnny G Plate were unlawful acts by government agencies or officials, saying "the unlawful acts did not follow human rights restrictions set out in the Constitution and other human rights conventions."
Minister for Communications and Informatics, Johnny G. Plate, said that he respected the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) Court decision that the ban on internet access is unlawful but that he had yet to discover documents pertaining to the government decision to ban or restrict internet access in the region.
"There could have been damage to the telecommunications infrastructure that led to internet disruption in the area," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


UN calls on Japan to delay discharge of nuclear waste into the Pacific

The Sendai High Court ordered those evacuated from the vicinity of the 2011 tsunami triggered meldown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant be paid compensation on March 12, 2020

From News Reports:
Tokyo, June 21: The United Nations has called on Japan not to discharge radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant into the Pacific Ocean, calling for delay of the decision until after the Covid-19 pandemic in order to consult with neighbouring countries, reports the Japan Times.
United Nations special rapporteurs have called on the Japan government to delay the decision to discharge the radioactive wastewater into the sea or atmosphere until communities and neighbouring countries are consulted, saying that discharge of the nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean would pose a grave threat to the livelihoods of fishers.
"We are deeply concerned by reports that the Government of Japan has accelerated its timeline for the release of radioactive wastewater into the ocean without time or opportunity for consultations," said the United Nations special rapporteurs.
United Nations special rapporteurs called on the Japanese government to give "proper space and opportunity for consultations on the disposal of nuclear waste that will likely affect people and peoples both inside and outside Japan."
"Covid-19 must be not be used as a sleight of hand to distract from decisions that will have profound implications for people and the planet for generations to come."
The Japan government plan to excellerate the discharge radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea or atmosphere was proposed in a government committee report in February, saying that the release of the contaminated water into the sea or atmoshere is a realistic option.
More than one million meters of water contaminated with tritium are stored in 977 storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was disabled by an earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011 causing the meltdown of three reactors.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar military party motion to impeach fails in secret ballot

A motion to impeach the Myanmar ruling party National League for Democracy (NLD), member, Yangon Region Chief Minister, U Phyo Min Thein, was rejected in a secret ballot in the Yangon parliament on Thursday

From News Reports:
Yangon, June 20: A motion to impeach Myanmar ruling party National League for Democracy (NLD), member, Yangon Region Chief Minister, U Phyo Min Thein, was rejected by a majority vote in the parliament after an investigation found that accusations against the Chief Minister were not valid, reports the Myanmar Times.
The investigation found that the accusations against Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein were not valid grounds for impeachment in a secret ballot on Thursday.
The 117 legislators attending the parliament, in which the military-drafted Myanmar constitution allows for 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers, voted 77 against and 25 for impeachment.
The military appointed Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) opposition legislator U Tin Oo, representing the Coco Islands, submitted the move to impeach the Yangon Region Chief Minister to the regional parliamentary speaker earlier this month with seven accusations.
Accusations made against the Yangon Region Chief Minister included the implementation of a New City project without the parliament's knowledge, borrowing money from private banks for the city bus service and violation of the government ban on mass gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic when he attended a Buddhist religious event.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein denied all accusations against him saying that by implementing the New City project he was carrying out a project that had been approved by the parliament during the previous government.
He said that the regional government was not responsible for borrowings by a private company from a private bank and that under the Union Ministry of Health and Sports ruling government officials were allowed to gather in groups larger than five when performing their duties.
The Southeast Asian Times


Papuans on trial for treason are criminals not political prisoners: Indonesian National Police

Indonesia's National Police spokesman, Inspector General Argo Yuwono says that the Papuans on trial for treason at the Balikpapan District Court are criminals not political prisoners

