The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Monday 17 December 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

Vietnam opens consulate in Macau
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 9: Vietnam's Hong Kong Consulate General launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Consulate General of Hong Kong, Tran Than Huan, said at the launching ceremony that the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region.
He said that the consulate office in Macau will provide easier access to information about Vietnam, saying that
it would boost friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Macau.
The Consulate General said that the office expected to recieve support from local organisations including the Vietnam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.
More than 20,000 Vietnamse are employed as domestic workers, in the service industry at Macau's casino's.
Vietnamese also operate tourist and services companies.
The Southeast Asian Times

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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Australian embassy remains in
Tel Aviv for now, says PM

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison formally announced Australia's recognition of west Jerusalem as capital of Israel at the Sydney Institute on Saturday

From News Reports:
Sydney, December 17: The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison has formally announced Australia's recognition of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but that the Australian embassy would not relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine is in place, reports the Agence France Presse.
"Australia now recognises west Jerusalem - being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government - is the capital of Israel," he said at the Sydney Institute on Saturday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrision who has previously said that Australia was committed to a two-state solution, said after becoming Prime Minister of Australia in August that he was "open-minded" to proposals to formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He said on Saturday that the Australian government in its commitment to a two-state solution acknowledges the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in east Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister said in the announcement that recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that Australia looks forward to moving the Australian embassy to west Jerusalem when practical."
In December 2017 eight of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were included in the 128 countries that rejected the United States decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Laos is not a member of the United Nations Security Council.
The Philippines, an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country, was one of nine countries that included the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshal Islands, Togo, Micronesia and Nauru that opposed the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
The United Nations Security Council draft resolution called on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem.
China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France were among the 128 member countries that approved the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
Canada, Mexico and Australia were among the 35 registered absentions.
United States President Donald Trump reportedly acted under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that accepts Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and requires the United States to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the United States decision to relocate the embassy in December 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia wants UN to list West Papua
pro-independence separatists terrorists

House of Reprsentatives Bambang Soesatyo called for the United Nations to list the Free Papua Movement (OPM) as a terrorist organisation on Thursday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 16: Indonesia has called on the United Nations (UN) to list the Free Papua Movement (OPM) as terrorists following the attack last week by an armed group on the Yigi River bridge in Nduga district in West Papua, killing up to 31 Indonesian construction workers, reports Antara.
Indonesian House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo urged the United Nations (UN) to list the Free Papua Movement (OPM) a terrorist organization, at the House plenary session in Parliament on Thursday, saying "they have brutally murdered and terrorized innocent civilians."
"We urge the United Nations to put the Free Papua Movement (OPM) on the list of terrorist organisations as stated in the United Nations definition", he said.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) claimed responsibility for the attack on construction workers employed by Indonesia's state-owned company, PT Istaka Kar on Monday 3 December, saying they were not armed criminals as claimed by Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, "but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua".
The attack on the construction of the 278-kilometre road connecting the towns of Wamena and Agats in Nduga regency followed the call for a referendum for West Papua independence at rallies held by West Papuan pro-independence separatists in capital cities throughout Indonesia to mark the 57th anniversary of raising the West Papua independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) spokesman Sebby Sanbom said that "through this attack on the contruction of the trans Papua highway we are telling the colonialist country of Indonesia that we are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua,” saying that the workers shot dead were not civilians but Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) engineers.
The Southeast Asian Times

