The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Monday 22 October 2018 
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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ASEAN adopts world's first military airspace guidelines

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, and chair of the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus eight countries, center, said he is confident the Plus eight will adopt the military airspace guidelines

From News Reports:
Singapore, October 22: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have adopted the worlds first Guidlines for Air Military Encounters (Games) at the 12th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) held in Singapore on Saturday, with the chairman calling on
the eight ADMM)-Plus countries to adopt the communication protocols in order to reduce accidents that could escalate into conflict, reports the Straits Times.
Singapore Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen, who is the chair of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus claimed that the guidlines were "not just a set of motherhood statements", saying that he is confident that the ASEAN Plus eight countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US would adopt the airspace guidelines.
"Any defence minister would recognise the need for these guidlines", he said.
He said that a physical incident changes "the name of the game" saying that "it creates a cascade of activities that cannot be controlled".
"Asean had not yet agreed on a code of conduct for the Guidlines for Air Military Encounters (Games)", he said.
"But the Asean agreement on the code of conduct on the airspace guilines provides moral encouragement including moral pressure on the eight Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus countries," he said.
"If Asean can agree on a code why can't Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US", he said.
Singapore Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen, handed the chair of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus for 2019 to Thailand on Saturday, with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwan saying that "the Kingdom of Thailand will build on cooperation and initiatives that Minister Ng Eng Hen and the Ministry of Defence of Singapore have successfully established."
The Southeast Asian Times


China calls for direct telephone links with ASEAN defence ministers

China State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, Wei Fenghe, center left, and Singapore Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen, center right, at the ASEAN-China Defence Ministers Informal meeting held in Singapore on Friday

From News Reports:
Singapore, October 21: The Asociation of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China pledged to promote defence cooperation at the ASEAN-China Defence Ministers' Informal meeting held in Singapore on Friday, with China calling for direct telephone links between defence authorities, reports Xinhua.
China State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, Wei Fenghe, who co-chaired the meeting with Singapore Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen, said that China supports an open and inclusive regional security framework with ASEAN in order to build a China-ASEAN community.
"China hopes to strengthen communication with the defense departments of ASEAN countries," he said.
He called on China and ASEAN to work towards direct telephone lines between defense authorities, joint drills and exercises and cooperation in disaster-relief and emergency-rescue operations.
ASEAN defense ministers reportedly expressed support for the promotion of ASEAN- China cooperation in defence and security including between think-tanks and military officials in order to maintain regional development and properity.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam calls on the United States to continue clean-up of Agent Orange

United States Defence Secretary James Mattis and Vietnam Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich in Hanoi on Wednesday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, October 20: Vietnam called on the United States Defence Secretary, James Mattis, to continue the United States support in combating the consequence of the United States war in Vietnam including "the clean-up of Agenct Orange at the Bien Hoa airbase", during his two day visit to Vietnam this week, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich called on the United States Defence Secretary, James Mattis, to continue the United States-sponsored cleanup of the defoiliant Agent Orange at the former United States Bien Hoa airbase in southern Dong Nai province.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis said he was committed to strengthening bilateral defence in maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and the remediation of the consequences of war in Vietnam.
"The results of the visit would form the basis for reporting to the United States Government and Congress on continued support for Vietnam to overcome the post-war consequences of dioxin," he said.
Viet Nam’s Defence Ministry and the United States Agency for International Development began the removal of the defoiliant Agent Orange at the Bien Hoa airbase in 2012.
The program to destroy about 73,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil and sediment at the former United States military base at Bien Hoa airbase was expected to cost about US $41 million in non-refundable funds from the United States government with reciprocal capital from the Viet Nam government.
In 2012 the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) began an international campaign that targeted the United States government and the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange to pay to clean up the contaminated soil wherever the contaminant was found in Viet Nam's environment.
The campaign also called for adequate compensation for about three million Vietnamese who were affected by the defoiliant Agent Orange.
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) represented more than 3 million Vietnamese Agent-Orange victims, who suffered the effects of the use of the defoiliant Agent Orange, at the International People's Tribunal of Conscience in Paris.
The International People's Tribunal of Conscience in Paris found that the United States military’s use of dioxins, including Agent Orange, in Viet Nam between 1961 and 1971 was a crime against humanity.
Tribunal President Jitendra Sharma delivered the finding of “gencocide” made by seven international judges after two days of hearing expert evidence including the testimony of three victims.
The Southeast Asian Times


