The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Thurssday 8 December 2016 
GATHERINGS:
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, 2015: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a se
nior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times


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Sand from Vietnam's Phu Quoc island sold to Singapore
From News Reports:
Hanoi, December 8: Sand from the southern Vietnam's island of Phu Quoc is sold to Singapore while local construction projects are forced to buy sand from the mainland, reports Tuoi Tre News.
Vietnam's Navy Command unit, Naval Zone 5 has reportedly employed two private companies to dredge a channel for access to the Island and selling the sand to Singapore.
Phu Quoc island that is administered by the southern province of Kien Giangis is reportedly a naval port and headquarters for the Navy Command unit.
Phu Quoc District deputy chairman, Huynh Quang Hung, said that the dredged sand must be used for construction projects on Phu Quoc.
“Many infrastructure and tourism projects on Phu Quoc are in need of a huge amount of sand for site leveling, but have to buy from the mainland at inflated prices because the island supply falls short,” he said.
Tuoi Tre News reports that the sale of sand from Phu Quoc island to Singapore began in late last year but ceased following protests from Phu Quoc island residents.
But barges returned to the island last month to carry sand to Singapore with up to ten barges anchored off the island waiting for the sand dredged by the companies to be loaded.
Kien Giang environment department deputy director, Phung Quoc Binh, confirmed that sand is dredged and sold to Singapore off Phu Quoc Island, saying that "the activity is in line with all procedures, paperwork and regulations".
The Naval Zone 5, has reportedly been authorized to contract two private firms, Hai Viet Co. and Duc Long Co., to carry out the dredging,
saying that the amount of sand to be dredged had been approved by the Ministry of Construction.
Under the construction ministry’s license, the two companies are allowed to exploit seven million cubic meters of sand, with one million cubic meters eligible for export to Singapore, reports the Tuoi Tre News.
The Southeast Asian Times

Arrest of Indonesia's opposition politicians for treason "repressive" say legislators
Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the leading party in the government coalition, who was arrested for treason has together with seven others been released
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 7: Indonesia's House Commission III that oversees security, human rights and legal affairs, has called the arrest of eight
politicians in opposition to the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration for treason "repressive", reports the Jakarta Post.
House Commission III chairman, Bambang Soesatyo, said that the arrest of eight opposition party politicians for treason as premature, saying that "legislators feared the arrests could be a precursor to more draconian acts reminiscent of the authoritarian regime of president Soeharto."
“The police should avoid making such arrests." he said.
House Commission III chairman, Bambang Soesatyo said in a hearing with National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian that "there are other ways of safeguarding the government that aren’t in violation of our democracy or restrict the freedom of speech.”
Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno and who is the younger sister of former president of Indonesia Megawati Soekarnoputri was one of eight arrested including retired two-star army general Kivlan Zen under articles 107, 110 and 87 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) for treason and conspiracy to commit treason.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian defended the arrest of the opposition party politicians who were arrested hours before the planned protest on Friday, saying that the police had monitored the politicians for weeks before making the arrests.
He maintained that the planned protest on Friday that was attended by about 500,000 Muslims who demanded the arrest of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy was peaceful because police took "drastic measures".
House Commission III chairman, Bambang Soesatyo, said the government should not have overreacted to the possibility of treason.
“We see no movement by university students like what we saw in 1998, and the people seem to love the President."
There’s nothing to indicate that treason is brewing,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Politicians opossed to Joko “Jokowi” Widodo charged with treason
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 6: Seven politicians known for their strong opposition to the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration were arrested on charges of treason hours before the planned large-scale protest against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on Friday, reports the Jakarta Post.
The National Police charged Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, and the younger sister of Indonesian Democratic Party Of Struggle (PDI-P) chief patron, Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri and leader of a coalition of political parties reportedly supports the Jokowi administration.
Retired two-star army general Kivlan Zen and political activist Sri Bintang Pamungkas were also charged under articles 107, 110 and 87 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) for treason and conspiracy to commit treason.
Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the accused were suspected of involvement in treason-related activities in the past three weeks
"Police were investigating whether there had been any communication between the suspects to commit the alleged treason," he said.
About 500,000 Muslims from various Islamic organizations protested on Friday demanding the imprisonment of Christian of Chinese decent, Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), protest organisor, Habib Rizieq Shihab, reportedly shouted “arrest Ahok, arrest Ahok!”
The protest organisor warned that Muslims would take to the streets again if they are dissatisfied with how the law deals with Ahok.
In November about 50,000 Muslims protested at Jalan Merdeka Timur in central Jakarta demanding that police arrest Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama reportedly cited verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran while campaigning for next year's
re election.
He reportedly told the fishermen that they have been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnamais faces multiple charges under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which contains a maximum jail sentence of five years and Article 28, point (2) of the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law on promoting hate speech, that carries a maximum six years of imprisonment.
The Southeast Asian Times

