The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
Darwin Ha Noi Cairns Singapore Derby Bangkok Port Hedland Kuala Lumpur Kununurra Manila Townsville Denpasar HCM City Surabaya Penang Dili Port Moresby Phuket Phnom Penh Jakarta
established 2000
 
Sunday 24 February 2019
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


Read the letters to The Southeast Asian Times...open here

MILF chairman sworn in as interim chief minister in Muslim Mindanao

Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who was designated chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF ) Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines in July 2011, was sworn in by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as the interim Chief Minister in the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) formerly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on Friday
From News Reports:
Manila, February 24: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte swore in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim as the interim Chief Minister of the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) formerly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on Friday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim is to lead the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will govern the five-province Bangsamoro region until the election of members to its Parliament in 2022.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a revolutionary organization that represents the effort for self-determination in Mindanao called on the Philippine government to remain committed to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) following the failure of the Philippine Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) for the second time under the Benigno Aquino III administration in February 2016.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF ) chairman Murad Ebrahim said on the election of of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to President in May 2016 that "it was a historic victory" .
The MILF chairman said on the inauguration of new President Duterte that the MILF "remains higly optimistic and confident that the Rodrigo Duterte victory would carry with it the MILF hopes and aspirations for peace and justice in Mindanao.
In June 2018 the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamaoro Basic Law (BBL) was submitted to President Duterte for his signature in preparation for re-submission to the Philippine Congress by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“I make the solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to charter their own destiny within the constitutional framework of our country,” he said.
Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill allows for a wealth and power sharing arrangement between the Philippine government and the proposed Bangsamoro political entity and includes the surrender of weapons in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) formerly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that is to be dissolved with the passing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL).
The Southeast Asian Times


Lawyer for ousted PM Najib Razak charged with money laundering

Lawyer, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, 47, for former ousted prime minister Najib Razak, was charged with money laundering yesterday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 23: Lawyer for former ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, who is under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds, was charged with money laundering in the Kuala Lumpur sessions court yesterday, reports the New Straits Times,
Lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun, 47, was charged with two counts of money laundering for depositing a total of RM15 million from the alleged proceeds of the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in his legal firms account in 2014.
Lawyer for the former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak is charged with depositing RM11,500,000 and a further RM3,500,000 in AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheques written by the former prime minister into the Client Account of Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak (HWAM) at CIMB Bank Bhd.
He has denied committing the offences allegedly at the office CIMB Bank’s PWTC branch in Kuala Lumpur between April 16, 2014 and Nov 4, 2014.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam set bail at RM500,000 and ordered the surrender of his passport to the court.
The lawyer said that he was acting for the former ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak in two civil court cases including the Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament lawsuit against the former prime minister and the government for 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 Najib Razak was charged in October 2018 under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, with the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) with allegations that the former prime minister deposited US$700mil of 1MDB funds into his personal account.
Lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun is the second lawyer for former prime minister Najib Razak charged with money laundering since the elections in
May 2018 with the election of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has pleaded not guilty to two counts of money laundering that included the receipt of RM9.5 million ringgit in checks in 2013 and 2104 written by prime minister Najib Razak.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bishop defies Duterte - tells voters not to vote for death penalty

Bishop Broderick Pabillo has called on voters not to vote for candidates who support the death penalty
From News Reports:
Manila, February 22: The Catholic Church has called on voters in the Philippines May elections not to vote for candidates who support president Dutertes drive to restore the death penalty and to lower the age of criminal responsibility, in defiance of the President who said that priests should not use religious authority to criticise the government, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that although the Church would not dictate who Filipinos should vote for, the church discouraged voters from voting for candidates who supported the Duterte administration’s push to restore the death penalty and lower the age of criminal responsibility.
"Voters should go for candidates who valued life and respected human rights", he said.
The Bishop said that President Duterte "appeared to misunderstand the role of the Church when he said that priests should not use religious authority to criticize the government."
"Church officials who criticize are not criticizing the administration as an administration but its policies,” he said.
Last week the Philippines Catholic dioceses issued directives against the posting of political posters on church premises and prohibited priests from engaging in politics during the 90-day national campaign for the May elections that began February 12.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona banned political posters from church premises in their dioceses saying “we have issued a pastoral directive that there will be no political posters on church patios and fences.”
The Bishop said that church people who work for political candidates must take leave of absence, saying that priests were prohibited from holding mass weddings, baptisms and confirmations under the sponsorship of any political candidate or party.
The 90-day national campaign for over 60 senatorial candidates and 154 party-list groups in the May elections began with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warning against electoral offenses.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) released the names of 62 senatorial candidates registered to campaign in the May elections and 154 accredited party-list groups seeking seats in the House of Representatives last month.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine Supreme Court extends martial law over Muslim Mindanao

