The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Wednesday 29 January 2020
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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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Mayor of Wuhan offers resignation after 5 million flee city to avoid virus

Mayor of Wuhan City, the first mega city of 13 cities in China's Hubei province to be put under quarantine in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus says "there's room for the Wuhan government to improve its crisis management" after 5 million flee the city

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 29: The mayor of Wuhan City, the first mega city of 13 cities in China's Hubei province to be put under quarantine in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus, said that he and the secretary of the Wuhan City Communist Party of China (CPP) are willing to resign after 5 million flee the city, reports the Global Times.
Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said that he and the city's Communist Party of China (CPP) secretary, Ma Guoqiang are willing to resign if it helps to contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus after making an announcement that more than 5 million of the 10 million population of Wuhan City had left the city before travel restrictions were imposed last Thursday.
He said that he expected that at least 3,000 from the about 5 million who left the city before the city was placed under quarantine last week would be diagnosed with carrying the highly-contagious virus.
The mayor of Wuhan City said that the quarantine of Wuhan City with a population of more than 10 million was a tough decision, saying that "maybe Wuhan officials will be go down in history with a bad reputation for locking up the virus inside the city."
"But as long as it helps to contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus we are willing to take whatever responsibility including the resignation of Wuhan Party Secretary Ma Guoqiang and myself," he said.
Wuhan Mayor, Zhou Xianwang, also said that information about the discovery of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Wuhan City "was not disclosed in a timely manner at the preliminary stage of the virus outbreak."
He asked the public to understand that the Wuhan local government could not disclose information about the virus outbreak without obtaining authorisation from the State Council.
"Not until the State Council identified the coronavirus (nCoV) virus as a type B infectious disease was the order given to lockdown the city and suspend public transport," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Tests show that China's deadly virus came from wildlife animal trade

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 28: China's Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC), a division of the China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have isolated the coronavirus(nCoV) virus in samples of seafood from a seafood market in Wuhan City that has left 80 dead and infected 2,744 in China since the virus was discovered at the market last month, reports Xinhua.
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that tests on samples of seafood from Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market indicate that the virus stems from wild animals on sale at the market.
"Thirty-three of the 585 environmental samples collected from the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were found to contain the nucleic acid of the novel coronavirus," says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The samples that were taken at the Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 1 and January 12 on instruction of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 31 of the 33 positive samples that were collected were collected from the western zone of the market, were reportedly wildlife trading in conducted.
"The results suggest that the novel coronavirus outbreak is highly relevant to the trading of the wild animals, says the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC).
The Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) says that "the successful isolation of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus substantiates that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market contains a large quantity of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand considers turning away travellers from China
From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 28: Thai Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said authorities are still working on measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus (nCoV) virus including turning away travellers from China, reports the Bangkok Post.
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in Thailand has reportedly reached eight while the number of suspected infections under investigation stands at 84.
Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said that he believed that "Thailand has done a really good job in handling the spread of the virus."
"We have to make sure our responses don't affect people's daily lives and the economy," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

President Xi Jinping holds urgent meeting to stop spread of deadly virus

President Xi Jinping who chaired the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Saturday, said "we are facing a difficult situation, because the spread of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus is increasing"

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 27: The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held an urgent meeting on Saturday in order to establish a steering committee to oversee the prevention and control of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus with President Xi Jinping general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee chairing the meeting, reports Xinhua.
President Xi Jinping said that it would be the committee's and governments responsibility to prevent and contain the coronavirus (nCoV) virus after the closure of the Ming Tombs and Yinshan Pagoda on Saturday and the closure of the Great wall, Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai's Disneyland on Friday.
President Xi Jinping reportedly ordered Party committees and government at all levels to give top priority to the prevention and control of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus.
"Life is of paramount importance," he said.
President Xi Jinping reportedly ordered officials in Wuban City in China's Hubei province to take rigorous measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus, saying that all those infected with the virus would be treated in a quarantined centralised hospital.
China's National Health Commission reported 56 deaths with 1,975 infected including 324 in critical condition and with a further 2,684 suspected to be infected with the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus worldwide since it was discovered in Wuhan City in China's Hubei province last month.
The commission on Saturday reported five infections in Hong Kong, two in Macao, three in Taiwan, six in Thailand, Japan 2, the Republic of Korea 2, the United States 2, Vietnam 2, Singapore 3, Malaysia 3, Nepal 1, France 3 and Australia 1.
The Southeast Asian Times


China quarantines 13 mega cities to stop spread of deadly virus

13 cities with a total population of about 41 million are under quarantine in China's Hubei province in an effort to contain the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus

From News Reports:
Beijing, January 26: A transport ban on four more mega cities in China's province of Hubei has increased the number of cities under quarantine to 13 with Wuban City being the first in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) virus that was discovered last month, reports Agence France Presse.
Trains and planes were stopped from leaving and entering Wuhan City on Thursday as the city was placed under qurantine with passenger boats and buses also stopped from entering the city.
Transport services have stopped and bus and train stations have closed in the cities of Xianning, Xiaogan, Enshi and Zhijiang cities located in central Hubei province where the virus was first discovered in an effort to contain the virus.
A seafood and live animal market in Wuban city has reportedly been identified as the centre of the outbreak of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus that has so far killed 26 and infected more than 800 in China.
All business in Zhijiang with a population of 550,000 has closed with the exception of pharmacies and Enshi with a population of 800,000 has shut down all entertainment venues.
All train services from Jingzhou city railway stations with a population of 6.4 million have been suspended.
Huangshi with a population of 2.4 million has closed all transport routes including the bridge over the Yangste River and the ferry terminal.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian on trial for treason denies acting on US advice for colour revolution

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, who is on trial for treason
arrives at the Phnom Penh Municiple Court on Thursday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 25: The former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, who is on trial for treason, rejected a video allegedly showing him conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen government at the Phnom Penh Municiple Court , saying that he had not called on his supporters in Australia for a colour revolution as accused.
The former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, said in the second week of his trial on Thursday that he had not called on his supporters in Australia in 2013 for a colour revolution to overthrow the Cambodian government whileas allegedly shown in a video used as evidence by the prosecution.
Former dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president Kem Sokha who was arrested on September 3, 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video taken in Australia showed that he had received advice from the US, said in the Phnom Penh Municiple Court last week that the two minute video presented by the prosecution had been cut and edited.
He told the court on Thursday that he had not conspired with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen government but that he had made a speech thanking his supporters in Australia and updating them on political developments in Cambodia.
“The purpose of my visit to Australia was to thank those who supported the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and explain the party’s stance and political development in Cambodia,” he said.
Deputy prosecutor Plang Sophal claims that Kem Sokha had told his supporters in Australia in 2013 that the US had told him to follow the Yugoslavia model which brought about regime change through the overthrow of Serbian, Slobodan Milosevic.
Kem Sokha denied that he had acted on the US advice, saying “I did not take up the suggestion to learn how to stage a colour revolution like the one in Yugoslavia”
“I did not want to follow a model that would cause a bloody revolution in Cambodia,” he said.
Lawyer, Chan Chen said that his client, Kem Sokha, is innocent because he did not plan to overthrow the government as charged, saying “my client Kem Sokha follows a principle of non-violence and seeks change through elections and not colour revolution.”
Lawyer for the prosecution, Ky Tech, said that although Kem Sokha denied he tried to overthrow the government, the prosecution had enough proof to convict him.
“We have enough evidence against the defendent to convict him even though he claims to be innocent,”he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam orders hospitals to prepare for China virus

Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) director Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, right, inspecting the readiness of Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport to detect the symptoms of the coronavirus (nCoV) virus in passengers arriving from China

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 24: Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) has ordered hospitals and medical clinics in Vietnam to provide early detection and prevention measures for the coronavirus (nCoV) virus, calling on travellers to China in the last 14 days to have a medical check-up, reports the Vietnam News.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health (Moh) director general of Medical Examination and Treatment Department, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, said that Vietnam was at high risk of transmitting the new strain of coronavirus (nCoV) virus from China.
"Patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection such as cough and fever must be isolated and examined in separate sections of hospitals or medical clinics," he said.
He said that all hospitals in Vietnam must establish rapid reaction teams to avoid the disease from spreading, saying that health workers should follow disease precaution standards.
"Health workers must wear masks and wash hands regularly when examining patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection," he said.
He said that hospitals and medical clinics must prepare isolation areas, resuscitation medication and check medical equipment.
"Breathing machines, patient monitoring machines, personal protective equipment and disinfectant should be checked", he said.
He urged Hospitals and medical clinics to spread awareness among healthcare workers and the public in order to detect and control the disease, with hospitals and medical clinics ordered to follow instructions in the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus (nCoV) virus from China.
"The public is encouraged to report their travel history in countries affected by the coronavirus (nCoV) virus," he said.
The new strain of coronavirus (nCoV), discovered in China’s Wuhan City, has killed six, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying that "the new coronavirus virus is contagious in humans."
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans want Indonesian military to enlist their children as compensation for land
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 23: West Papuans have called on the Indonesian Military (TNI) to enlist their children after handing over their land in Yummua village, West Arso district in Keerom regency on the border of Papua New Guinea to regency commander, Col. Binsar P. Sianipar, for a Indonesian military headquarters at a ceremony last week, reports the Jakarta Post.
West Papuan Keerom Customary Council chairman, Servo Tuamis, said that four West Papuan groups believe that compensation paid to them for their land is not enough, saying "the indigenous groups demand another form of compensation."
He said that the Keret Tafior, Kiryar, Kyawoy and Girbes indigenous groups have been paid Rp 2 billion (US$146,399) for 10 ha of land for the construction of Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters in Keerom regency, saying that the indegenous groups believe they were underpaid.
“As we were born here in Keerom, we demand that the Indonesian military enlist our children as their personnel, he said.
He said that the Keerom Customary Council would recommend personnel for enlistment in the Indonesian military, saying that Indonesian Military (TNI) Korem commander Col. Binsar P. Sianipar has agreed to the proposal providing that those recommended were "healthy and did not consume narcotics and alcoholic."
Daughter of former Keerom Customary Council chairman, Naome Kwambre, objects to the handover of the land to the Indonesian military, saying
“As part of the younger generation, I deplore the handover of the land because it should be our source of livelihood for generations to come.”
In December 2019 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were deployed to hunt for an armed West Papuan group in Keerom regency on the Papua New Guinea border, after an Indonesian military personal was shot dead , with Police chief Insp. Gen. Pol. Paulus Waterpauw saying "an Indonesian military personnel was gunned down by an armed group as he was collecting logistics."
Police chief Insp. Gen. Pol. Paulus Waterpauw said that the border area in Keerom District remained safe and under control despite the attack on Indonesian military by the West Papuan armed group.
About 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were reportedly deployed to secure West Papua provinces following protests in August and September calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for West Papua that had spread to almost all regions in 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 that the “NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final, ” he said.
He said the New York Agreement, signed in 1962 by the Netherlands and Indonesia, had officially made Papua and West Papua legitimate territories of Indonesia.
“That means NKRI is final, NKRI is non-negotiable, including Papua and West Papua,” he said.
"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

Myanmar's investigation finds no genocidal intent in Rankine State

Senior Philippine diplomat Rosario Manalo who headed the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) into accusations of human rights violations in Myanmar's Rankhine State, handed the report to Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday

From News Reports:
Yangon, January 22: The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) established by the Myanmar government to investigate accusations of human rights violations in Myanmar's Rakhin State has found after a year of investigation that war crimes were commtted but that there was no indication of genocidal intent, reports the Myanmar Times.
The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE), headed by senior Philippine diplomat, Rosario Manalo, found that “on the basis of the information available to it and of the investigations carried out in northern Rakhine State and elsewhere, that war crimes, serious human rights violations, and violations of domestic law took place during the security operations between 25 August and 5 September 2017.
“The findings reveal no indication of a pattern of conduct from which one could reasonably conclude that the acts were committed with ‘genocidal intent’,” the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) said in the report.
Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, advocacy director, Augg Zaw Oo, said that "we can expect the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) report to be a good one if witnesses were able to freely share their experiences and concerns."
He said that transparency is needed to take action against soldiers who make mistakes, saying that the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) needs to take action against soldiers who have actually committed war crimes."
“We don’t want the prisoners to be released through an amnesty issued by the Commander-in-Chief a few months after they are jailed,” he said.
In December 2019 Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi refuted accusations of genocide in Myanmar's Rankine state in her address before the judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, saying that "genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis."
"there can be no genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing."
She said that although the focus at the hearing is on members of the military, saying that she said she can assure the court that appropriate action would also be taken against civilian offenders in line with due process.
"There will be no tolerance of human rights violations in the Rakhine or elsewhere in Myanmar," she said.
In November 2019 Gambia Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) accusing the Myanmar government of genocide of the Rakhine State's Muslim minority, claiming that "Myanmar intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part."
The Gambia Justice Minister alleges that Myanmar's campaign against Rakhin Muslims including killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, saying that "the campaign was genocidal in character."
The Southeast Asian Times