LGBT transgender beaten to death in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, December 15: Police are investigating the death of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) transgender women who died from her injuries after being beaten with blunt objects in Klang on Wednesday night, reports the Star.
The 32-year-old victim from Sabah was reportedly confirmed dead at 10.47pm on Thursay at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang.
Klang Selantan District Police Chief ACP Shamsul Amar Ramli said a hotel security guard found the injured victim in the grounds of a hotel in the Bukit Tinggi area of Klang at about 7.00pm on Thursday.
He said that the victim was found with head injuries, swelling to parts of her body and with bones in her fingers broken, "suspected to be the result of beatings by a group of men".
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, said that Malaysia cannot accept Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) rights such as same-sex marriage at a lecture at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in October, dismissing LGBT rights as western values.
Prime Minister Mahathir said during a two day state visit to Thailand at the lecture on “Malaysia -Thailand Bilateral Relations in the Context of ASEAN” that "in the west now, men marry men, women marry women."
"They call themselves a family."
He said that Malaysia does not accept Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) rights, saying that "if the west wants to accept LGBT rights that's their business".
Don't force LGBT on us", he said.
In August, three months after the election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) , the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI), and the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) raided a Kuala Lumpur club frequented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community reportedly in order "to mitigate LGBT culture from spreading".
Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religion) Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who reportedly ordered the raid on the LGBT club, reportedly the first time the club has been raided in its 30 year history, also ordered the removal of portraits of two LGBT activists from an art exhibition.
In March Thai transgender, Kathawut Khangpiboon, 32, an active member of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) movement was re-instated as lecturer at Thailand's Thammmasat University in Bangkok, with the Thammasat University vice rector, Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, saying that the university would not appeal the Bangkok Administrative Court's decision that ordered the university to re-instate the lecturer within 60 days.
"The Thammmasat University executive board respects the court's decision on the matter," he said
Kathawut Khangpiboon claimed that the university discriminated against her in their refusal to employ her on the grounds of her sexuality.
The Southeast Asian Times


China donates APEC buses for public transport in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby takes delivery of 50 buses from China for public transport

From News Reports:
Port Moresby, December 14: Papua New Guinea has received delivery of 50 buses for public transport donated by China after use at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held last month that was attended by 21 nations, reports the National.
APEC minister, Justin Tkachenko, said that 30 of the 50 buses donated by China will be given to Port Moresby for public transport.
“Buses will be distributed to the National Airport Corporation for transportation and to the Lae city authority,” he said.
He said that the request for buses from some provinces would not be considered due to road conditions, saying "these buses are designed for good roads.”
"Charity organisations, schools and other institutions have also requested buses to transport their staff," he said.
He said that other vehicles such as Maserati and Bentley's had been handed over to the Central Supplies and Tender Board and Finance Department to put on tender.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O'Neil defended the governments decision to purchase three super luxurious Bentleys worth $US230,000 to transport dignitaries, saying that three of the heads of state attending the APEC summitt required "certain minimum standard" vehicles.
The Papua New Guinea Northern Province Governor and Opposition MP, Gary Juffa, condemned the purchase of the vehicles that included 40 Maseratis and luxury SUVs saying that "Papua New Guinea is battling a resurgence of polio and is still reliant on overseas assistance."
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neil and President of China Xi Jinping signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Port Moresby during the APEC summit in Novemeber, with Prime Minister Peter O'Neil saying "the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) gives access to capital and infrastructure building capacitiies that we are now developing together with China," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Gerindra calls for Indonesia's military to crush West Papuan rebels
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 13: Indonesia's political party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) has called for the immediate apprehension of the armed gunmen who shot and killed Indonesian construction workers on the Yigi River bridge in Nduga district in West Papua last week, saying that "Indonesian security personnel should crush the armed Papuan rebels," reports the Jakarta Post.
The Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) deputy chairman, Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, called for the immediate apprehension of the armed gunmen "to prevent them from repeating their criminal acts."
"This shooting must be a lesson for all related institutions, including the National Police, Military, and National Intelligence Agency (BIN)," he said.
The deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) that has nominated Indonesian Army Strategic Reserve Command and Indonesian special forces commander, Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto, as its presidential candidate, said that the Indonesian people have been waiting for the state to take tough action against the West Papuan rebels.
Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said last week that construction of Yigi bridge that was suspended following the attack by reportedly "armed criminal group members" would resume this week.
He said that Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Indonesian Police (Polri) would set up a joint security team to guard the construction of bridges and roads in Nduga that are part of the Trans Papua highway project.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) who claimed responsibility for the attack on Indonesia's state-owned construction company, PT Istaka Kar and killing construction workers in Nduga regency in Papua last week, say they are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) spokesman Sebby Sanbom said that "through this attack on the contruction of the trans Papua highway we are telling the colonialist country of Indonesia that we are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua,” saying that the workers shot dead were not civilians but Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) engineers.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia's ousted PM Najib arrested for doctoring 1MDB audit report

Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak arrested for allegedly doctoring 1MDB audit report

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, December 12: Ousted Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak and former Finance Minister of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund, who is under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged involvement in the misappropriation of funds, was arrested on Monday for allegedly "doctoring" the 1MDB audit report, reports the Star.
Changes to the 1MDB audit report were reportedly made in February 2016, with a directive from Shukry Salleh, the private secretary of the then Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Auditor-General Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad said on Monday that parts of the 1MDB audit report that were "doctored" included Malaysian fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (38) whose attendence at a 1MDB board meeting were excluded from the audit report.
The financial status of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund that was in US$25 billion debit was also deleted from the audit report.
A warrant for the arrest of Malaysian fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who is wanted by Malaysian police for alledged money laundering of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds was issued in August.
Low Taek Jho, who is reportedly a family friend of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, is wanted for eight counts of money laundering and his father Low Hock Peng for one count including the alleged investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States and London.
Investments with alleged 1MDB funds include hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) under the former Prime Minsiter Najib Rajak administration was declassified less than a week after the May 9 elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party lead by the former Prime Minister and the return of Prime Minister Mathahir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in as Prime Minister in May that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam and Cambodia sign cooperation agreements, confirming traditional ties

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phu and Cambodian's Prime Minister Hun Sen in Hanoi last week

From News Reports:
Hanoi, December 11: Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed cooperation agreements in Hanoi with Vietnam National Assembly chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, saying that the official Cambodian visit to Vietnam is a "landmark visit in bilateral relations that confirms the traditional friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam", reports the Vietnam News Service.
National Assembly chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, reportedly congratulated Prime Minister Hun Sen on his re-election in July that returned the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to office, saying "under the leadership of the Cambodian Senate, National Assembly and Royal Government with the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) at the core, Cambodia would sustain economic growth and political stability."
The cooperation agreements signed by Cambodia and Vietnam reportedly include Memorandum of Understandings (MoU's) on Vietnam Cambodia Transport Cooperation Strategy, on border trade agreements, education cooperation, border demarcation and non-refundable aid to Cambodia for drug detoxification in Preah Sihanouk province
The National Assembly chairwoman said after the signing of the agreements that Vietnam National Assembly and the Cambodia's National Assembly and Senate would work towards the realization of the bilateral agreements.
"Vietnam and Cambodia reached consensus on bilateral agreements under the motto of “good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, and comprehensive cooperation and long-term sustainability”, she said.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed during the signing of the cooperation agreements that Vietnam and Cambodia would continue building and developing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community, including the central role of ASEAN.
The Southeast Asian Times