Call for Malaysia to severe economic ties with Myanmar over Rohingya refugees
Tens of thousands including Myanmar nationals protested at the Titiwangsa Stadium in Kulala Lumpur on Sunday against the treatment of the Rohingya refugges in Myanmar
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, December 5: Malaysia's Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has called on Malaysia to severe economic ties with Myanmar until it recognised the Rohingya refuges as legitimate citizens of Myanmar, reports the Star.
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) central committee member Dr Rosni Adam called for National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for it to be revoked over her inaction in addressing the plight of the Rohingya.
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president Hadi Awang and secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan were among the tens of thousands attending a rally held at the Titiwangsa Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The protestsers were largely made up of the about one million Myanmar nationals residing in Malaysia who protested against the treatment of Rohingya refugees by the Myanmar government.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom and Dr Shahidan Kassim, Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin also attended the protest.
Human rights activists in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Myanmar called on the Asscociation of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to intervene in the plight of the stateless Rohingya Muslim refugees last week, urging Aung San Suu Kyi and the ASEAN community to take action against "the ongoing abusive military action against Rohingyas".
The National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, whose party won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of Parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former Thai communists maintain loyalty to the King
From News Reports:
Bangkok, December 3: Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was proclaimed the 10th King of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok amid former Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) members rejection that Thailand's communists were anti-monarchy, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai communists of the now-defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) reportedly said last week in Nan that they rejected accusations that Thailand's communists were anti-monarchy.
Former Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) People's Liberation Army, secretary-general, Sahai Nom Phongprasoet, 73, said that "Thai communists had always loved His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and cherished his kindness".
He rejected accusations that Thailand's communists were anti-monarchy, saying that "the accusations go back more than 40 years when the anti-government movement was accused by the dictatorship government of trying to topple the monarchy.
"His Majesty the late King visited Nan 22 times to visit injured soldiers during the battle between the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and the then government," he said.
The new King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun reportedly accepted the invitation made by the president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in accordance with the will of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Constitution and Palace Law.
“I accept the invitation in order to follow His Majesty King Bhumibol’s will and for the benefit of all Thai people,” he said at his inauguration on Thursday evening.
The proclamation was held following a ceremony marking the 50th day since the death of HM King Bhumibol.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s first acts as monarch will be to endorse a constitution drafted by the military that will pave the way for
elections in 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times