China to invest in areas controlled by Myanmar's ethnic armed groups

National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and China's President Xi Jinping at the Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on Friday. President Xi Jinping who is on his first visit to Myanmar, signed infrastructure, power and trade agreements under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

From News Reports:
Nay Pyi Taw, January 21: Myanmar and China signed infrastructure, power and trade agreements including hydropower projects in the Ayeyarwady River and a deepsea port in the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) in Myanmar's Rankine State, with Myanmar Major General Maung Maung Soe saying "It would not be possible for China to complete their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) if Myanmar's northern region is not peaceful," reports the Myanmar Times.
Major General, Maung Maung Soe, who is in charge of the armed forces of Myanmar in western Myanmar that includes Rankine State, said that "China has major projects in the areas controlled by the members of the Northern Alliance."
Members of the Northern Alliance, that includes almost half of Myanmar's active armed ethnic groups including the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA), have reportedly refused to sign a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
Peaces talks between the Armed Forces of Myanmar in northern Shan State and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and between the Myanmar military in Rakhine State and the Arakan Army (AA) that were to convene in October 2019 were postponed.
Major General, Maung Maung Soe, said that the proposed China-Myanmar gas pipeline project and hydropower projects in the upstream areas of the Ayeyarwady River are in areas controlled by ethnic armed group members of the Northern Alliance.
National League for Democracy (NLD) party economist U Aung Ko Ko said that "China will benefit only if the situation in Myanmar becomes stable."
"If the situation in Myanmar is unstable it’s very likely for China to suffer big losses however much China invests, " he said.
China's vice foreign minister Luo Zhaohui said at a press conference in Beijing on Friday that the purpose of the visit by President Xi Jinping to Myanmar was to strengthen relations, deepen Belt and Road co-operation and materialize the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) in Myanmar's Rankine State, a plan for a y-shaped corridor of projects connecting China with the Indian Ocean.
“Preparations are underway and you will see the historic outcomes and influence of this historic visit,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam calls for self restraint in South China Sea at first 2020 ASEAN meeting as chair

Foreign ministers of ASEAN: Malaysia's Saifuddin Abdullah (left to right), Myanmar's Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin, the Philippines' Teodoro Locsin, Singapore's Vivian Balakrishnan, Thailand's Don Pramudwinai, Vietnam's Pham Binh Minh, Brunei's Minister of Foreign Affairs Erywan bin Mohd Yusof, Cambodia's Prak Sokhonn, Indonesia's Retno LP Marsudi, Laos' Saleumxay Kommasith and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi pose for a group photo during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in Nha Trang on Friday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 20: Vietnam called for mutual trust and self restraint in the South China Sea at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) Foreign Ministers 2020 retreat, the first ASEAN meeting under Vietnam's 2020 charmanship, at the coastal city of Nha Trang in southern Vietnam on Friday, reports the Vietnam News.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that all ASEAN Foreign Ministers had voiced their concerns over land reclamation in the South China Sea during the two day closed door ASEAN Foreign Ministers retreat.
The Foreign Minister called on the foreign ministers of the ten ASEAN member countries to "enhance mutual trust and to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the South China Sea in order to avoid action that may further complicate the situation."
He called on the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), reaffirming that international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, is the basis for determining sovereignty, sovereign rights and legitimate interests in the South China Sea.
"We further reaffirmed that the 1982 UNCLOS is the overarching framework of legal order for the seas that must be respected by all countries,” he said in a statement.
He said that all ASEAN foreign ministers were encouraged by the progess of negotiations over the early conclusion of "an effective and substantive Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea that is consistent with international law", including the 1982 UNCLOS.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) 52nd Foreign Ministers moved towards agreement on a maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at a meeting in Bangkok in August 2019.
The completion of the first draft of the South China Sea maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) between China and ASEAN aimed to reduce the esculation of the dispute between China and ASEAN member country claimants over sovereignity.
China and Asean member country claimants to sovereignity of areas of the South China Sea, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed
that negotiations on the South China Sea Code-of-Conduct (CoC) would be completed within three years.
In July 2016 the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling, saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
China reportedly claims that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former PM Najib wants recordings of 1MDB fund embezzlement cover-up

The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, Latheefa Koya, reveals audio recordings of converstions in which former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak allegedly conspired to cover up the alleged embezzlement of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, January 19: Former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who is on trial for the alleged embezzlement of RM42 million
from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund while chairman of the fund and finance minister, has applied to the Kuala Lumpur supreme court for recordings of conversations in which he allegedly conspired to cover up the alleged embezzlement of the funds, reports the New Straits Times.
Former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the recordings released by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya, were crucial evidence to his defence in his on-going trial for the embezzlement of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds, calling on the commissioner to release the recordings to him for examination.
"I believe that the recording is relevant to the proposed settlement between Abu Dhabi sovereign fund( IPIC) and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)," he said.
The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya, says that the audio recordings include conversations between former Prime Minister Najib Razak his wife Rosmah Mansor and the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan, descibing the content of the audio recordings “shocking, sordid and very disturbing”
"The recordings raise serious issues about obstruction of justice, compromising national security, and fabrication of false evidence," she said.
Former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has pleaded not guilty to 25 charges of curruption including money laundering in the alleged embezzlement of RM2.3 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund, claiming trial to 21 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by a son of the late Saudi King Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its subsidiary International Sdn Bhd (SRC) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Witness tells court she was ordered to expunge parts of 1MDB audit report

Witness for the prosecution, former director of the National Audit Department, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, told the Kuala Lumpur court on Thursday that she and the former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang "were forced to accept the decision to expunge parts of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, January 18: A witness in the trial of former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of using his position as finance minister and chairman of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund in the misappropriation of RM42 million, told the court that she was ordered to expunge parts of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report, reports the Star.
Witness for the prosecution, former director of the National Audit Department, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, told the court on Thursday that she and the former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang "were forced to accept the decision to expunge parts of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report.
She said under cross examination by lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who is representing former ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy, charged with tampering with the final 1MDB audit report, that she was forced to expunge parts of the audit report at a meeting held on February 24, 2016.
She said that the meeting was chaired by the then Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, at his office, with 1MDB then chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy, Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh, the principal private secretary at the time to then prime minister Najib Razak and officer at the Attorney-General's Chambers, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, in attendance.
Witness for the prosecution, former director of the National Audit Department, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, said under cross examination that she viewed the request made by the then Chief Secretary to the Government and 1MDB chair, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, that her department the National Audit Department consider expunging portions of the audit report as an order, saying "it was akin to being forced to do so."
The arrest of former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak in July 2018 followed the declassification of the 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
The audit report was declassified less than a week after the May 9 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party, lead by former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by a son of the late Saudi King Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Cambodian party president rejects video evidence of treason