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 19: Indonesia rejects the claim that the seven Papuans on trial for treason at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan are political prisoners, saying the Papuans on trial for their involvement in the August 2019 anti- racist protests in Jayapura are criminals, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia's National Police spokesman, Inspector General Argo Yuwono, said ahead of the verdict to be handed down by the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan that the Papuans on trial for treason are criminals not political prisoners.
He claims that the Papuans incited violence and rioting in Papua Province including in Jayapura last year saying "as a consequence violence and riots erupted in Indonesia's easternmost province, resulting in loss and destruction to personal property."
"Claims that the seven Papuans are political prisoners are completely baseless and groundless," he said.
He said that the trial at the Balikpapan District Court is not considered a political matter," saying "the Papuans are criminals."
The Papuan political activists on trial for treason at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan, Agus Kossay, chairman of the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) and Buktar Tabuni, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok, Irwanus Uropmabin who are members of Free Papua Movement affilated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) were arrested in Jayapura in August 2019.
The Papuans were arrested at student protests that called on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in Papuan and West Papua.
The protests that had spread to Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong followed the forcible removal of West Papuan students from their dormitory in Surabaya in East Java on Indonesia's 74th Independence Day anniversary on August 17, 2019 for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian national flag.
In December 2018 the West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) claimed responsibility for the attack on Indonesia's state-owned construction company, PT Istaka Kar, killing 19 construction workers in Nduga regency in Papua, saying that they are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua.
West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) spokesman Sebby Sanbom said then that "through this attack on the contruction of the trans Papua road we are telling the colonialist country of Indonesia that we are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua,” saying that the workers shot dead were not civilians but Indonesian soldiers.
"We are ready to take responsibility", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore public servant arrested for leaking post-Covid-19 economy plans

Singapore National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that phase two of the Singapore post-Covid-19 plans that are to be released on Friday include the resumption of a wide range of services, saying "a range of restrictions would be eased to allow more business and social activities to resume"

From News Reports:
Singapore, June 18: A public servant was arrested on Saturday under the Singapore Offical Secrets Act for leaking classified information on the reopening of Singapore's economy a week before the information was to be officially released, reports the Straits Times.
The 50-year-old Singaporean male was arrested under Section 5(1) of the Official Secrets Act for releasing information on the resumption of social activities and business in phase two of the reopening of the Singapore economy.
Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that police had received infomation that the public servant was to release the Singapore post-Covd-19 plans via WhatsApp messages to the public.
Singapore National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that phase two of the Singapore post-Covid-19 plans that would be released on Friday would include the resumption of a wide range of services, saying "a range of restrictions would be eased to allow more business and social activities to resume."
The arrest of the public servant on Saturday is the third arrest of a public servant under the Singapore Offical Secrets Act for leaking classified information about the Covid-19 in Singapore.
A 35 year-old public servant was arrested on April 23 under the Singapore Offical Secrets Act and the Computer Misuse Act after the woman leaked the number of new daily Covid-19 infections in Singapore.
The Singaporean woman had shared information about the number of daily new Covid-19 infections with members of a private WeChat group, who were not authorised to receive the information.
Police received information that the classified information on the number of new infections in Singapore had been leaked on an Instagram post before the Ministry of Health (MOH) had officially released the figure.
A public servant and her husband were arrested on April, 5 under the Singapore Offical Secrets Act for leaking a draft media statement on Covid-19 school closure to the public before the information was officially released.
The 37-year-old woman who is an authorised recipient of the draft media statement, had taken a screenshot of the draft media statement on her computer and sent the image to her 38-year-old husband via WhatsApp, who shared the statement with his friends.
The draft media statement had been circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms hours before it was officially released that day.
Offences under the Singapore Offical Secrets Act carry a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment of up to two years.
The Southeast Asian Times

Protesters call for release of 7 Papuan political prisoners on trial for treason

The protesters under the Committee for the Release of Papuan Political Prisoners protested under a banner saying "Free 7 Papuan political prisoners without conditions" at the Supreme Court building in Central Jakarta on Monday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 17: Protests for the release of West Papuans on trial for treason that took place simultaneously in cities throughout Indonesia including Jakarta on Monday were held ahead of the verdict for treason to be handed down at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan on Wednesday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Students and political activists protested in Jakarta, Balikpapan, Jayapura and Sarong in Papua, Bogor in West Java, Yogyakarta and Malang in East Java calling for the release of seven West Papuan political activists who are on trial for treason at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan for their involvement in the August 2019 anti- racist protests in Jayapura.
The seven West Papuans were arrested in Jayapura in August 2019 following a series of student protests calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in Papua and West Papua.
The protests that had spread to Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong followed the forcible removal of West Papuan students from their dormitory in Surabaya in East Java on Indonesia's 74th Independence Day anniversary on August 17, for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian national flag.
Surabaya district police who were armed with riot shields, and who reportedly fired tear gas into the domitory, stormed the student dormitory and arrested the students for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian flag.
In October 2019 the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) condemned the alleged secretive transfer of the seven West Papuan activists from Jayapura in Papua to Balikpapan district court in East Kalimantan, calling on the Papua police to return the political activists.
The National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) claimed that Papuan political activists, Agus Kossay, chairman of the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) and Buktar Tabuni, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok, Irwanus Uropmabin who are members of Free Papua Movement affilated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) were reportedly transferred without any legal basis to stand trial for treason at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan,
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia to deport Rohingya refugees: Not signatory to UNHCR

