The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House
From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6: 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 senior 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

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.
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Indonesian workers protest layoffs and low wages
Indonesian trade unions including the Indonesian Workers Confederation which has 2 million members protested against layoffs and low wages in Jakarta yesterday
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 3: More than 50,000 workers protested layoffs and low wages at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and the presidential palace in Central Jakarta yesterday, reports the Jakarta Post
Indonesian Workers Confederation, secretary-general, Subianto, said that workers are calling on the government to take action on the "economic slowdown" that is affecting their "purchasing power".
"We are expecting up to 100,000 layoffs this year,", he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that annual economic growth in Indonesia was at its lowest in six years at 4.67 percent due to a "slump" in demand for commodity exports and weak domestic demand.
Workers from Depok, West Java, South Tangerang, Bangen reportedly feared that the "economic deceleration" would force factories to lay off workers.
“We are seriously affected by the economy,” said a South Tangerang worker.
Jakarta city police chief. Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said that police would take action if protesters violated regulations.
The police chief said that those who forced factory workers to attend the protest would be arrested.
“I have ordered police precinct heads in the city to arrest those who are forcing others to protest,” he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that 8,542 officers from the regional police force and the National Police auxiliary forces were deployed to secure the protest.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police arrest suspect in Bangkok Hindu Erawan shrine killings
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 1: A 28 year old male suspect was arrested on Saturday for his alleged involvmnet in the explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Hindu Erawan shrine in central Bangkok on August 17, that killed 22 and injured 171, reports the Bangkok Post.
The 28 year old male suspect, whose name has been withheld, is reportedly in detention at the Infantry Battalion of the 11th Army Circle in Bangkok.
The Bangkok Post reports that the suspect was questioned about Improvised Explosive Device (IED) equipment and fake passports found in an rented apartment at Ton Koon Mansion on Soi Chuam Samphun 3 in the Nong Chok district of Bangkok.
The apartment supervisor Thanakorn Wiwannakorn, 60, told police that the 28-year-old suspect and a friend had moved into the apartment in June. "They were quiet and mostly stayed inside their room on the fourth floor", she said.
Police reportedly found urea-based fertilizer, bottles of flash powder, black and blue electric wiring, four wristwatches, a table clock, a pack of bolts, decorative tree lights, an empty box for a walkie-talkie, a radio controlled toy vehicle and a rucksack containing books in the apartement rented by the suspect.
Police spokesman Pol Lt-General Prawut Thawornsiri, said that police believe that the suspect was prepared to carry out more attacks in other locations.
The police spokesman said that evidence found at the suspect's apartment included detonating chords similar to the detonating chord found at the alleged related explosion at the pier near Sathorn Bridge the day following the explosion at the Bangkok shrine.
He said it was not yet clear if the suspect was responsible for the attack at the Erawan Shrine or the pier near Sathorn Bridge but that police believe the suspect was a member of the network responsible for the explosions.
The police spokesman said that the suspect has denied that he was a collaborator in the attack on the Hindu shrine or the pier near Sathorn Bridge.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysians demand PM resignation
Deputy prime minister, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who replaced deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin in a cabinet reshuffle last month, rejects the claim that Bersih 4 has the support of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 31: Hundreds of thousands of Bersih 4 supporters gathered in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday wearing Bersih 4 yellow T-shirts, blowing horns and demanding the resignation of prime minister Najib Razak, reports the New Straits Times.
More than 300,000 had reportedly gathered at Dataran Merdeka the day before Merdeka Day celebrations despite a police presence and the government declaration that the gathering was illegal.
Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that there had not been any arrests but that did not mean that the police were not observing and taking notes.
“The police are monitoring the people behind it", he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister signed an order yesterday blocking the organizer's website and declaring the yellow Bersih 4 T-shirts, posters, and banners carrying the Bersih 4 logo illegal, reports the New Straits Times.
A statement of intent to move a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was signed by Members of Parliament
last month calling for the establishment of a transitional government and the appointment of “an interim prime minister” to govern for a year before a general election.
The vote of no confidence follows the announcement by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin and Regional Development Minister, Mohd Shafie Apdal had been removed in a cabinet reshuffle believed to be for their public criticism of the government handling of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Deputy prime minister, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi replaced deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin in the cabinet reshuffle.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police are investigating allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on July 2 that US$700mil (RM2.6bil) was transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is reportedly Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board.
The Southeast Asian Times