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha, denied that he conspired with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen government as shown in the two minute 2013 video presented to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday as evidence of treason

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 17: The trial of the former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, who is charged with treason, began in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, with Kem Sokha rejecting the video presented to the court by the prosecution showing him "conspiring with a foreign power," reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Former dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president who was arrested on September 3, 2017 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video showed that he had received assistance from the US, said in the Phnom Penh Court on Wednesday that the two minute video presented by the prosecution had been cut and edited.
Kem Sokha, who was released on bail from Thong Khmum prison in September 2018, with restrictions on his movements to a four-block radius around his Phnom Penh home and banned from associating with any former dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members, rejected the two-minute video presented to the court by the prosecution as the basis for the charge of treason brought against him.
He said that the voice and images in the two minute video presented to the court were of him but that the video had been cut and edited.
His lawyer, Meng Sopheary, called on the court to play the original 2013 hour-long video that her client Kem Sokha has submited to the court as evidence of his innocence against the charge of treason.
The Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said after the arrest of Kem Sokha in 2017, for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Hun Sen government, that the 2013 video showed the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president, Kem Sokha, receiving assistance from the US.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophanna said then that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to charge the opposition party president with treason under Article 443 of the Criminal Code for “conspiring with a foreign power”.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine and China Coast Guards hold inaugural maritime exercise

Philippine Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Joel Garcia (left) welcomes China Coast Guard Director General, Major General Wang Zhongcai, in Manila on Tuesday during the China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5204 week-long Manila port visit

From News Reports:
Manila, January 16: The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) called on the China Coast Guard (CCG) to ensure maritime security for Filipino fishermen in the Philippine Sea at the inaugural Philipine and China coast guard maritime exercize held during the week-long visit of the China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5204 to Manila, reports the Philstar.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Adm. Joel Garcia, said that "it was the first time that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard (CCG) formally sat down and talked about maritime security."
"The two coast guards also talked about holding regular joint excercises on maritime security," he said.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) called on the China Coast Guard (CCG) to ensure the security of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine Sea amid allegations of harrasment by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Adm. Joel Garcia said following the meeting onboard the China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5204 in Manila Bay that the China Coast Guard has yet to respond to the call for maritime security that would allow Filipinos the freedom to fish in their traditional fishing grounds in the Philippine Sea without fear of harrassment.
The China Coast Guard (CCG) have allegedly harassed Filipino fishermen in Panatag or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea with China Coast Guard personnel boarding a Filipino fishing vessel and seizing their catch.
Fishermen in Masinloc, Zambales report that China Coast Guard (CCG) personnel seized their catch and drove them away from their traditional fishing grounds.
In March 2019 allegations of crimes against humanity committed in the South China Sea by China were lodged at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague accusing China President Xi Jinping of implementing a systematic plan to control the South China Sea, undermining food and energy security of a number of nations, causing destruction of the environment and depriving thousands of fishermen of their livelihoods.
In 2013 the Philippines filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
In July 2016 the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea that includes the West Philippine Sea
China reportedly claimed then that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute with China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying then that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
"China's position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines remains unchanged," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Police investigate land protest deaths at military airfield in Vietnam

Ministry of Public Security, chief of staff Major General To An Xo, said that the My Duc district police are investigating Tam commune residents in their involvement in the protest that lead to the death of four police and one commune resident

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 15: An investigation into the death of five including four police who were killed in a land-related protest at Dong Tam commune in My Duc district about 40 km south of Hanoi last month has begun with four suspects in detention, reports the Hanoi Times.
The Dong Tam commune protest reportedly ended with a confrontation with the police on December 31, 2019 when a military unit began the construction of a wall around the Mieu Mon Military airfield which covers part of the Dong Tam commune in My Duc district,
Major General To An Xo, chief of staff of the Ministry of Public Security, said last week that the My Duc district police are investigating 22 Dong Tam commune residents for their involvement in the protest that lead to the death of four police and one commune resident, saying that those involved in the violent protest would be charged with murder, the illegal storage and use of weapons and resisting police.
Police seized eight grenades, 38 Molotov cocktails, 20 liters of gasoline, 12 bayonet-fitted iron tubes, three boxes of flares, one teaser gun, one machete, and one hammer from Dong Tam commune residents involved in the violence that ended with the death of five.
The deadly land-related protest over the construction of a wall around the Mieu Mon military airfield reportedly followed the construction of the airfield itself two years earlier.
Dong Tam farmers were requisitioned to hand over 47 hectares of their rented land for the proposed construction of the Mieu Mon military airfield.
Dong Tam district authorities have been blamed for allowing farmers to encroach on military land.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia drives the Chinese fishing fleet from Natuna waters

Indonesian naval ship (KRI) Usman Harun-359 and Chinese coast guard vessel registration number 5302 within Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)in Natuna waters on Saturday January 11, 2020

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 14: A fleet of Chinese fishing vessels including 6 Chinese coast guard vessels have reportedly been driven out of Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea with the Natuna Joint Defence Area Commander saying that the Chinese fishing vessels are now on the border of the 300 kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), reports the Jakarta Post.
Joint Defense Area Command (Kogabwilhan) I commander Rear Adm. Yudo Margono said on Sunday that about 30 Chinese fishing vessels are situated on the Natuna Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) border.
He said that the Chinese fishing vessels were within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) about 200 miles from Natuna regency capital of Ranai but had retreated to the edge of the kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He said that Indonesian warships drove the Chinese fishing vessels out of the 300 kilometre Indonesian EEZ as the vessels were attempting to spread fishing nets.
"The Chinese fishing vessels will be apprehended and tried in court if they return to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ", he said.
The commander of the Navy's First Fleet Command has reportedly been ordered to communicate the principles of international law including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to Chinese fishing vessels that are allegedly in violation of Indonesia's sovereign rights over maritime natural resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea.
Earlier this month, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected China’s historical claim to the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the grounds that China's fishing fleet have historically been active in the North Natuna Sea.
“We urge China to explain the legal basis and provide a clear definition for its claim over Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Riau Islands in the North Natuna Sea.
China's Foreign Ministery spokesman Geng Shuang rejects the Indonesian claim over the North Natuna Sea saying that "China's position and propositions comply with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."
"So whether Indonesia accepts it or not, nothing will change the objective fact that China has rights and interests over Natuna waters,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Firefighter killed by falling tree in Australia's massive destructive fires

The Sydney Opera House showing support for firefighters and fire-affected communities on Saturday night