Minister for Security and Defence, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said that Malaysia would not allow the 269 Rohingya refugees who were rescued in the waters of Langkawai last week to remain in Malaysia

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 16: Malaysia is to deport 269 Rohingya refugees who were rescued in the waters off Langkawi last week after the refugees had disabled their vessel, with Minister for Security and Defence saying that Malaysia is not a signatory to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reports the Star.
Minister for Security and Defence, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said that Rohingya refugees entering Malaysia will be deported back to Bangladesh, saying that the “Rohingya refugees should not assume they will be accepted in Malaysia."
He said that the Rohingya refugees drilled holes in their vessel and damaged the engine beyond repair, saying "the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) patrol boats had attempted to push the vessel back out to sea when they found that the vessel was disabled and were forced to rescue the refugees."
He said that Malaysia would not allow the 269 Rohingya refugees to remain in Malaysia, saying that he would hold talks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to explore the possibility of the refugees being sent to a third country.
He said that countries who were signatories to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had accused Malaysia's decision to deport the Rohingya refugees inhuman.
"We ask the countries that are signatories to the UNHCR to take these refugess to their own countries", he said.
Last month the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) called on a humane response from ASEAN member countries to 200 Rohinya whose boat was intercepted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) off Langkawi and escorted out of Malaysian waters in April.
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Indonesia, Yuyun Wahyuningrum, called on member states to integrate human rights in the ASEAN response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should show compassion for the Rohinya who were denied entry to Malaysia.
"The Rohinya are in desperate need of assistance, saying that hundreds of Rohinya have died of starvation on crowded boats at sea during the Covid-19 pandemic."
In December 2019 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Myanmar formalised cooperation on the Terms of Reference (ToR) that includes Malaysia for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar's Rakhine state for Bangladesh following Myanmar's military retaliation to the assualt by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police outposts and military bases in August 2018.
Myanmar's deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , U Aung Kyaw Zan, said then "international pressure on the Myanmar government would be greatly reduced with ASEAN being not only a witness to the process of repatriation but also an active participant in the repatriation effort.
“ASEAN can put the necessary mechanisms for repatriation in place and Myanmar will implement the repatriation of the refugees with ASEAN support,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian University students support Papuan political activists

National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) chairman, Agus Kossay, center, and Buktar Tabuni, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok, Irwanus Uropmabin who are members of Free Papua Movement affilated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) are on trial for treason for their involvement in the August 2019 anti-racists protests in Jayapura, Papua

From News Reports:
Jakarta Post, June 15: Two student organisations of the University of Indonesia (UI) have again attempted to file an amicus brief in support of seven West Papuan political activists on trial for treason for their involvement in the August 2019 anti- racist protests in Jayapura, Papua, in the hope that support from the reportedly nonpartisan students would be considered by the judges in reaching a verdict, reports the Jakarta Post.
The first attempt by the two student organisations, University of Indonesia (UI) Student Executive Body (BEM UI) and the UI School of Law Student Executive Body (BEM FHUI) to show support for the Papuan activits in the Balikpapan district court in East Kalimantan was reportedly rejected by the University of Indonesia (UI) administration.
The University of Indonesia (UI) administration said in a statement that the proposal to support the Papuan activists in their involvement in the 2019 antiracism protests in Jayapura "did not reflect the views and attitudes of University of Indonesia (UI) as an institution."
But an alliance of University of Indonesia (UI) lecturers subsequently expressed their support for the proposal, saying that the proposal to file an amicus brief "fostered the spirit of free speech among university academics."
The student organisations argued in the second attempt to file an amicus brief on Friday that the treason charges brought against the Papuan activists were not appropriate, saying "the charges against the activists were racist."
The student organisations filed an amicus brief in support of Papuan activists following demands by the prosecution at the Balikpapan district court in East Kalimantan to imprison the West Papuans for between five and 17 years for their participation in the protests in Jayapura in July last year.
In October 2019 the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) condemned the alleged secretive transfer of the seven West Papuan activists from West Papua to Balikpapan district court in East Kalimantan, calling on the West Papua police to return the political activists.
The National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) claimed that West Papuan political activists, Agus Kossay, chairman of the National Committe of West Papua (KNPB) and Buktar Tabuni, Fery Kombo, Alexander Gobay, Steven Itlai, Hengku Hilapok, Irwanus Uropmabin who are members of Free Papua Movement affilated groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) were reportedly transferred without any legal basis.
The seven West Papuans were arrested in Jayapura in August 2019 following a series of student protests that spread to almost all regions in West Papua including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong with West Papuans calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua.
In August 2019 protests calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua spread to almost all regions in West Papua and Papua after West Papua students were forcibly removed from their dormitory in Surabaya in East Java on Indonesia's 74th Independence Day anniversary on August 17, for alleged vandalism of the Indonesian national flag.
The Southeast Asian Times