The Philippines Supreme Court extended martial law for the third time over Mindanao in the southern Philippines to December 31 on Tuesday
From News Reports:
Manila, February 21: The Supreme Court affirmed the legality of the third extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus over the whole of Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines until December 31, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Nine justices of the Supreme court voted in favor of the extension with four dissenting despite opposition to the extention from legislators who claim that the extention is unconstitutional and that the state of rebellion in Muslim Mindanao claimed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte does not exist.
Political party Bayan Muna, Gabriela National Alliance of Women's Organizations, Sangguniang Kabataan youth council, Samahang Magdalo nationalist organisation and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) claims that the Supreme Court is a rubber stamp for Malacanan, saying that the extension of martial law was upheld despite there being no grounds for the extention.
“The Supreme Court has once again stretched the boundaries of judicial interpretation by upholding Congress’ approval of President Duterte’s extension of martial law in Mindanao", said Bayan Muna party chairman, Neri Colmenares.
"It paves the way for imposing martial law nationwide even if there is no threat to public safety,” he said.
"The Supreme Court had once again proven that it had submitted itself to the whims of the Duterte administration," said Gabriela National Alliance of Women's Organizations, spokeswoman Arlene Brosas.
“Where will Filipino women and the people turn to for justice and accountability during these dark times of impunity if the Supreme Court itself is already an appendage of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its Commander in Chief?” she said.
Samahang Magdalo nationalist organisation, spokesman, Gary Alejano, said that “instead of being a vanguard of justice and rationality, the Supreme Court has shown otherwise.”
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) spokesman, Antonio Tinio, said that the Supreme Court had no basis to declare the third extension of martial law in Mindanao constitutional.
“The only terrorism still lurking in Mindanao is state terrorism, brought by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, paramilitary forces and the Philippine National Police who drive lumad children out of their schools, illegally detain people without warrants of arrest, charge them with trumped-up cases and tag them as terrorists,” he said.
Last month opposition legislator, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said that the Supreme Court had ruled in previous petitions that had questioned the imposition of martial law that there must be an actual rebellion and that public safety must be at risk before martial law can be imposed or extended.
The opposition legislator argued that President Duterte’s December 6, 2018 letter to Congress that initiated a third extension of martial law “failed to demonstrate the sufficient factual basis for his request, while his allegations of lawless violence and terrorism were not connected to rebellion.”
"The President admitted that the alleged rebellion has been significantly placed under control,” he said.
In December 2018 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on congress to extend martial law over the southern Philippine province of Mindanao for another year on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo said President Duterte was “compelled” to extend martial law in Mindanao in order to strengthen economic development that can only be achieved if there is peace and order.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who was the mayor of Davao City in Mindanao before he was elected president in May 2016, declared martial law over the southern Philippines a year later following the occupation of Marawi City by Abu Sayyaf Maute ISIS fighters, saying then that "the proclamation will last 60 days."
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar workers call for labour laws in line with ILO

Workers led by the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) and Myanmar Industrial Craft Services - Trade Unions Federation (MICS TUsF) marched on Mandalay City Park calling for labour laws in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO)
From News Reports:
Yangon, February 20: Thousands of Mandalay workers called on the government to ammend and enact laws to protect and promote the welfare of workers in the draft labour law, calling for labour laws in line with the Interntional Labour Organisation (ILO), reports the Myanmar Times.
About 1000 workers led by the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) and Myanmar Industrial Craft Services - Trade Unions Federation (MICS TUsF) marched on Mandalay on Sunday calling for the government to bring the labour law in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
Myanmar Industrial Craft Services - Trade Unions Federation (MICS TUsF) general secretary U Thet Hnin Aung said that the Myanmar parliament was not listening to workers.
"The laws on leave and holidays and on the settlement of labour disputes have not been drafted in consultation with the workers", he said.
The Myanmar Times reports that the Myanmar Ministry of Labour draft labour law includes provisions that are not supported by labour unions including retraints on the right to organise.
Myanmar Industrial Craft Services - Trade Unions Federation (MICS TUsF) general secretary U Thet Hnin Aung said that worker dismissal rates are rising.
"The government is not addressing the rise in worker dismissals", he said.
The workers reportedly called for freedom of association and the right to organise, the development of a labour court, the right of state workers to form unions, the lifting of restrictions imposed on construction workers, protection of workers in special economic zones, and bringing the labour law in line with International Labour Organization standards.
“The government draft labour law oppresses labour unions,” said U Thet Hnin Aung.
In October 2018 Myanmar 300 garment workers who had been on strike for 56 days were attacked with metal rods at the Chinese owned Fu Yuen Garment factory in Dagon Seikkan Industrial Zone.
About 40 men weilding metal rods reportedly attacked 26 garment workers outside the Fu Yuen Garment factory, who were protesting against the sacking of 30 factory union offcials and the violation of labour laws, leaving six workers hospitalised with head injuries.
“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,” she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai Princess Ubolratana cannot be PM says Election Commission

From News reports:
Bangkok, February 19: The Thai Election Commission (EC) has rejected the Thai Raksa Chart Party nomination of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, as a candidate for prime minister while approving 69 other nominees for prime minister from 45 political parties, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Election Commission (EC) said that among the nominees for prime minister from the political parties that have been approved for the March 24 Thai elections is Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-ch whe was nominated by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).
The Election Commission (EC) rejected the Thai Raksa Chart Party's nomination of Princess Ubolratana as its candidate for prime minister on Monday, citing the Thai Royal ruling that members of the royal family are above politics and are not permitted to stand for election.
Princess Ubolratana who relinquished her royal status in 1972, when she married a