Two West Papuans shot dead by Indonesian military
The funeral ceremony for two West Papuans in Timika on Friday. The two unidentified men aged, 19. and 23. were shot by Indonesian military (TNT) soldiers
From News Reports:
Jayapura, 30 August: Two Papuans were shot dead and three injured on Friday when Indonesia Military (TNI) soldiers opened fire
on civilians in Timika in Mimika Province West Papua about 3,400 kilometres east of Jakarta, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia Military (TNI) spokesman,Teguh Pudji Rahardjo said the shooting began when an Indonesia Military (TNI) soldier was attacked by a mob in Timika in Mimika Province.
The spokesman says that a second soldier who came to his aid was also set upon by the Papuans.
"One of the soldiers fired several shots to dispel the crowd", he said
Indonesia Military (TNI) spokesman E. Sodik said in a statement that the Indonesia Military (TNI) condemned the actions of its soldiers, saying that the shooting was a crimminal act committed by Indonesian soldiers.
"It is now being investigated by internal affairs", he said.
The Jakarta Post reported in May that the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) had warned that the Indonesian military (TNI) has "expanded its influence into the civilian sphere" over the last two decades.
The Institute said in its report that the Indonesian military has taken on more roles in civilian life during the two decades following the downfall of former president Suharto in 1998 than it had during his 31 year rule.
The armed forces have expanded their influence in civilian life by signing agreements with ministries, allowing them to take on such tasks as
distributing fertiliser, guarding prisons and public and private infrastructure such as mining, the report said.
"The longer the military stay engaged in such activities, the greater their political clout and the harder it will be to extract them, especially given that they are effectively immune from prosecution under civil law," the report warned.
The Southeast Asian Times