Directors of Indonesia's state aircraft manufacturer detained for fraud

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Firli Bahuri, centre, said that former PT Dirgantara Indonesia president director Budi Santoso and former commerce director Irzal Rinaldi Zailan, background, would be detained for the next 20 days

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 14: Former directors of state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia were detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Friday to answer charges for their alleged involvement in fictitious projects at PT Dirgantara Indonesia between 2007 and 2017, reports the Jakarta Post.
Former PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) president director Budi Santoso and former commerce director Irzal Rinaldi Zailani, were charged under Articles 2 and 3 of the 2001 Corruption Law, that prohibits the abuse of power for personal gain resulting in state losses.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Firli Bahuri said that former PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) president director Budi Santoso and former commerce director Irzal Rinaldi Zailan would be detained for the next 20 days for investigation into their alleged involvement in fictitious projects at PT Dirgantara Indonesia.
He said that state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara entered partnership contracts with trading companies PT Angkasa Mitra Karya, PT Bumiloka Tegar Perkasa, PT Abadi Sentosa Perkasa, PT Niaga Putra Bangsa and PT Selaras Bangun Usaha between 2008 and 2011, saying "none of the parties carried out the work stated in their contracts."
"State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara allegedly paid the companies a total of Rp 205.3 billion ($8.6 million) between 2011 and 2018," he said.
He said that the payments by state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara to the partnership trading partners shows that the state had lost about Rp 330 billion, saying that such state losses were sufficient to give approximately 1 million families social aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The former directors of state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia face 20 years in prison for each charge and Rp 1 billion (US$70,509) in fines," he said.
In October 2007 State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia resumed work after the Supreme Court decision to annul a Commerce Court ruling that declared it bankrupt on September 4.
Managing director Budi Santoso said that PT Dirgantara Indonesia would renegotiate a cancelled purchase order for six CN-235 aircraft that were placed by a Middle Eastern country.
"We were negotiating the price and the dates of delivery with guests from the Middle East on the day the bankruptcy decision was handed down." he said.
The Commerce Court had ruled for bankruptcy on September 4, 2007 after about 6,500 former employees, who were sacked in 2003 filed a petition against it.
Restructuring of the aircraft maker followed the 1997 financial crises and the number of employees was reduced from 9670 to 3720 in 2003.
The restructuring included the reduction of 18 divisions to Aircraft services, aero structure and defence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia: Fifth ASEAN member to challenge China's claim of sovereignty in South China Sea

China's coast guard ship 3303 and Indonesia's Imam Bonjol warship 383 in the disputed Natuna waters June 17, 2019. Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) reports that China's coast guard vessels have escorted Indonesian traditional fishermen from the disputed Natuna waters in the Riau islands

