The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Saturday 26 September 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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Philippines propose five point counter-terrorism plan for ASEAN militaries

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay called for unity and mutual trust between ASEAN member country militaries at the 17th Asean Chiefs of Defence Forces Meeting (ACDFM) on Thursday

From News Reports:
Manila, September 26: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed the Philippine commitment to counter-terrorism cooperation with ASEAN member country militaries at the 17th Asean Chiefs of Defence Forces Meeting (ACDFM) on Thursday with a proposed five point plan, reports the Philippine News Agency.
The virtual "Military Cooperation for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN" meeting held on Thursday and attended by Defence chiefs of the 10 ASEAN member countries was chaired by the Vietnam People’s Army, Chief of General Staff, Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay called for unity and mutual trust between ASEAN member country militaries, saying "ASEAN must be united now more than ever with the ongoing crisis brought about by the effects of Covid-19."
"Armed Forces are being called on by our respective governments to perform a great deal of supporting tasks," he said.
The five point plan in counter-terrorism cooperation with ASEAN member country militaries by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay includes increased maritime border patrol operations; improvement of existing mechanisms for bomb data exploitation; advocating peace-related initiatives through various social media platforms; a common understanding of respective Anti-Terrorism laws in the region, and a common approach in response to the Asean Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism.
He said that ASEAN has a shared committment and mutual responsibility in dealing with common regional security challenges and in preserving region stability.
"I am confident that we will achieve a strengthened security relationship towards a cohesive and responsive Asean," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai royalists submitt petition to oppose monarchy reform to parliament

Warong Dechgitvigrom, who launched the Thai Pakdee or Loyal Thai group earlier this month, submitted a petition to the parliament on Wednesday to oppose the proposed charter amendments for monarchy reform

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 25: Thai royalists submitted a petition to the parliament on Wednesday, opposing the proposed monarchy reform amendements to the constitution, with Warong Dechgitvigrom, who launched the Thai Pakdee or Loyal Thai group earlier this month, saying that the petition contains the names of 130,000 Thai royalists who oppose the proposed charter amendments for monarchy reform, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Pakdee (loyal Thai) group leader Warong Dejkitvigrom, said that lawmakers should listen to those who voted in the 2016 charter referendum that approved the military written constitution, military appointed legislators and the military selection of the Prime Minister of Thailand.
Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law in May 2014 said that "demands for reform of the monarchy were not acceptable,"
The government coalition Bhumjaithai Party Member of Parliament, Supachai Chaisamut said on Wednesday during a joint session of parliament debate on the proposed charter amendments for monarchy reform that "the charter amendment must not touch Chapter 1 on general provisions and Chapter 2 on the monarchy."
"Part of the first chapter and the entire second chapter of the constitution lays out the power and role of the monarch, he said.
The Thai Royalists, Thai Pakdee (loyal Thai) group swore to defend the Thai monarchy from reform following the submission by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student organisation of a 10 point manifesto to parliament on August 10.
The 10 point manifesto includes amendments to the constitution that disallows criticism of the king under the Lese Majeste Law, the examination in parliament of any wrongdoing by the king and calls for reform of the monarchy.
The manifesto states that the demands made in the manifesto are not a proposal to abolish the monarchy, saying that the 10 point manifesto is a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy and a proposal for amendemet to the constitution that empowers the king to endorse military coups.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai sex workers want prostitution
decriminalised

Thai sex workers want prostitution decriminalised saying that sex work is work

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 24: Thai sex workers called for the decriminalisation of prostitution on Monday, with Sex Workers IN Group (SWING) calling for the law on prostitution to be repealed, saying that the sex industry generates income for Thailand, reports the Bangkok Post.
Sex Workers IN Group (SWING) director Surang Janyam, who represents sex workers in Patong, Koh Samui and Pattaya, says that the law on prostitution should be repealed to allow sex workers to be protected under labour laws.
"The sex industry generates a massive income for Thailand but there is no mechanism to protect sex workers,” she said.
She said that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe socioeconomic impact on the lives of sex workers, saying that a survey of 255 sex workers in Bangkok, Pattaya and Dannok since the outbreak of Covid-19 showed that almost all have lost their income.
"Most sex workers do not make enough money to cover daily expenses or to cover the cost of housing," she said.
The survey showed that up to 200,000 sex workers in Thailand lost their livelihood when nightlife venues were ordered closed in March in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Female sex workers in Bangkok, many with children, found that their applications for Covid-19 support of 5,000 baht cash a month was refused.
The survey found that female sex workers were denied access to Covid-19 cash support because sex workers are not a legalised catagory of workers in Thailand.
Prostitution in Thailand is a punishable offence, incurring a fine of up to 40,000 baht or two years in prison, or both, with more than 24,000 reportedly arrested, prosecuted and fined for sex work-related offences last year.
In 2003 the Thai Justice ministry held an unprecedented public discussion on the proposal to legalise prostitution as an official occupation with health benefits and taxable income for sex workers saying it would increase tax revenue and reduce corruption.
The Southeast Asian Times