The Thai Election Commission (EC) rejected the Thai Raksa Chart Party nomination of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, as a candidate for prime minister, citing the Thai Royal ruling that members of the royal family are above politics and are not permitted to stand for election
"commoner" an American, claims that she is a "commmoner with the freedom and rights of an ordinary Thai to register with the Election Commission (EC) to be the candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party.
“My acceptance of the Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its PM candidate is a constitutional right, not a privilege,” she said.
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn says that although princess Ubolratana, who is the eldest daughter of late Thai King Bhumibol and the elder sister of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has relinquished her royal status she is still a royal family member by tradition, saying that "the princess still performed activities on behalf of the royal family."
The Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Pol Col, Jarunvith Phumma, said that the Commissions decision for candidates for prime minister was final and that there are no legal channels for parties to appeal the decision.
The Thai Election Commission (EC) has recommended that the Constitutional Court dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) for nominating Princess Ubolratana to be its prime ministerial candidate, with Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Charungwit Phumma saying that the commission had found that the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) is in breach of Section 92 of the 2018 Political Parties Act.
"The registration by the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) of Princess Ubolratana as a presidential candidate is deemed hostile to the constitutional monarchy," he said.
Section 92 reportedly states that credible evidence that a political party has committed an act deemed hostile to the constitutional monarchy, the Election Commission (EC) must propose the dissolution of the political party to the Constitutional Court.
The Southeast Asian Times


Assassins get death penalty for murder of Myanmar Muslim lawyer

Thousands of mourners gathered in Myanmar's capital to bury Muslim lawyer, U Ko Ni, 65, who was shot dead at the Yangon International airport in 2017
From New Reports:
Yangon, February 18: A Yangon court sentenced four men convicted of the murder of Muslim lawyer, U Ko Ni, 65, who was shot dead on January 27, 2017 at the Yangon airport in what the National League for Democracy (NLD) party said was a "political assassination", with party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, saying that he was killed for his constitutional reform work and not because of inter-communal tensions to do with religion or Buddhist-Muslim conflict, reports the Myanmar Times.
Gunman U Kyi Lin, U Aung Win Zaw, a former Myanmar military officer, accomplices U Zeyar Phyo and U Aung Wi Tun were convicted of premeditated murder under section 302(1)(b) of the Penal Code and sentenced to death for the murder of member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), U Ko Ni.
The four men were charged with the murder of lawyer U Ko Ni, a pro-democracy advocate, who worked as a constitutional lawyer advising the National League for Democracy (NLD) on charter reform, at the Yangon Northern District Court on March 17, 2017.
U Ko Ni, a lawyer and a member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), was part of a 21-member government delegation including Myanmar Information Minister, U Pe Myint, the Myanmar Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, and the Myanmar Home Affairs Minister for Arakan State returning from Indonesia when he was shot dead at the Yangon International airport.
A member of the team who traveled with U Ko Ni to Indonesia said that “It seemed that the gunman knew the exact time of his arrival and was waiting to shoot him.”
U Ko Ni was reportedly shot in the head at close range as he was about to leave the Yangon International Airport.
Yangon International Airport security guard, U Aung Myint Oo, said that U Ko Ni " fell bleeding to the ground and died on the spot,”
The gunman, identified as U Kyi Lin from Mandalay, reportedly also shot and killed a taxi driver who with others had attempted to stop the gunman.
Taxi drivers held the gunman, until police arrived and placed him under arrest.
The taxi drivers said that the gunman shouted “You can’t act like that,” before opening fire.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) 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 Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of Parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai Election Commission recommends dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart Party

Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) official, Preechapol Pongpanich, says that the party is loyal to Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and all members of the royal family
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 17: The Thai Election Commission (EC) recommends that the Constitutional Court dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) for nominating Princess Ubolratana to be its prime ministerial candidate, who as a royal family member is not permitted to take a political position, reports the Bangkok Post.
Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Charungwit Phumma said the commission had found that the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) is in breach of Section 92 of the 2018 Political Parties Act.
"The registration by the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) of Princess Ubolratana as a presidential candidate is deemed hostile to the constitutional monarchy," he said.
The Election Commission (EC) must reportedly propose the dissolution of the political party to the Constitutional Court under Section 92 if evidence is provided that the political party has committed an act deemed hostile to the constitutional monarchy.
Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) official, Preechapol Pongpanich, said that the party has suspended party activities for seven days in order to prepare a defence for alleged breach of Section 92 of the 2018 Political Parties Act and hostile to the constitutional monarchy.
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn claims that Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, who registered as a candidate for Prime Minister for the Thai Raksa Chart Party with the Election Commission, is not permitted to take a political position .
Princess Ubolratana who relinquished her royal status in 1972, when she married a "commoner" an American, claimed that she is a "commmoner" with the freedom and rights of an ordinary Thai to register to be the candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party.
“My acceptance of the Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its PM candidate is a constitutional right, not a privilege,” she said
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn said in a statement published in the Royal Gazette that although princess Ubolratana, who is the eldest daughter of late King Bhumibol and the elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has relinquished her royal status, she is still a royal family member by tradition, saying that "the princess still performed activities on behalf of the royal family"
"Bringing a high-ranking member of the royal family to politics in whatever manner, is an act in violation of the royal tradition and national culture and
highly inappropriate," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Christian Lanao del Norte rejects inclusion in Muslim Mindanao

