The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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.
The Southeast Asian Time


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Asean pledges to break down trade barriers in Southeast Asia
The Economic Ministers of the ten member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) discussed the progress of the development of a comprehensive vision for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) beyond 2015 at a retreat in Malaysia over the weekend
From News Reports:
Kota Baru: March 3: The 21st Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers two day retreat in Malaysia ended yesterday with a pledge from the ministers of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries to break down technical barriers to trade in Southeast Asia ahead of the formal establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of the year, reports the New Straits Times
The Economic Ministers annual retreat held this year in in Kota Baru, chaired by Malaysia's Industry Minister, Mustapa Mohamed, reportedly ended with a statement saying that the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) measures does not mean that the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will become a single economic entity by 1 January 2016 instead it sends "a strong signal that positive measures have been put in place towards a more liberalised and integrated economic region".
Malaysia's theme for the chairmanship of Asean is, "Our People, Our Community, Our Vision."
The joint statement said that the formal establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015 "marks a major milestone in Asean’s effort to fulfil the goal of an integrated region".
The Economic Ministers of the 10 Asean member countries agreed to the simplification of Customs procedures, further liberalisation of services and to facilitate trade ahead of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of the year, marking the end of Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) that was established in 2008.
The Southeast Asian Times


Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter turns government witness in senate inquiry

From News Reports:
Manila, March 2: A Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter involved in a military encounter with the National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos that left 44 PNF-SAF and 18 MILF dead in the southern Philippines last month has turned-government-witness in the Senate enquiry that was opened last month by Senate panel chairwoman, Grace Poe, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Philippine Inquirer reports that the unidentified Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter who reportedly participated in the killings of the 44 National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos on January 25 had turned-government-witness in order to protect his family.
The National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos were killed in the gunfight that ensued between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), that left 44 PNF-SAF and 18 MILF and an undisclosed number of BIFF and seven civilians dead following the deployment of 392 commandos to Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao, to arrest Malaysian Islamic militant, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan and Filipino militant Abdul Basit Usman, who between them have a $5 million bounty on their heads and are on the U.S. FBI wanted list.
The National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos reportedly killed
Malaysian Islamic militant, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan in a raid on his hideout in Tukanalipao village, Mamasapano, but Filipino militant Abdul Basit Usman, although wounded, escaped.
Senate panel chairperson, Grace Poe said that the inquiry seeks answers in operational command and tactics, combat operations and intelligence, police training in urban warfare and their suitablility in warfare in jungle terrain such as that in Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao.
The chairwoman said that the inquiry will also seek answers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in order to idenify the perpretrators of the "massacre" of the 44 commandos.
The inquiry will also ask for a time frame in which the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), will clear Mindanao of its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Justice Department prosecutors and National Bureau of Investigation investigators have reportedly questioned the unidentified Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter in Muslim Mindanao.
The unidentified MILF fighter has reportedly given a statement in which he names the MILF fighters who participated in the "massacre" of the 44 National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos.
The Southeast Asian Times


Independent inquiry finds "spy drones" involved in deadly military encounter in southern Philippines

From News Reports:
Manila, March 1: An independent inquiry into a military encounter between the National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), that left 44 PNF-SAF and 18 MILF and an undisclosed number of BIFF dead following the deployment of 392 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos to the Southern Philippines on 25 January has found that "spy drones" had made "sorties" in the area for seven days prior to the deadly encounter, reports Bulatlat.
The independent inquiry was reportedly conducted by a fact-finding group of about 100 from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Suara Bangsamoro, Kalinaw Mindanao and the Moro human rights group Kawagib and Maka Bayan legislators and coincides with the Senate inquiry that seeks answers in operational command and tactics, combat operations and intelligence and police training into the deaths of the 44 commandos.
Bulalat reports that residents had told the fact-finding group that “airplanes twinkled at night.”
The fact-finding group said that the independent inquiry into the Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao encounter that began with the attempt by the
National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos to arrest of Malaysian Islamic militant, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan and Filipino militant Abdul Basit Usman, who between them have a $5 million bounty on their heads and are on the U.S. FBI wanted list, indicates the involvement of US military in the encounter.
The fact-finding group said that witnesses claimed that they saw a “white-skinned, tall, blue-eyed with narrow, long nose” soldier among the 44 deadNational Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos that were killed in the encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Muslim Mindanao on 25 January during the attempt to arrest the Islamic militants.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarat said that statements from witnesses indicate that the US government and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III were
behind the operation to capture islamic militant Zulkifli Bin Hir Marwan, reports Bulatlat.
The senate inquiry that began last month into the death of the 44 National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos called for answers to questions about the alleged involvement of an unidentified "foreign entity".
Senate panel chairperson, Grace Poe, said at the opening of the inquiry that there had been reports of US involvement in the capture of the two militants in the territory allegedly controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Southeast Asian Times