Striking Myanmar garment factory workers attacked with metal rods

Myanmar workers protest at the Chinese owned Fu Yuen Garment factory in Dagon Seikan Industrial Zone, Yangon on Monday

From News Reports:
Yangon, October 19: Myanmar garment workers who have been on strike for 56 days were attacked with metal rods at the Chinese owned Fu Yuen Garment factory in Dagon Seikkan Industrial Zone on Monday, reports the Myanmar Times.
About 40 men weilding metal rods reportedly attacked 26 garment workers who were protesting against the sacking of union offcials and the violation of labour laws outside the Fu Yuen Garment factory on Monday, leaving six workers hospitalised with head injuries.
About 300 workers who have held three protest marches in Yangon since the sacking of 30 factory union officials in August are demanding increased wages for skilled workers and the reinstatement of the 30 sacked labour union officials.
“Our strike has been going on for 56 days and there has not been a settlement of our grievances", said Fu Yuen Garment factory, union chair, Ma Thet Htar Swe.
"We have a right to hold a strike and picket,” she said.
The Chinese owned Fu Yuen Garment factory that employes about 1400 workers in Dagon Seikkan Industrial Zone, sacked the 30 union officials without notice on August 20 on the grounds that they had delayed production and violated company rules.
Regional Labour Minister, U Zaw Aye Maung, said that the Myanmar authorities are having trouble taking action against the factory due to loopholes in the labour law even though they know there have been contract violations.
In February 2017 the Chinese embassy in Myanmar called for prompt and effective action against hundreds of striking garment workers who had occupied and destroyed a Chinese owned garment factory in Yangon in their demand for increased wages.
The Chinese embassy called on Myanmar's Ministry of Home Affairs and the Yangon regional government to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and the Chinese owned factory.
Myanmar authorities said then that they would protect the safety and interests of Chinese entrepreneurs in accordance with the law, promising to address their complaints as soon as possible.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia cautions Australia in proposal to recognise Jerusalem as capital

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno L.P. Marsudi

From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: Indonesia called on Australia to reconsider the formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, advising the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrision, to be cautious in his proposal to relocate the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, advised caution following the United States lead in December last year to relocate the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that “Indonesia conveys our strong concern to the Australian Prime Minister's announcement and questions its merit."
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrision who had previously said that Australia was committed to a two-state solution, said on Tuesday that he was "open-minded" to proposals to formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"Frankly it hasn't been going that well, not a lot of progress has been made, and you don't keep doing the same thing and expect different results," he said.
Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, reminded the Australian Prime Minister of Indonesia's position, saying that "Indonesia is a strong supporter of the two-state solution and an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital living side by side with Israel."
"Peace between Palestine and Israel would be negotiated in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and various peace negotiations in the United Nations General Assembly", she said.
"Indonesia has asked Australia and other countries to keep supporting the Palestine-Israel peace process in accordance with the principles that have been previously agreed upon, and not take action that could threaten the peace process itself and global security,” she said.
In December 2017 eight of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were included in the 128 countries that rejected the United States decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Laos is not a member of the United Nations Security Council.
The Philippines, an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country, was one of nine countries that included the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshal Islands, Togo, Micronesia and Nauru that opposed the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
The United Nations Security Council draft resolution called on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem.
China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France were among the 128 member countries that approved the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
Canada, Mexico and Australia were among the 35 registered absentions.
United States President Donald Trump reportedly acted under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that accepts Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and requires the United States to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the United States decision to relocate the embassy in December 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times


