The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Saturday, 2 August 2014
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

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 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

Thai military not invited to
US 4 July celebrations in Bangkok
From News Reports
Bangkok, July 2: Senior Thai military officers have not been invited by the US embassy in Thailand to attend Independence Day celebrations on 4 July in Bangkok, reports the Nation.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak said that Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth and four other senior military officers have not received an invitation from the US embassy to attend the annual US Independence Day celebration on the 4 July in Bangkok.
The US embassy in Thailand will reportedly hold a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day.
Invitations were extended to senior government officials, selected members of the public and the diplomatic community but did not include senior Thai military officers.
Invitations for the US Independence Day celebrations that began arriving last week and that did not include senior Thai military officers
follow the ban last week on the participation of the Thai navy in the US led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) attended by 22 navies.
The ban on the Thai navy participation in the biennual maritime exercise in the Asia-Pacific follows the declaration of martial law by Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
The Southeast Asian Time

Public demonstration bill debate brought forward
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 10: The proposed draft public demonstraton bill, prepared by the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security, is to be presented to the National Assembly for possible approval earlier than planned, reports Thanh Nien.
The draft public demonstration bill that was expected to be completed within the next five years was brought forward for possible approval by legislators following public protests in 22 provinces against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig in alleged Vietnam waters on May 1.
HCMCity National Assemblyman, Truong Trong Nghia said that the government has yet to offer the public a legal means to demonstrate.
"The government is required to protect the people's right to express themselves despite conflicting interests", he said.
371 of 436 legislators agreed to debate the proposed draft public demonstration bill at a mid year session next year with voting on the possible passing of the bill to follow at the end of the year.
The Southeast Asian Times

'Islam is not a state,' says author of book published for Indonesian high school students

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3: The book titled, 24 Weeks to a Civic Example: A Muslim Student’s Agenda, that was launched by pro pluralism organisation, the Maarif Institute, in Indonesia last month, encourages the idea that being religious is synonymous with being a good citizen, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Being a good Muslim is analogous to exemplary civic conduct but one should not conflate Islam with the state," said co-author Bambang Q. Anees, philosophy at the Bandung State Islamic University (UIN).
He warned of the dangers of religious instruction that he said must be addressed in the national curriculum.
“The current Islamic studies curriculum needs to be revised", he said.
He said that Muslims have been brought up to think that Islam is all about the history of Muslim wars and
"This belief translates into the belief that Islam is a state,” said the co-author at the launch of the book at the Muhammadiyah Center of Study in Menteng, Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia votes for new parliament and new president

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 10:
Indonesians voted for a new parliament yesterday in a poll that will decide who will run for president in the presidential elections scheduled for July 9, reports the Jakarta Post.
About 75 percent of the more than reportedly 186 million registered voters caste their vote for almost 236,000 candidates in about 500,000 polling stations yesterday.
A party or coalition requires 112 of the 560 seats in the lower house of parliament to nominate a candidate for the presidency
The Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) is the only party out of 12 parties nationawide seen as having a chance of achieving this result without forming a coalition, reports the Jakarta Post.
The PDI-P has been ahead in the opinion polls and reportedly extended its lead with the nomination of Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, 52, known as "Jokowi".
PDI-I had almost 20 percent of the reportedly 30 percent of votes counted at 2,000 polling stations yesterday or almost 20 percent of about 50 percent of total votes counted.
The official results of the legislative elections are not expected to be announced until 9 May.
The Southeast Asian Times