Pardon from Malaysian King sought for politician, convicted of sodomy
A request for a royal pardon for People's Justice Party opposition party leader Anwar Ibrahim, convicted and sentenced to prison for sodomy, was lodged on Tuesday. His daughter Nurul Nuha Anwar, herself a member of parliament, says the family believed her father was innocent of the sodomy charge and is being detained as a political prisoner
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February: A request for a royal pardon for politician, Anwar Ibrahim convicted and sentenced to prison for sodomy earlier this month was lodged by his family on Tuesday, reports the Star
People's Justice Party opposition party leader Anwar Ibrahim was convicted by the Federal Court for sodomy in 2008 of his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
The request for a pardon was submitted to the King of Malaysia, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on Tuesday.
Anwar Ibrahim was convicted on February 10 and sentenced to five years imprisonment in what he says is a "political conspiracy" by Malaysia's ruling party, Barisan national.
"He is innocent," said Nurul Izzah, Anwar's daughter and a member of parliament.
"He is the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice and it is our constitutional right to seek to right that wrong."
The Federal court ruling reportedly precludes the opposition party Pakatan Rakyat or People's Justice Party leader from nomination for the Kajang state seat by-election on March 10 and puts an end to his 40 year political career.
The request for a royal pardon was reportedly a possible "delay tactic" to avoid the Election Commission from holding a by-election simultaneously with the March 22 Chempaka state by-election. The Permatang Pauh seat held by Anwar Ibrahim can only be declared vacant if the king dismisses the request for a pardon.
Anwar Ibrahim spent six years in prison between 1998 and 2004 after being convicted of corruption and of sodomy of his former family driver.
Three judges of the Federal, Malaysia's highest court, eventually partially overturned the first sodomy conviction after finding contradictions within the prosecution.
The Southeast Asian Times


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 .........open page here

Compensation awarded to Mae Moh power plant residents
The surviving relatives of 15 of the 131 eligible claimants whose health was adversly affected by toxic emmissions from Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) Mae Moh power plant in Lampang will be compensated on their behalf
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 27: The Supreme Administrative Court has awarded Bt25 million in compensation after ten years of litigation to 100 Thais
whose health was adversly affected by toxic emissions from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) Mae Moh power plant in Lampang province.
The Supreme Administrative Court found that the Mae Moh power plant had failed to control its emission of sulphur dioxide between 1992 and 1998.
About 477 claims for compensation were lodged with the Central Administrative Court but only 131 had evidence to prove that their health was adversly affected by emissions of sulphur dioxide from the Mae Moh power plant.
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) spokesman, Saharath Boonpotipukde, said that EGAT would act in accordance with the courts ruling and pay compensation including 7.5 per cent interest.
He said that the court's decision had marked the beginning of cooperation between the Mae Moh community and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) who had been neighbours for more than 30 years.
"Mae Moh and EGAT would submitt a community development project designed to help promote environmental development of Mae Moh.
In 2004 the Lampang provincial court awarded more than Bt5.7 million to 152 residents of Mae Mo district in a suit filed against Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for compensation for crops damaged by the Mae Mo power plant.
The residents were each paid Bt30,000 six years after they made their original demands for compensation in 1998 and subsequently launched a lawsuit in 1999.
Residents displaced by the Mae Mo power plant also received title deeds to 100 plots of land promised to them by the government as compensation in 2004, the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Mae Mo district.
The Southeast Asian Times