China's police take 91 scammers home from Cambodia

China's Guangzhou province police escort Chinese nationals accused of extortion in Cambodia to aircraft at Phnom Penh International airport for repatriation to China on Monday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 17: China's Guangzhou province police escorted 91 Chinese nationals including 21 women, accused of extorting money from victims in China, to Phnom Penh International airport for repatriation to China on Monday, reports Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodia General Department of Immigration head of investigations, Ouk Hay Seila, said that the Chinese nationals were deported from Cambodia for their involvement in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) extortion scams.
"The Chinese nationals were deported from Cambodia under the escort of 182 Guangzhou province police", he said.
He said that Chinese authorities would take further action for their involvement in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) extortion scams.
The Chinese nationals reportedly targeted Chinese civil servants, including teachers, nurses and court officials and high-ranking government officials who were unknowingly photographed by the scammers.
The scammers who reportedly began by finding information on outstanding charges on wealthy Chinese officials or businessmen, threatened to publish compromising photographs online if the victims did not pay.
The victims were approached by Chinese nationals who posed as police or officials from China's Attorney General's office and were threatened with exposure.
The scammers earned between $1,500 to $15,000 from each victim and could make between $30,000 to $40,000 each week.
The 91 suspects were arrested on September 29 at the Thansur Sokha Hotel within the Bokor National Park in Kampot province’s Toek Chhou district following a tip-off from China's police.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia says EU responsible for destruction of Cambodia's forests
From News reports:
Phnom Penh, October 16: Cambodia's environmentalists have called on the Eurpopean Union (EU) to postpone a timber trade deal with Vietnam until Vietnam declares a moratorium on illegal timber imports from Cambodia’s forests, saying that "the EU is responsible for the destruction of Cambodia's forests", reports the Khmer Times.
Environmental activist and chairman of the Cambodia Human Rights Task Forces, Ouch Leng said ahead of the EU trade deal on timber with Vietnam scheduled to be signed this month that "the EU must not sign the timber trade agreement with Vietnam".
He claims that Vietnam has been smuggling timber from Cambodia for decades, saying that "Vietnamese timber traders bribe Cambodian officials in the provinces."
"Indigenous people were coerced to sell their ancestral forests", he said.
He said that Vietnamese timber traders openly advertise Cambodian timber on the internet, saying that "most of the products on display are in violation of Cambodian export regulations."
“The EU must be clear in its willingness to protect forests and the environment,” he said.
He said that the EU prides itself on promoting international standards in its trade negotiations, saying that "the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with Vietnam lacks key provisions that are crucial for the VPA to fulfil its intended purpose.”
“The acceptance of a continuous flow of illegal timber from Cambodia puts the commitment of the Vietnamese government in doubt and thereby the viability of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) itself.”
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, said yesterday that he would seek advice about the VPA from his officials in Brussels, saying the “this is an issue for which the European Commission is responsible."
Cambodia's Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said that Cambodia was committed to protecting natural resources and conserving biodiversity in the country’s protected areas.
“The Ministry has strengthened its organisational capacity and is stepping up cooperation with concerned ministries and institutions,” he said.
In November 2017 Vietnamese woman, Nguven Thimai, 39, was arrested on the Cambodian-Thai border with possession and transporting
"luxury timber" without authorization under the Forestry Law, reportedly purchasing the timber from loggers for transportation to Vietnam.
Police raided her warehouse in Cambodia's Meanchey province, seizing a large stockpile of timber, trucks and vehicles.
She faces five years in prison and a fine of up to ten million reil (US$2,500) if convicted.
The Southeast Asian Times

Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim to be sworn in today
Anwar Ibrahim, 70, said his victory was a vote of confidence for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Alliance of Hope and its reform agenda
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 15: Anwar Ibrahim, 70, is to be sworn in as Port Dickson Member of Parliament today on the re-convening of the Parliament after securing a mandate with a 23,560-vote majority at the by-election on Friday, reports the Star.
Parliament secretary Roosme Hamzah said that the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Port Dickson MP was on top of the agenda when the Parliament re-convened.
"Anwar Ibrahim's swearing-in will be the first order of the day when the Dewan Rakyat convenes", he said.
Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said that the majority secured by People's Justice Party (PJP) president-elect, Anwar Ibrahim was higher than the three previous by-elections.
He said that the majority secured by Anwar was the largest in the history of the constituency despite a low voter turnout of only 58.25 percent of the 68,317 eligible to cast their ballots in Friday's by-election.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison on a royal pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after serving three years of a five -year jail sentence for sodomy in the week following the swearing in on May 10 of newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Anwar Ibrahim was convicted in February 2105 and sentenced to five years imprisonment in what he says is a "political conspiracy" by ruling party, Barisan national (BN) lead by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Last month Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he will honour the agreement made by his party the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance party, that he would remain interim prime minister for two years, before handing over to former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim
Prime minister Mahathir said that "much was done to replace the previous Prime Minister Najib Razak", saying that demonstrations, an attempt to move a no-confidence motion in Parliament, lodging police reports including a People Declaration rejecting the leadership of the now former Prime Minister Najib Razak goverment were included in the effort to oust the previous Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Mahathir reportedly told Malaysian that they could do likewise if they were dissatisfied with his successor Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar Ibrahim, described his victory as a political milestone and a vote of confidence for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Alliance of Hope government and its reform agenda.
“What is astounding to me is that we have managed to garner favourable support from all ethnic groups,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines conduct nationwide offensive against "Red October"

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade claims that the "Red October" plot to oust Philippine President Duterte was to be carried out by students at 18 “Red-tagged”Philippine universities

From News Reports:
Manila, October 14: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have conducted a nationwide coordinated tactical offensive against "Red October" an alleged plot to ouster Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, claims that the "Red October" plot to oust Philippine President Duterte was to be carried out by students.
He claims that students from 18 top Philipine universities including and colleges in metro Manila had been recruited by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA) to oust the president from office.
"The plot was set off by a nationwide coordinated tactical offensive between October 11 and October 17," he said.
Philippine President Duterte reportedlly said that the ouster plot was "hatched" by opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Magdalo party list, the Liberal Party (LP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA).
“It might be a loose conspiracy but they are into it,” he said.
Secretary of National Defence of the Philippines, Maj. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, maintained that the plot to oust the Philippine President was "real and looming" despite denials that there was such a plot from opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Magdalo party list, the Liberal Party (LP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, Jose Ma Sison.
Secretary of National Defence of the Philippines, Maj. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, who described the "Red October" ouster plot as "real and looming" claimed on Saturday that "Red October" had been discovered, saying that "the plot is no longer feasible".
"It's a goner" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia stops death row executions

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, said at the “Law Reform Talk” at Universiti Malaya on Wednesday that "the death penalty will be abolished. Full Stop."