From News Reports:
Sydney, January 13: A firefighter was killed by a falling tree in Australia's state of Victoria on Saturday bringing the death toll to 27 including four firefighters in massive fires across Australia that have destroyed more than 2,000 homes since September, reports the Associated Press.
Forest Fire Management Victoria Executive Director Chris Hardman said that firefighter, Bill slade, 60, was killed on Saturday by a falling tree near the town of Omeo in the state of Victoria .
He said the firefighter was one of few professionals of the mostly volunteer brigades battling blazes across southeast Australia, saying that "Bill slade was commended for 40 years service with Forest Fire Management Victoria in November.
“Working on the fire ground in a forest environment is a dynamic, high-risk environment and it carries with it significant risk,” he said.
Last week Australia's New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, defended the reliance on massive controlled burns, or 'back-burns', against 'cool burns' that target specific areas and specific plants.
He said that burns are necessary to try to cutback the amount of fuel available for the next burn despite criticism from indigenous Australians who argue that the current method of massive controlled burning destroys everything in its path.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the Austraian government accepted that climate change was leading to longer, hotter and drier summers, despite some Members of the Australian Parliament, saying that the cause of the fires was arson rather than man-made climate change.
The Southeast Asian Times

Marcos son to run in 2022 Philippines presidential elections

Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., son of the late President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos to run in 2022 Philippines presidential elections

From News Reports:
Manila, January 12: Former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong
Marcos Jr., son of the late President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, announced yesterday that he would run in the 2022 presidential elections, reports Rueters.
Former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., said at the National Press Club that “My plan is that I will be a candidate in the next elections."
"For what, we still have to decide, ” he said.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ran for vice president in 2017, but was defeated by Vice President Leni Robredo by more than 260,000 votes.
Former Senator Marcos protested the results of the election calling on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to recount the ballots in three provinces of his choosing.
He reportedly lodged a protest against the results calling on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to nullify the results in Lanao Dev Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) released a report in October 2019 showing that Vice President Leni Robredo had increased her lead over Marcos by 15,093 votes after the recount, revision and re-appreciation of ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has called on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) following the decision to “reconsider, review and re-examine” the recount results.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has also renewed his call for the revision of history textbooks, claiming that charges against the Marcos family had been dismissed by the court.
"Textbooks should not be handled by political appointees but rather by professors of history and experts in the field of political science," he said.
In 1995 the Philippine government and representatives of more than 1,000 Filipinos - or their descendants, who were arrested, tortured and executed during the 13 years from 1972 in which former President Ferdinand Marcos ruled by decree and martial law, won US$2.7-billion in exemplary damages against the former president’s estate at a hearing in the United States federal court, Hawaii.
The Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations.
In April 2019 the US federal court ordered the distribution of $13.75 million to thousands of victims of martial law in the Philippines, who won a class action for human rights violations against the estate of the late former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos over objections from the Philippine government.
Lawyers for the victims of martial law said in a joint statement that despite objections from the Philippines Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on the settlement agreement, the US federal court has "the actual and apparent authority to bind the Philippines to the settlement.”
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodian workers on strike at Hong Kong casino in Phnom Penh

Cambodian hotel and casino workers on strike at the five star NagaWorld hotel and casino complex in Phnom Penh on Thursday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 11: About 3,000 hotel and casino workers are on strike at the five star NagaWorld hotel and casino complex in Phnom Penh for higher wages, improved working conditions and the reinstatement of their union representative, saying that the Hong Kong investment holding company NagaCorp Ltd. "makes a lot of profit."
Workers at the NagaWorld hotel and casino complex want the Hong Kong investment holding company NagaCorp Ltd. to increase their wages from US$150 to US$300 a month for hotel workers and from US$250 to US$500 a month for casino workers.
NagaWorld hotel and casino worker, By Kunthea, who has worked at the casino for 19 years, said "we need to pay rent and food prices have gone up."
"The company makes a lot of profit," she said.
Casino card dealer, Chan Maiya Mouy complained of poor working conditions including abusive behaviour, saying "when gamblers lose, they curse us and throw water bottles at us."
"We can't go to the toilet if there is no one to fill in for us," she said.
The workers also want the reinstatment of Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of Naga Hotel (NHW) union president, Chhim Sithar, who was suspended in September last year for allegedly breaching company rules.
Chhim Sithar was suspended for supporting a union member who was harassed by security guards for having a union-T-shirt in her possession.
Hong Kong investment holding company NagaCorp Ltd, that has the exclusive licence to operate in Phnom Penh, reported an estimated $1.8 billion in revenue last year, up from $1.5 billion in 2018.
It posted a 9-month net gaming revenue of $616.3 million last year.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia orders Chinese fishing fleet out of Natuna waters

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo talks to fishermen in Natuna on Wednesday. About 500 fisherman from Indonesia's Java coast have
registered to operate fishing vessels in Natuna waters in the Riau Islands

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 10: Chinese vessels found fishing within Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Natuna Waters in the Riau Islands will be driven from within the 320 kilometres zone claimed by Indonesia on orders from Indonesia's National Defense Forces (TNI), reports the Jakarta Post.
Chief of the National Defense Forces (TNI) Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto ordered the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) "to drive away any foreign vessel found stealing fish in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)," after a Chinese coast guard vessel was found escorting a fleet of Chinese fishing vessels into Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) within 320 kilometres of Indonesia's coastline last month.
"Indonesian sovereignty over Natuna waters is non-negotiable," he said.
He said that foreign vessels are allowed to enter the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in accordance with international law.
"However foreign vessels are banned from entering the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to catch fish", he said.
Last week, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected China’s historical claim to the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the grounds that China's fishing fleet have historically been active in the North Natuna Sea, saying that "Chinese vessels including a China coast guard vessel had entered Indonesian Territory."
“We urge China to explain the legal basis and provide a clear definition for its claim over Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Riau Islands in the North Natuna Sea.
China's Foreign Ministery spokesman Geng Shuang rejects the Indonesian claim over the North Natuna Sea saying that "China's position and propositions comply with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."
"So whether Indonesia accepts it or not, nothing will change the objective fact that China has rights and interests over Natuna waters,” he said.
Indonesia renamed the resource-rich Natuna Islands located off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea, on the Indonesian territorial map issued in Jakarta in 2017.
The decision to change the name of the Natuna Islands to North Natuna Sea was reportedly initiated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling in 2016 against China's claim over the South China Sea.
The Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim over the South China Sea in 2016, saying that "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in the sea falling within the 'nine-dash line'."
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times


New Cambodian Nation Love party
to apply for registration

Newly established Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) announced at a press conference in Phnom Penh on Thursday that it would apply for registration with the Cambodia Ministry of Interior