Prison sentence for insulting the Thai monarchy in a university play
Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were initially sentenced to five years in prison under the Lese Majeste law but the term was reduced to two years and six months because they pleaded guilty
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 26: Two Thai university students accused of insulting the monarchy in a university play performed two years ago were each sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison by a Bangkok court on Monday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, a student at Khon Kaen University, and Pornthip Munkong, 27, former coordinator of Prakai Fai Theatre Troupe, were charged in the Ratrachada Court in October last year with insulting the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolfe's Bride" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013.
The two students, who have been in detention since arrested in August, refused bail and pleaded guilty in December to charges under the Lese Majeste law for violation of Article 112 of Thailand Criminal Code for insulting the Thai monarchy.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in a satirical 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 that was reportedly crushed by the military.
Lawyer for the students Pawinee Chumsri, said they "would not appeal".
The prosecution cited nine passages in the satirical production that depicts a fictional monarch, that had allegedly insulted the monarchy, and as such was in violation of the Lese Majeste law.
The Bangkok court ruled that the play had caused serious damage to the monarchy.
Police are searching for at least six others involved in the production of the play.
The Southeast Asian Times


Military warns against obstruction in the execution of death row prisoners
From News Reports
Jakarta Post, February 25: Indonesian military chief of the National Defence Forces (TNI) has warned against obstruction of the planned execution of six prisoners on death row including two Australians who received the death sentence for drug trafficking following their arrest in Bali in 2005.
General Moeldoko says that the military is prepared to secure the execution of six prisoners who have received the death penalty for drug related offences including two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Filipino, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, Serge Areski Atlaoui from France, Martin Anderson alias Belo from Ghana, Indonesian Zainal Abidin, Raheem Agbaje Salami from Cordova, and Rodrigo Gularte from Brazil.
Indonesian military chief of the National Defence Forces (TNI) Gen. Moeldoko has warned against obstructing the planned execution of six prisoners on death row
Don't try to disrupt the executions by any means', he warned.
He said that three Sukhoi jet fighters have been dispatched to Bali where the two Australians are imprisoned in the Kerobokan prison as an "anicipatory measures"
Australians, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 34, are reportedly to be transferred from Bali Kerobokan prison to the Nusa Kambangan prison in Cilacap, Central Java for execution this week following a delay at the request of the Australian government for family visiting rights.
The Australia government also urged Indonesia to pardon the two Australian citizens on death row as a mark of gratitude for the about A$1 billion in Australian humanitarian aid that was donated to Indonesia in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami that devasted Aceh.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said yesterday that Jakarta would go ahead with the executions including that of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran following the appeals courts rejection of a review of clemency requests.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said following the court decision yesterday that there should not be intervention in the death penalty.
"Indonesia has the sovereign right to exercise the law", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia to payback Tsunami aid to Australia
The Association of Indonesian Muslim University Students (KAMMI), urged all Acehnese to participate in the fundraising drive to repay the 2004 Tsunami Australian humanitiarian aid in an effort to "preserve Acehnese dignity"
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 24: Banda Aceh sudents are on a fundraising drive to give back about A$1 billion in Australian humanitarian aid that was donated to Indonesia in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami that devasted Aceh, following the demand for a pardon for Australians on death row.
The proposed repayment of Australian humanitarian aid, recognised as the most generous donation from any industrialised country including the UK and the USA , follows the demand made by Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, that Indonesia pardon two Australians on death row as a mark of gratitude.
The Banda Aceh Association of Indonesian Muslim University Students (KAMMI), chairman, Martunus said that the use of humanitarian aid by the Australian Prime minister as a bargaining tool was "arrogant" and showed no respect for the people of Aceh, saying that Abbot's statement was "hurtful".
“We call on the Indonesian government not to be afraid of threats or other forms of intervention in the upcoming executions,” he said.
He said coins would be collected in various public areas throughout Banda Aceh and would be handed to the Australian government through the Australian embassy in Jakarta.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed that Australia would feel “grievously let down” if the executions proceeded despite the assistance given after the 2004 Tsunami.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly denied threatening Indonesia.
Australians, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 34, are two of six awaiting execution for drug related offences.
The two Australians who were arrested in Bali in 2005 for trafficking in drugs are reportedly being prepared for transfer from Bali Kerobokan prison to the Nusa Kambangan prison in Cilacap, Central Java for execution.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia stops private sector water monopoly