Abdullah Dimaporo of the ruling Dimaporo clan of Lanao del Norte opposes the inclusion of the six towns in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
From News Reports:
Manila, February 16: The Commission on Elections (Comelec) results of the second plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamaoro Basic Law (BBL) held in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines last week, show that the majority of the 67 villages in the North Cabato region would join the newly established political entity the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), formally the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), with as expected voters in the majority-Christian region of Lanao del Norte refusing to allow six local towns to join, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The reportedly powerful ruling Dimaporo clan of Lanao del Norte opposed the inclusion of the six towns in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), saying that inclusion would divide and weaken the province and compromise peace and security due to loss of the these 6 towns.
The Dimaporos of Lanao del Norte campaigned against the inclusion of 6 towns in the expanded Muslim region and against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the revolutionary organization that represents the efforts in Muslim Mindanao for self-determination in their campaign for a 'yes' vote.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim said on the election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to President in May 2016 that the Rodrigo Duterte victory would carry with it the MILF hopes and aspirations for peace and justice in Mindanao following the failure of the Philippine Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for the second time in February 2016 under then President Benigno Aquino III administration.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ratified the first plebiscite held last month despite the Province of Sulu rejection of the law that would establish a political entity for Muslim Mindanao.
Sulu province was reportedly the only province that voted against the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) formerly the Bangsamaoro Basic Law (BBL) in the January plebiscite with 22,441 against and 19,032 for the BOL from a turnout of 80 percent.
Lawyer for the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Maisara Dandamun Latiph, said that the Sulu province rejection of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) "won't matter" because other provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), formally the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have deemed it ratified.
"The organic law says that ARMM votes are counted as one geographical region and that if the majority of BARMM provinces ratified the BOL, then the law prevails", said the lawyer.
Sulu Governor Abdusakur "Toto" Tan II petitioned the Supreme Court in October 2018 questioning the constitutionality of the law, arguing that "votes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) should not be counted as one geographical area".
The Southeast Asian Times


US bomb dropped on Cambodia unearthed in rice field

Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) vice president, Ly Thuch, said that Cambodia requires about 1,000 to 2,000 more landmine and unexploded ordnance removal experts in order to achieve a land-mine free Cambodia by 2025

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 15: Villagers in Cambodia's Kong Pisei district, Kampong Speu province, unearthed a bomb dropped on Cambodia by the US between 1963-73 while cultivating their land on Monday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Kong Pisei district police chief, Khem Sophanra, said that villagers unearthed the bomb while working in their rice field with tractors, saying that "despite its age the bomb looked relatively new."
"The bomb had little rust", he said.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director Heng Ratana said that the villagers reported the unexploded ordnance, a US M117 weiging 340g, to local police and to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) on Monday.
The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) Unit 5 reportedly inspected the bomb on Tuesday saying that villagers were prohibited from the area as they prepared to remove it to a secure area.
The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) Unit 5 director Keo Sarath said that the bomb was still dangerous.
“It could easily explode if removed carelessly”, he said.
Last week the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) called on China to work with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in training Cambodians to remove about 1,729 square kilometres of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) including 809 square kilometres of mine fields.
Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) vice president Ly Thuch, called on China Ambassador to Cambodia, Wang Wientian, to provide equipment and financial support to train Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in order to achieve a land-mine free Cambodia by 2025.
The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) that is tasked with the disposal of tonnes of ordnance dropped on Cambodia by the United States during the administration of President Lyndon B Johnson from 1965, claims that bombing campaigns intensified during the Nixon administration with about two million tonnes dropped in the five years between 1969-73.
Between four and five million landmines, 28 million small cluster bombs and chemical munitions were reportedly dropped on Cambodia from October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973.
The Southeast Asian Times


CNRM party president in exile accused of prejudice against China

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, who has been in exile since 2005, launched the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM), in California in January 2018

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 14: The Cambodian People's Party (CPP) has condemned former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy for alleged prejudice against Chinese nationals in Cambodia, reports the Khmer Times.
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, says that Sam Rainsy, in exile since 2005 and is now the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) launched last year, is critical of Chinese nationals behaviour in the provinces of Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong
The former dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy reportedly described the behaviour of Chinese Nationals in Sihanoukville, the coastal capital of Preah Sihanouk province, as "arrogant and discrimminatory."
“The newly-arrived Chinese in Cambodia, loaded with dollars, show their scorn for the local Cambodian population, he said.
Sam Rainsy reportedly condemned the Chinese government for offering political and finanacial stability in exchange for Cambodia's natural resources, saying that "the Chinese must return the land that was seized from the villagers to make way for casinos, and take their mafia and triad gangs associated with their investments in Cambodia, back to China".
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, said that the dissolved former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy, provoked hatred against the Chinese as a move to garner support against Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“This is another incitement trick by the former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy to fool his supporters,” he said.
Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung claimed in a report to Prime Minister Hun Sen in December last year that the Preah Sihanouk provincial governor, Yun Min, had established a provincial committee to transfer the ownership of the state-owned land to developers.
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor, Yun Min, has denied the allegations saying that the Khmer Rise Party (KRP) report to Prime Minister Hun Sen "is groundless" and that he has complied with the law.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine Catholic church bans priests from politics in May elections

Bishop Ruperto Santos has banned political posters from church premises in his dioceses

From News Reports:
Manila, February 13: The Philippines Catholic dioceses has issued directives against the posting of political posters on church premises and prohibited priests from engaging in politics during the 90-day national campaign for the May elections that began yesterday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona have banned political posters from church premises in their dioceses
“We have issued a pastoral directive that there will be no political posters on church patios and fences,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos.
The Bishop said that church people who work for political candidates must take a leave of absence.
“A political candidate will also not be allowed to participate in offertory processions,” he said.
Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona said it was prohibited to post any candidate's or political party's political advertisement on church property or to hold political rallies on church premises.
The Archbishop said that priests were prohibited from holding mass weddings, baptisms and confirmations under the sponsorship of any political candidate or party.
"Priests could not solicit donations from political candidates or parties for church renovation or other projects that may compromise the nonpartisanship of the Church, he said.
The 90-day national campaign for over 60 senatorial candidates and 154 party-list groups in the May elections began yesterday with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warning against electoral offenses.
the Commission on Elections (Comelec) released the names of 62 senatorial candidates registered to campaign in the May elections and 154 accredited party-list groups seeking seats in the House of Representatives last month.
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar protests against construction of dam on Ayeyarwady