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declare ceasefire in Mindanao over Christmas
From News Reports:
Manila, December 10: The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have declared a five-day unilateral ceasefire with government forces in observance of Christmas and the party’s 50th founding anniversary on December 26, despite the Philippine government "full scale war on communist rebels," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement that its armed wing, New People's Army (NPA) and People's militias have been ordered to cease fire and desist from carrying out offensive military campaigns and operations against the government Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) five days over Christmas and the New year.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, Jose Sison, said from exile in the Netherlands that Communist rebels are set to obvserve a holiday truce even after President Rodrigo Duterte had declared a full-scale war on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA).
President Duterte declared last week that he would not resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), saying
that he would "pursue a full-scale war on communist rebels".
"The earlier we finish the insurgency, the better for us all," he said.
On Friday Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on congress to extend martial law over the southern Philippine province of Mindanao for another year on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who was the mayor of Davao City in Mindanao before he was elected president in May 2016, declared martial law over the southern Philippines a year later following the occupation of Marawi City by Abu Sayyaf Maute ISIS fighters, saying then that "the proclamation will last 60 days."
In December 2017 the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recommended the extention of martial law in Mindanao for a further twelve in order to "ensure total eradication of Da’awatul islamiyah Waliyatui Masriq (DIWM) and other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups including armed lawless groups and Communist terrorists and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers.”
President Duterte said then that while the government was preoccupied with addressing the challenges posed by the DAESH-inspired DIWM and other local terrorist groups the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) intensified their decades-long rebellion against the government and stepped up terrorist acts against innocent civilians and private entities."
The extention of martial law for a further year in December 2017 followed President Duterte's declaration that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) were "terrorists"
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines call on congress to extend martial law over Mindanao

Protesters against martial law in the Philippines marched on Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Butuan in October demanding the lifting of martial law saying that "the government has turned the lands of Mindanao into "killing fields" with the killings of farmers, workers and tribal people
From News Reports:
Manila, December 9: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called on congress to extend martial law over the southern Philippine province of Mindanao for another year on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippine Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Ano, said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recommended an extension of martial law over Mindanao for a further year from 1 January 2019.
“Once the recommendation for extention of martial law is with the President, he may change it, add to the provisions or he may change them, or remove some,” he said.
Presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo said President Duterte was “compelled” to extend martial law in Mindanao in order to strengthen economic development that can only be achieved if there is peace and order.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who was the mayor of Davao City in Mindanao before he was elected president in May 2016, declared martial law over the southern Philippines a year later following the occupation of Marawi City by Abu Sayyaf Maute ISIS fighters, saying then that "the proclamation will last 60 days."
In December 2017 the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recommended the extention of martial law in Mindanao for a further twelve months with Martial Law Administrator, Secretary of National Defence, Delfin. N. Lorenzana, reportedly saying that the purpose of the extention of Martial Law over Mindanao was "primarily to ensure total eradication of Da’awatul islamiyah Waliyatui Masriq (DIWM) and other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups including armed lawless groups and Communist terrorists and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers.”
President Duterte said then that while the government was preoccupied with addressing the challenges posed by the DAESH-inspired DIWM and other local terrorist groups the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) intensified their decades-long rebellion against the government and stepped up terrorist acts against innocent civilians and private entities."
The extention of martial law for a further year in December 2017 followed the President Duterte's declaration that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) were terrorist groups.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia's military deployed to guard construction of Trans Papua highway
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 8: Work on the construction of the Yigi River bridge in Nduga district in West Papua that was attacked by armed gunmen, claiming to be the West Papua Liberation Army (WPLA) on Monday, leaving 19 construction workers dead, is to resume next week with Indonesia's military and police guarding construction of the Trans Papua highway, reports Antara.
Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said on Thursday that construction of the bridge that was suspended following the attack by reportedly "armed criminal group members who murdered several workers building a bridge over Yigi River," will resume next week.
He said that Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Indonesian Police (Polri) will set up a joint security team to guard the construction of bridges and roads in Nduga that are part of the Trans Papua highway project.
The Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) is reportedly to coordinate with Indonesia's Ministry of Public Works and Housing for the resumption of infrastructure development in West Papua.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) who claimed responsibility for the attack on Indonesia's state-owned construction company, PT Istaka Kar and killing construction workers in Nduga regency in Papua on Monday, say they are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) spokesman Sebby Sanbom said that "through this attack on the contruction of the trans Papua highway we are telling the colonialist country of Indonesia that we are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua,” saying that the workers shot dead were not civilians but Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) engineers.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papua Liberation Army claims they are freedom fighters not criminals

Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) prepare coffins for construction workers who were shot dead in West Papua on Monday with West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) claiming that the construction workers were not civilians but Indonesian soldiers