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 22: The Constitutional Court has revoked the law that allows the private sector to monopolize water resources, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Constitutional Court judges argued that the 2004 Water Resources Law that allowed the private sector to monopolize water resources contravened the Constitution.
The Constitution reportedly stipulates the right to water as a basic right and mandates the state to control and regulate water resources.
The 2004 Water Resources Law reportedly paved the way for concessions of water resources by companies that sold "packaged tap water."
Constitutional Court judges said that the private sector could not be granted exclusive rights to water resources such as rivers, springs, lakes and swamps.
Jusice Aswanto said that the private sector must apply for a license to sell water.
“The private sector cannot monopolize water resources and can only sell a limited volume of water,” he said.
The Constiutional Court also banned the sale of water to other counries.
Energy and mining lawyer, Bisman Bakhtiar, said that the commercialization of water is not prohibited but the government can now ensure that no one company can monopolize water resources.
“The private sector should not have full control over water resources", he said.
The Indonesia Consumers Foundation (YLKI) official, Sudaryatmo urged the government to draw up an essential commodities act saying that the Constitutional Court has made it clear that water is an essential commodity.
"The government can dictate which commodities it fully controls,” he said
.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand bans commercial surrogacy

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 23: The Thai parliament voted 160 to 2 on Thursday to pass the law that will make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence in Thailand with a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht for those found guilty, reports the Bangkok Post.
National Legislative Assembly member Wanlop Tangkananurak said the law prohibits the hiring of Thai women for commercial surrogacy and aims to stop Thailand from becoming a surrogacy hub for foreign couples.
"The law will stop Thailand from becoming the womb of the world", he said.
The legislation that aims to protect surrogate babies against those who are involved in commercial surrogacy was submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for endorsement in August.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) commander general, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha approved "the Protection of Children Born as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies bill", in order to ensure that commissioning parents will be granted parental rights to the surrogate child instead of the surrogate mother.
The law includes an interim provision that allows the commissioning surrogate parents to petition the court to issue an order to provide them with parental rights for a surrogate child.
The commissioning parents can reportedly claim parental rights over the surrogate child whether the child is born from a donated sperm and the egg of the commissioning mother or from a donated egg and sperm of a commissioning father.
The Bill that was proposed in August followed the discovery of 13 surrogate babies believed to have been fathered by Japanese national Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24, who used his Japanese passport and a cambodian passport to travel in and out of thailand 66 times in two years. The Japanese national and his assistant Ohno Yuki, 17, fled Thailand after the discovery of the surrogate babies and a raid on the in vetro fertility clinic in Bangkok believed to have provided the Japanese nation with in vetro fertility services including surrogate mothers.
The Bill was also proposed after two Australian couples were stopped from leaving Thailand at the Bangkok Airport in August with babies born to surrogate mothers without a court order from the Thai Family Juvenile Court.
A raid on in-vitro-embryo clinic believed to have provided obstetrician and gynaecologiscalt services to Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, and Australians, David and Wendy Farnell proved that the clinic was in violation of the licence issued by the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former PM Yingluch Shinawatra ordered to answer charges of alleged corruption in Supreme Court

Office of the Attorney General lodged criminal charges against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions including 20 boxes of documents, in Bangkok on Thursday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 21: Outsted Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been ordered to appear before judges of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions next month to answer charges of alleged corruption in the national rice pledging programme.
The Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, secretary Theerathai Charoenwong, said that the court ordered the former prime minister who was ousted from government following the declaration of martial law by General Prayut Chan-o-chain May, to appear in court at 10am on March 19.
The office of the Attorney General reportedly filed charges with the Supreme Court under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Corruption Prevention and Suppression Act against the former Prime Minister on Thursday for alleged corruption the national rice pledging programme.
The Supreme Court president is expected to call a plenary session to select a panel of nine judges to examine the charges of alleged corruption laid against the former Prime minister, reports the Bangkok Post.
Commander of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha warned the former Prime Minister last week not to leave Thailand following her request to travel to Hong Kong in order to visit her elder brother, fugitive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
The request to travel from Bangkok to Hong Kong was reportedly denied on the grounds that criminal and civil charges against the former Prime Minister over the national rice-pledging programme were pending.
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who was required to report to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on February 19 at the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions for indictment over the national rice-pledging scheme did not attend.
The Southeast Asian Times