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 9: The newly established Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) whose membership includes former members of the banned opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), who are on trial for treason for attempting to overthrow the Hun Sen government, has applied for registration with the Cambodia Ministry of Interior, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Ministry of Interior spokesman, Sar Kheng, said that the Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) must apply for registration with the Ministry of Interior in accordance with Articles 9 and 20, and new Articles 14 and 19 of the Law on Political Parties that include at least 4,000 members of the party in order to be valid and able to carry out party activities.
Banned opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) representative, Kheur Sinoeun, said that former members and supporters of the banned party are preparing documents for the registration of the Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) including the signatures of 4,000 members.
“I don’t think collecting 4,000 thumbprints will be difficult because we will get signatures from former Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) members who continue to support us,” he said.
He said the Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) would continue in the spirit of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) with its vision and goals, saying that "goals would be drafted in response to the current political situation."
"The Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) would adhere to the principle of non-violence and take part in politics in accordance with the Cambodian Constitution," he said.
At least 89 Cambodians have reportedly been charged with treason for plotting a coup d'etat against the Cambodian government since August 2019 with 52 arrested in 20 provinces on related charges, bringing the total of those arrested for their support for former Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) president, Sam Rainsy, who is in exile in Paris, to 200 since the Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times


"Think community" says PM at launch ASEAN 2020 Vietnam chair

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said "let our efforts take ASEAN far and wide and at the same time keep ASEAN close to our hearts,” at the ASEAN flag raising ceremony in Hanoi on Monday to mark the launch of Vietnam into the 2020 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair

From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 8: Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc launched the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2020 rotating chair in Hanoi on Monday, saying "let us think community, act community and share community values," reports the Vietnam News Service.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam would build on the achievments and efforts of previous ASEAN chairs and work with ASEAN member countries to identify the future direction for the ASEAN Community to 2025 and beyond."
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the Thai handover of the 2020 ASEAN chair to Vietnam at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in November that "Vietnam would promote ASEAN centrality, innovation, cohesion and sustainability during Vietnam's term as chair of ASEAN in 2020."
“Cohesive and responsive” would define ASEAN chaired by Vietnam in 2020", he said in Thailand at the handover.
In Hanoi on Monday at the launch of the 2020 rotating ASEAN chair to Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that the theme for ASEAN 2020 'Cohesive and Responsive' would be supported by Vietnam.
The theme 'Cohesive and Responsive' would be supported to meet the long-term goals of ASEAN that include regional integration, regional peace, awareness of ASEAN community and identity and promotion of ASEAN in the international community.
"VietNam would make every effort to work with ASEAN member states to accomplish these goals," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia on combat alert against Chinese fleet in Natuna Waters

Indonesia's National Armed Forces are in combat alert in North Natuna waters in readiness for a clash with the Chinese fleet accused of tresspassing in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

From News reports:
Jakarta, January 7: Indonesian National Armed Forces TNI are on combat alert in Natuna waters in readiness for a clash with the Chinese fleet accused of tresspassing in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Riau Island waters that Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says "is christened as the North Natuna Sea," Reports the Jakarta Globe.
Indonesian Military TNI spokesman Maj. Gen. Sisriadi said on Friday that the TNI has deployed surveillance and early detection systems to ensure that China's vessels would not trespass in Indonesian territory that "Indonesia has christened the North Natuna Sea."
"Our Navy and Air Force are armed and have been deployed to the North Natuna Sea," he said.
He said that the TNI have enough forces at the ready "to handle a clash with the Chinese fleet," saying that "We are not only deploying ships, but also fighter jets."
We are on full alert," he said.
Last week, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected China’s historical claim to the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the grounds that China's fishing fleet have historically been active in the North Natuna Sea.
He said that Chinese vessels including a China coast guard vessel had entered Indonesian Territory that "Indonesia has christened the North Natuna Sea."
“We urge China to explain the legal basis and provide a clear definition for its claim over Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Riau Islands in the North Natuna Sea.
China's Foreign Ministery spokesman Geng Shuang rejects the Indonesian claim over the North Natuna Sea saying that "China's position and propositions comply with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."
"So whether Indonesia accepts it or not, nothing will change the fact that China has rights and interests over Natuna waters,” he said.
Indonesia renamed the resource-rich Natuna Islands located off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea, on the Indonesian territorial map issued in Jakarta in 2017.
The decision to change the name of the Natuna Islands to North Natuna Sea was reportedly initiated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling in 2016 against China's claim over the South China Sea.
The Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim over the South China Sea in 2016, saying that "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in the sea falling within the 'nine-dash line'."
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times


Natuna regent wants Natuna Islands turned into new province

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) caught the Chinese Coast Guard on its surveillance camera in Natuna waters on Saturday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 6: The regent of Natuna has called on the Indonesian government to turn the Natuna Islands and the Anambas in the Riau Islands into new provinces following the Indonesian government rejection of China's call for dialogue over the Natuna Islands, reports the Jakarta Post.
Natuna Regent Abdul Hamid Rizal said that the Natuna Islands as a new province would heighten security in the North Natuna Sea that saw 63 China fishing and coast guard vessels in the Natuna waters between December 19 and 24.
He said that Law No. 23/2014 on regional administrations had not given Natuna regency and city administrations the authority to oversee their waters, saying that "Natuna and Anambas are prevented from securing and managing the Natuna waters."
"Natuna waters have been frequented by ships from China laying claim to fishing rights."
He said that should Natuna become a "special province" it would be granted the authority and the ability to secure, manage and guard its coastal area and waters.
"Natuna would have the authority to secure the border that is under the auhority of Riau Islands province," he said.
Indonesia renamed the resource-rich Natuna Islands located off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea, in the Indonesian territorial map issued in Jakarta in 2017.
The decision to change the name of the Natuna Islands to North Natuna Sea was reportedly initiated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling in 2016 against China's claim over the South China Sea.
The Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim over the South China Sea in 2016, saying that "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in the sea falling within the 'nine-dash line'."
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over this matter."
In March 2014 Indonesia's Assistant deputy to the chief security minister for defense strategic doctrine, Commodore Fahru Zaini said that China had drawn the sea map of Natuna Islands in the South China Sea in its territorial map that includes the nine dash lines.
"China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorial waters," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia rejects China's call for dialogue over North Natuna Sea

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, centre, Development Planning Minister Sofjan Djalil, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmayanto held a cabinet meeting onboard the Indonesian Navy warship KRI Imam Bonjol 383 in Natuna waters on June 23, 2019 with Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung saying that the cabinet meeting in the Natuna Islands was aimed at promoting infrastructure development in order to demonstrate Indonesian sovereignty over the Natuna Sea

