The Southeast Asian Times
Darwin Ha Noi Cairns Singapore Derby Bangkok Port Hedland Kuala Lumpur Kununurra Manila Townsville Denpasar HCM City Surabaya Penang Dili Port Moresby Phuket Phnom Penh Jakarta
established 2000
Friday 18 August 2017 
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

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

Fish farmers in Southern Vietnam lose fish to toxic waste
From News Reports:
Hanoi, August 18: Fish farmers in Vietnam's southern province of Ba Ria- Vung Tau are devastated at the loss for the third time in 12 months
of tons of fish from toxic waste, reports Tuoi Tre News.
Tuoi Tre News reports that similar mass fish deaths occurred along the Cha Va River in Long Son Commune in August and October last year with authorities attributing the fish deaths to lack of oxygen in the water brought about by prolonged rainfall..
Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director, Tran Van Cuong, said that fish from 23 farms along the Cha Va River in Long Son Commune, Vung Tau City were found dead en mass last week, saying that " almost 250,000 fish with a total weight of 90 metric tons were found dead,"
Fish farmer, Nguyen Cong Bien, said that water used at the fish farms had become unusually opaque over a few days, saying that "the water emitted a chemical smell."
“We tried pumping oxygen into the water but without success,” he said.
Fish samples taken from the affected farms reportedly revealed viruses causing ulcers and hemorrhage with tests showing that the nitrogen and sulphur content in the water was much higher than normal limits.
Authorities have ordered an unidentified barrel producing company allegedly released toxic waste water into the Cha Va River closed.
In July 2016 the Formosa Plastics Group that has made the single largest investment by a foreign company in Vietnam, admitted to causing massive fish poisonings in the coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Huein.
Vietnam Government Office chairman, Mai Ti?n Dung, said then that "violations in the construction of the Formosa Ha Tinh province Steel plant is the cause of the pollution that caused massive fish deaths".
"Formosa released toxic wastewater into the sea of four coastal provinces poisoning about 70 tons of fish", he said.
An investigation into the cause of the death of the fish by Vietnam Natural Resources and Environment Ministry show that toxic waste flowed into the sea from underground pipes laid at the steel plants.
The Southeast Asian Times