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

 

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

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




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

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 ..open here


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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open 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

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Malaysia Ringgit....2.8245
Myanmar...804.053
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..2.0784
Philippines Peso..
34,2449
Singapore dollar..
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Thailand...Baht..
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Viet
Nam
Dong..16,600.96

Singapore properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
Industry
established
in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 3: The first two Construction Courts for Malaysia were opened by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam last week, reports the Star.
The courts will deal with disputes in the construction industry.
Works Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said that the establishment of the courts will transform the way the construction business in the country operates.
"The construction industry stakerholders can now have their disputes resolved by judges with expert knowledge and experience in construction industry disputes', he said.
The proposal by the Construction Industry Board (CIDB) for the establishment of the construction courts was first put to the Judiciary in January 2013.
Britain is the only other country that has a specially designated court that deals with construction industry disputes.

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 14: Bali community-based tourism operators have called for amendments to regulations that stipulate that the local community pay the Bali regency administration 60 percent of their total tourism revenue.
Penglipuran tourist village in Bangli, community-based tourism manager, Nengah Moneng, said that he objected to the fact that his community received only 40 percent of the total revenue.
"We want to have 60 percent share of the tourist revenue to pay for operating costs", he said.
The Penglipuran tourism manager said that operating costs for trekking, traditional dance, cultural shows including religious rituals had increased.
The cost of operating lodges and community halls for tourism had also increased.
"An increase in revenue for not only the Bangli community but for tourism based communities across Bali would benefit tourism island-wide" said the tourism manager.
The Southeast Asian Times

Riau forest fires force Chevron to shut down oil wells
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 21: PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based oil company Chevron has shut down 573 oil wells in the Riau province of Sumatra.
The deteriorating quality of air due to forest fires that have been raging for the last month has forced PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to shut down its oil wells and evacuate workers and there families.
Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator, SKK Migas, public relations officer, Handoyo Budi Santoso, said that oil assets in Riau province are important to national crude oil production.
"The biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Rokan block, operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of crude oil production", he said
The Jakarta Posts reports that potential losses are estimated at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 5:
The New Straits Times reports that there was an 86 percent increase in tourist arrivals from China
to Sabah in the last two years.
Data from the Sabah Tourism Board reportedly shows that 193,010 tourist tourists arrived in Sabah from China in 2011 increasing to 360,361 in 2013
Sabah West Coast Coffeeshop Association chairman, Yong Chee Yun, said coffee shop operators were catering to the influx of tourists from China.
"Coffee shops displayed tourist friendly signs in Chinese saying 'how are you?' and menues included China's favourite foods", he said.
Sabah and Labuan Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels and general manager of the At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort,
said that staff members are encouraged to learn Mandarin.
"So that they can converse better with guests" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

From News Reports:
Jakarta,January 29: A pilots strike forced State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to cancelled all scheduled flights to Surabaya, Merauke and Timika on Saturday, reports The Jakarta Post.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra said that the airline had not paid salaries to pilots and cabin crew for two months.
The Jakarta Post reports that PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines was required to restructure its operations.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra says that Merpati has signed a memorndum of understanding (MoU) with PT Armagedon Indonesia and PT Bentang Persada Gemilang to restructure the company.
The airline has debts of Rp 6.5 trillion (US$533 million) reports the Jakarta Post.
"The management would pay the salaries around March or early April, said the Merpati corporate secretary.
Merpati’s workers union advisory board official, Erry Wardhana, said about 200 Merpati pilots planned to strike again next Saturday for an indefinite period.
"The pilots would strike until 1,600 Merpati employees were paid", he said.
The union advisory board official says that this is the first time that Merpati workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages.
The pilots are owed wages for December and January reports the Jakarta Post.
The Southeast Asian Times

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