Palang Pracharat MP lodges complaint against opposition MP's to police

Ruling Palang Pracharat Party MP, Sira Jenjakha, shows a photo of three opposition MP's raising the three finger salute, a symbold for monarchy reform, at the student protests at the Thammmasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 23: Thai ruling Palang Pracharat Party Member of Parliament, Sira Jenjakha, has lodged complaints to police against three opposition Members of Parliament for joining student protests over the weekend and is also seeking to dissolve the three opposition parties, with Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth saying "demands for reform of the monarchy were not acceptable,"
Palang Pracharat Member of Parliament, Sira Jenjakha lodged complaints with the Chanasongkhram police on Monday against Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, of the Thai Civilized Party, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark, of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Nattha Boonchai-insawat of the Kao Klai Party, accusing them of joining the student protests on Saturday that called for monarchy reform.
He has produced a photo showing the three opposition Members of Parliamnet raising the three-finger salute, a symbol for monarchy reform, taken at the student protest at the Thammmasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday.
The protest moved to the Grand Palace grounds on Sunday where
students installed a plaque to replace the 1932 plaque commemorating Siam's transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional democracy that disappeared from the grounds of the Grand Palace in 2017 to be replaced by a pro-monarchist plaque.
The new plaque that replaced the pro-monarchist plaque that was embedded in cement in the grounds of the Grand Palace to mark a new era with the declaration "Thailand belongs to the people" has since been removed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)
The Palang Pracharat Party Member of Parliament, Sira Jenjakha, said that the three opposition Members of Parliament, Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark and Nattha Boonchai-insawat should have realised that the student protest was illegal, saying that he wondered whether the opposition members of parliament were at the student protest to observe the protest or to participate in it.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai students reinstall 1932 Revolution commemorative plaque: Face charges

Student protesters re install a plaque that commemorates the 1932 Revolution that overthrew Thai absolute monarchy and declared
a new People's Party at the Royal Plaza at the Grand Palace on Sunday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 22: Student protesters of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration who forced their way through the gates of the Bangkok Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday, calling for reform of the Thai monarchy, and who then moved to the Royal Plaza at the Grand Palace to reinstall a plaque commemorating the 1932 Revolution, and to declare a new Peoples Party, face multiple charges under the Public Assembly Act, reports the Bangkok Post.
Human rights lawyer, Arnon Nampha said in his speech at the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday ahead of the reinstallment of the plaque commemorating the 1932 Revolution that overthrew absolute monarchy that the original plaque was removed without explanation from the Royal Plaza in 2017, saying "no one in authority will say what happened to the commemorative 1932 Revolution plaque."
Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner Piya Tawichai said on Sunday that the protesters breached the Public Assembly Act by relocating from the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus to the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza without permission, saying that the Royal Plaza at the Grand Palace falls under the responsiblity of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
"The protesters installed an illegal object in the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza," he said.
The protest that started at the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday ended after student leaders installed a plaque at the Royal Plaza at the Grand Palace declaring a new Peoples Party and after handing over a petition for the reform of the Thai monarchy to the Privy Council of Thailand at the Supreme Court.
Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner Piya Tawichai said that police have called on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to remove the plaque installed in the Royal Plaza at the Grand Palace, saying "the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) should remove any objects not part of the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza."
The Southeast Asian Times

Students storm Thammasat university, shouting "down with feudalism"

Students of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration forced their way through the gates of the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus in Bangkok on Saturday calling for reform of the Thai monarchy

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 21: Students of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration forced their way through the gates of the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus in Bangkok on Saturday calling for reform of the Thai monarchy, saying “down with feudalism, long live the people, reports the Bangkok Post.
The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, protest at the Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus on Saturday went ahead despite guidelines signed by Thammasat rector Assoc Prof Gasinee Witoonchart that effectively banned thousands of protesters from holding the anti-monarchy protest on campus, with Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth saying "the government would allow protests as a form of free speech but that demands for reform of the monarchy were not acceptable."
The guidelines were issued following the August 10 protest at the first Thammasat University campus at Rangsit where United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student spokeswoman, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul, announced a 10-point demand for reform of the monarchy.
She said ahead of the protest on Sunday that the protest would go ahead at the second Thammasat University campus at Tha Pracham as planned, saying "if they lock the gates, we will break the chain," she said.
The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration students have compiled a 10 point manifesto for submission to the House Committee on Political Development Mass Communications and Public Participation that includes amendments to the constitution that disallows criticism of the king under the Lese Majeste law and the examination in parliament of any wrongdoing by the king.
The 10 point manifesto that calls for reform of the monarchy states that the demands made in the manifesto are not a proposal to abolish the monarchy, saying that the 10 point manifesto is a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy that includes the amendment to the constitution that empowers the king to endorse military coups.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha who is the current Prime Minister of Thailand was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters on 22 May 2014.
The Southeast Asian Times