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 7: The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) claims responsibility for the attack on Indonesia's state-owned construction company, PT Istaka Kar, killing 19 construction workers in Nduga regency in Papua on Monday, saying that they are not armed criminals but true freedom fighters for the Republic of West Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) spokesman Sebby Sanbom said that "through this attack on the contruction of the trans Papua road we are telling the colonialist country of Indonesia that we are not armed criminals but true fighters for the freedom of the Republic of West Papua,”
"We are ready to take responsibility," he said.
Sokesman Sebby Sanbom claims that the workers shot dead on Monday
were not civilian workers but Indonesian soldiers.
He said in a statement on Wednesday that the construction workers who were shot dead were Indonesian Army Corps Engineers.
He said that the West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB) had observed the construction workers for three months, saying that the workers were soldiers from an Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI)) Zipur army unit specializing in engineering and technical battle infrastructure.
"We know who is a civilian worker and who is a TNI Zipur soldier even if they wear plain clothes,” he said.
“We did not ask for the trans-Papua road development."
Indonesia's state-owned company, PT Istaka Karya, managing director, Sigit Winarto, said on Wednesday that all work on the trans Papua project that includes the construction of a 278-kilometre road connecting the towns of Wamena and Agats in Nduga regency has been suspended.
Last month United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) chairman, Benny Wenda called on the Indonesian government
to stop Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) "brutal operations" in Lanny Jaya, Wamena and other areas and to withdraw all Indonesian security personnel from West Papua
"Several West Papuans are believed to have been killed with thousands more fleeing into the jungle," he said.
He said that Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and Indonesian National Police operations intensified in mid November following the installation of an Indonesian military commander as a local West Papuan chief.
"The Indonesian military commander has used his title to call for military operations in Lanny Jaya, Wamena and other areas", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuan's attack construction site, shooting 31 migrant workers dead
From News Reports:

Jakarta, December 6: West Papuan pro-independence separatists, described as "stronghold separatists who have battled Indonesian rule for almost 50 years" have reportedly shot dead up to 31 migrant construction workers in an attack on a construction site in Nduga province on Monday, reportedly bringing the construction project to a halt, reports Agence France Presse.
The migrant construction workers were reportedly employed by the state-owned company PT Istaka Karya, contracted to build bridges along a 278-kilometre road connecting the towns of Wamena and Agats in Nduga province.
PT Istaka Karya, managing director, Sigit Winarto, said that all work on the construction project identifed as the Trans Papua Section has been suspended in reportedly the worst attack since the Indonesian government intensified infrastructiure development in Papua.
Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 migrant workers were killed when gunmen stormed a bridge under construction in a remote mountainous village in Nduga province on Monday.
He said that eight migrant workers fled to the nearby house of a local Parliament member, but the gunmen returned the next day and killed seven, saying that "one managed to escape and remains missing."
He said security forces were trying to recover all 31 bodies but the bodies were scattered over the construction site and were guarded by the armed men.
He said an Indonesian soldier was shot dead by the gunmen as the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police attemped to recover the bodies of the dead migrant workers.
In June 2018 the Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) cancelled voting in Nduga province following a shoot out between West West Papuan pro-independence separatists and the Indonesian National police and Indonesian Military (TNI) at the Kenyam airport in Nduga province.
The West Papuan pro-independence separatists reportedly attacked an aircraft carrying ballot papers and 15 Mobile Brigade (Brimob)
police at the airport in Nduga province ahead of the elections on June 27.
The Southeast Asian Times


United States to support Thailand in ASEAN chair next year

United States Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Randall G Schriver and Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan in Bangkok on Friday 30 November 2018