Protesters against the revival of the China's financed Myistone dam project in Myanmar's Kachin state say that the protest is meant to correct a statement from the Chinese embassy in Myanmar that "most Kachin people support the project and only a few non-governmental organisations and political parties oppose it"

From News Reports:
Yangon, February 12: Thousands gathered in Myanmar's Kachin state on Saturday to protest against the revival of China's financed Myistone dam project, calling for a complete halt to the construction of the dam on the Ayeyarwady River, reports the Myanmar Times.
About 7,000 gathered at the Myitkyina township public park in Myanmar's Kachin state to protest against attempts by China's State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) formally China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC) to restart the project that was suspended in September 2011.
The US$3.6 billion Myistone dam project was signed between Myanmar and China under the the administration of Myanmar President U Thein Sein, with construction begining in 2009 but suspended to years later after widespread public protests.
Protesters that include the Kachin religious leaders from Myitkyina and Waingmaw township, Buddhist monks, and Kachin political parties, civil society groups and activists said on Saturday that "90 percent of the electricity produced by the dam will be exported to China and will not benefit the country."
Protest leader, U Sar Chi, said that "We can’t accept the implementation of the project without the people’s will," saying that "we support the free flow of the Ayeyarwady".
Kachin Democratic Party, chairman U Aung Hkam, urged the government to take decisive action and stand with the people in opposing the dam, warning that "the government would meet with strong opposition if it ignores the people's will".
Last week commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, General Min Aung Hlaing, said that the military will respect the people’s will on the dam.
National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader and state counsellor 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


Thai Princess cannot be Thai PM under constitution says Thai King

Thai Princess Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, who relinquished her royal status in 1972, said on Friday she was exercising her constitutional right as a common citizen to enter politics and would enjoy no special advantage as a member of the Royal Family

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 11: The King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn claims that Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, who registered as a candidate for Thai Prime Minister for the Thai Raksa Chart Party with the Election Commission, is not as a royal family member permitted to take a political position .
Princess Ubolratana who relinquished her royal status in 1972, when she married a "commoner" an American, claimed on Friday that she is a "commmoner with the freedom and rights of an ordinary Thai to register to be the candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party.
“My acceptance of the Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its Prime Minister candidate is a constitutional right, not a privilege,” she said.
The King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn said in a statement published in the Royal Gazette that although princess Ubolratana, who is the eldest daughter of late King Bhumibol and the elder sister of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has relinquished her royal status she is still a royal family member by tradition, saying that "the princess still performed activities on behalf of the royal family"
The Thai constitution reportedly contains provisions endorsing the special status of the royal institution in line with constitutional monarchy rule that applies to royal family members who like the King is above politics.
The King said that Royal family members including princess Ubolratana are not permitted to hold any political position as it is against the intention of constitutional monarchy rule.
Preechaphol Pongpanit chairman of the Thai Raksa Chart Party that is aligned with fugitive ousted former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said that Princess Ubolratana's canditacy was suggested at a party executive meeting.
"The party agreed that the princess had the credentials to make a perfect candidate", he said.
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Thaksin has faced numerous arrest warrants since he fled Thailand in 2008 including an arrest warrant for the Thaksin government's conversion of mobile phone operators' concession fees into excise tax that allegedly benefited Thaksin's own company.
The former fugitive prime minister was also issued an arrest warrant for his involvment in the approval of loans totalling more than 10 billion baht in 2003-2004 to real estate developer Krissadamahanakorn through its affiliates, although the company was rated a non-performing debtor.
In January 2018 the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders established a panel of judges to try fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia.
In August 2018 the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions acquitted former fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia of malfeasance for his alleged unauthorisied involvment in the rehabilitation of Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI).
The Southeast Asian Times


Health workers accused of bribery after death of children in Philippine school immunization program

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Francisco Duque III, has denied alegations of bribery in the death of at least five children innoculation agianst dengue fever in a school immunization program conducted by the Philippines Department of Health (DOH in 2017

From News Reports:
Manila, February 10: The mother of one of at least five children, who died after innoculation agianst dengue fever with Dengvaxia in a school immunization program conducted by the Philippines Department of Health (DOH in December 2017, claims that a Department of Health (DOH) health worker had offered 'financial assistance' in exchange for her son's medical documents, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Janet Eliphane said that the offer by the Department of Health (DOH) health worker was made after the body of her son, Melvin Karl, 12, who died 5 December 2017, was exhumed from the public cemetery at San Isidro Nueva Ecija in February 2018 with an autospsy conducted on the orders of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO)
The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Persida Acosta ordered the exhumation and autopsy following alegations of bribary against Secretary of Health and Human Services, Francisco Duque III, and Department of Health (DOH) health workers who offered the families of dead children
innoculated against dengue fever with Dengvaxia 'financial assistance' in exchange for not pursuing a lawsuit.
In January 2018 the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) director of Forensic Laboratory, Dr Erwin Erfe, said that the forensic examiners had observed a pattern in the death of five children who had been inoculated with Dengvaxia, saying that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory examined the body of an 11-year-old boy from Bataan province, who died within 12 hours of developing a headache and fever following the innoculation of Dengvaxia in December 2017.
Janet Eliphane, who was among many, who supported the alegations of bribery against Secretary of Health and Human Services, Francisco Duque III, and Department of Health (DOH) health workers, claims that she was invited to the San Isidro Nueva Ecija Rural Health Unit (RHU) in the days after the body of her son was exhumed where she was asked to open a bank account in order to receive 'financial assistance'.
She said that she was initially willing to provide photocopies of her son's medical records to the Rural Health Unit (RHU) health workers but that the health workers wanted the original copies including her son's vaccination card.
“The Rural Health Unit (RHU) health worker asked me again a few days later but I again refused to give in to their demand for the original documents,” she said.
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Francisco Duque III, has denied the allegations saying that the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) claim is
“malicious, baseless and a complete lie.”
The Department of Health (DOH) halted the immunization programme on December 1, 2017 three days after French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, that developed Dengvaxia announced that the vaccine worsened symptoms in those vaccinated who had no previous exposure to the dengue virus.
More than 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia before the Department of Health (DOH) stopped the immunization program.
Records from the Cavite provincial Rural Health Unit (RHU) reportedly show that 68,366 schoolchildren had received the first dose of Dengvaxia, while 37,966 had received the second dose and 36,860 had completed the three doses.
The Southeast Asian Times