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 13: Indonesia has rejected China's offer to negotiate overlapping claims over Natuna waters in the Riau Islands with Indonesia's deputy speaker of the House of representatives warning that the Indonesian government should not compromise Indonesia's sovereignty over Natuna waters, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia's deputy speaker of the House of representatives, Aziz Syamsuddin, said that the Indonesian government would not negotiate sovereignty over the Natuna waters in the Riau Islands, saying "Indonesia's rights over the North Natuna Sea region have been confirmed under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
"Based on Article 4 of Law Number 5/1983, Indonesia has the right to exploration and exploitation in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)," he said.
But China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang says that the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the north Natuna Sea is not under Indonesian sovereignty, saying that "the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a high sea where coastal countries have sovereign rights over natural resources."
The Indonesian government said in a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 28 that the Indonesian government supported the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim over the West Philippine Sea in 2016, with The Hague court saying "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in seas falling within the 'nine-dash line'."
In response, the government of China said on June 1 in a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, that China's maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea were "established in the long course of historical practice and consistent with international law,” including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that China ratified in 1996.
“China is willing to settle the overlapping claims through negotiation and consultation with Indonesia, and work together with Indonesia to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
Indonesia is the fifth Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN member country after Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia to challenge China's claim of sovereignty over waters in the South China Sea, claiming sovereignty over the resource-rich Natuna Islands located off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand to join Asia-Pacific trade talks but not membership

Thailand's Department of Trade Negotiations director general, Auramon Supthaweethum said in March 2018 following the signing in Chile of the revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP), by 11 member country ministers, excluding the US that had withdrawn in January 2017, that Thailand was following developments and consulting relevant parties on whether Thailand should join the trade agreement

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 12: Thailand's joint standing committee on commerce, industry and banking, established to consider whether Thailand would seek membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement, agreed to join the Asia-Pacific trade talks in August but not membership, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Council of Ministers of Thailand established the committee last month to consider CPTPP membership that includes 11 member countries Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam following concerns that joining the Asia-Pacific trade agreement would have a negative impact on the agriculture and healthcare sector.
Joint standing committee on commerce, industry and banking, chairman, Predee Daochai, said that Thailand should take part in the Asia-Pacific trade talks in August in order to examine the terms and conditions of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), saying "competition had intensified in electronics and agriculture from rivals such as Vietnam and Malaysia," he said.
"The process of seeking membership will take at least four years and Thailand can withdraw at any stage if found unbeneficial," he said.
Thailand's Department of Trade Negotiations director general, Auramon Supthaweethum, said that joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would boost Thailands gross domestic product.
She said in March 2018 following the signing of the revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP), in Chile by 11 member country ministers, excluding the US withdrawal in January 2017, that Thailand was following developments and consulting relevant parties on whether Thailand should join the trade agreement.
"Thailand's position for now is wait-and-see," she said.
In November 2017 the signing ceremony for agreement between the remaining eleven Pacific Rim member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) following the withdrawal of the US was cancelled, reportedly due to Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, non-attendance to the signing ceremony as scheduled.
Canada’s Office of Ministry of International Trade spokesman, Pierre-Olivier Herbert, said then that there were oustanding issues for more than one of the 11 TPP member countries including Canada that had yet to be resolved.
"We are working hard to maintain Canadian jobs in important industries such as automotive, agriculture, culture, and intellectual property,” he said.
Consensus on the trade agreement between the 11 member countries Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam was reportedly not reached over several outstanding "trade issues."
In February 2016 the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), believed to be the largest trade agreement in history, was signed in New Zealand after five years of negotiations amid protests.
Ministers representing the then 12 countries said in a joint statement that the TPP "will set a new standard for trade and investment in one of the worlds fastest growing and most dynamic regions".
The trade agreement between the then 12 Pacific rim countries was expected to provide improved access for goods and services to more than 800 million across the TPP countries that make up 36 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The Southeast Asian Times


Covid-19 transmissions in Bali on increase: Access to beaches banned

Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster, said that low level hygiene, health, and safety protocols contributed to the increasing number of Covid-19 transmissions