Attorney general reverses decision to withdraw charges against Red Bull heir

An arrest warrant is to be reissued for fugitive Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, for cocaine use and reckless driving in the hit and run accident that caused the death of a police officer in Bangkok in 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 20: The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is to indict Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, for cocaine use and reckless driving in the hit and run accident that caused the death of a police officer in Bangkok in 2012, with Office of the Attorney General saying that the decision to indict is not a reversal of the Office of Attorney General to withdraw all charges last month, reports the Bangkok Post.
Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokesman, Prayut Petcharakhun, said the prosecution decision to indict the Red Bull heir was not a reversal of the decision made in July by acting deputy attorney general Nate Naksuk, who withdrew all charges against Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, including reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime and causing the death of a police officer.
Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokesman, Prayut Petcharakhun, said on Friday that the decision to withdraw all charges in July was lawful, saying the acting attorney general Nate Naksuk decision was made in July after a new investigation found new evidence that justified the withdrawal of all charges.
Acting deputy attorney general Nate Naksuk concluded from new evidence given by two new witnesses in July that the Red Bull heir accident was not caused by reckless driving, effectively reversing the prosecutions earlier decision to indict, despite seven years remaining before the statute
of limitation expired on the charge of reckless driving.
Two new witnesses testified in July that the Red Bull heir drove a Ferrari sports car at between 50-60km/h on September 3, 2012 and that the motorcycle driven by the Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari.
Last month the Thai Constitution Court called for an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General (AOG) decision to withdraw all charges against the Red Bull heir saying "the nation's justice system has been rendered meaningless after the prosecution decision to drop the charges and the police failure to challenge the decision."
Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokesman, Prayut Petcharakhun, said on Friday that the prosecution would seek the arrest of Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya 27 after cocaine use by the Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, was added to the reckless driving charges.
Police found illicit chemical substances including cocaine in blood tests in the 2012 original investigation but claimed that Vorayuth Yoovidhya used cocaine for dental treatment, saying that a dentist confirmed that he had administered medicines that contained cocaine for dental treatment to Red Bull heir, Vorayuth Yoovidhya.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia garment workers receive $2 increase in monthly wages

Cambodia's textile, garment, footwear and travel products workers at Phnom Penh's Por Sen Chey district on Thursday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, September 19: The minimum wage for Cambodia's textile, garment, footwear and travel product workers was raised by $2 to $192 a month on Thursday, despite the National Council for Minimum Wage (NCMW) decision not to increase the monthly minimum wage, attributing the decision to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Ith Sam Heng, said that Prime Minister Hun Sen, ordered an increase of $2 to the minimum wage beginning 2021 despite the National Council for Minimum Wage (NCMW) decision not to increase the monthly minimum wage.
He said that the National Council for Minimum Wage decision not to raise the minimum wage was attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global supply chains including the import of raw materials, the suspension of production due to the cancellation of orders for clothing, footwear and travel products and the closure of more than 200 manufacturing factories in Cambodia.
He said that the partial withdrawal of the EU Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme that grants full duty free and quota free access to the EU Single Market for all products except arms is not the main problem, saying " the impact of Covid-19 has affected all sectors."
Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) president Ath Thorn said negotiations on the minimum wage this year were more difficult than previous years due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU Everything But Arms (EBA) 20 per cent withdrawal and a decline in global economic growth.
He said that National Trade Unions wanted a $12 increase in the monthly minimum wage while employer representatives wanted to lower the $190 minimum wage by $17 a month.
"The trade unions and employer representatives agreed to leave the decision to the government," he said.
He said that Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) is not satisfied with the $2 increase, saying "it is too little"
"But based on the current situation it is difficult to demand more," he said.
Workers also received benefits such as travel expenses, a monthly $7 accommodation allowance, a monthly $10 remuneration for regular attendance, a 50 cents a day food allowance for overtime work and a $2 - $10 monthly remuneration for seniority payments for workers who worked from the second to the 11th year.
The Southeast Asian Times


Workers flee Myanmar for Thailand: Covid-19 outbreak in Rakhine State

Thai border patrol police in Mae Sot district in Tak province western Thailand on the border with Myanmar arrest Myanmar workers crammed in a house on the bank of the Moei River