Families want president Widodo to pay compensation for demolition of their homes
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 28: Twenty-one families in Central Java have taken legal action against President Joko Widodo for compensation for the demolition of their homes by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), reports the Jakarta Post.
The families who have asked for Rp 21.1 billion (US$1.5 million) in compensation including Rp 10.6 billion in material losses, filed the claim against the President at the Semarang District Court on Wednesday.
Lawyer for the families, Josep Parera, says that the claim for compensation is directed at the President because "he is the Army’s highest
"The claim is also directed at the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Army chief of staff and the commander of the Regional Military Command IV in Diponegoro in Central Java", he says.
Lawyer, Josep Parera, says that the military did not have the legal right to demolish the 21 houses that he says has belonged to the families since the 1950s and "that sits on 6,400 square meters of land".
He says that the National Armed Forces (TNI) claim that they had to hand over the land to the National Land Agency (BPN).
“Yet, there is no record of the takeover", he says.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai woman given death penalty in Malaysia for trafficking in cocaine
Chonmanee Laphathanawat, 30, from Rayong in Thailand was given the death penalty in Malaysia for drug trafficking
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 28: Thai national, Chonmanee Laphathanawat, 30, was sentenced to death by a Malaysian High Court yesterday for "smuggling" 80 pills of cocaine or 689.1grams to Malaysia in 2013.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan said when handing down the sentence that "the defence had failed to prove that she was forced to "smuggle" the drugs into the country".
The Thai woman was represented by a court appointed lawyer.
Chonmanee Laphathanawat, 30, was accused of "smuggling" the drug from Brazil to Malaysia via Penang International Airport on 13 February 2013.
The Thai woman had swallowed 78 tablets and had inserted 2 tablets in her body in an effort to avoid detection.
The cocaine was reportedly discovered on the morning of February 13, 2013 at the Penang Hospital following an examination.
Chonmanee Laphathanawat, 30, was found guilty of the offence under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 is punishable under Section 39B(2) with a mandatory death sentence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore PM calls a snap election after National Day celebrations
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 63.
From News Reports:
Singapore, August 27: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called for an election to be held on September 11 ahead of the general election that was to be held in January 2017 and a month after the announcement of new electoral boundaries, reports the Straits Times.
The Straits Times reports that 19 per cent of 2.46 million eligible voters in Singapore will caste there vote in a new constituency and that the number of elected Members of Parliament are up from 87 to 89.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who will be leading the People's Action Party (PAP) that has ruled for more than 50 years for the third time as Prime Minister said that he called the general election to seek a mandate to take Singapore into the next half century.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday at the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s founding celebrations, that "Singapore was at a turning point and that the coming election was critical".
"You will be setting the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years," he said two days before he called the election.
People's Action Party (PAP) won 81 of the 87 seats contested with a total vote share of 60.1 per cent in the last general election held on May 7, 2011, winning its lowest share of the vote with "many unhappy about the cost of living and immigration", reports the Straits Times.
Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, who died on March 23, reportedly drew praise for his "market-friendly" policies, but also criticism at home and abroad for his strict controls over the press, public protest and political opponents.
His son, the present prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, "is keen to tap national pride that the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s founding celebrations generated and to improve on its performance in the last elections", reports the Straits Times.
Singapore blogger, Roy Ngerng, who posted a blog that "constitutes a serious libel against Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong", last year has applied to join the Reform Party (RP) to contest in Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC) against the People's Action Party (PAP) headed by prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Roy Ngerng was found guilty of defaming the Singapore prime minister by the High Court of Singapore in November and is awaiting the outcome of a hearing for an assessment of the amount of compensation allegedly due to Singapore prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong for the alleged defamatory blog.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai bank manager arrested for enslavement of Lao workers on his pig and chicken farm
Bank manager, Chaidet Sonut, 55, who was released on bail, has denied all charges of detaining, assaulting and giving shelter to immigrant workers on his pig and chicken farm outside Bankok
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 26: The manager of the Krung Thai Bank branch in Nakhon Pathom Province, Chaidet Sonut, 55, who was arrested on Saturday after 12 Lao workers as young as 14 were discovered asleep in cages on a pig and chicken farm outside Bankok, has been charged with "detaining, assaulting and giving shelter to immigrant workers "
Chaidet Sonut, 55, is the owner and manager of the 20-rai plot Yuphau pig and chicken farm in Muang district in Nakhon Pathom Province where the Lao workers were found.
The Bangkok Post reports that the Laos workers, aged between 14 and 25 years old, were found asleep in “animal cages” on Yuphau pig and chicken farm by police and soldiers who raided the farm on Saturday.
Kamphaeng Saen district deputy chief of police, Phruet Chamrunsat, said that police were conducting further investigations to determine if the bank manager should be charged with human trafficking
The chief of police reportedly said that the conditions in which the Lao workers were found were "shocking".
"I never expected to see such slavery in Thailand", he said.
Chanon Saenkaeo, 25, who escaped from the farm and alerted police said the cages had no toilets.
He said that the workers were forced to work all day and were beaten.
"Some suffered head injuries but were not allowed to seek treatment", he said.
A worker, whose name has been withheld, said that he met the bank manager at the Yuphau pig and chicken farm in Muang district.
He reportedly said that Chaidet Sonut promised to pay him 7,000 baht a month in wages.
But after working for three months, “I’ve not received even a single baht,” he said.
The Nakhon Pathom Shelter for Children and Families under the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, chief, Saranya Sawatnok said that the Laos workers will not be charged with illegal entry into Thailand.
"They are considered to be victims of human trafficking", she said.
The 12 Lao workers have been placed in protective custody.