Orang Asli arrested for protecting Malaysia's forest reserve
Orang Asli blockade in Malaysia's Balah forest reserve in Gua Musang, Kelantan, when it was established in September
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, December 2: All 47 Orang Asli, who were arrested on Wednesday in an anti-logging blockade at the Balah forest reserve.
in Gua Musang, Kelantan, have been remanded by the Gua Musang court for two days, to assist police and Forestry Department with their inquiries, reports the Star.
Kelantan Forestry Department deputy director Mohd Radhi Chu Abdullah said the Orang Asli were detained for offences including encroachment and trespassing on a forest reserve.
"The arrests were carried out after the notice given to the Orang Asli to tear down the barricade expired last week," he said.
The Orang Asli were issued with a notice dated on November 6, giving them two weeks to dismantle the blockade and vacate the area.
More than 200 Forestry Department, police, Civil Defence Department and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission were deployed to tear down the blockade at the Balah forest reserve.
Loggers and trucks had reportedly been stopped from entering the Balah forest reserve since the Orang Asli began the blockade in September.
The Kelantan chief minister, Ahmad Yakob ordered the Orang Asli to dismantle their blockade or face arrest, saying the blockade was illegal and that The Orang Asli community were "hampering development."
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) chairman Tijah Yok Chopil has called on the chief minister of Kelantan to visit the Balah forest reserve and see the damage caused from logging.
"The locals put up blockades to prevent further deforestation at the forest reserve," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Non-Papuans call for referendum for West Papua
Fight for freedom: Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta,declare the group’s support for Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 2: Non-Papuan Indonesian activists have declared support for West Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination, calling for a referendum, reports the Jakarta Post.
Fight for freedom: Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesman, Surya Anta, representing non-Papuan Indonesia activists and intellectuals said that "persistent oppression and discrimination, cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuans to decide their own fate in a referendum".
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia,"
he said.
Spokesman, Surya Anta, said that the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua believed the only solution for Papua was to be able to exercise the right to determine whether to part ways with or remain part of Indonesia.
In October, West Papuan pro-independence activist, Filep Semuel Karma, 57, called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum for independence for Indonesia's easternmost region, saying that "Papuan's still suffered from mistreatment and abuses despite the region being granted special autonomy status."
The former West Papuan political prisoner of 15 years said that "the referendum would provide a fair mechanism for Papuans to decide for themselves whether they wanted to remain as part of the unitary state of Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) or wanted independence,"
In May, Jakarta Legal Aid lawyers called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to take action against National Police over the arrest of 1,724 West Papua referendum supporters.
Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian military remove Chinese flags hoisted in Maluku
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 30: The Indonesian Military (TNI) had removed two Chinese flags, hoisted at the nickel mine PT Wanatiara Persada on Obi Island in South Halmahera, North Maluku to celebrate the inauguration of the smelter, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman Brig. Gen. Wuryanto said that the hoisting of the flags by the Chinese company had violated the 1958 Law on state Symbols, saying that the offenders may be subject to criminal prosecution.
“The incident violated the law,” he said.
The Chinese flag was reportedly larger than the Indonesian flag flown beside the Chineses flag at the same height.
A further Chinese flag was reportedly found hoisted at a nearby dock.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Wuryanto said that a foreign country flag can be flown in Indonesia in commemoration of national day or on a day of mourning.
Foreign flags can be hoisted to mark the visit of a foreign country representative including heads of state attending an event in Indonesia.
Foreign flags are allowed to fly in Indonesia at embassy offices, official residences of ambassadors, consular offices of foreign countries and on official cars of foreign ambassadors.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Wuryanto said that the hoisting of the Chinese flag in Maluku did not meet any of the requirements set by law,
"The flag hoisting of the Chinese flag to celebrate the inauguration of the smelter did not have a head of state in attendance but instead Chinese officials of the company," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN calls for action in plight of Myanmar's stateless Rohingya Muslim refugees
Human rights activists at the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur call on Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi to address the plight of the Rohingya Muslim refugees
From New Reports:
Bangkok, November 29: Human rights activists in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta have called on the Asscociation of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat to intervene in the plight of stateless Rohingya Muslim refugees in Myanmar, reports the Bangkok Post.
Council for Humanitarian Networking (CHN) Sheikhul Islam Office in Bangkok, Zakee Phithakkunpul, urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the ASEAN community to take action against "the ongoing abusive military action against Rohingyas".
The about 1 million Rohingyas in the northwestern Rakhine state bordering Bangladesh are seen by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
Myanmar security forces began arming and training non-Muslim residents in the north of Rakhine state earlier this month to counter an alleged growing threat from Muslim Rohingya militants.
Rakhine police chief. Colonel Sein Lwin, said that his force had started recruiting police from among Buddhist Rakhine and other non-Muslim ethnic minorities in the border town of Maungdaw.
The about 500 Muslim Rohingya militants who had crossed the border from Bangladesh were reportedly confronted by the Myanmar military with support from two M1-2 helicopters.
The Myanmar military seized a BA-94 assault weapon and ammunition that had reportedly been taken by the Muslim Rohingya militants in border post confrontations on 9 October.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, whose party won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of Parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine president Duterte refuses to back down on burial of Marcos in heroes cemetery
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte defended his decision to allow the burial of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, saying that it was made objectively and without "compassion and sentiment."
From News Reports:
Manila, November 28: President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to back down on his decision to allow the burial of the former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or the cemetery reserved for national heroes, saying that he followed the law, reports the Manila Times.
President Rodrigo Duterte said that the law to bury the former president at the heroes' cemetery was affirmed by the Supreme Court's decision on November 8.
The Supreme Court rejected seven petitions to stop the transfer of the body of the late president from Batac to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"I had no choice but to follow the law," he said.
The burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the cemeretery for national heroes on Friday sparked protests against the burial .
through out the Philippines with about 15000 in Manila's Riza Park.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang called for a "united front" to expose "Marcosian ideology", saying the ideology espoused authoritarianism.
"The Marcosian ideology is a governance framework justifying "strongman rule", it said in a statement.
It also criticized Duterte for giving into a "crass political accommodation in the guise of a presidential campaign promise" in allowing the former president to be buried in the cemetery reserved for national heroes.
President Rodrigo Duterte gave permission to bury the late former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng Mga Bayani national heroes cemetery last month saying that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regulations allowed the burial of former soldiers and Presidents at Libingan ng Mga Bayani national heroes cemetery.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines does not distinguish if the president is good or bad,” he said.
In 1995 the Philippine government and representatives of more than 1,000 Filipinos - or their descendants - arrested, tortured and executed during the 13 years from 1972 in which Ferdinand Marcos ruled by decree and martial law won US$2.7-billion in exemplary damages against the former president’s estate at a hearing in the United States federal court, Hawaii.
The Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations.
A "people power" revolt ousted Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986, forcing him and his family to flee to Hawaii, where he died in exile in 1989.
His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993 and is preserved in a refrigerated crypt at his Batac hometown in Ilocos Norte.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia's Islamist politician warns
of interference in Islam