Myanmar police officer jailed for testifying against police released

Former Myanmar Police Force captain Moe Yan Naing outside Insein Prison after his release yesterday

From News Reports:
Yangon, February 9: Former Myanmar Police Force captain, Moe Yan Naing, who was sentenced to prison for one year for violation of the Police Disciplinary Act after testifying in court that two Mynamr reporters employed by international news agency Rueters were "framed" by police, was released from prison on Friday, reports the Myanmar Times.
Police Captain, Moe Yan Naing, who was arrested in December 2017, said on his release from prison on Friday morning that "the Police Disciplinary Act was not up to standard and should be amended."
The former Police Captain told the Yangon court at the trial of Myanmar reporters, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, in April last year, that
a high ranking police officer had ordered two policemen to meet the two reporters and hand over documents believed to contain information that reportedly contravened the Burma Official Secrets Act of 1923.
He told the court that the order to entrap the two Reuters reporters, who were apprehended by police with documents that contained "details of police strength and weapons and the position of security forces in northern Rakhin State", was given by Brig Gen Tin Ko Ko.
"Brig Gen Tin Ko Ko ordered two police officers to hand over secret documents to the two reporters", he said.
He claimed that the meeting between the two Rueters reporters and the two police officers was arranged at a restuartant outside Yangon, saying that a police team intercepted, arresting the reporters with the documents at the meeting in the restuarant.
Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin, sentenced the two reporters to seven years imprisonment in Septemeber 2018, saying that the court had taken into account the time served since their detention.
Reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been held in custody at the Insein prison in Yangon since their arrest in December 2017 have pleaded not guilty to breaching the secrets act.
The reporters claim that they were investigating alleged abuses by Myanmar government security forces against the Muslim Rohingya's in Myanmar's Rakhine State when arrested.
Laywer for the reporters, Than Zaw Aung, claimed that the arrest of the reporters "amounted to entrapment by police."
He said that the reporters had been arrested immediately after they had been handed documents, believed to contain information about "the situation in northern Rakhine" at a meeting in Yangon that was arranged by two police officers.
Last month the Supreme Court of Myanmar rejected an appeal for the release of the Myanmar reporters with the Supreme Court judge Aung Naing saying that the burden of proof of innocence was to be provided by the reporters.
The Southeast Asian Times


China to work with Cambodia military to remove war explosives

Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) vice president Ly Thuch, and China Ambassador to Cambodia, Wang Wientian, in Phnom Penh last week

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 8: The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) called on China to work with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)
in training Cambodians to remove explosive remnants of war littering Cambodia since 1965 to achieve a land-mine free Cambodia by 2025, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) vice president Ly Thuch, called on China Ambassador to Cambodia, Wang Wientian, to provide equipment, financial support and to train Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to remove explosive remnants of war in Cambodia's effort to clear about 1,729 square kilometres of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) including 809 square kilometres of mine fields,
“We want the Chinese government to work with the commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Hun Manet in our mine clearance efforts," he said.
Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), Hun Manet, was reportedly promoted to the rank of Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) by a royal decree in September last year on the advice of his father, Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) vice president, Ly Thuch, said that Cambodia requires about 1,000 to 2,000 more landmine and unexploded ordnance removal experts in order to achieve a land-mine free Cambodia by 2025.
"The increase requires the endorsement of Prime Minister Hun Sen and army commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet," he said.
He called on countries that have so far helped to remove explosive remnants of war in Cambodia to work with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in Cambodia's effort to achieve a land-mine free Cambodia by 2025, calling on the countries to contact Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), Hun Manet.
The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) that is tasked with the disposal of tonnes of ordnance dropped on Cambodia by the United States during the administration of President Lyndon B Johnson from 1965, claims that bombing campaigns intensified during the Nixon administration with about two million tonnes dropped in the five years between 1969-73.
Between four and five million landmines, 28 million small cluster bombs and chemical munitions were reportedly dropped on Cambodia from October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand claims Australia's Interpol alert triggered arrest of Bahraini footballer