The Southeast Asian Times

Central Java farmers and military clash over ownership of land
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 25: A violent clash between farmers and Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) over ownership of farmland in Central Java has left 11 farmers injured, reports the Jakarta Post.
The clash between farmers from Wiromartan village in Mirit district, Kebumen regency and the military who say that the land is designated a national defence area, broke out on Saturday in the Urut Sewu beach area
South Kebumen Farmers Association (FPPKS) coordinator Seniman said the clash began on Saturday afternoon when the military began building a fence around the land that the farmers claim belongs to them.
More than 100 residents led by village chief Sunu Nugroho confronted the soldiers, demanding that they stop the construction of the fence.
"The soldiers became angry and aggressive and kicked and punched the residents", he said.
He said that injured residents were admitted to hospital for treatment and others have returned to their homes.
The Jakarta Post reports that Kebumen 0709 military commander (Dandim) Lt. Col. Putra Widyawinaya insists that the construction of the fence is in the "public interest".
“According to the law, the area has been designated as a national defense area,” he said.
The commander reportedly denied that military personnel had "committed violent acts" against the farmers and instead called it “self-defense”.
He said that the soldiers had "asked" the farmers to step back from the perimeter fence but the farmers would not.
Farmers in the in Mirit district, Kebumen regency and the military have been in a long-standing dispute over the about 23 kilometers in length and about 500 metres in width piece of land that spans over three districts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister, who escaped trial, dead at 83
Former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, 83, at the United Nations-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or “Khmer Rouge Tribunal, in 2009 where she told her accusers that they would be "cursed to the seventh circle of hell" in response to the prosecution's suggestion that she was aware of atrocities at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison while she served as social affairs minister during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-1979 rule
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 24: Former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, 83, wife of former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary and sister-in-law of the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, died on Saturday morning in Pailin, on the Cambodia Thai border, a "stronghold" for Khmer Rouge who were ousted by the Vietnamese in 1979.
Ieng Thirith, who died from cardiac arrest, was hospitalized earlier this year in Thailand with heart, bladder and lung desease.
Her son Ieng Vuth reportedly said from Pailin that the former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister will be cremated this evening.
Former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister, Ieng Thirith was charged with her husband, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, by the United Nations-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or “Khmer Rouge Tribunal,” with genocide, crimes against humanity, religious persecution, homicide and torture and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
She was arrested in 2007, with her husband but refused to co-operate with the court, consistently denying responsibility for alleged Khmer Rouge crimes including purges of suspected traitors in her ministry who were sent to re-education camps.
Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, says that court documents show that Ieng Thirith had knowledge of the Khmer Rouge killing of perceived enemies.
The director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, says that Ieng Thirith was personally and directly involved in "denying Cambodians
the most basic of healthcare".
The tribunal’s judge’s ruled in November 2011 that Ieng Thirith was not fit to stand trial because she had Alzheimer's disease and should be unconditionally released.
She reportedly remained a member of the Khmer Rouge after it was ousted in January 1979 but left in 1996 when her husband defected and was granted royal amnesty.
Ieng Vuth reportedly remained under judicial supervision until her death.
The Southeast Asian Times

PM orders arrest of anyone who says that the Cambodian government uses fake border maps
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 23: Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the arrest of individuals, groups, or organizations who continue to claim that the government uses "fake" maps to demarcate the Cambodia Vietnam border following the verification of the authenticity of the 1964 border maps provided by the United Nations.
Council of Ministers, spokesman, Phay Siphan, says that claims that the Cambodian government uses fake maps threatens national security, law and order.
"This is considered incitement", says the spokesman.
The Royal Academy of Cambodia found that the maps currently used by the government were authentic after comparing them with 18 border maps that the United Nations handed over to the Cambodian Government on Thursday.
Researchers at the Royal Academy of Cambodia found that the maps used by the government and the French maps referred to by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) were identical.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claims that the government is using maps that were drawn by the Vietnamese during its occupation of Cambodia in the 1980s.
Border disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam have reportedly increased in the last two months with reports that Vietnamese authorities had dug eight ponds on the Cambodian side of the border, constructed a military post, and built roads on non-demarcated border areas.
The Southeast Asian times