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 11: The Bali provincial government reports an increasing number of Covid-19 transmissions on the resort Island, with the Bali Governor saying that of the 25 new Covid-19 infections recorded on Sunday only one was imported, reports the Jakarta Post.
Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster, said that low level hygiene, health, and safety protocols contributed to the increasing number of local Covid-19 transmissions in Bali's four regencies, Bandun, Denpasar, Klungkung and Tabanan.
He said that out of 25 new Covid-19 infections recorded in Bali on Sunday, 24 were local transmissions with only one identified as an imported infection.
On Monday Bali reported a further 12 new confirmed Covid-19 infections bringing the total number of infections to 594 with five fatalities.
Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster, revoked the Badung Tourist Agency June 1 decision to open access to two beaches, Canggu Beach and Labuan Sait Beach to surfers.
He said that the Bali provincial administration had ordered all tourist attractions closed, saying that activities involving large groups including traditional and religious activities are banned due to the increasing number of local Covid-19 transmissions.
In April the Bali provincial government employed Covid-19 detection measures including screening, body temperature checks and rapid testing on all migrant workers returning to Bali.
Bali provincial government regional secretary and chairman of the Bali Covid-19 Task Force, Dewa Made Indra, said that the data collected would help determine the strategy that the provincial government would use to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Bali, saying in April that "the majority of infections on the island are imported."
He said that Bali has thousands of migrant workers who are only now returning to Bali, saying "these imported infections are difficult for Bali to control."
He said that migrant workers returning to Bali will be put through a rigorous health check, saying "those who have the virus will be isolated to prevent transmission."
The Southeast Asian Times


Protesters against anti-terrorism law arrested under Covid-19 mass gathering ruling

Eight of about 30 protesters against the passing of the draft Anti-Terrorism Act were arrested at the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Cebu City on Friday under the Covid-19 mass gathering ruling

From News Reports:
Manila, June 10: Eight protesters against the passing of the draft Anti-terrorism Act in the House of Representatives that would allow the Philippine government to designate individuals and organisations as terrorists and also allow arrest without a warrant, were arrested at the Cebu City University of the Philippines (UP) campus on Friday, with the Cebu City police saying the protesters were in violation of the Covid-19 mass gathering ruling, reports the Philippines Inquirer.
Cebu City Police office deputy director for administration Lt. Col. Melbert Esguerra, said the protesters violated the Covid-19 ban on mass gatherings, saying "we gave them 10 minutes to disperse but they did not heed our call."
"Hence we arrested them,” he said.
He said that the protesters are charged with violation of Section 4, Paragraph 12 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines that inlcudes the prohibition of mass gatherings.
He said that the protesters also violated the Public Assembly Act of 1985 that requires a permit to assemble in parks, private property and state university campuses.
The passing of the draft anti-terrorism law in the House of Representatives on Wednesday 3 June followed certification of the Anti-terrorism Act to the Congress on Monday 1 June by President Duterte that the passage of the draft Anti-terrorism Act was urgent.
The draft Anti-terrorism Act that would replace the existing Human Security Act of 2007, would establish a new Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) that would include members appointed by the executive.
The Anti-Terrorism Council would permit arrest without a warrant and allow detainment for up to 24 days of those designated by the council to be terrorists.
Under existing law, terrorism suspects must be brought before a judge within three days.
Lawyer, for the protesters, Rey Fernandez, questioned the arrests of the protesters at the Cebu City University of the Philippines (UP), saying that a 1982 agreement between state university's and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) barred their entry into University of Philippines (UP) campuses without the University's consent.
The Southeast Asian Times


Jakarta court rules ban on internet access in West Papua unlawful

Indonesian activists at Ministry of Communcation and Information office in Jakarta on August 23, 2019, demand that the Indonesian government restore internet access to Papua and West Papua