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

President denies involvement in banknote bribery
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that he wants Australia to be transparent in legal proceedings in the alleged bribery polymer banknote case at a press conference on Thursday. The President says that Australia should lift the suppression order because it could "trigger suspicion and accusation"
From News reports:
Jakarta, August 2: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has denied any involvement in multimillion dollar bribes allegedly paid by agents of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiaries, Securency and Note Printing Australia, in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-made polymer banknotes, reports the Jakarta Post.
Securency and subsidiary Note Printing Australia sought to print currency for Malaysia, Indonesia and Viet Nam.
President Yudhoyono says that Bank Indonesia had "made a deal" with Note Printing Australia in 1999 to print 550 million Rp 100,000 bank notes.
"The decision to print the bank notes in Australia had nothing to do with the government and the President", he said.
The Australian suppression order that followed the indictment on June 19 of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia reportedly included the suppression of the names of current and former Presidents and Prime Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam and included Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the court suppression list.
The suppression order is effective in Australia for up to five years. It reportedly prohibits the publication of information related to court prceedings that could “reveal, imply, suggest or allege” that those named in the court suppression were involved in alleged bribery.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that he feared "false accusations" from the suppression order.
In August 2012 former Securency chief financial officer and secretary David John Ellery, 56, was sentenced to six-months in jail after he pleaded guilty in the Victoria Supreme Court to falsifying an account for almost US$80,000 for a commission paid to Malaysian Abdul Kayum Syed Ahmad between June 28 and July 19 2006.
Australia Trade Minister Craig Emerson confirmed in August 2012 that an “independent” review of security at Australia’s overseas trade agency, Austrade, was underway following the Austrade suggestion that Securency hire Vietnamese, Colonel Luong in 2001 as an agent to help win plastic-banknote contracts from Bank of Vietnam.
Colonel Luong was an alleged Vietnamese intelligence officer whom Australian prosecutors say received up to US$20 million in suspected bribes from Securency.
The Australia Reserve Bank and British company Innovia – a global maker of speciality cellulose films for packaging and labels – own Securency.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police call on Indonesian military to capture West Papuans
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 1: Indonesian police have called on the military to assist in the capture of West Papuans who allegedly killed two police officers and wounded others in an attack on police at Lanny Jaya about midday on monday, reports the Jakarta Post.
First Brig. Zulkifli and Second Brig. Prayoga were killed and five police officers wounded and an officer is missing in a shootout with seven unidentified armed gunmen while enroute to Maki village reportedly to carryout a community counseling program.
The eight police officers were reportedly ambushed by alleged armed insurgents reportedly led by Puron Wenda of the West Papuan independence movement.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Yotje Mende has called on the Indonesian military to help capture West Papuan, Puron Wenda, of the West Papuan independence movement who is beleived to have led the attack on police on Monday
Their vehicle was later found in a deep ravine, reports the Jakarta Post.
Four police rifles are missing.
West Papua Police chief Brig. Gen. Yotje Mende said in Jayapura this week that he will "never cede" to the demands of armed criminal groups.
"We will continue huntng them down", said the police chief.
Almost all West Papuans eligible to vote in the Indonesian presidential elections held on 9 July burned there ballots.
Those who did vote at polling stations in Abepura, Waena, Entrop, Jayapura and Sentani sepih were reportedly described as 'migrants'.
West Papua National Committee (KNPB) chairman, Agus Kossay said that about 80 percent of West Papuans supported the call to boycot the Indonesian presidential elections.
The Southeast Asian times

Thai military seizes illegally obtained forest land
Col Sommai Busaba of the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) talks to local villagers who claim they are barred from entering the land allegedly obtained with fraudulant title deeds
From News reports:
Bangkok, July 31: The Thai military seized more than 3,900 rai of land in the Sung Noen district forest reserve in Nakhon Ratchasima province on Monday, believed to have been illegally obtained with fraudulant title deeds in 1992, reports the Bangkok Post.
The seizure follows a complaint from village representative, Wan Lertsanoi, to the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO), claiming that villagers from Ban Nong Kung and Ban Nong Kaeo were barred from entering the forest reserve.
The village represenative said that the villagers had been barred by the alleged owner, Ammarin Yousukdee, from entering the land that is part of the forest reserve.
The military seizure of forest reserve land follows the declaration of martial law in May by military commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the seizure of power from the Pheu Thai Party Yingluck Shinawatra.government.
Col Sommai Busaba on the order of the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) headed the seizure of the land with a combined team of soldiers from the 2nd Army, officials from the Office of the Public sector Anti-corruption commission (PACC) and the lands department.
"An inspection of the land confirmed that the seized land was part of the Sung Noen forest", said Col Sommai Busaba.
The alleged fraudulent title deeds are in the name of Ammarin Yousukdee who also owns the Ammarin Resort Hotel in Pak Thong Chai and
who is accused of renting the forest reserve to Ban Nong Kung and Ban Ning Kaeo villagers.
Col Sommai Busaba of the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) said that Ammarin Yousukdee charged villagers 2,000 baht per rai while he paid only five baht in tax to the tambon Takhu local administration organisation that has jurisdiction over the district forest reserve
The Southeast Asian Times