KPK to go ahead with investigation despite death of witness
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) witness, Johanes Marliem, died in Hollywood in the United States last week after a standoff with police
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 17: Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) says that the investigation into the loss of Rp2.3 trillion to the state from the procurement of e-ID cards worth Rp5.9 trillion will go ahead despite the death last week of a witness, reports the Jakarta Post.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesman, Febry Diansyah, said that despite the death of witness, Johanes Marliem, the investigation into the nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam will go ahead.
"We are confident with the evidence we have," he said.
The witness, Johanes Marliem, reportedly died in Hollywood in the United States last week after a standoff with police and hostages.
Indonesia's National Police international relations chief Saiful Maltha said that U.S. authorities had confirmed Johanes Marliem's death.
"We do not know the cause of the death yet," he said.
In July the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named the speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) and chairman of Indonesia's second largest political party, Golkar, Setya Novanto, as a suspect in the investigation into marking up the costs of the national electronic ID card program.
House of Representatives (DPR) speaker, Setya Novanto, has denied any wrong doing in the nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam that reportedly included the division of money generated from the scam among at least 37 parliamentarians.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Agus Rahardjo, said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had found
sufficient preliminary evidence to charge Setya Novanto under article 2 paragraph (1) of Law No.31/1999 as amended by Law No. 20/2001 on corruption eradication adj. article 55 paragraph (1) of the Penal Code.
"Setya Novanto was the chief of the Golkar Party faction in the DPR during the budgeting and procurement of e-ID cards," he said.
In April Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, suffered serious acid burns to his face in a drive-by attack and is in Singapore undergoing treatment for his injuries.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator was leading the investigation into the nationwide electronic ID embezzlement scam.
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established on 29 December 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti - five years after Indonesia said that it had had enough of corruption and President Soeharto.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted "a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court.
The corruption courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.
The Southeast Asian Times
Agriculture officials sentenced to jail for illegal deforestation of Mekong Delta
Tran Van Hung, former deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was sentenced to three years in jail for his involvement in the deforestation of the Thanh Phu nature reserve in the Mekong Delta
From News Reports:
Hanoi, August 16: Officials of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development including Forest Protection were sentenced to upto three years in jail for the deforestation of the Thanh Phu nature reserve in the Mekong Delta, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The Ben Tre Peoples Court sentenced former former deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tran Van Hung, to three years in jail for his involvement in the illegal deforestation in the Mekong Delta.
The court also sentenced former head of the provincial Protection Forest Management Committee, Vo Van Ngan, to three years in prison for
his part in the illegal deforestation of the Mekong Delta.
Forest Protection Department senior official, Nguyen Van Doan, was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment.
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development workers Tiet Kiem Chieu and Nguyen Duc Duc received four-year probation periods.
The provincial Protection Forest Management Committee, Vo Van Ngan, claimed that trees in Thanh Phu nature reserve in the Mekong Delta had stopped growing due to disease and infestation.
He had reportedly directed his subordinates to make a false report of infestation, requesting the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development allow the deforestation of 25.8 hectares of forest in the Thanh Phu nature reserve.
The request for deforestation was approved by deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tran Van Hung and included the appointment of the institution that would carry out the deforestation and purchase the timber.
An examination of the Thanh Phu nature reserve by the Ben Tre Plant Protection Department showed that trees in the 25.8 hectare section of forest that had been subject to deforestation were reportedly "perfectly healthy" and not affected by any disease as claimed by Tran Van Hung.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia to disband more organisations against Pancasila
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 15: Indonesia's Home Affairs Ministry is working with police and regional administrations to disband further mass organisations against state ideology, Pancasila, reports the Jakarta Post.
Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said that the ministry is coordinating with local administrations to gather evidence and documents that indicate that "certain organisations are against Pancasila."
"We need to look closer at them," he said.
The Home Affairs Ministry is to go head with the disbandment of organisations deemed to be against state ideology despite the claim made by the Law and Human Rights minister Yasonna H. Laoly on August 3 that the government did not have any plans to disband more organizations after it had disbanded Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in July.
The government disbanded Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) last month with a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on mass organizations signed by President Joko Widodo on July 11.
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights director general for legal administration Freddy Harris, said last month that "the government has the authority to disband non-governmental organizations (NGOs) considered a threat to Indonesia and its pluralist state ideology known as Pancasila."
“The government believes that the revocation of the decree for the legal entity of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) was not done arbitrarily but with consultation with government agencies,” he said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo approved the decree that was signed to "makes it easier to disband civil society groups seen as causing social unrest and threatening Indonesia’s unity."
"The decision is legal and was made after careful consideration," he said.
The Council of Indonesian Ulema (MUI), chairman, Ma’ruf Amin, supports the ban on Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), saying that the government has the right to say that Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) is not in accordance with Pancasila,”
“The dissolution of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) is indeed a process that has been taken:," he said.
The Indonesian chapter of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), that is believed to have about 2 million members, campaigned for a caliphate and implementation of Sharia law in Indonesia.
The Southeast Asian Times