Former Bahraini footballer, Hakeem al-Araibi, 25, who has been detained in Thailand pending extradition to Bahrain, rejected voluntary extradition to Bahrain at a Bangkok court on Monday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 7: Thailand claims that the Australian bureau of Interpol is responsible for the arrest and pending extradition of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, 25, who holds refugee status in Australia, for the issue of the Interpol red notice that led to his arrest on arrival in Thailand, reports the Bangkok Post.
Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, was arrested at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport on arrival in Thailand with his new wife for a honeymoon on November 27.
Thailand, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said that a warrant for the arrest of Bahraini national Hakeem al-Araibi was issued by Bahrain after he was found guilty of criminal charges in 2014.
Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said that the Interpol red notice issued by the Australian bureau of Interpol for the arrest of Hakeem al-Araibi reached Thailand before he arrived in Thailand in November, saying that "Interpol was very quick".
"Thailand arrested Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi at Bahrains request", he said.
The Thai Foreign Ministry said that despite Australia's withdrawal of the red notice from Interpol's database, the extradition process had been activated following the receipt of a formal request from the Bahraini government.
Thai International Affairs Department at the Office of the Attorney-General Director General, Chatchom Akapin, said that his office had reviewed the defendant's alleged offences that included arson, saying that the offences were not political or race related and that Thailand had similiar crimes."
“Therefore, the Bahraini request is in line with extradition legislation,” he said.
Former Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, claims that he fled Bahrain after he and other athletes were allegedly beaten and tortured over their or their families’ involvement in political protests, and was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2014.
He arrived in Australia in 2014, claiming asylum, and was granted refugee status in 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times


Five Abu Sayyaf admit to bombing Catholic Church in Muslim Mindano

Philippine National Police, Director General Oscar Albayalde, points at the five suspected Ajang-Ajang Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants at a press conference in Manila on Monday

From News Reports:
Manila, February 6: Five of the Ajang-Ajang 22 Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants, who surrendered to the combined Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a fierce gun battle in Sulu on Saturday, have admitted to the bombing of the Catholic church in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines that left 23 dead and more than 100 injured last Sunday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General, Oscar Albayalde said that Ajang-Ajang 22 Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants operative, Kammah Pae, alias Kamah, and four others identified as Albaji Kisae Gadjali, alias Awag; Rajan Bakil Gadjali, alias Rajan; Kaisar Bakil Gadjali, alias Isal, and Salit Alih, alias Papong surrendered during the "all-out-offensive" that was ordered by Philippine President Duterte after the attack on the Catholic Church on January 27.
Director General, Oscar Albayalde said that the five Ajang-Ajang, Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants have admitted to their involvment in the attack on the Catholic church, saying that police had brought multiple murder charges, among other accusations, against the five at the Sulu provincial prosecutors office on Monday.
He said that 14 other Ajang-Ajang, Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants remained at large including Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, believed to be the mastermind of the attack on the Catholic church in the Sulu province of Muslim Mindanao last Sunday.
"Sawadjaan is believed to have provided funds for the attack on the church", he said.
Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan is reportedly believed to be commander of the Ajang-Ajang 22 Abu Sayyaf subgroup militants in Sulu and reportedly to have assisted two Indonesian nationals who are believed to have carried out the suicide bombing at the Catholic church in Jolo last week.
Director General, Oscar Albayalde said that the two Indonesian nationals arrived in Jolo by boat on January 24 and were transported to Barangay Langhub in Patikul where they were met by among others, Senior Ajang-Ajang, Abu Sayyaf subgroup operative, Kammah Pae, alias Kamah and Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, the reported commander of the Abu Sayyaf subgroup.
"One of the Indonesian nationals, a male, had been hiding in southern Sulu Province for about a year before the attack on the church, with the second, a female, arriving only recently," he said.
He said that the Indonesian nationls were driven to Jolo on January 26, the day before the bombing of the Catholic church.
The Philippine Inquirer reports that Arrmanatha Nasir, spokesman for the Indonesian foreign ministry, said that the Indonesian government had not been able to confirm the involvement of Indonesian nationals in the Jolo attack.
The Southeast Asian Times

East Timor parliament calls for anti-corruption law to combat corruption

The National Parliament voted 42, in favour of the new Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK) Commissoner, Sergio Hornai, with 13 against and 2 absentees

From News Reports:
Dili, February 5: Member of the National Parliament in Dili, Adriano do Nascimento, has called on the East Timor government and members of parliament for an anti-corruption law following the election of a commissioner for the Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK), reports the Dili Weekly.
Member of Parliament, Adriano do Nascimento, said that the anti-corruption draft law is not on the parliamentary agenda for debate and approval at the plenary.
"The anti-corruption draft law is currently on the table of the Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK)", he said.
The member of parliament said that East Timor must also have an anti-corruption law to strengthen the work of the newly elected Commissioner for the Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK, Sergio Hornai.
Member of parliament, Adriano do Nascimento, called on the paliament to put their trust in the newly elected Commissioner for the Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK), Sergio Hornai, who was elected on January 15, in order to combat corruption, urging all government agencies and politicians "not to interfere in his job."
“If we elect a person who does not enjoy the support of politicians and we interfere in his duties, we will not be able to eradicate corruption", he said.
Non-governmental organization, Mirror for the People (LABEH) executive director, Christopher Henry Samson, said that "newly elected Anti-Corruption Commission (KAK) Commissoner Sergio Hornai needs from the onset of his term to push for the anti-corruption draft law that is pending debate at the parliament."
He said that Sergio Hornai should push parliament to show their commitment to the anti-corruption law in order to to strengthen his duties to fight corruption, saying that "there is big hope for the fight against corruption in 2019."
The Southeast Asian Times

Armed Forces of the Philippines in gun battle with Abu Sayyaf militants

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte orders an all-out offensive against IS jihadis in Sulu, following attack on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines last week