Can educators from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world help keep young people out of jail in outback Australia? ..Reporter Chris Ray here

Napoles transferred to prison to await trial
Janet Lim Napoles, 49, was reportedly "shocked' at the order for her transfer from Fort Sto Domingo in Laguna to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig late Monday night
From News Reports:
Manila, July 30: Janet Lim Napoles, 49, accused of the misappropriation of P10-billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), known as the pork barrel funds, was transferred from Fort Sto Domingo police training camp where she has been held since the beginning of June to a prison cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to await trial, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Sandiganbayan Court rejected the claim that Janet Lim Napoles was held illegally and ordered her transfer from Fort Sto. Domingo to Camp
Bagong Diwa late Monday night.
Napoles will be held in an isolation room up to a week before she is detained in a dormitory for female inmates, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Napoles was detained at the Fort Sto Domingo police training camp in Laguna province after having spent 59 days in the Ospital ng Makati hospital where she underwent surgery to remove her uterus and ovaries on April 23.
Her plea to extend her stay at the Ospital ng Makati hospital was denied by Judge Elmo Alameda on May 20.
The Judge said that Janet Lim-Napoles remains accused of an unbailable offense and will be placed in detention pending trial.
The alleged misapproriation of the P10-billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that was reportedly to be allocated to farmer-beneficiaries who were affected by cyclones "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" in 2009 through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) allegedly went to bogus non-government organizations that were allegedly established by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Janet Lim-Napoles surrendered to police in August last year after a reward of P10-million was offered by Philippine president Aquino for her arrest and was held in detention at the Fort Sto Domingo police training camp until she was admitted to hospital on March 31.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine president defends accusations of presidential pork barrel in state of the union address
About 17,000 protesters burned an effigy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday afternoon as the Philippine President delivered his State of the Union Address. The protesters demanded that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) be scrapped and that the alleged "mastermind' of the programme, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and those involved in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) resign
From News Reports:
Manila, July 29: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivered his 5th State of the Union Address yesterday amid accusations of alleged violation of the Constitution and of the betrayal of public trust by his government, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The address follows the third impeachment notice this month lodged in the House of Representatives last Thursday against the Philippine President alleging violation of the Constitution in the signing of the the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that gives the US military access to the Philippines and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that the government has been accused of using as the "presidential pork barrell".
The President began his address mid afternoon yesterday at Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City in defence of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the supreme court earlier this month.
About 28 complainants argued in the impeachment that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) did not benefit the Philippine economy and that the programme was essentially a "presidential pork barrel " that did not benefit the poor.
President Benigno Aquino said that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) helped more than 220,000 students through the P1.6 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
The President provided a stack of papers, listing the names of students who had allegedly received funding, to prove that the students were the recipients of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai military stops Thaksin birthday celebration
Former fugitive Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets his sister, former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Thursday. Yingluck Shinawatra who is scheduled to return to Thailand on August 10 was accompanied by Thai police Pol Col Wathanyu Witthayapalothai on the trip from Bangkok to Paris
From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 28: The Thai military stopped the planned 65th birthday celebration for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra in Bangkok in a raid on the headquarters of the Pheu Thai Party located in the Imperial World Lat Phrao department store on Saturday
The order to stop the gathering follows the declaraion of martial law in May by military commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the seizure of power from the Pheu Thai Party Yingluck Shinawatra.government.
A curfew that was imposed throughout Thailand by the military following the establishment of martial law was lifted last month but the ban on political gatherings of five or more remains in place, reports the Bangkok Post.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Winthai Suvaree said that the Military was informed of the planned birthday party for former prime minister Thaksin.
"Soldiers were deployed to the department store on Saturday to prevent the Pheu Thai Party or red shirt supporters from organising a political gathering," he said.
The Bangkok Post reports that the military allegedly ordered the red shirts to end the birthday party and to remove the photos of Thaksin and his sister, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The birthday celebrations were stopped as Pheu Thai Party member, Singthong Buachum was about to perform a religious ceremony for Thaksin.
A warrant for the arrest of fugitive fomer Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was issued in October 2012.
Nine senior Supreme Court judges agreed to try Thaksin Shinawatra and 26 supposed accomplices for malfeasance in the raising or approval of alleged fraudulent Krung-Thai-Bank non-performing loans worth almost baht 12-billion.
All are accused of violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code - the law that governs the behaviour of officials of State agencies; the Commercial Banks Act; the Securities and Exchange Act, and the Public Companies Act.
Supreme Court judges convicted Thaksin Shinawatra, who was prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Commission, for abuse of power in 2008 for helping his then wife Potjaman Na Pombejra to buy State-owned land in the Ratchadaphisek precinct of Bangkok in 2003.
He fled Thailand before the verdict was delivered.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin was ousted from office in Sepember 2006 by a military coup while on a trip to the United States.
The Southeast Asian Times