From News Reports:
Yangon, September 18: The arrest of Myanmar workers attempting to flee Myanmar for Thailand, out of fear of catching Covid-19 after the outbreak in Rakhine State, has doubled in the past two weeks with about 6000 illegal workers arrested on the Myanmar Thai border since the beginning of September, reports the Myanmar Times.
Aid Alliance Committee of Myanmar Workers official, Ko Ye Min, said that the arrest of 6000 illegal workers in the last two weeks is the same number of arrests recorded for the whole month of August.
He said that Thai's living on the border fear that the Myanmar migrant workers will bring Covid-19 infection to Thailand, saying that "the virus has spread in Myanmar since the outbreak in Rakhine State on August 15."
He said that Myanmar workers are attempting to cross into Thailand out of fear of catching the disease, saying that the locally transmitted Covid-19 infection that was found in Raknine State last month is spreading.
"Covid-19 related deaths have tripled and the number of infections have risen by more than 700 percent in Myanmar since the outbreak in Rakhine State," he said.
He said that most Myanmar illegal migrants are crossing the Thaung Yin River on the border between Mae Sot in Thailand and Myawady in Kayin State, Myanmar.
He said that Myanmar illegal migrants are also crossing the border between Mae Sai in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province and Tachiliek township in Myanmar's Shan State.
He urged the Myanmar government to negotiate with the Thai government on how Myanmar workers can enter Thailand through official channels in order to avoid arrest, saying "there are few jobs in Myanmar."
The Southeast Asian Times


Criminal charges filed against PhilHealth fund executives for loss of P154 billion

Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) chairman and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was notably excempt from any criminal charges in the loss of P154 billion to corruption

From News Reports:
Manila, September 17: Criminal charges against seven executives of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for the misappropriation of public funds including Covid-19 funds that has cost PhilHealth P154 billion in losses to corruption since 2003 have been filed, with the notable exception of PhilHealth chairman and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and former PhilHealth Senior Vice President for the legal sector, Rodolfo del Rosario Jr., reports the Philippine Inquirer.
On Monday President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Task Force PhilHealth recommendation to file criminal charges against former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales; senior vice president for information technology Jovita Aragona; acting senior manager for information technology Calixto Gabuya Jr.; senior vice president for fund management Renato Limsiaco Jr.; senior vice president for health finance policy Israel Francis Pargas; executive vice president, chief operating officer and acting president Arnel de Jesus; and division chief Bobby Crisostomo.
Criminal charges for graft, malversatuion and illegal use of public funds, gross misconduct, gross neglect and other offences were files against the seven PhilHealth executives following a senate inquiry last month into the disbursement of Covid-19 funds.
The senate inquiry led by Senate President Vicente Sotto IIIl found that the government health fund was not able to account for the distribution of P30-billion Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM), a special Covid-19 financial package, to over 700 health care institutions.
Senators including Senate President Vicente Sotto IIIl said on Tuesday that they were disappointed with the Task Force PhilHealth decision not to recommend charges against PhilHealth chairman and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and former PhilHealth Senior Vice President for the legal sector, Rodolfo del Rosario Jr.
"I'm dumbfounded," said Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
He said that Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code is very clear, saying "the law penalizing malversation of public funds states that government officials who allowed the misappropration of taxpayer money with consent or through abandonment or negligence should be held criminally liable."
"The claim that the PhilHealth chairman and Health Secretary, Francisco Duque III had no knowledge of the alleged misuse of PhilHealth funds is a virtual admission of his negligence as head of the health insurance company," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Political donation not bribe says witness in corruption trial of wife of ousted Malaysia PM

Rizal Mansor turned witness for the prosecution in the trial of Rosmah Manor, wife of ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak, denies he has "cut a deal" with the prosecution to testify against Rosmah Mansor

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, September 16: Rizal Mansor, who has turned witness for the prosecution in the trial of Rosmah Manor for bribery, wife of
ousted former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, told the High Court on Monday that money he received from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd was a political donation not a bribe, reports the Star.
Rizal Mansor, former special advisor to ousted former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, and former aid to Rosmah Manor, wife of the former Prime Minster, admitted to recieving almost RM1 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd who sought to secure a contract for the supply and installation of Hybrid photovoltaic-thermal solar systems in 360 rural schools in Sarawak, saying "it was a political donation."
Four charges against Rizal Mansor, who was indicted under Section 16(a) (A) of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, for seeking and receiving bribes of RM5.5 million for himself and Rosmah Mansor, were withdrawn in January, a month before his trial for bribery was to begin, with the former aid becoming a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Rosmah Mansor.
Defence lawyer for Rosmah Mansor, who is charged under Section 16(a) (A) of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 for soliciting and receiving bribes in securing a contract for the supply and installation of Hybrid photovoltaic-thermal solar systems in 369 rural schools in Sarawak in negotiations with the Education Ministry, asked witness for the prosecution, Rozal Mansor, if he had "cut a deal with the prosecution to testify against Rosmah Mansor in order for charges against him to be dropped."
The former aid to Rosmah Mansor and special advisor to former ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, who turned witness for the prosecution, denied that he had "cut a deal" with the prosecution to testify against Rosmah Mansor in order for four counts of soliciting and acceptng bribes against him to be dropped.
In July. Rayyan Radzwil, witness for the prosecution in the trial of Rosmah Mansor, who is charged with soliciting RM187.5 milion and two charges of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to secure the contract for the supply and installation of Hybrid photovoltaic thermal solar systems in Sarawak, claimed that a meeting was held to discuss a contribution to be given to Rosmah Mansor.
Witness for the prosecution, Rayyan Radzwill, claims that a meeting was held between him and Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd and Rizal Mansor to discuss a contribution to be given to Rosmah Mansor for her help in securing the contract for the supply and installation of Hybrid photovoltaic thermal solar systems in rural schools in Sarwak with the education department.
The Southeast Asian Times