From News Reports:
Bangkok, December 5: The United States has declared support for Thailand as Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair next year at the 5th bilateral Defense Strategic Talks held at the Thai Ministry of Defence in Bangkok on Friday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Co-chair of the the 5th bilateral Defense Strategic Talks, United States Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Randall G Schriver, declared support for Thailand during the two day talks, saying "the US will be a supportive partner in Thailand's chairmanship year," he said.
"We'll take Thailand's lead on what issues Thailand wants to promote during its chairmanship," he said
He said that the United States and Thailand discussed co-chairing a working group on maritime security, saying that the ASEAN states had agreed to participate in a US-ASEAN maritime exercise in 2019.
Assistant Secretary, Schriver, claimed in talks with senior Thai officials including Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan in Bangkok that "China has militarised the South China Sea in order to enforce illegal claims of sovereignty."
"Maritime security is an inherently multilateral endeavour and Thailand is well positioned to be a part of that and we can be a supportive partner in that effort," he said.
He said that a multilateral effort from ASEAN member states and dialogue partners, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States can contribute to the strengthening of maritime security conter-terrorism and cybersecurity efforts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Islam calls on the young at 3 million strong rally in Jakarta
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 4: Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI),Tengku Zulkarnain, called on young Indonesians attending the 212 Action to Defend Islam reunion rally held in Jakarta on Sunday to protect the Unitary State of Indonesia (NKRI), saying "it is you all who will protect the Unitary State of Indonesia (NKRI)."
The 212 Action to Defend Islam reunion rally on Sunday was reportedly attended by Indonesia's 2019 presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, Speaker of the People`s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan and Deputy Speaker of MPR Hidayat Nur Wahid.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who did not attend the rally has reportedly called for religious leaders and politicians not to mix religion and party politics, warning that "mixing religion and politics was dangerous and could lead to divisions within society,"
The 212 Action to Defend Islam reunion media center, chairman Novel Bamukmin, reportedly issued a statement saying that the President was not invited to the rally on Sunday because "Jokowi was seen as opposing the rally"
Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI), Tengku Zulkarnain, has reportedly accused Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo of promoting liberal values "of a type that should prevail only in western countries."
"The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) would oppose any efforts to promote them," he said.
Indonesian Ulema Council of Scholars (MUI) have reportedly issued an edict outlawing secularism, pluralism and liberalism, considering them to be western values that were not compatible with Indonesian society.
The 212 Action to Defend Islam reunion rally was reportedly established on December 2016 to gather opposition to the then Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, accusing the governor of blasphemy.
The reportedly seven million who attended the 2016 Action to Defend Islam rally called for the governors arrest and prosecution.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans want Indonesia to
hold referendum for independence

Papua students called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum for West Papua independence in Surabaya on Saturday the 57th anniversay of the raising of the independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag that is banned by the Indonesian government

From News Reports:
Surabaya, December 3: West Papuans called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum for West Papua independence in Surabaya on Saturday, with simultaneous rallies held in Papua's provincial capital, Jayapura, Jakarta, Palu, Kupang, Ternate, Makassar, Manado, Ambon, Poso, Sula, Timika, Meruake, Waropen, and Tobelo, with reports of arrests in all cities, reports the Associated Press.
About 300 Papua Student Alliance supporters in Surabaya in East Java, chanting "Freedom for Papua" and wearing headbands enblazoned with the West Papua independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist symbol, were blocked from marching by anti-Papua independence supporters and police.
"You can rally to voice your aspirations but don't bring up the separatist issue," said an anti-Papua independence supporter
"Papua is a part of Indonesia forever and we are willing to die to defend the unitary state of Indonesia."
West Papuans hoisting the West Papua independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag that is banned by the Indonesian government have been given prison sentences of up to fifteen years.
West Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N. sponsored ballot that has been contested by Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) separatists since Indonesian rule over West Papua.
Rallies to mark the 57th anniversary of raising the West Papua independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag were also held in cities in Australia and New Zealand.
In October 2017 The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) called on the Australian government to stop support for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua following Australia's election to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)
The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) called on the Australian government to take a principled stance and break with tradition, saying that "successive Australian governments have turned a blind eye to human rights atrocities that have occurred on Australia's doorstep for decades."
The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) claims that West Papuans have a right to express their desire for self determination, saying that the Australian government should be willing to defend the West Papuan right to self determination.
The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) also claims that Australia's bid for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) centres on its promise to be a voice for human rights in the Pacific, saying that Australia cannot ignore the West Papuan call on the Indonesian governmnt to hold a referendum for independence.
The Southeast Asian Times