Curfew enforced in districts attacked by Sulu militants
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 27: A 14 day curfew enforced in six districts in the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) including the waters off Semporna, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Kinabatangan and Kunak, mfollows a "shoot-out" last week in Pulau Mabul between police and alleged Sulu militants.
The 6pm to 6am curfew enforced by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) from 19 July to 2 August follows an attack by alleged Sulu militants on the Mabul Water Bungalow Resort on July 13, killing marine Corporal Abd Rajah Jamuan.
His colleague Constable Zakiah Aleip is missing believed kidnapped by the Sulu militants who fled by boat allegedly to the Sulu islands in the Philippines.
A M16 semi automatic rifle was also missing after the attack on police who were guarding the island resort.
Sabah opposition Democratic Action Party chairman and Kota Kinabalu member of parliament, Jimmy Wong, called on the Barisan Nasional government, Prime Minister, Najib Razak, to "declare war" on the alleged Sulu militants two days after the six masked and heavily armed gunmen attacked the Mabul Island resort, making the attack the fifth reported Sabah border security breach in four months.
The curfew also follows a raid last month, led by director of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), Abdul Rashid Harun, on the Sabah disrict of Kunak.
The raid by the Security Command was allegedly conducted to apprehend illegal immigrants including supporters of the territorial claim made on Sabah by the family of the late Sultan of Sulu in the Philippines, Jamalul Kiram.
The self proclaimed Sultan of Sulu said on his death bed in October last year that "the fight to repossess Sabah from Malaysia must continue" on belhalf of all Filipino's.
Philippine deputy president spokeswoman, Abigail Valte said following the death of Jamalul Kiram, that his death does not mean the end of the Philippine government’s claim to Sabah.
Philippine president Aquino ordered a review of the Jamalul Kiram claim on Sabah following the February 2013 attack by the sultans younger brother, Agbimuddin Kiram, on the Sabah coastal town of Lahad Datu.
Two local police were killed when Agbimuddin Kiram and about 200 armed supporters of the territoral claim attacked Lahad Datu in an effort to reclaim Sabah.
Malaysian security forces reportedly responded by sending ground troops and launched air strikes on the Agbimuddin Kiram position.
The Southeast Asian Times

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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
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

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