United Nations gives Cambodia access to 1964 border maps
Mereani Keleti Vakasisikakala, Acting President of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library, who arrived in Phnom Penh with the 1964 Cambodia Vietnam borders maps on Thursday, hands the 18 maps over to Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Hor Namhong
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 21: Cambodian - Vietnamese border maps that have been held by the United Nations since 1964 arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday following a request by Prime Minister Hun Sen to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for access to the maps.
The 18 border maps are reportedly expected to verify the authenticity of maps the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), is using to demarcate the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The request for access to the maps follows the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's (CNRP) repeated accusation that the government is using maps that were drawn by the Vietnamese during its occupation of Cambodia in the 1980s.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the request for access to the original maps is to show "the scrupulousness and righteousness" of the Cambodian government in demarcating borders between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that the 18 maps that were published by the Indochina Geographical Service were deposited at the United Nations by the late King Norodom Sihanouk in 1964.
Border disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam have reportedly increased in the last two months following the inspection of the border by opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawyers and activists.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that Vietnamese authorities had dug eight ponds on the Cambodian side of the border, constructed a
military post, and built roads on non-demarcated border areas.
Cambodian Senior Minister in charge of Border Affairs, Var Kimhong, said last month that Cambodia believed that Vietnam has violated a bilateral border agreement that prevents both Cambodia and Vietnam from road construction and other infrastructure projects in non-demarcated border areas.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the 18 United Nations border maps will be checked against maps the government is currently using to determine the border line between Cambodia and Vietnam.
“We have to clear all doubts,” said the prime minister.
About 80 percent of the 1,270 km border that Cambodia shares with Vietnam has been demarcated.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand offers reward for arrest of suspect in Erawan shrine killings
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 21: Thailand has offered a reward of Bt1 million for information leading to the arrest of three unidentified male suspects believed responsible for the explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Hindu Erawan shrine in central Bangkok on Monday , killing more than 20 and injuring more than 100, reports the Bangkok Post.
An arrest warrant, issued on Wednesday, charged the unidentifed "prime suspect" with premeditated murder, attempted murder and bomb making.
The "prime suspect" was reportedly captured on a security camera arriving at the Erawan shrine with a backpack, leaving without it minutes before the explosion.
Two other suspets believed to be accomplices, were also captured on a security camera at the Erawan shrine.
A sketch of the "prime suspect" showing him to be fair-skinned with thick, medium-length black hair, a wispy beard and with black framed glasses has reportedly been provided by police.
National police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmuang said police believe that the explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Erawan shrine in central Bangkok is "the work of a network".
"The suspect did not act alone", says the police chief.
Police believe that "the perpetrators shared the job" that included "staking out the targeted area, mapping an escape route and assembling the
National police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmuang says that the "'prime suspect' knew the area well".
The Bangkok Post reports that two motorcycle taxi drivers claimed to have picked up the 'prime suspect', one taxi driver saying he picked him up often in the morning.
Motorcycle taxi driver, Nikom Pantulaat, identified the 'prime suspect' , saying that the "young man" frequently used his service to go to Asoke intersection at about 5.30am.
"He usually appeared to be in a hurry and spoke both Thai and English", he said.
The motorcycle taxi driver also said that his passenger wore a black band on his arm and also wore dark glasses.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia sinks 70 Illegal fishing boats in celebration of 70 years of independence
A Malaysian fishing vessel seized by Indonesian authorities for illegal fishing is detonated and sunk by the Indonesian Navy
in waters off eastern Sumatra on August 17
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 20: The Indonesian navy blasted 70 foreign fishing vessels out of Indonesian waters on Tuesday in celebration of 70 years of independence as part of the government campaign driven by President Joko Widodo to stop illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
"Illegal fishing costs the country billions of dollars in lost revenue every year", says the president.
The 70 fishing vessels including Thai, Vietnamese, Philippine and Malaysian fishing vessels were seized in the waters of Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since the election of the new president in July last year.
The fishing vessels were seized for conducting illegal fishing operations by the Indonesian Navy and Water Police under the direction of the Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry.
Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, said that "we must show that Indonesia can be triumphant on the sea."
"The sea is the future of our nation," she said.
The 70 fishing vessels including Thai, Vietnamese, Philippine and Malaysian fishing vessels were scuttled on August 17 by the Indonesian navy in various locations of the archipelago of more than 17,000 islands including in waters off eastern Sumatra .
Southeast Asian Times