North Sumatra police claim waitresses involved in baby-selling syndicate
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 12 Simalungun Police have uncovered a baby-selling syndicate allegedly involving waitresses working in several cafes in Simalungun regency, North Sumatra, reports the Jakarta Post.
Simalungun Police and Social Affairs Agency officials removed three children aged between 2 and 7 and a 15-dayold baby in a raid on Huta Aek Liman village, Simalungun regency, North Sumatra last week.
Simalungun Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Marudut Liberty Panjaitan said that three of the children were born to Lentina Simanjuntal, 26, a waitress allegedly involved in the baby selling syndicate.
He said said that Lentina Simanjuntal was one of several waitresses suspected of having sold babies born out of a sexual relationships with their customers.
The police chief claimed that the waitress had sold her three children as babies to married couples at prices ranging from Rp 2.7 million (US$202.69) to Rp 15 million.
He said that the waitress sold her first baby in 2013, the second in 2016 and the third baby in July this year.
Waitress Lentina Simanjuntal reportedly told police that the three babies sold were born outside marriage and that she was forced to sell them.
“I’m poor. I don’t have the money to raise them all,” she said.
The police chief dismissed the claim that the waitress did not have enough money to care for her children, saying that Lentina Simanjuntal earned enough.
He said that the waitresses come from mostly poor families but that they earned enough money to pay for childbirth, saying “it’s part of their modus operandi."
"The baby-selling syndicate involved midwives and their assistants who not only helped the women deliver their children but also served as brokers to deal with customers, he said.
Waitress Lentina Simanjuntal, 26, is charged wih violation of Articles 68 and 83 of Law No 35/2014 on Child Protection that carries a penalty of 15 years in prison.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Java's mayors pledge to fight spread of HIV/AIDS
Mayors of Indonesia's West Java province pledged to fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS AIDS at the Commission Summit Meeting in Bandung on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 13: The mayors of Indonesia's West Java province signed a HIV/AIDS Declaration in the fight against the spread of the infection at the Chairs of AIDS Commission Summit Meeting in Bandung on Wednesday, reports Antara.
West Java Governor, Ahmad Heryawan witnessed the signing of a pledge by the Mayors of 27 provinces unification in their response to HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Country Program Manager, Riki Febrian, said that the signing of the declaration was an importnent milestone for future HIV work in Indonesia.
"27 mayors broke the silence and have shown that high-level leadership is essential," he said.
He said that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will keep its promise on AIDS and continue to provide testing and treatment to those in need.
The Mayors pledged to improve HIV healthcare services, youth and young adult education­ with a focus on women’s reproductive health, increased testing for populations at high-risk and to reduce the stigma and discrimination against those affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Southeast Asian Times.

Police raid Bangkok restuarant for serving protected turtles and snakes
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 12: Police arrested seven in a raid on the Luang To To restaurant in the Wang Thong Lang area of Bangkok for serving exotic dishes prepared from protected animals including turtles and snakes, reports the Bangkok Post.
Police have detained Luang To To restaurant supervisor, Chamu Sae-Yi, 66, and six Myanmar workers.
Restaurant supervisor, Chamu Sae-Yi, told police that most of the customers were Chinese tourists.
Tourist Police Division deputy chief Atchayon Kraithong said that two dishes of chopped cobra were on a table when police raided the restuarant on Wednesday.
He said that police found a butchery located in a laneway behind the restuarant where the animals were killed and prepared for cooking.
"Nine containers of home-made liqueur with snake head ingredients, the carcass of a pangolin and four wells containing 21 Thai soft-shelled turtles, one Yellow Headed Temple turtle, four ngu sing (rat snakes) and one cobra were found in the butchery," he said.
The deputy chief said that Ngu sing (Ptyas korros) is a protected snake while Cobras are not.
"But caging them is illegal", he said.
The Luang To To restaurant has been in business for eight years.
The Southeast Asian Times

Begging backpacker in Vietnam to be sent packing
A backpacker meditates on a pavement on Kien Giang’s Phu Quoc Island, with a note written in Vietnamese that reads “meditate for luck, need money.”
From News Reports: A female backpaker begging in the street in the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Gian is to be treated the same as Vietnamese beggars, reports Tuoi Tre News.
Kien Giang tourism director, Tran Chi Dung, said that street begging is not allowed in Vietnam, saying that "the rule applies to Vietnamese as well as foreigners".
“No exception was to be made for foreign street beggars in Vietnam," he said.
Tourism director, Tran Chi Dung, said that "western beg-packers are the same as local beggars."
He says that foreigners come to Vietnam, "seeking short-term jobs and resort to begging on the street to fund their trip."
“They play music, sing, perform magic tricks or as in the case of the foreign women in Kien Gian province, meditate for money."
The tourism director said that Vietnam's regulations do not allow street begging.
“Vietnamese beggars who are homeless and have no family would be taken to social protection center,” he said.
In 2014 a 70 year old British medical tourist who regularly begged on an intersection in central Ho Chi Minh City in order to pay for his treatment was deported from Vietnam.
A street vendor reportedly said that the Vietnamese gave the British national more money than they gave local beggars.
"Expensive cars stopped and he was given hundreds of thousands of dong," he said.
The British national reportedly owed a hotel VND14million dong (US$700) for accommodation.