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 13: More than 1200 death row inmates are set to win a reprieve with Malaysia's decision to abolish the death penalty to be tabled in the next Parliament sitting on Monday, reports Agence France Presse.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, said that the Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, saying "as of now all executions have been halted".
"The Attorney General (AG) has given the green light for the abolishment of the death penalty to be tabled in Parliament", he said.
He said that the Pardons Board will be instructed to either commute or release death row inmates.
The death penalty in Malaysia is mandatory for 12 offences including murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms, drug trafficking and treason with 20 other offences punishable with discretionary death penalty.
The moratorium on the death penalty would save Indonesian national Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, charged with the assasination of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the Kuala Lumpur international airport last year.
Australian citizen Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, who was found guilty of drug smuggling by an appeals court in May, will also win a reprieve.
The 54-year-old grandmother was arrested in December 2014 after she was found in possession of 1.1 kilograms (2.4 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine while in transit from at Kuala Lumpur airport from Shanghai to Melbourne.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, said that the government is considering the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar separatists release Christians held for extremist teachings
From News Reports:
Yangon, October 12: The United Wa State Army (UWSA), a separatist organisation of the military wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP) that seeks autonomy from the Myanmar government has released 100 Christians, arrested last month for "extremist teachings", reports the Myanmar Times.
The 100 Baptists from the Lahu Baptist Convention were arrested in Myanmar's Shan state on the China and Thai border for reportedly causing instability in the state that is administered by the Wa National Council (WNC) and reportedly supported by China.
Lahu Baptist Convention general secretarty, Rev Dr Lazarus, said that the Christian Baptists were freed on the condition that they signed pledges that they would pray at home and not in churches.
"Seven priests who refused to sign the document are still being detained", he said.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) spokesman, U Nyi Rang, said that "such measures are necessary"
He said that Shan state is preparing to celebrate the 30th Peace Festival on April 17 next year, saying that "we want stability and rule of law in our area".
"Extremists will be arrested," he said.
Last month the United Wa State Army (UWSA), arrested more than 100 Christians including students of the Hotao Lahu Baptist Bible School, forcing them to serve in the United Wa State Army (UWSA).
Kachin Baptist Convention, chairman, Reverend Hkalam Samson, said that the Christians were arrested because they had burned traditional religious icons worshipped by Wa people, saying that "the Baptists were propagating Christianity by belittling Wa traditional religious practices."
"That’s why they were arrested and their Christian churches closed,” he said.
Townships along China and Thai borders that include Hopan, Mine Maw, Pangwaing, Narhpan, Metman and Panghsang are reportedly populated by 17 ethnic groups including the Wa, Arkhar, Larhu, Kachin, Shan, Myanmar, Chinese, and Kokant.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia's national debt due to corruption under Najib Razak
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 11: Malaysia has called for increased taxes to pay the national debt that stands at US$250 billion, with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng saying that the national debt has "snowballed" due to the corrupt practices of the previous government, reports the Associated Press.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng claim that it will take the government three years to resolve its fiscal woes, saying that "the discovery of a further US$8.4 billion in unpaid tax refunds that were not disclosed by the previous Najib Razak government, added to the national debt of US$250 billion.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested in July for his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of which he was the Finance Minister and chairman.
The former Prime Minister was charged under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, for the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), alledging that the former Prime Minister deposited US$700 million from 1MDB funds into his personal account.
In August newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad suspended China's Belt and Road funded projects worth more than US22 billion that included work on the East Coast Rail Link project from the Thai border to Kuala Lumpur for over pricing.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad halted work on a further two projects worth more than US$2.3 billion awarded to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau that was reportedly linked to the misappropriation of funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)
He said that Malaysia's national debt of US250 billion was due to the "quick deals cut with Beijing" in return for help to pay off debts linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia's fiscal problems have turned Malaysia from an 'Asian tiger' into a 'small kitten'.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai district official arrested for poaching in national park

Sai Yok National Park rangers in Kanchanaburi province seized weapons and protected wildlife after stopping and searching a convoy of vehicles leaving the national park

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 10: A group of fifteen Thai's including a Dan Makham Tia district official and three children were arrested and charged with poaching as they left the Sai Yok National Park in Kanchanaburi province on Sunday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Sai Yok National Park rangers arrested the group as they left the national park in a convoy of six vehicles, seizing a rifle with a silencer, a pistol, ammumition and four Asian bearcat paws, a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The group including Dan Makham Tia district official, Watcharachai Sameerak, who had been in the national park for two days when arrested, were taken to the Sai Yok National Park Rangers office where they were met by the Thai military and questioned by Thai police.
The group was charged with the illegal possession of wildlife and wildlife poaching under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The group denied they had killed any animals including the Asian bearcat, claiming they had purchased the protected wildlife from local villagers.
Dan Makham Tia district official, Watcharachai Sameerak, one of the group of 15 who was questioned by police at the Sai Yok National Park Rangers office refused a body search and threatened to sue the rangers and police for wrongful arrest.
District official, Watcharachai Sameerak, claimed that the group had visited a Buddhist monastery and stayed at the monastry overnight and did not take part in any illegal activity, saying that "a member of the group had purchased the Asian bearcat paws."
Sai Yok National Park chief, Panatchakorn Phothibandhit, said that the group would have to prove their claim, saying that "their guns would be sent for forensic examination."
Kanchanaburi governor Jeerakiat Phumsawat said on Monday that Dan Makham Tia district official, Watcharachai Sameerak, charged
under the Wildlife Protection Act, had been dismissed and two volunteers in the district had been suspended pending investigation into their role in illegal poaching of wildlife in the national park.
The Southeast Asian Times