Bangkok on full alert following explosion at Hindu shrine
Bomb experts investigate the damage from the explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Hindu Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 19: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered Thai security forces on full alert, following the explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Hindu Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok on Monday evening, killing more than 20 and injuring more than 80, reports the Bangkok Post.
Prime Minister Gen Prawit said the explosion targeted Thailands tourism sector.
"The attackers intentionally launched an attack in a crowded area popular with tourists", he said.
The Bangkok Post reports that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Bangkok Metropolitan Police and the Royal Thai Armed Forces to inspect the blast scene and launch a thorough investigation.
Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Somyot Pumpunmuang, said that the bomb at the shrine was improvised, with gunpowder
stuffed inside a pipe.
" It was detonated in a similar way to how a TNT device is set off", he said.
The Bangkok Post reports the explosion took place at 7pm from a device left on a bench at the Erawan Shrine situated on The Rachaprasong road intersection in central Bangkok, throwing bodies across the intersection.
The injured, suffering from severe burns were treated by rescue workers and immediately taken to the nearby Bangkok Metropolitan Police General Hospital for emergency treatment.
Others who sustained deep wounds and lacerations were admitted in critical condition to the Ramathibodi, Rajavithi, Phramongkutklao, Chulalongkorn, Klang, Bangkok Christian and Phayathai 1 hospitals for treatment.
The US embassy in Bangkok has issued an "emergency message" to Americans in Bangkok, saying that "US citizens are advised to avoid the area and monitor local media for updates."
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam National Assembly calls for specifics in drafting of Law on Religion and Belief
From News Reports:
Hanoi, August 18: National Assembly Standing Committee members called on the drafting committee in Hanoi last week to be specific in drafting the Law on Religion and Belief, reports the Vietnam News Service.
National Assembly Standing Committee members reportedly say that the drafting committee should include specific religious practices and beliefs in the drafting of the Law on Religion and Belief.
Committee members say that banned religious practices and beliefs should be regulated in detail in the draft law in order to ensure the right to religious freedom in Vietnam as stipulated in the 2013 Constitution and to bring Vietnam in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed in 1982.
The call for specifics in the drafting of the Law on Religion and Belief follows the meeting of legislators in July that was chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dun who said that attention to the legitimacy and feasibility of laws is required in the drafting of legislature,
National Assembly Ombudsman Committee head Nguyen Duc Hien said that the drafting committee is to make an assessment of religious practices and beliefs in Vietnam so that religious practices and beliefs can be exercised in accordance with Vietnamese law.
National Assembly Committee for Legal Affairs vice chairman, Le Minh Thong said that religious practices and beliefs were two separate concepts.
"The drafting committee should make a clear distinction between religious beliefs and cultural festivals", he said.
National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs, head Truong Thi Mai, says that the Law on Religion and Belief should include the rights and responsibilities of both Vietnamese and non Vietnamese.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former U.S. diplomat in HCMCity sentenced to five years in prison for visa fraud
Michael T. Sestak, former US diplomat at the U.S. consulate in HCMCity, Vietnam
From News Reports:
HCMCity, August 17: A former U.S. diplomat in Ho Chi Minh City was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for accepting more than
$3 million in bribes to process fraudulent visas in Vietnam, reports Thanh Nien.
Michael T. Sestak, 44, reportedly said at his trial in Washington D.C. that he was part of a conspiracy of five from the US and Vietnam to commit bribery and visa fraud that reportedly generated more than $9.78 million in bribes.
He pleaded guilty in the Washington U.S. District Court to conspiracy and bribery charges in November 2013.
The former U.S. diplomat who was arrested in HCMCity in May 2013 admitted that he issued fraudulent visas between February and September 2012.
Michael T. Sestak was stationed in HCMCity between August 2010 and September 2012 in charge of reviewing and approving visa applications.
The fraudulent visas scheme was reportedly discovered by investigators when his posting in the HCMCity U.S. consulate was about to end.
Vietnamese-American millionaire Vo Tang Binh, 39, his wife Nguyen Thuy Anh Dao, 30, his sister Hong Vo, 27, and cousin Truc Tranh Huynh, 29 also pleaded guilty in November 2013 to providing fraudulent visas.
Payment for visas ranged from $15,000 to $70,000 each, reports Thanh Nien.
Thanh Nien reports that recipients of the fraudulent visas included those who had previously been denied a visa.
Michael Sestak laundered the money he received from bribes through a bank in China and Thailand in order to buy nine real estate properties in Thailand.
Thanh Nien reports that under a plea agreement Michael Sestak forfeited the proceeds of the properties to pay back part of a $6 million judgment brought against him.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia's opposition party senator arrested for treason
Opposition Senator Sok Hour who has been in hiding since Prime Minister Hun Sen called for his “urgent” arrest on Thursday morning was arrested at the home of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) legislator, Yon Tharo, in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district on Friday morning