U.S.Marine released from Manila prison for murder of Filipino transgender

U.S. Marine First class Joseph Scott Pemberton, 25, ready to board a U.S. military aircraft in Manila for the United States after release from prison on Monday on a Presidential pardon for the murder of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014

From News Reports:
Manila, September 15: U.S. Marine First class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the murder of Filipino transgender, Jennifer Laude in 2014, was released from prison on Monday on a Presidential pardon after serving six years, says he is "extremely grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton then aged 19 was serving in the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that includes the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) when charged with the murder of Filipino transgender, Jennifer Laude, then aged 26.
Joseph Scott Pemberton, was issued with an arrest warrant by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court in December 2014 after transgender, Jennifer Laude, was found dead, her head in a toilet bowl in a Olongapo City hotel room.
Joseph Scott Pemberton was transferred from a U.S. warship to Philippine military headquarters in metropolitan Manila where he was held in US custody to await trial that began in March 2015.
Prosecutors said that U.S. First class Joseph Scott Pemberton checked into a hotel in Olongapo City, north of Manila outside the former US military base in Subic Bay with transgender Jennifer Laude after meeting the transgender in a bar in a 'red-light' district in October 2014.
Witnesses including hotel workers identified U.S. Marine First class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the man who was with Jennifer Laude shortly before she was found dead on October 11, 2014 in the Olongapo City hotel room.
U.S. Marine First class Joseph Scott Pemberton reportedly offered his "most sincere sympathy" to the family of Jennifer Laude saying "he wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret."
The family of Jennifer Laude reportedly said that they wished U.S. Marine First class Joseph Scott Pemberton "peace of mind" and hoped that he has learned "the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality."
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia to cooperate with ASEAN
in Outlook on the Indo-Pacific

Australia Foreign Minister Maris Payne at the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting held at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) online in Hanoi on Thursday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 14: Australia confirmed support for cooperation with ASEAN for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) at the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting held within the framework of the virtual 53 ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi on Thursday.
Australia Foreign Minister Maris Payne confirmed support for cooperation with ASEAN in accordance with the ASEAN Perspectives Document on the Indo-Pacific that includes the continuation of ASEAN centrality in regional security.
Australia Foreign Minister Maris Payne said that Australia will provide $AUD 60 million in support for specific cooperation with ASEAN in areas that include maritime cooperation, connectivity, the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development and economic cooperation.
The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific was adopted by ASEAN at the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand in June 2019 with the Director General of the Foreign Ministry ASEAN Affairs Department, Suriya Chindawongse, saying "the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific is a regional proposal initiated by ASEAN to promote concrete cooperation based on the concept of ASEAN centrality in the regional security architecture."
He said that the ASEAN Perspectives Document was based on the idea of connecting the Pacifc and Indian oceans for mutual benefit, saying "the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific could extend beyond being just an outlook."
The U.S. State Department confirmed the U.S. support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting held at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Hanoi on Thursday, with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, saying that ASEAN was at the center of the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific.
"The US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific, " he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Students protest against Thai monarchy to go ahead at Thammasat University

United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, student spokeswoman, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul, second from left, says students will protest on campus despite the University saying it will not allow students to use the campus to protest against the monarchy

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 13: Students of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration say they will protest at the Thammasat University campus in Bangkok next Saturday despite the University saying it will not allow students to protest against the monarchy on the campus, reports the Bangkok Post.
United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, student spokeswoman Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul, said on Friday that students would protest at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus on September 19, saying that students are ready to negotiate with the university and police to allow anti-monarchy protest.
"We will protest at the Thammasat University, Tha Pracham, and not change to another venue," she said.
She said that the university's refusal to allow students to protest could result in students protesting in the streets, saying "the protest could escalate if the university closed its gates or police were deployed to prevent the students from protesting on campus."
"If they lock the gates, we will break the chain," she said.
Former law lecturer and rector of Thammasat University, Kaewsan Atibodhi, said that he would collect signatures to oppose the use of the Thammasat campus as a venue for anti-monarchy protests, saying he will submit the petition to the university management to prevent the anti-monarchy protest.
He said that it is beyond the capacity of students to hold a peaceful rally, saying "the students plan to pour 40,000 protesters into Government House after the protest on the campus."
"As an alumnus, I object to the use of Thammasat University as a base to breach the constitution," he said.
The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration student organisation at the Thammasat University in Bangkok compiled a 10 point manifesto on August 10 for submission to the House Committe on Political Development Mass Communications and Public Participation that includes amendments to the constitution that disallows criticism of the king and the examination in parliament of any wrongdoing by the king.
The 10 point manifesto that calls for reform of the monarchy states that the demands made in the manifesto are not a proposal to abolish the monarchy, saying that the 10 point manifesto is a proposal for the monarchy to continue in a democracy that includes the amendment to the constitution that empowers the king to endorse military coups.
The Southeast Asian Times