United States and North Korea agree to second meeting on denuclerization

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and
State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea chairman, Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday

From News Reports:
Pyongyang, October 9: The State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea chairman, Kim Jong Un, has agreed to hold a second summit with United States President Donald Trump on the denuclerization of the Korean peninsula, at a meeting with United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang on Sunday, reports Agence France Presse.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that North Korea chairman, Kim Jong Un "agreed to hold the second US-North Korea summit at the earliest date possible."
United States Secretary of State said after the private meeting followed by a luncheon hosted by North Korea chairman, Kim Jong Un, that there was "progress on agreements"
The United States Secretary of State, said the meeting with the North Korea chairman, was held to discuss "denuclearisation steps to be taken by North Korea and the attendance by the US government."
The US Secretary of State said that "corresponding measures for denuclearisation to be taken by the United States," were also discussed.
In September South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Un, agreed to the denuclerization of the Korean peninsula at a three day inter-Korean summit held in North Korea's captial, Pyongyang, saying that "the era of no war has started"
The meeting between North and South Korea in Pyongyang that included a signed agreement to put an end to the military drills along the Military Demarcation Line follows the Singapore Summit held in June attended by US President Donald Trump and North Korea chairman, Kim Jong Un.
US President Donald Trump hailed the Singapore Summit in June a success, saying that "the North Korean nuclear threat was over" despite
US officials including United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, involved in the negotiations saying that North Korea has not begun talks on defining denuclearization.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the Singapore Summit that "the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was the only outcome that the United States will accept."
The Southeast Asian Times


Memorial for student massacre held at Bangkok's Thammasat university

A memorial held to observe the 42nd anniversary of the Oct 6, 1976 student massacre at Thammasat University on Saturday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 8: A memorial for Thai students killed at the Thammasat university on 6 October 1976 by reportedly anti-communist Royal Thai Military Police was held on campus at the Bangkok university on Saturday, reports the Bangkok Post.
A memorial for the massacre of up to 100 students, 167 injured and 3000 arrests was held in the gardens of the Thammasat Unverstity to mark the 42nd anniversary of the massacre.
The students were reportedly massacred on the Thammasat campus football oval where they protested the return from exile in Singapore of former pro-United States anti-communist Royal Thai military commander, Thanom Kittikachorn.
Royal Thai military commander, Thanom Kittikachorn and his allies fled Thailand for exile in the United States and Singapore following Thai demands for a general election.
Student demands for a return to a constitutional government and a new parliament led to the 14 October 1973 uprising.
Three days of violance followed the fall of Royal Thai military command and a restoration of democratic rule in Thailand.
Pheu Thai Party member of parliament, Sutham Saengprathum, who was reportedly one of the leaders of the student protest against the return of Royal Thai military rule in 1976, attended the memorial on Saturday together with Pheu Thai Party member, Vorachai Hema, Thai Democrat Party member, Ong-art Klampaiboon, Prachachart Party members, Uttarasin and Muk Sulaiman and Future Party member, Chamnan Chanruang.
The former dean of Thammasat university, Charnvit Kasetsir, also attended the memorial.
Current assistant dean of the Thammasat University, Boonsom Akkarathammakul, said that lessons should be drawn from the massacre "now that Thailand is heading for elections" saying "it's normal to have a difference of opinion".
"The question is how to deal with the differing opinions," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Wife of ousted Malaysian PM claims trial to charges of money laundering