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 5: Indonesia has rejected China's call for dialogue over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea in the Riau Islands on Wednesday, saying that the north Natuna Sea is under Indonesian sovereignty, reports the Jakarta Post.
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."
Indonesia renamed the resource-rich Natuna Islands located off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea, in the Indonesian territorial map issued in Jakarta in 2017.
Deputy of maritime sovereignty of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said then that the decision to change the name of the Natuna Islands to North Natuna Sea was initiated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling in 2016 against China's claim over the South China Sea.
The Court in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim over the South China Sea in 2016, saying that "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in the sea falling within the 'nine-dash line'."
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over this matter."
In March 2014 Indonesia's Assistant deputy to the chief security minister for defense strategic doctrine, Commodore Fahru Zaini said that China had drawn the sea map of Natuna Islands in the South China Sea in its territorial map that includes the nine dash lines.
"China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorial waters," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


New Year floods in Jakarta leave 30 dead and the evacuation of 30,000

A Indonesian soldier rescues a flood-stricken cat at Jatibening on the outskirts of Jakarta on New Year's day

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 4: Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has confirmed 30 dead and the evacuation of more than 30,000 in floods that inundated Jakarta and satelite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi after heavy rain on New Year's Day, reports the Jakarta Post.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Agus Wibowo said that victims were either struck by hypothermia, electrocuted, buried under landslides or swept away by strong flood currents.
“Seventeen victims died in strong flood currents,” he said.
He said that landslides in Depok City, Bogor City and Bekasi, electrocutions in East Jakarta, Bekasi City, Tangerang City and South Tangerang and Hypothermia in East Jakarta had caused the death of 13.
The massive floods were reportedly caused by terrential rain over the Jakarta greater region over 24 hours from New Year's Eve on Tuesday to New Year's Day on Wednesday.
National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesman Yusuf Latif said that the agency was unable to reach several flooded areas to evacuate victims, saying that "38 teams with dinghies had been deployed on Thursday."
He said that 31,232 were evacuated form East Jakarta including Cawang, Kayu Putih and Cakung to 269 shelters across Jakarta.
The massive floods have reportedly submerged buildings in Jakarta threatening the real estate market with Jakarta Property Institute (JPI) executive director Wendy Haryanto saying that "this is a massive blow for the propery market sector."
"Shopping centers are deserted," she said.
She said that office buildings in Jakarta are deserted, saying that "workers are unable to leave their homes due to the flooding."
"The floods have submerged areas in the city that will see delays in construction by property developers," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Tourists on Australia's fire ravaged east coast given 48 hours to evacuate

A firefighter hoses down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses from bushfires near the town of Nowra in the Australian state of New South Wales on December 31, 2019

From News Reports:
Sydney, January 3: Thousands of tourists on Australia's fire ravaged New South Wales coast have been given less than 48 hours to evacuate ahead of a heatwave forcaste for Saturday that is expected to fan the deadly bushfires, reports the Agence France Presse.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers warned on Thursday that tourists should leave before Saturday, saying that "Saturday is forcast to bring gusting winds and temperatures soaring above 40 degress celsius."
He said that firefighters were unable to extinguish or even control the raging blazes, saying that Saturday "will be as bad if not worse than the fires on New Year's Eve, Australia’s deadliest day of fires in the month-long bushfire crisis."
"We have no capacity to contain these fires", he said.
Fires that require fire fighting resources to bring under control and identified as "catastrophic" reportedly "ripped" through large areas of Australia's south-east coast on New Year's Eve, killing at least eight and leaving holidaymakers stranded as seaside tourist towns were ringed by flames.
Many tourists and residents spent two nights with no electricity or telecommunications and dwindling food supplies before authorities on Thursday declared some roads safe to use.
The New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service on Thursday morning declared a “tourist leave zone” stretching about 200 kilometers from the popular holiday spot of Bateman’s Bay along the usually picturesque south-east coast to neighboring Victoria state, where tourists and residents are also being urged to evacuate fire-threatened areas.
Last month the New South Wales government declared a state of emergency after record-breaking temperatures and prolonged drought that exacerbated the bushfires.
The month-long bushfires are reportedly the most widespread and destructive bushfires in Australia's recorded history with more than 5,900,000 hectares of land burned, more than 2,500 including more than 1,300 homes destroyed and with at least 18 killed in the fires.

The Southeast Asian Times

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

Chinese flee Cambodia after new year ban on gambling

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 2: Hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals have fled Cambodia since August following the directive issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen banning all online and arcade gambling that took effect on New Year's day, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
General Department of Immigration spokesman General Keo Vanthan said that about 447,000 Chinese have left Cambodia in the last five months including those holding long term visas.
"Most left Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville," he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen reportedly issued the directive banning all online and arcade gambling in a bid to safequard security and public order, saying that licenced online gambling operators rigged their games and threatened gamblers who were not able to repay their gambling debts.
Interior Ministry officials, the National Police and the Finance Ministry have reportedly been preparing to conduct inspections on casinos across Cambodia with National Police chief, General Neth Savoeun, ordering strict enforcement of the ban.
National Police chief, General Neth Savoeun, has ordered local authorities to work with casino managers to carry out the Prime Ministers directive, saying "we encourage all relevant partners to effectively enforce the directive."
"Avoid hiding your operations because we will take legal action,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial police, Major General Chuon Narin, said that he had received an order from National Police chief, General Neth Savoeun, to close all online and arcade gambling operations in the province including Sihanoukville, saying that "most casinos have ceased their online gambling operations."
Finance Ministry financial industry department deputy director-general, Ros Phearun, said on Monday that the ministry predicts tax revenue from the casino industry would drop by 12.5 percent dur to the ban.
“We will lose revenue from it, but we will earn other benefits such as the reduction of crime,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


KPK calls on police to reveal mastermind behind acid attack

Indonesian National Police have arrested two suspects believed to be members of the National Police for the attack on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan in April 2017, who was reportedly leading an investigation into a nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam

From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 1: Former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has called on the Indonesian National police to reveal the "mastermind" behind the acid attack on a senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator following the arrest of two suspects, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Indonesian National Police have arrested two suspects believed to have carried out the acid attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan at Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta in April 2017 .
Former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Busyro Muqoddas, 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.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack by two unidentified men riding a motorbike.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, was reportedly leading an investigation into a nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam that has incurred Rp 5.0 trillion ($US440million) in state losses and allegedly invovled several members of Parliament when he was attacked.
Former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Busyro Muqoddas, said that attacks on the residences of former KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo, former KPK deputy head Laode M Syarif and KPK investigator Afif Julian Miftah proves that "the attack on KPK investigator Novel Baswedan was not personal but an attack on the institution.
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established on 29 December 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted "a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court. The corruption courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia wants action against China coast guard vessels in Natuna waters