U.S. supports ASEAN centrality in outlook on Indo-Pacific

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting held at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) online in Hanoi on Thursday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 12: The U.S. State Department reitorated the U.S. support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting held at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Hanoi on Thursday, with emphasis on the role of ASEAN in the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said at the online ASEAN-US Ministerial meeting that ASEAN was at the center of the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific.
The US Secretary of State reitorated the U.S. support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) that includes ASEAN centrality at the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi that coincided with the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
The U.S. is to introduce cooperation and support programmes for ASEAN member states, saying the programs would strengthen public health systems, build connectivity through human capital development, advance partnerships in economic cooperation and promote maritime cooperation for a secure Indo-Pacific.
The US Secretary of State said that the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership is built on shared principals as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) including ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and rule of law, good governance, transparency, inclusivity, rules-based frameworks and openness.
"The US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific, " said the US Secretary of State.
The US State Department, in saying that the Indo-Pacific accounts for more than half the world’s population and 58 percent of the world’s youth, says "it is important to provide people with skills and resources to participate in the global economy and create conditions for self-reliance."
The Southeast Asian Times


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

Vietnam calls on ASEAN and China to finalise maritime Code-of-Conduct in South China Sea

Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called for the finalisation of the martime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at the ASEAN-China Ministerial meeting at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Hanoi on Wednesday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 11: ASEAN chair for 2020, Vietnam, called on ASEAN and China to finalise the martime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting in Hanoi, with Vietnam rejecting the militarisation of the South China Sea, reports Rueters.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said at the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) on Wednesday that "factors threatening peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the South China Sea are among the challenges the region faces."
He called on the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, saying that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the basis for determining sovereignty, sovereign rights and legitimate interests in the South China Sea.
"There must be no militarisation of the South China Sea," he said.
He called on ASEAN Foreign Ministers and China State Councillor Wang Yi to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in Vietnams East Sea and for the conclusion of an effective binding maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea.
China State Councillor Wang Yi also called for an early conclusion to the maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea, saying "a maritime Code-of-Conduct that reflects the regions characteristics should be finalised between ASEAN and China as soon as possible."
"Countries involved in disputes in the South China Sea should be allowed to resolve their disputes through direct consultations and negotiations," he said.
The first draft of the South China Sea maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) that aims to reduce the escalation of disputes between China and Asean member country claimants over sovereignity, in the South China Sea was completed in August 2019 and was expected to be finalised three months later.
The China claim of indisputable territorial sovereignty and maritime rights over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters that were lodged by China with the United Nations in 2009 were subsequently disputed by Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines in an appeal to the rule of International Law and Arbitration.
The UN convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that does not permit historical claims to override geographic boundaries, requires that the China claim to any islands meet the terms in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that includes the naming of a territorial sea, a contiguous zone, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or a continental shelf, requiring all maritime boundary lines to be negotiated with neighbouring states, stating that one country may not unilaterally establish a maritime boundary.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly calls for diplomacy and cooperation in a region on the verge of recession

Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam National Assembly, Tong Thi Phong, left, said at the 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Hanoi on Tuesday that ASEAN and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) are evidence of the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance in dealing with the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 10: The 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Hanoi on Tuesday called for strong parliamentary diplomacy and cooperation with attention to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with Indonesia saying that the socio economic impact has left the region on the verge of recession, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), attended by legislators, parliamentarians and observers from the 10 ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretary-General and Secretariat and the United Nations Secretary-General, began with speaker of the Legislative Council of Brunei, Pehin Abdul Rahman Taib, saying that this year's theme "Parliamentary Diplomacy for Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”, is relevant.
He said that the region faced unprecedented challenges in adapting to the new norm, saying "this year's theme draws attention to the national parliaments of ASEAN role as the voice of the people."
Speaker of the House of Representatives of Indonesia, Puan Maharani, said that the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) should encourage ASEAN member governments to adopt standard policies that would curb the spread of Covid-19, reduce the economic impact of Covid-19 and adopt social welfare policies.
"The region is on the verge of recession," she said.
Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly, Pany Yathotou, said that the theme "Parliamentary Diplomacy for Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community” reafirms the importance of close cooperation and partnership between the ASEAN member states and between ASEAN and its dialogue partners in response to the emerging socio-economic challenges in the region.
She also called on the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) to encourage ASEAN member state governments to adopt standard policies in response to the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 in the region.
President of the Thai National Assembly Chuan Leekpai urged ASEAN member states legislators to adopt standard laws in order to strengthen the ASEAN community, saying that each member state would maintain responsibility for the enactment of the law within its own juisdiction.
He said that the standardisation of laws in ASEAN is essential in order to ensure that the same or similar rules and regulations are moving in the same direction, saying "standard laws in trade and investment would make the region not only friendly but legally friendly."
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Malaysian Parliament Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said that Malaysia is ready to provide undivided support of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) towards the realisation and collaboration of a greater ASEAN.
"I look forward to strengthening the relationship in our institutions," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