Rosmah Mansor, 67, ordered by the court to surrender her passport and refrain from initiating contact with potential witnesses

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, September 7: Wife of ousted Malaysian prime Minister, pleaded not guilty to 17 charges of money laundering at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, claiming trial on all charges, reports the New Straits Times.
Rosmah Mansor, 67, claimed trial on charges under the Malaysia Anti- Corruption Commission (MACC) Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFA) 2001 that reportedly included the deposit of over RM7 million illicit funds into her personal account.
The arrest of Rosmah Mansor on Wednesday followed the arrest of her husband former prime minister Najib Razak, last month for his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of which he was Finance Minister and Chairman.
The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) charged the former prime minister under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, alledging that the former Prime Minister deposited RM2.6 billion of 1MDB funds into his personal account.
Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set bail at RM2 million, ordering Rosmah Mansor to surrender her passport and refrain from initiating contact with potential witnesses.
"She must pay RM500,000 today, and the remaining RM1.5 million by 11 October, he said.
Rosmah Mansor faces a maximum jail term of 15 years and a fine of up to RM5 million for each of the charges if convicted.
Last month, lawyers for Dubai jewellers, Adi Hasan AlFardan Jewellery, called on the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) to return jewellery valued at US$5million, reportedly in the possession of Rosmah Mansor that was seized in a raid on the home of ousted Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak in May, claiming that Rosmah Mansor did not own the jewelery.
In May the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash, jewellery, womens brand name handbags contained in 284 boxes in raids on apartments owned by the family members of ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director, Comm Amar Singh, said then that "police found US$28.6 million notes stuffed in 35 womens handbags bags in one apartment.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian government to pay wages owed by garment factory owners
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 6: Cambodia's Labour Ministry is to pay unpaid wages to garment workers at the LIDA Garment factory in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district that was abandoned by its owner, Zhou Gong Bing, who fled Cambodia leaving 257 workers jobless and with unpaid wages, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Labour Ministry officials and Cambodian Workers Union Federation worker (WUFW) representatives have called on all employees of the defunct Lida Garment factory to claim their wages, instructing the workers to present identification including employee ID or pay slip, National Social Security Fund card and national ID or Passport.
The Labour Ministry has reportedly allocated more that $4 million to pay LIDA Garment workers following a rally held by the workers at the abandoned factory last month that was attended by Cambodian Workers Union Federation worker (WUFW) representatives.
Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Labour minister, Ith Sam Heng, to use a special budget to compensate the workers, find them new jobs and provide a mechanism to prevent factory owners from abandoning their factories and fleeing Cambodia.
In April, 100 workers from the abandoned First Gawon Apparel garment factory marched on Phnom Penh’s Meanchey District Hall seeking unpaid wages from the abandoned Korean-owned company, saying they were owed four months wages.
The workers said they guarded the factory fearing that the managers would remove the equipment and machinery.
In March, the Labour Ministry issued a statement saying that the government would seize company assets if factory owners abandoned factories without paying all wages owed to their workers saying that "the Labour Ministry would seize and sell factory assets and use the proceeds to pay the workers."
In February, the government distributed $4.6 million to compensate workers from nine garment factories that had been abandoned and whose owners had fled Cambodia without paying wages owed to employees.
The Southeast Asian Times

Canada revokes honorary citizenship bestowed on Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada in June 2017