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 16: Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Senator Hong Sok Hour, was arrested early Friday morning following a call for his arrest by Prime Minister Hun Sen who accused the senator of treason on Thursday over a facebook posting, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Chhay Sinarith said an arrest warrant had been issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and had been sent to police in the provinces in a bid to find the senator.
"Senator Hong Sok Hour went into hiding after the Prime Minister called for his arrest", he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen accused opposition party Senator Hong Sok Hour of posting a “fake” section of the 1979 Cambodia and Vietnam border treaty on facebook that effectively dissolves both national borders.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has reportedly accused the ruling Cambodian People's Party of ceding land to Vietnam on the Cambodia Vietnam border by using the "wrong maps" to demarcate the eastern border.
Senator Hong Sok Hour, a French-Cambodian citizen, had reportedly travelled to Paris to collect maps that his party says are "versions of the constitutional mandated maps and should be used to demarcate Cambodia's eastern boundary".
The Phnom Penh Post reports that opposition Senator Sok Hour is apologetic about posting the “fake” treaty on facebook and has since removed it together with a video about the “fake”document.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that the senator is protected by immunity but that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party that holds a majority in the senate will vote to remove the immunity.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai PM warns that new public assembly law will be enforced
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 15: Thai Prime Minister Chan-o-cha warned that the new public assembly law that requires the public to inform authorities in advance of demonstrations and that became effective on Thursday will be "strictly" enforced, reports the Bangkok Post.
Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha warned activists that the new public assembly law will be enforced "to prevent political turmoil".
“This law will be strictly enforced to prevent the type of nuisance and violence that has happened in the past," he said.
The Public Assembly Bill that was proposed by the Royal Thai Police won an unanimous 182-0 vote in the National Legislative Assembly in May.
The new public assembly law prohibits public gatherings in a 150-metre radius of royal palaces and residences.
A public rally cannot be held on the premises of Parliament, Government House and courts without the approval of authorities.
The rally cannot block the entrances or exits of government offices, airports, ports, bus or train stations and hospitals or distrupt operations.
Areas deemed off limits include embassies, consuls and international agencies.
The law requires rally organisers to notify police officers 24 hours ahead of a planned assembly including information such as the purpose and duration of the assembly.
Rally organisers whose aplication for public assembly has been refused have the right of appeal
Legal watchdog and rights advocacy group, iLaw representative, Nutchapakorn Nummueng, says that "the law gives broad powers to authorities to prohibit public assembly on vague and arbitrary grounds".
He says that the law violates the rights of the people.
"We want this act revoked,'' he said.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) under the command of General Prayuth Chan-ocha who is also the Prime Minister, banned political gatherings of more than five people in order to prevent possible violence, threats to national security and law and order on the declaration of Martial Law in May 2014.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Papua New Guinea PM compensated for disqualification from parliament
Former prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, 79, was paid almost $1 million in compensation for his disqualification of from the Papua New Guinea parliament in 2011 in an out-of-court settlement yesterday
From News Reports:
Port Moresby, August 14: Former prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, 79, was paid almost $1 million in compensation by the Papua New Guinea government for his disqualification from the Papua New Guinea parliament in 2011.
Sir Michael was disqualified from the Papua New Guinea parliament within hours of his return to the House of Representatives in August 201l after a five-month absence in Singapore for heart surgery
The Speaker ruled that parliament had not given Sir Michael leave to be absent from parliament to be in Singapore.
A Papua New Guinea MP is liable to forfeit their seat if they miss more than three consecutive sittings.
The former Prime Minister returned from Singapore to attend the special sitting of parliament in August 2011 called by his successor, Peter O'Neill, to unseat him.
Sir Michael, who was admitted to hospital in April 2011, was ousted as prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Tuesday, August 2, 201l
He declared then that he was still Papua New Guinea's prime minister and would complete his term.
Three of five Papua New Guinea Supreme Court judges declared that the parliament's election of Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister was unconstitutional but the O'Neill government drafted legislation that retrospectively authorised the decision.
Sir Michael Somare was refused entry to Government House when he arrived to have his caretaker cabinet sworn after the Supreme Court judges restored him both as the member for East Sepik and Papua New Guinea’s prime minister.
About 30 police and soldiers barred the iron gates and, with their vehicles, prevented access to the governor-general’s office and residence.
Spokesman for Sir Michael said yesterday that the compensation payment of $1million was part of an out-of-court settlement agreed to earlier this year.
He said that the Papua New Guinea constitution allows Sir Michael to seek redress for a series of breaches committed during the "2011 impasse" as determined by the Supreme Court.
"Sir Michael's claim is relative to special damages calculated by the attorney-general's office based on the Salaries and wages Remuneration Committee (SRC) Awards and other such parameters," said the spokesman.
The Southeast Asian Times