China's coast guard ship 3303 and Indonesia's Imam Bonjol warship 383 in the disputed Natuna waters on June 17

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 31: The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) called on Indonesia's Foreign Ministry on Monday to take immediate action over the alleged trespass of China vessels in the disputed Natuna waters, claimed by China in the 'nine-dash line' territorial map as located in the South China Sea, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) vice administrator Taufiqurrahman said that dozens of China coast guard vessels have escorted Indonesian traditional fishermen from the disputed Natuna waters in the Riau islands located along the southern part of the strategic Malacca Straits in the South China Sea.
He said he had informed the Foreign Ministry of the findings so that the government would take appropriate diplomatic measures, saying “I have written a letter regarding the situation on the ground".
He says that the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) recorded at least 63 China fishing and coast guard vessels in Natuna waters between December 19 and 24, saying that "the China vessels were in Indonesian territorial waters without authorisation."
In November Indonesia's Foreign Ministry Policy Analysis and Development Agency official, Siswo Pramonowas, said that "Indonesia is looking to Guam and Hawaii as a model to develop Natuna Islands into an international geotourist location while fortifying its northernmost borders in the South China Sea".
"The Foreign Ministry is seeking to nominate Natuna in the Riau Islands as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Global Geopark." he said.
Indonesia renamed the resource-rich Natuna Islands off the southern end of the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea, in the Indonesian territorial map issued in Jakarta in 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former communication minister escapes death in Hanoi People's Court

The Hanoi People's Court sentenced former minister of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Nguyen Bac Son, 66, left, to life in prison for bribery on Saturday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, December 30: The Hanoi People's Court sentenced former minister of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Nguyen Bac Son, 66, to life in prison for bribery on Saturday despite the Supreme People’s Procuracy prosecutor calling for the death penalty, reports the Vietnam News.
The Hanoi People's Court said that the family of former minister of the ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has returned the US$3 million paid in bribes, saying that "the Supreme People’s Procuracy prosecutor's call for the death penalty was not necessary."
The Supreme People’s Procuracy prosecutor had called on the judges at the Hanoi People's Court to hand down a jail term of between 16 and 18 years for breaches in public investment management causing the loss of VNDD7 trillion to the state and the death penalty for taking bribes.
The Hanoi People's Court said that former minister of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Nguyen Bac Son had no previous criminal record and had been awarded numerous certificates of merit for his work, saying that "his family has revolutionary traditions."
The former minister of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) was arrested in February on the orders of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and charged by the Supreme People’s Procuracy following the call in November last year by the Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption to hasten investigations into the State-owned Mobile Telecom Services Corporation (MobiFone) purchase of the private multimedia company Audio Visual Global (AVG).
In May 2015 Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong presented legislators with proposed amendments to the Penal Code including the death penalty for seven crimes at the National Assembly in Hanoi.
Amendments to the Penal Code included the abolition of the death penalty for seven of twenty-nine crimes that carry the death penalty in Vietnam.
Crimes that carry the death penalty include murder, armed robbery, treason, drug trafficking, the sexual abuse of children, economic crimes and corruption including the embezzlment of state property.
The proposed abolition of the death penalty for seven crimes include the embezzlment of state property, the destruction of national security facilities, treason, crimes against humanity, war crimes and drug trafficking.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodia gives indigenous communities title to traditional land

The Cambodian Land Management Ministry announced the registration of thousands of hectares of land to the indigenous at its annual meeting in Phnom Penh this week

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, December 29: The Cambodian Land Management Ministry has registered thousands of hectares of land to indigenous communities across Cambodia in order to preserve culture, traditions and customs,
reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Minister of Land Management Ministry, Chea Sophara, said that Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the ministry to continue with the work of registering land to indigenous communities, saying that "the ministry is to look after indigenous communities."
"So far the Land Management Ministry has registered 28,522 hectares of indigenous land to 3,033 families in 30 indigenous communities, resulting in the distribution of 819 land titles, he said.
He said that that the Ministry will continue to register indigenous land to ten communities a year, saying that "there are 24 different indigenous groups, accounting for 1.4 percent of the population in 15 provinces," he said.
He said the Land Management Ministry has issued identity certificates to 150 of the 455 indigenous communities in Cambodia, with the Interior Ministry recognising 139 communities.
Minister of Land Management Ministry, Chea Sophara, said that the ministry had encountered obstacles in the registration of land, saying that "communities have asked for larger areas of land and some indigenous lands overlap with land concessions and conservationa areas."
"Cambodia is the number one country in Southeast Asia in terms of indigenous land registration," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former election campaigner for Indonesia's presidential candidate Prabowo released from prison on bail

Political activist Ratna Sarumpaet, 70, who was released on bail from the Pondok Bambu Women's Penitentiary on Thursday, admitted to making the false claim, saying she was "the country's best hoax creator"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 28: A political activist and former election campaigner for losing presidential candidate Subianto Prabowo was released from on bail prison on Thursday after serving 15 months of a two-year sentence for falsly claiming that she had been attacked by supporters of winning incumbant presidential candidate Joko Widodo during last year's presidential election campaign, report the Jakarta Post.
Political activist Ratna Sarumpaet, 70, was convicted by the South Jakarta District Court in July 2019 for 'spreading hoaxes' and sentenced to two years in prison at the Pondok Bambu Women's Penitentiary.
The political activist, who is also an acclaimed theatrical producer, actress, film director, and writer, claimed that she had been attacked by a group of men during the presidential election campaign on a trip to Bandung, West Java last year, posting photographs showing severe bruising to her face on social media.
The postings on social media were reported on news broadcaster TV One during prime time viewing and in a segment in the broadcaster's most watch show, Indonesia Lawyers Club.
Indonesia's National Police found that on September 21 last year, the day that activist Sarumpaet Ratna claimed she was attacked by a group of young men who were reportedly supporters of incumbant presidential candidate, Joko Widodo, that the activist was a patient at the Bina Estetika Hospital in Menteng, Central Jakarta, undergoing cosmetic surgery to her face.
The National Police held a press conference on October 3 last year to announce the results of their investigation, saying that severe bruising to activist Ratna Sarumpaet's face as shown in the photographs were the temporary side effects of the cosmetic surgery.
Lawyer, Desmihardi, said that Ratna Sarumpaet was released after serving 15 months of a two-year sentence under the 1995 Correctional Institution law that allows parole after serving at least two-thirds of a jail term
"The Ministry of Law and Human Rights also gave her remission for Idul Fitri and August 17 Independence Day,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times



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


Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
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"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
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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
By Prashanth Parameswaran
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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