In 2016 the Thai military government vowed to "wipe out illegal beggars" with the implementation of the Control of begging Act of 2014.
The new law criminalises begging on the streets of Thailand's major cities and regulates busking for donations.
Social Development and Human Security Minister Adul Sangsingkeo said that foreign beggars will be deported and Thai beggars will be forced to undergo a rehabilitation programme.
"The program includes occupational training,", he said.

In 2010 the Indonesian Ulema Council issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from giving money to beggars.
The order has been made because begging had been allowed to become an occupation, it says.
“The fatwa has been issued due to the overwhelming amount of street beggars, which often use Islamic attributes, such as mosque proposals and Islamic charities as their reason,” said secretary-general Samsul Ma’arif .
The Southeast Asian Times

China pledges to cooperate with ASEAN
Jakarta, August 9: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and China adopted a framework for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at a Ministerial meeting at the 50th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting held inPasay City in the Philippines that ended on Tuesday
From News Reports:
Manila, August 10: China pledged continued cooperation in the China-Asean Community of a Shared Destiny in a congratulatory message to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the adoption of the framework for a Code Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at the 50th anniversary of ASEAN ministeral meeting that ended in the Philippines on Tuesday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that mutual trust between China and ASEAN has developed since the establishement of the China and ASEAN dialogue partnership in 1991.
“The China-ASEAN partnership has become a vigorous dialogue partnership,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that a sign of the growing ties between China and the ten ASEAN member courtries is seen in the China-ASEAN trading figures, saying that "trade between China and ASEAN amounted to US$452.2 billion last year."
"About 2,700 flights connect China and the 10 ASEAN countries every week," he said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose country holds the ASEAN rotating chair this year, said that "the Philippines seeks to engage in a positive dialogue with our neighbours."
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said at the end of the Asean ministeral meeting on Tuesday that “China plays a very positive role” in the region.
“China has fueled our ASEAN economic growth with tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure projects,” he said.
He said that the Philippine territorial dispute in the South China Sea will not effect the China -ASEAN relationship, saying that "the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized."
“We will not allow this to disturb our good relationships,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN and China adopt framework for Code of Conduct in South China Sea
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 9: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and China adopted a framework for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at a Ministerial meeting that ended in the Philippines yesterday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The framework for a Code of Conduct (CoC) was adopted at the 50th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Pasay City in the Philippines over six days.
The framwork for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea was adopted with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, saying "this is an important outcome for our joint effort,"
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said that Indonesia welcomed the adoption of the CoC framework, saying that "the onus was on all countries to maintain regional peace and stability and respect international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In May the 10 ASEAN member countries and China completed the negotiations on the draft Code of a Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea at a meeting in Guiyang in China's Guizhou Province.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Singapore's Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong, who co-chaired the meeting, agreed to uphold the framework of regional rules to manage and control disputes, to deepen practical maritime cooperation, to promote consultation on the code and jointly maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.
The negotiations on the draft Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea follows the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling in July 2016 that ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling, saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
China reportedly claims that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said ahead of the ruling that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times

Chinese nationals arrested in Cambodia for extortion of Chinese civil servants
Cambodian officials inspect equipment used by Chinese nationals in a Voice over Internet Protocol scam in a Poipet guesthouses in Banteay Meanchey province<
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 8: More than 200 Chinese nationals were arrested in a raid on Poipet guesthouses in Banteay Meanchey from where a scam that targeted civil servants in China was allegedly conducted, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
A total of 215 Chinese nationals, including 32 women were arrested at two Poipet guesthouses following a tip-off from Chinese police.
Cambodia Immigration Department head of investigations, Uk Hai Sela, said that the Chinese nationals were operating a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operation to contact civil servants in China.
He said the scammers woud receive between 10,000 Yuan and 100,000 Yuan (about $1,488 to $14,876) from each victim and that they could make between $30,000 to $40,000 each week.
Deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior Immigration, Khun Sambo, said that the scams targeted Chinese civil servants, including teachers, nurses and court officials and high-ranking government officials who were unknowingly photographed by the scammers.
The scammers reportedly threatened to publish the compromising photographs online if the victims did not pay.
Last week Chinese nationals were arrested in a raid on a luxury home in Bali for their alleged involvment in cybercrime including extortion.
Bali Police, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Ruddy Setiawan said that 38 phones, 25 modems, seven routers, 10 laptops, eight cellular phones, CCTVs, and six passports were seized at South Kuta in Bali during the raid that was conducted by a joint team of Indonesian and Chinese Police.
Jakarta police spokesman, Argo Yuwono, said on Monday that upto 150 Chinese nationals have been detained following raids in
Jakarta, Surabaya, Batam, Bali and East Java over the weekend for cybercrime including extortion, saying that " we were alerted by China's police department."
He said that Chinese nationals who have been operating in Indonesia since January, had made 6 trillion ($450 million) by extoring money from wealthy Chinese officials or businessmen.
"The syndicate began by finding information on outstanding charges on wealthy Chinese officials or businessmen," he said.
The victims were approached by Chinese nationals who posed as police or officials from China's Attorney General's office and were threatened with exposure.