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

Former Cambodian opposition party members return to politics after political rehabilitation

Former high ranking member of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Son Chhay, is one of three former members thatnhave the right to return to political activities after deemed politically rehabilitated

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, September 9: A further three of 118 former members of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who were banned from political activities for five years for treason, have the right to return to political activities after they were deemed politically rehabilitated, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The former members of the dissolved opposition party, Son Chhay, Tav Kim Chhorn and Var Samon were deemed politically rehabilitated under the Law on Political Parties that was amended in January 2019, allowing the so far 15 of the 118 former members to return to politics after having been deemed politically rehabilitated.
King Norodom Sihamoni granted the three former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members a royal pardon after the Minister of the Interior, Sar Kheng, deemed the former members politically rehabilitated
on the instructions of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who reportedly received a request from the former members for political rehabilitation status.
The 118 former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members were handed five year bans from political activities after the Supreme Court dissolution of the party in 2017 and the arrest of party president, Kem Sokha, for treason at his Phnom Phenh residence on September 3, 2017.
Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn said then that Kem Sokha had committed a "clear act of treason",
The Foreign Minister said that a 2013 video showed that the then president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, had recieved assistance from the US, accusing the former president of the opposition party of plotting to overthrow the Hun Sen government.
United States Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called on the Hun Sen government to release jailed CNRP president, Kem Sokha, calling on the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) ruling party to allow political parties, civil society and the media to "maintain their legitimate activities".
"The disolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was based on meritless and politicized allegations that it participated in a conspiracy to overthrow the government", she said.
In December 2018 the Cambodia Senate unanimously approved the amendment that would allow the former dissolved opposition party members to return to politics after having been deemed politically rehabilitated.
Senate spokesman, Mam Bun Neang, said then that former members of the dissolved opposition party who have respected the ban on political activities will have their rights restored under the amended Law on Political Parties.
"Opposition party members who were banned from political activities but ignored the ruling by continuing to carry out political activities will not have their rights restored," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


"Bad students" give Thai Education Minister ultimatum

Education Minister Nataphol Teespsuwan, who met with students at the Ministry of Education in Bangkok on Saturday, said in response to their demands that he resign that "calling for his resignation is a form of harrassment"

From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 8: Hundreds of students from schools and student organisations, calling themselves "Bad Students," called on Education Minister Nataphol Teespsuwan for education reform with an end to student intimidation and outdated school regulations, calling on the minister to meets student demands or resign, reports the Bangkok Post.
"Bad Students" from 50 schools and student organisations nationwide called on the Education Minister Nataphol Teespsuwan at the Ministry of Education building in Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, Bangkok on Saturday for education reform, gving him an ultimatem, "meet student demands or resign."
Students told Education Minister Nataphol Teespsuwan that they have been harassed by teachers who claimed to have acted in good faith, saying "students who had shown the three-finger salute were reprimaded by university faculty members."
Students told the minister that they felt threatened by outdated regulations including hairstyle and dress codes, saying "some forms of punishment have made them lose self-confidence."
Education Minister Nataphol Teespsuwan who met with students outside the Ministry of Education building, said that "the ministry was ready to hear "Bad Student" suggestions."
He said that the call for education reform that includes student hairstyles, dress code, outdated learning practices, expression of opinion, cancellation of the annual Ordinary National Education exam (O-Net), sexual harassment, sexual diversity, English and third language learning and education inequality, has been noted by the Ministry of Education, saying "15 teachers who have committed offences have been fired."
He said that the Ministry of Educaion is working on sexual diversity under the Civil Partnership Bill, education inequality with the launch of the Digital Education Excellence platform and is reviewing language learning courses, saying the ministry will employ 20,000 foreign teachers.
He said that the annual Ordinary National Education exam (O-Net) that was to be conducted next week has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the ministry has urged schools to allow students to express their opinions, saying "the ministry has opened a website to enable students to submit comments directly to the ministry."

The Southeast Asian Times

Covid-19 protocol violators ordered to pray at victims graves as punishment

Covid-19 protocol violators were ordered to pray at the graves of victims at the Delta Praloyo cemetery in Sidoarjo City, East Java, Indonesia by the Sidoarjo City Police as punishment