Jakarta court orders former president Soeharto family to pay back embezzled funds
Former Indonesian president Soeharto and his wife, Tien Soeharto, centre, with their children and in-laws in Cendana, Jakarta, in 1993.
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 13: The Jakarta Supreme Court has ordered the family of former president Soeharto to pay back millions of dollars that was embezzled from a scholarship foundation founded by the former president in 1974, and managed by the Soeharto family.
The Supreme Court ruled on July 8 that the six children of the late former presiden , pay the state 4.389 trillion rupiah (S$450 million) in restitution.
The Supreme Court ruling on the supposedly charitable Supersemar Foundation is the first to hold the Soeharto family accountable, reports the Jakarta Post.
An investigation team found after the fall of Indonesian president Soeharto in 1998, that the former president had established sevenfoundations that provided charitable services for orphans and the poor.
The Jakarta Post reports that the Supersemar Foundation was the only charitable foundation found guilty of misappropriating funds.
Charges against the supposedly charitable Supersemar Foundation that was used to divert funds were first laid in the South Jakarta District Court in 2008, reports the Jakarta Post.
The attorney general's office then sought the court's approval to seize all the foundation's assets, saying that it would seek compensation for losses that the foundation allegedly inflicted on the state - totalling about US$1.3 billion.
Former president Soeharto and members of the Supersemar Foundation were accused of diverting US$440 million to companies belonging to associates including Kosgoro, Sempati, PT Bank Duta, PT Kiani Sakti and PT Kiani Lestari.
The Supreme Court found the Soeharto family guilty in 2010, ordering them to pay compensation of Rp 139.2 billion (US$10.2 million), which represented a quarter of the losses to the state.
The Jakarta Post reports that the Supersemar Foundation had been proven to violate a 1976 government regulation stipulating that state-owned banks must set aside 5 percent of their profits for foundations, including Supersemar, for scholarships or charities only.
The foundation reportedly instead misused the funds for companies managed by former president Soeharto and his associates.
The Southeast Asian Times

The long history of persecution of Armenians in the Middle East is continuing apace, with jihadists trying to wipe out this Christian minority in Syria
Reports Chris page here

Land granted to Australian Aborigines under the Land Rights Act is up for grabbs by developers.
Aboriginal Land Rights activist, Dr William B Day urges former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon. Ian Viner, AO QC to act page here

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


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

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

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


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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic here


What they're saying open page here


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


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory Australia

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Updated daily.
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ambodia. 2,916.86
East Timor.
Indonesia rupiah
Malaysia Ringgit....2.9651
Papua New Guinea
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Singapore properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
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