From News Reports:
Manila, February 4: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed three Abu Sayyaf militants and wounded 13, believed to be responsible for the attack on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Solo in Sulu province in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines last week, in a reportedly fierce gun battle on Saturday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force in Sulu, Lt. Col. Gerald Monfort, said that five Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 5th Scout Ranger Battalion soldiers were killed and five wounded in the two hour gun battle with the Abu Sayyaf militants at Sitio Sungkog, Barangay Kabbon Takas, Patikul in Sulu.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have not recovered a single Abu Sayyaf militant body from the gunfight due to the volume of enemy fire", he said.
He said that Indang Susukan, the self proclaimed caliph of the IS jihadis in Sulu was among the wounded, but that the commander of the IS hihads in Sulu, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, escaped during the fierce gun battle.
He said that IS hihads in Sulu, under commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, had guided and assisted two Indonesians who reportedly carried out the
suicide bombing Cathedral in Jolo last week that left 20 dead and more than a hundred injured.
Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was the target of the military assault in Patikul, saying that the IS jihadis in Sulu, were the only Abu Sayyaf faction that harbored foreign IS terrorists.
Philippine President Duterte ordered an all-out offensive against the IS jihadis in Sulu, following his visit to the Cathedral in Sulu that was reportedly attacked by Abu Sayyaf militants.
Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) civil military operation chief, Col. Gerry Besana, said the offensive began on Tuesday with airstrikes and a ground offensive including heavy machine gun fire after ground troops detected about 30 Abu Sayyaf militants in the Sulu jungles.
Philippine National Police (PNP) have not ruled out that the attack on the Cathedral in Muslim Mindanao was the result of the the just-concluded plebiscite that ratifiedthe Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that would establish a Muslim Mindanao political entity.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) deemed ratified the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) held in Muslim Mindanao in the days before the attack on the Catholic Church, despite the Sulu Province rejection of the law that would establish a Muslim Mindanao political entity.
Sulu province was reportedly the only province that voted against the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) with Sulu Governor Abdusakur "Toto" Tan II petitioning the Supreme Court in October 2018 questioning the constitutionality of the law, arguing that "votes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) should not be counted as one geographical area".
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines stop payment to China for installation of surveillance camera's
From News Reports:
Manila, February 3: The Philippine Senate is set to block payment to the Philippine Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that signed a "Safe Philippines Project" agreement with China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) during the state visit of China President Xi Jinping to the Philippines in November last year, warning of a serious risk to national security, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Senate has included "block provisions" in the 2019 national budget that would block payment of P20 billion for the initial installation of 12,000
surveillance cameras in Metro Manila and Davao City in the southern Philippines.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has called for an inquiry into the "Safe Philippines Project" saying that "the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in public places connected to a central command center raises concerns about national security."
The first "block provision" that would stop payment for the installation of surveillance cameras in the "Safe Philippines Project" agreement between the Philippines and China in the Senate version of the 2019 national budget reportedly states that:
"No amount appropriated herein shall be utilized for any project intended for public video surveillance and communication system with suppliers or service providers that are considered as serious risks to national security or interest or are involved in cases regarding information leakage, computer or network hacking, and other forms of cyber espionage, whether in the Philippines or in other countries."
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said that the Philippines needed to safeguard classified action plans, programs and state secrets from espionage, and to protect itself from computer-generated attacks that could cause massive crises in the economy and financial institutions.
“It is imperative that the Philippine government review and evaluate government programs and projects and their impact on national security and public interest,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


New King on throne within month of abdication of King Muhammad V

The official flag of the new monarch was rased by the Fourth Company, Royal Military Police at 10th Mile Camp, Kuantan on the auguration of the 16th King of Malaysia

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 2: The newly inaugurated Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, 59, became the 16th King or Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday, within a month of the abdication of King Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan on January 6.
The new Sultan of Pahang, was inaugurated King after holding the title of Regent that is a prerequisite to the title of Sultan of Pahang that was bestowed on him by the Conference of Rulers on January 15.
The new King and as such the new head of state of the federation of Malaysia replaced his father Ahmad Shah Al Musta'in Billah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar, 88, the fifth Sutan of Pahang, after the unprecedented abdication of Malaysian King Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan.
The Conference of Rulers elected the Sultan of Pahang to be King for a term of five years within a month of the abdication of King Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, despite the constitution that does not stipulate a time for the "ascension of the King"
Constitutional lawyer Prof Dr Aziz Bari called on the Conference of Rulers to decide on the next King by the end of January saying that "the King is the repository power of authority."
“It is important that the Conference of Rulers do not depart from the succession plan that follows the line of rotation," he said
He said that althought the rotation system for the installation of the King allows every state to have a turn there are situations where the Conference of Rulers can exercise discretion and change the line of rotation.
"The Conference of Rulers can extend a period of time to allow for a Regent to be installed as the Sultan before he is installed as King,” he said.
He said that breaking away from tradition would have to be done very carefully by the Conference of Rulers as the monarchy is deemed the most stable institution in Malaysia.
"This is what places us above a republic," he said.
The traditional ceremony that inaugurated the new King and as such the new head of state was attended by all Malay rulers including the Sultans
of Selangor, Johor, Kedah, Perlis Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahan and included the attendance of the newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
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

"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

 

CLASSIFIED Advertisements click here



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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com



;
The Southeast Asian Times cannot be bought










































Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
..5,0710
East Timor.
..0.7582
Euro..
0.6794
Hong
sKong..
.5.8808
Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
Papua New Guinea
..2.4033
Philippines Peso..
35.3212
Singapore dollar...
1.0308
...Baht..
26.2521
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

3