Protesters call for occupation of Australian embassy in Jakarta

Indonesian Muslim League to Save Palestine (PLMI) called on Australia not to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at the Australian embassy in Kuningan, south Jakarta on Friday

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 2: Protesters called on Australia not to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at the Australian embassy in south Jakarta on Friday, calling on Islamic groups to occupy the embassy.
Protesters from the Indonesian Muslim League to Save Palestine (PLMI) warned that any move to shift the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be akin to “provoking Indonesian Muslims and Muslims around the world to fight against Israel and Australia”.
“We want Australia to be friends with indonesia but if it follows in the footsteps of the US and acknowledges Jerusalem as the Israeli capital that is a huge mistake,” protesters said over a loud speaker at the Australian embassy.
The protesters carried banners calling for the 212 Action for Defending Islam 111 movement - an Islamic group instrumental in the jailing of Jakarta’s former Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama who was found guilty of blasphemy last year - to join the protest and occupy the Australian embassy in Jakarta.
In October Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, called on Australia to reconsider the formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, advising Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison to be cautious in his proposal to relocate the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrision who had previously said that Australia was committed to a two-state solution, said after becoming Prime Minister in August that he was "open-minded" to proposals to formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In December 2017 eight of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were included in the 128 countries that rejected the United States decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Laos is not a member of the United Nations Security Council.
The Philippines, an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country, was one of nine countries that included the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshal Islands, Togo, Micronesia and Nauru that opposed the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
The United Nations Security Council draft resolution called on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem.
China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France were among the 128 member countries that approved the United Nations Security Council draft resolution.
Canada, Mexico and Australia were among the 35 registered absentions.
United States President Donald Trump reportedly acted under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that accepts Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and requires the United States to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the United States decision to relocate the embassy in December 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times

Buddhist monks protest return of "Bengalis" to Myanmar's Rakhine state

Buddhist monks march in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, against the planned repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh

From News Reports:
Yangon, December 1: Buddhist monks marched in protest against the planned repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, saying that "there will be no benefits to us or Myanmar if we accept the "Bengalis," reports the Agence France Presse.
About 100 monks marched in the streets of the capital during the three day inspection last week by officials from the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) of the preparations by the Myanmar government for the repatriation of the Rohingya Muslims or "Bengalis."
The protesters called for Myanmar authorities not to "allow resettling of the runaway refugees" in Rakhine state.
Committee member against the repatriation of the Rohingya Muslims or "Bengalis", Kyawt Sein, said that "the government should take action against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh."
Myanmar deputy minister of Social Welfare and Resettlement, U Soe Aung, said that ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) officials were able to see for themselves that the government is ready to receive the Muslim refugees, saying "we are ready for the repatriation".
The Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) officials reportedly inspected preparations for the repatriation of Rohingya Muslims at Nga Khu Ya and Taung Pyo Lat Wae reception centres including a transit camp and a temporary resettlement area in Hla Phoe Khaung in Rankhine State on Monday.
The exudus of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims across the Mynmar border to Bangladesh last year follows Myanmar's retaliation including destruction of homes to the assualt on police outposts and military bases by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) reportedly carried out assaults on Myanmar police outposts and on a Myanmar military base in northern Rakhine state on August 25 in what the Myanmar government called "extremist terrorist" attacks by Muslim insurgents.
Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had aimed to "undermine the efforts of the government to find a lasting solution to what Myanmar calls illegal migrants.
Majority Buddhist Myanmar reportedly considers the Muslim Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh calling them "Bengalis" but Bangladesh rejects the Rohingya's, rendering them stateless.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine President Duterte denies plan to declare martial law nationwide