From News Reports
Kuala Lumpur, November 26: The Islamist political party in Malaysia, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has warned non-Muslim legislators not to interfere in matters to do with Islam and not to behave like the Jakarta governor, Ahok, reports the Star.
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president, Abdul Hadi Awang said that matters relating to Islam and motions meant excusively for Muslims come under the jurisdiction of the Conference of Malay Rulers.
“They should not be interfered with by non-Muslims,” he said.
The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president, Abdul Hadi Awang who is also the member of parliament for Marang has reportedly tabled a motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, known as RUU355.
"There are non-Muslim politicians who are trying to gain political mileage in opposing the proposed amendments that would empower the Syariah courts," he said.
The member of parliament for Marang reportedly said that he believed that non-Muslim politicians are meddling in matters exclusive to Muslims.
“I would like to remind them not to behave like Ahok in Jakarta,” he said, referring to Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama who has been accused of blasphemy.
Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organization have demanded the arrest of the Jakarta governor who is a Christian of Chinese decent for citing a verse from the Quran while on campaign for re election due to take place next year.
About 50,000 Muslims gathered at Jalan Merdeka Timur in central Jakarta demanding that police arrest Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy earlier this month.
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president, Abdul Hadi Awang said that the party would organise a peaceful rally before March next year in order to prove that the proposed amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 enjoyed the support of Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines cancel military exercises with US
Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya and US Admiral Harry Harris US Commander of the US Pacific Command at the annual Mutual Defense Board meeting at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila on Tuesday
From News Reports:
Manila, November 25: Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has cancelled five military excercises with the United states including naval drills planned for next year, reports the Associated Press.
Philippine Gen. Ricardo Visaya said that "U.S. officials respected the Philippines' proposal to reduce the number of drills to 258,"
"Five less than this year's exercises," he said.
He said that the cancelled military exercises include Amphibious Landing Exercise and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training that include territorial defense training.
"Exercises will be focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counterterrorism," he said.
The reduction in US-Philippine military excercises follow the visit earlier this year of the US strike group of seven warships for the US-Philippine Balikatan exersises.
The U.S. sent 6000 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel to the Philippines to train alongside 5000 Filipino soldiers in April reportedly more than double the number sent to US - Philippine military training last year.
The increased U.S. presence follows the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed between the U.S. and the Philippines in 2015 that expected large numbers of U.S. military personnel rotate through bases in the Philippines over the next decade.
America’s permanent facilities in the islands closed in 1992 after the Philippine Senate refused to ratify a treaty extending their lease.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged the importance of both the Japan and Philippine alliances with the US on a visit to Japan this week despite saying earlier that he wants the Philippines to be free of foreign troops within two years.
"I want them out," he said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in Tokyo that the Philippines did not want missiles established at airports to host the bombers.
"I want to be friends to China," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police warn protesters of arrest under the Indonesian Treason Act
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 24: Jakarta Police have warned, ahead of the planned Islamic organisation protest next Wednesday against Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, that protesters face the death penalty under the Treason Act, reports the Jakarta Post.
Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Mochammad Iriawan said that it is illegal to carry out an act that will jeopardize the nation’s security.
“The person responsible for the act could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment," he said.
The National Movement to Save the Indonesia Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), who organized the the protest demanding the arrest of Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy on November 4, have planned a second mass protest in Jakarta on December 2.
About 100,000 Muslim protesters conducted a mass rally in central Jakarta on November 4 to demand the immediate arrest of Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
Islamic organisations including the youth wing of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organization accused the Jakarta governor of blasphemy for citing verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran while campaigning for next year's re election.
Jakarta governor “Ahok” reportedly assured fishermen that his programs would go ahead regardless of the result of the elections, saying "it was fine if the fishermen believed that voting for a non-Muslim like him was forbidden by their religion."
"It is possible that you cannot vote for me," he said.
He told the fishermen that they have been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
The National Police and the military deployed thousands of personnel to secure the area as thousands of protesters from Jakarta and surrounding areas called for the arrest of the Jakarta govenor earlier this month.