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 7: Covid-19 protocol violators in Sidoarjo City in East Java, Indonesia are ordered to pray at the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Praloyo cemetery, with Sidoarjo City police chief saying "violators have ignored deterrent protocols including night curfew," reports the Jakarta Post.
Chief of the Sidoarjo City Police Senior Commissioner Sumardji said that 54 Covid-19 protocol violators were ordered to pray at the graves of Covid-19 victims at Delta Praloyo cemetery in Sidoarjo, East Java, for not wearing a face mask, not observing social distancing protocols and ignoring the night curfew ruling.
He said that the Sidoarjo City Police, the Indonesian military and the public order agency (Satpol PP) personnel raided coffee shops and cafes during night curfew in Sidoarjo on Saturday.
"54 violators were apprehended", he said.
He said that security agencies have regularly conducted raids in an effort to deter Covid-19 protocol violators, saying "the level of Covid-19 protocol discipline in Sudoarjo is low."
"Praying at the graves of Covid-19 victims is aimed at sending a moral message to the residents of Sidoarjo on the danger of the infection," he said.
Indonesia has recorded 190,665 Covid-19 infections and 7,940 Covid-19 deaths in the last six months.
A recorded 181 Indonesian health workers have fallen victim to Covid-19 in the last six months, making Indonesia the six highest in the world in health worker deaths, with 1,320 health worker deaths in Mexico, 1,077 in the U.S., 573 in India, 324 in Brazil and 240 in South Africa.
Of the 181 recorded health worker deaths in Indonesia, 112 deaths were reportedly doctors and 69 nurses.
At least 7000 health workers world wide haved died in the last six months after contracting Covid-19.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam signs appeal for elimination of nuclear weapons
From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 6: Vietnam has collected about 980,000 signatures in the appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons in the Hibakusha-led international signature-collection campaign, marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with Japan Council against A and H Bombs Vice Secretary General, Tsuchida Yayoi, saying "the signatures are Vietnam and Japan's first step towards the abolishment of weapons of mass destruction," reports the Japan Press Weekly.
The signatures for the elimination of nuclear weapons were collected in Vietnam by the Vietnam Peace Committee (VPC) and the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) with the Vietnam Peace Committee (VPC) Secretary General Dong Huy Cuong saying the Hibakusha-led signature-collection campaign in Vietnam has contributed to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
“Efforts to promote the Hibakusha-led signature-collection campaign in Vietnam has contributed to increasing public awareness of threats posed by nuclear arms, chemical arms, and other weapons of mass destruction," he said.
The Vietnam Peace Committee (VPC) and the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA), the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) and the Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) reportedly cooperated in an effort to abolish weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
The Hibakusha led international appeal was established by the survivors of the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, who are in solidarity with the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN, Dang Dinh Quy said in commemoration of International Day against Nuclear Tests on August 29 that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) rejects all nuclear tests that run counter to efforts, international standard and resolutions of the UN Security Council, saying "a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing is an important step towards nuclear disamament."
He said that ASEAN supports the consolidation and implementation of nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties including the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), saying that ASEAN member states have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)."
The Southeast Asian Times

Livestock ship enroute from NZ to China sinks in typhoon Maysak:
Chief officer survives

MV Gulf Livestock 1 chief officer, Filipino, Sareno Edvardo, 45, was rescued by the Japanese coastguard on Wednesday, says he did not see any crew members after the ship capsized

From News Reports:
Tokyo, September 5: MV Gulf Livestock 1 with 43 crew and almost 6,000 head of cattle onboard capsized in typhoon Maysak in the East China Sea, off the southwestern coast of Japan enroute from New Zealand to China after sending a mayday distress call saying the ships engine had failed, leaving only one survivor, reports Rueters.
The Japanese coastguard said on Friday that it has rescued only one of the 43 crew members onboard the MV Gulf Livestock 1 that was carrying cattle from Port Napier in New Zealand to Port Jingtang in Tangshan, China.
MV Gulf Livestock 1 chief officer, Filipino, Sareno Edvardo, 45, who was rescued by the Japanese coastguard on Wednesday is the only survivor of the 43 crew members that inlcude 39 Filipinos, two New Zealanders and two Australians, said that he did not see any crew members after the ship capsized.
"The ship lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized," he said.
He said that an onboard announcement gave instructions for the crew to put on life jackets, saying that he put on a life jacket and jumped into the sea.
MV Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress call on Wednesday saying the ship was disabled due to engine failure.
The ship was reportedly disabled in heavy seas and strong winds, classified as a powerful Category 4 storm.
MV Gulf Livestock 1 built in 2002 reportedly sailed into typhoon Maysak that was reportedly moving north at 10 knots with 90 knot winds and gusts at 130 knots on Wednesday.
The almost 140 meter long MV Gulf Livestock 1 was sailing at a speed of 8.3 knots and expected to arrive at Port Jingtang in Tangshan, China, on September 3.
New Zealand animal rights organization SAFE Campaign manager, Mariann Macdonald said the loss of cattle onboard the MV Gulf Livestock 1 demonstrated the risks of the live animal export trade.
“These cows should never have been at sea,” she said
Last year the New Zealand government launched a review of the live export trade, worth NZ$54 million in 2019, after thousands of animals exported from New Zealand and Australia died in transit.
The Southeast Asian Times


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


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


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

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


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

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



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


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

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

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

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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


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



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Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
V
iet Nam Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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