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says that the deployment of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to Bicol, Samar and Nigros is not a prelude to a declaration of martial law

From News Reports:
Manila, November 30: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte denied plans to declare martial law nationwide despite the deployment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to Bicol, Samar and Nigros Island, saying “no, I’m not going to declare nationwide martial law", but with the proviso that "if there was widespread violence then maybe," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President Duterte, said he would deploy the military under Memorandum Order (MO) No.32 in order to suppress the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) armed wing the New Peoples Army (NPA) saying that "there are enough powers of the presidency that I can use,” to supress "lawlessness and violence."
President Duterte said the deployment of more troops to Samar was meant to stop the New People’s Army from imposing taxes and acting like “it’s their government that is in control.”
He also said he was studying the possibility of declaring Negros a land reform area, saying that "communist rebels were creating a federation of farmers and looking for vacant lands that they could occupy."
Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano claims that Memorandum Order (MO) No.32 is not a prelude to a declaration of martial law nationwide, saying that "the communist terrorist groups and their front organizations are crying foul over this because they know for certain that they will be decimated by government forces once these troops are deployed.”
The President also said he would deploy a division of soldiers to Jolo the capital of Sulu province in Muslim Mindanao, where an attack by the Abu Sayyaf terror group left five soldiers dead and 23 others wounded on November 17.
He said he would deploy “not only a company, not only a battalion, not a regiment, but an entire division on the islands there toward Sabah,” he said.
In 2016 the then Philippine president elect Rodrigo Duterte said that he recognised the claim of the late Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram, on Sabah, vowing to pursue the Philippine claim to Sabah claiming that the Sulu sultanate ruled over parts of the southern Philippines including Sabah until 1963 when the British transferred Sabah to the federation of Malaysia.
"We have to stake our claim," he said.
In 2016 the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak dismissed Philippine president's claim to Sabah, vowing to defend "every inch of the Malaysia's sovereignty" with the formation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom)
"The Government would be taking a three-dimensional strategy - maritime, air and land, to secure the state.", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia calls for trust between ASEAN and China in South China Sea
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 29: Indonesia called for trust between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China in order to make progress in the negotiations for a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea and to maintain ASEAN Centrality, reports Antara.
Indonesia's Foreign Ministry Director General of ASEAN Cooperation, Jose Tavares, said in Jakarta at a public discussion, A Debriefing on the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits: The Scorecard in Pushing Forward for ASEAN Centrality on Tuesday that "ASEAN and China must get rid of mutual distrust to be able to discuss and make agreements in CoC negotiations."
He said that concerns about the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea will be addressed "if ASEAN member countries are convinced that China is willing to negotiate a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea."
"We can see that our colleagues from China are open to negotiations on the South China Sea", he said.
China Premier, Li Keqiang and Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien who is also ASEAN chair for 2018 called for a Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea within three years at the Asean-China Summit held in Singapore earlier this month, with China Premier, Li Keqiang
saying that ASEAN and China should aim for the completion of the first reading of the Code-of-Conduct (CoC) in 2019, saying that all parties should maintain restraint, keep a conducive and stable environment for the CoC negotiations to proceed efficiently."
In November 2017 the Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries and China began negotiations on the maritime Code-of-Conduct (CoC) at the 20th ASEAN-China Summit held at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila
Negotiations between the ten Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries and China for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea reportedly seeks to prevent the escalation of the maritime dispute between four Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries and China.
China's claim over the South China Sea is contested by Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In July 2016 the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling 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.
The Southeast Asian Times



"Goodbye America" says B.A. Hamzah as he calls for Asians to determine their own political destiny in "Time for Asia to set it's own course, minus the U.S."...open here


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here




Is prescribed burning of grasslands in northern Australia out of control? ......Chris Ray reports ... open page here

"Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi" by Kerry B. Collison "is undoubtedly fictional but by no means improbable, " says Johannes Nugroho ....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

 

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

 

.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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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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

 

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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
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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