From News Reports:
Jakarta, June 9: The Indonesia government decision to ban internet access in Papua and West Papua in August and September last year amid protests calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence and that had spread to almost all regions, was ruled unlawful by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN), reports the Jakarta Post.
Jakarta State Administrative Court judge Nelvy Christin, said that the internet ban carried out by President Joko Widodo and Minister for Communication and Infomatics Johnny G Plate was unlawful, saying "the unlawful acts did not follow human rights restrictions set out in the Constitution and other human rights conventions."
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, South East Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), Press Legal Assistance Institution (LBH Press), YLBHI, KontraS, Elsam, and ICJR, filed the lawsuit against the Indonesian government arguing that the Indonesian government ban on internet access in Papua and West Papua was unlawful.
They argued that the Indonesian government had restricted internet access in several provinces in West Papua and Papua on August 19, 2019 from 1pm to 8.30pm, that the Indonesian government banned access to data services and internet access in 29 cities in Papua's provinces and 13 cities and districts in West Papua between 21 August and 4 September last year and that the Indonesian government banned data services and internet access in Papua's Provinces including Jayapura City, Jayapura District, Mimika District, and Jayawijaya District and Manokwari City and Sorong City in West Papua from September 4, 2019 to September 9, 2019
Minister for Communications and Informatics, Johnny G. Plate, said that he respected the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) decision that the ban on internet access is unlawful but he had yet to discover documents pertaining to the government decision to ban or restrict internet access in the region.
"There could have been damage to the telecommunications infrastructure that led to internet disruption in the area," he said.
He said that President Widodo formed policies in the best interests of the state and people of Indonesia including those in Papua.
In August and September 2019 about 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were deployed to secure Papua and West Papua provinces including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak and Sorong following protests that had spread to almost all regions with protesters calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for Papua and West Papua.
Calls for a referendum and self determination were dismissed in August 2019 by Indonesia's former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto, who said then that the “NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final. ”
He said the New York Agreement, signed in 1962 by the Netherlands and Indonesia, had officially made Papua and West Papua legitimate territories of Indonesia.
“That means NKRI is final, NKRI is non-negotiable, including Papua and West Papua,” he said.
"Referendums are for occupied countries that are given the choice to be independent or to join with the occupying country", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Australians protest racial discrimination in Australia in Sydney

The Indigenous Australian flag flying at the Black lives matter protest against racial discrimination at Sydney's Town Hall on Saturday was designed by land rights activist from Central Australia, Harold Thomas, was flown for the first time on 12 July 1971

From News Reports:
Sydney, June 8: More than 20,000 Australians were prepared to defy the New South Wales state Supreme Court ruling on Friday that ruled that the planned protest against racial discrimination at Sydney's Town Hall on Saturday was a risk to public health when the Court of Appeal overturned the decision, with New South Wales Australian Greens Party, saying protestors were ammune from prosecution, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Greens Party of New South Wales Member of Parliament, David Shoebridge, said that the last minute decision meant that protesters against deaths in police custody were immune from prosecution for breaching public health Covid-19 orders.
He said that the Black lives matter protests in Australia against racial descrimination was "one of those moments when you fight the system," saying "its a system that's been in place against First Nations people in Australia for centuries."
"But sometimes you have those moments when you have a win over the system," he said.
New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner, Mick Willing, said police operations were underway in Sydney when the Supreme Court decision allowed the protest to go ahead, saying that police had to change plans.
"I have spoken with police commanders who have said they are pleased that all protests were essentially peaceful," he said.
Indigenous Australian, Shanaya Donovan, said she attended the protest against racial discrimination despite the potential of a fine or jail because she was constantly racially profiled, saying "I've been followed around in Kmart by security guards because they think I'm going to steal something."
"I have learned to go to Kmart in my work uniform," she said.
Indigenous Australians make up 3.3 per cent of the about 25 million Australian population and about 28 per cent of the total Australian prison population of 43,028 making indigenous Australians the most incarcerated in the world.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia adopts draft law on anti-money laundering: Asia Pacific Group

The National Assembly today approved the draft law on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism on Thursday. The draft law would be sent to the Senate and Constitutional Council before final approval from King Norodom Sihamoni

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, June 7: The National Assembly of Cambodia adopted draft laws on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) and combating the financing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD proliferation on Thursday, with the Interior Ministry saying that Cambodia is required to follow international standards in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD financing, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said at the National Assembly that as a member of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) since 2004, Cambodia is required to follow international standards on combating money laundering, terrorist financing and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation financing.
"The draft law on AML and CFT is designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by identifying measures to control, prevent and eliminate them," he said.
The Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering found that Cambodia lacked a legal basis and adequate enforcement mechanisms related to penalties over money laundering and terrorism financing and was not in line with international standards.
Ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) president, Hun Neng, said the draft law of 9 chapters and 47 articles was studied by the Commission on Interior, National Defence, and Civil Service Administration and the Commission on Economics, Finance, Banking and Auditing.
Cambodia Deputy National Police chief and Ministry of Interior central security department director Dy Vichea said that the anti-money laundering law will help fix loopholes in Cambodia's money-laundering laws.
He said that police investigated 71 money laundering cases involving drugs, economic fraud offences and others last year, saying that only 13 of the 71 cases went to court.
The Southeast Asian Times



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


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12, 2018 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
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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
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Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia Jeet Heer reports.....open page here


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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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