From News Reports:
Yangon, October 5: Canada's honorary citizenship bestowed in 2007 on Mayanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, in a unanimous House of Commons resolution was revoked on Tuesday following a unanimous senate vote last week, reportedly for alleged human rights violations against Rohingya muslims forced to flee Myanmar's Rahine state for Bangladesh, reports Rueters.
Canada's Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar said that the decision by the senate to revoke honorary citizenship is "an appropriate message to send to Aung San Suu Kyi, to Myanmar and to the world".
"We need to send a strong signal in Canada and around the world that if you're an accomplice to genocide, you are not welcome here. Certainly not as an honorary Canadian citizen," she said.
The Senate formally revoked the symbolic honour, bestowed on Aung San Suu Kyi while she was under house arrest in Yangon, following the United Nations Human Rights Council's Fact-Finding Mission report on Myanmar last month that accused the Myanmar military of "genocidal intent" and that called for its commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law.
The honorary Canadian citizenship was presented to Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon in 2012 by the then Canadian foreign minister John Baird on her release from house arrest and included the lifting of sanctions.
A petition calling for a reversal of the decision to bestow Canadian citizenship on Aung San Suu Kyi was put to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September last year following allegations of human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims.
The petition that raised 6000 signatures in 48 hours was supported by the Canadian Burmese Royingya Organization (CBRO) whose chairman Nur Hashim called for the Canadian government to take more Rohingya refugees
The exudus of Rohingya Muslims across the Mynmar border to Bangladesh follows Myanmar's retaliation to the assualt on police outposts and military bases by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) reportedly carried out assaults on police outposts and on a military base in northern Rakhine state on August 25 in what the Myanmar government calls "extremist terrorist" attacks by Muslim insurgents.
The United Nations has urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, and the ASEAN community to take action against the alleged ongoing abusive military action against the Rohingya Muslims who Myanmar calls "Bengalis".
Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN calls Myanmar to account for humanitarian disaster in Rakhine state

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week that "if the situation in Rakhine state was left to "fester" it could lead to the spread of terrorism which would threaten Southeast Asia and beyond

From News Reports:
Singapore, October 4: Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called on Myanmar to give a full mandate to an Independent Commission of Enquiry to hold those responsible for the violance in Myanmar's Rakhine state accountable, with Singapore's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, calling the violence "a man-made humanitarian disaster," reports Rueters.
Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan claimed at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week that violence in Myamar's Rakhine state is a man-made humanitarian disaster, saying that "it should not be happening in this day and age.”
Foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan called for the Myanmar government to give a full mandate to the Independent Commission of Enquiry following the United Nations Human Rights Council's Fact-Finding Mission report on Myanmar last month.
"Asean has expressed grave concern with the alleged acts of violence that have led to loss of life, injuries, destruction of homes, and displacement of large numbers of people," he said.
The United Nations report reportedly accused the Myanmar military of "genocidal intent" and called for its commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law.
He said that the Myanmar government does not recognise the United Nations report, saying that "Myanmar did not extend the United Nations mission any cooperation."
Foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that "not a single refugee had returned to Myanmar" since the signing of an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh for the repatriation of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar's Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh last year.
"Asean stands ready to help facilitate repatriation in any way possible," he said.
The exudus of Rohingya Muslims across the Mynmar border to Bangladesh last year follows Myanmar's retaliation including destruction of homes to the assualt on police outposts and military bases by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) reportedly carried out assaults on police outposts and on a military base in northern Rakhine state on August 25 in what the Myanmar government called "extremist terrorist" attacks by Muslim insurgents.
Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had aimed to "undermine the efforts of the government to find a lasting solution to what Myanmar calls illegal migrants.
Majority Buddhist Myanmar reportedly considers the Muslim Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh but Bangladesh rejects the Rohingya's, rendering them stateless.
The United Nations has urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, and the ASEAN community to take action against the alleged ongoing abusive military action against the Rohingya Muslims who Myanmar calls "Bengalis".
The Southeast Asian Times


"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


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 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here




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
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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

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

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

 

Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open 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 local property sales and marketing company, Min Zin Agency, in Yangon to sell condos in Singapore.
Managing director of the Min Zin Agency in Yangon, Ko Kyaw Min Zin, said that Singapore's Far East Organization has expanded its sales and marketing efforts into Myanmar.
“The Far East Organisation has been selling their Singapore properties to Myanmar buyers since 2009,” he said.
The Far East Organisation reportedly have over 750 properties in Singapore’s residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors,
including 45,500 or one in every six private homes in Singapore listed with the Min Zin Agency in Yangon.
The Southeast Asian Times


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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
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

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