The Southeast Asian Times

Jakarta police raid meeting for compensation for 1965 communist killings
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 4: East Jakarta police shut down a workshop held in Klender by the International People's Tribunal 1965 (IPT65) in support of compensation for the 1965 communist killings under the Suharto regime, reports the Jakarta Post.
The District Military Command (Koramil) reportedly raided the location of the workshop hours before it had started.
East Jakarta Police Chief Sr. Comm. Andy Wi­bowo said that he had received reports that the workshop was linked to the defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) saying that communism was still legally banned in Indonesia.
“If it was a Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) event then it had to be dispersed,”
The International People's Tribunal 1965 (IPT65) committee member, Dianto Bachriadi, said that police forced the organizers to cancel the workshop on the pretext they did not have a permit.
"Members who attended the meeting were interrogated and intimidated," he said.
He said that the raid was "a setback for democracy and human rights in Indonesia"..
The workshop was moved to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) office in Central Jakarta with lawyer Pratiwi Febby saying that the International People's Tribunal 1965 (IPT65) ITP65 did not need a permit to hold a workshop.
In July 2016 the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in the Hague found that Indonesia is guilty of Crimes Against Humanity under the 1948 International Genocide Convention for the 1965 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members.
Presiding judge Zakeria Yacoob said that "the facts brought before the tribunal by the prosecution include acts that fall within those enumerated in the Genocide Convention,"
"Indonesia was bound by the 1948 Genocide Convention under international law," he said.
In November 2015 Judges of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in The Hague concluded that the Indonesian government was responsible for the 1965-1966 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters but stopped short of a finding of genocide.
The judges said then that the killings under president Suharto of up to two million Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters had "the political objective of removing the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its sympathizers from the Indonesian political scene".
The Southeast Asian Times

Mosque thief burned alive in West Java
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 6: Police are investigation the death of a man burned alive for allegedly stealing amplifiers from a mosque in Suka Tenanga in Bekasi in West Java, reports the Jakarta Post.
Bekasi Police criminal unit chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Rizal Marito, said that an investigation into the mob attack and burning to death of a 30-year-old man accused of stealing mosque amplifiers was underway.
He said that residents should not have attacked the man, identified as MA, who died after he was burned alive on Wednesday.
"Those who burned him will be taken into custody," he said.
He said that the investigation indicates that the burned victim was a thief who stole the mosque's amplifiers, saying that a mosque attendant noticed that the mosque's amplifiers were gone after prayers.
The alleged thief was reportedly seen removing the amplifiers from the mosque by Suka Tenanga residents who say that he carried the amplifiers on his motorbike.
Suka Tenanga residents said that he drove to the bridge over the river that separates Suka Tenang and Muara Bakti village.
Muara Bakti residents waited for him, beating him before pouring gasoline over him and setting him on fire.
The alleged thief died at the scene with 80 percent burns to his body.
Police seized the amplifiers and a motorcycle believed to belong to the alleged thief.
In April 2012 Indonesia's then Vice President Boediono called the Indonesian Council of Mosques to discuss a possible regulation about the use of loudspeakers at mosques.
"A soft azan sound was felt much stronger in the heart than the ones blared close to the ears, he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

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


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


What they're saying open page here


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


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

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


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory


Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

East Timor.
Indonesia Rupiah
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Papua New Guinea
Philippines Peso..
Singapore dollar...

properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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

Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel

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