The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam president pardons thousands of prisoners
The Vietnam Ministry of Public Security seeks to introduce a plan for authorities to help support pardoned prisoners return to society
From News Reports:
Hanoi, November 23: Vietnam is preparing to grant presidential pardon to about 4,200 prisoners, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Lieutenant General Nguyen Ng?c Bang, Director General of the Department of Criminal Verdict Implementation and Legal Aid, said that a list of prisoners eligible for release is to be sent to police departments in the prisoners home province for verification.
Prisoners to be pardoned include those who have served half their terms or who have served at least 15 years of a life sentence.
"Prisoners must abide by prison regulations and show strong signs of rehabilitation to be eligible for release," he said.
About 18,000 prisoners were reportedly released last year.
Lieutenant General Bang said the number for release this year is lower because conditions for release have been tightened as a deterrent.
"The release of prisoners this year is in line with regulations on pardons in the revised Penal Code of 2015," he said.
The Vietnam News Service reports that war invalids, juveniles or prisoners more than 70 years old are eligible for a presidential pardon.
Almost 2,100 prisoners were pardoned and 22,000 were given reduced sentences on National Day September 2.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police release anti-government protesters - hold Bersih chairwoman
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, November 22: Police released 10 of the about 30 protesters arrested in the lead upto the pro and anti-government demonstrations held in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday but are holding anti-government Bersih chairwoman, reports the New Straits Times.
Kuala Lumpur CID chief SAC Rusdi Mohd Isa, said that about 20 officials and activists from both the anti-government Berisih party and activists from the pro-government Red Shirts movement are still in detention.
"Bersih chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah is still in detention," he said.
Among those still in police custody include pro-government Red Shirts supporters Jamal Mohd Yunos and Ariffin Abu Bakar, Batu MP Tian Chua, activist Hishammuddin Rais, Seremban MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, activist Fahmi Reza and Pasir Pinji assemblyman Howard Lee Chuan How, Umno Youth exco member Datuk Armand Azha Abu Hanifa.
Bersih 5.0, secretariat Mandeep Singh, said that Bersih chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah, 60, was held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).
He said that the chairwoman was brought to the Dang Wangi police headquarters yesterday so her family and lawyers could visit her, saying that “She has not committed any crime."
"She rose to fight against corruption because of her love for her country,” he said.
Bersih 5.0 chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah, 60, was arrested ahead of the planned protest attended by thousands of Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Anti-government protestsors called for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak for his alleged involvment in the misappropriation of assets from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a development fund that was founded by the Prime Minister in 2009.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police arrest anti-government protestors in Kuala Lumpur
Thousands march in anti-government protest calling for Malaysian PM Najib Razak to resign
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, November 21: Police have arrested anti-governmnt protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak for his alleged involvment in the misappropriation of assets from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a development fund that was founded by the Prime Minister in 2009, reports the New Straits Times.
Pro-government and opposition parties officials were arrested in the lead up to the planned protest attended by thousands yesterday.
Bersih 5.0 chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah and Bersih 5.0 secretariat officer Mandeep Singh were arrested.
Democratic Action Party, Seremban MP Anthony Loke, former Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu, and members Jimmy Wong and Lee Khai Ming were also arrested.
Police also arrested Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) offiial, S. Arutchelvan, and activists Luqman Nul Hakim Zul Razali, Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof and Muhammad Safwan Anang.
Pro-government "Red Shirts" activists, Razali Zakaria and Ariffin Abu Bakar who marched to the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party headquarters towards Independence Square were also arrested, with police saying that all protests were illegal
Prime Minister Najib Razak said that "the attempt to topple the government through rallies was constitutionally and legally wrong."
"We Malaysians must uphold the principle of the rule of law, otherwise there will be chaos in the country and the people will suffer," he said.
In August more than 1,000 students defied a police ban that requires a permit for gatherings of more that five and prohibits gatherings within 50 metres of prohibited places such as hospitals, schools or places of worship, to call for the arrest of the Prime Minister who they dubbed "Malaysian Official 1."
In July the United States Justice Department reportedly seized assets from the $3.5 billion that was misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
In May Singapore reportedly closed Swiss bank BSI AG operations in the city-state following criminal proceedings in Switzerland against the private bank in its transactions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or Finma said in Zurich that Swiss-based BSI AG had committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations through business relationships and transactions 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB),
The Southeast Asian Times


Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia. ...Senior editor at the New Republic , Jeet Heer, reports .....open page here

 

The Southeast Asian Times wishes its readers a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year with a special thankyou to its treasured letter writers


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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


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

 


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

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

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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


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