The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Thai military not invited to
US 4 July celebrations in Bangkok
From News Reports
Bangkok, July 2: Senior Thai military officers have not been invited by the US embassy in Thailand to attend Independence Day celebrations on 4 July in Bangkok, reports the Nation.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak said that Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth and four other senior military officers have not received an invitation from the US embassy to attend the annual US Independence Day celebration on the 4 July in Bangkok.
The US embassy in Thailand will reportedly hold a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day.
Invitations were extended to senior government officials, selected members of the public and the diplomatic community but did not include senior Thai military officers.
Invitations for the US Independence Day celebrations that began arriving last week and that did not include senior Thai military officers
follow the ban last week on the participation of the Thai navy in the US led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) attended by 22 navies.
The ban on the Thai navy participation in the biennual maritime exercise in the Asia-Pacific follows the declaration of martial law by Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
The Southeast Asian Time


Public demonstration bill debate brought forward
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 10: The proposed draft public demonstraton bill, prepared by the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security, is to be presented to the National Assembly for possible approval earlier than planned, reports Thanh Nien.
The draft public demonstration bill that was expected to be completed within the next five years was brought forward for possible approval by legislators following public protests in 22 provinces against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig in alleged Vietnam waters on May 1.
HCMCity National Assemblyman, Truong Trong Nghia said that the government has yet to offer the public a legal means to demonstrate.
"The government is required to protect the people's right to express themselves despite conflicting interests", he said.
371 of 436 legislators agreed to debate the proposed draft public demonstration bill at a mid year session next year with voting on the possible passing of the bill to follow at the end of the year.
The Southeast Asian Times


'Islam is not a state,' says author of book published for Indonesian high school students

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3: The book titled, 24 Weeks to a Civic Example: A Muslim Student’s Agenda, that was launched by pro pluralism organisation, the Maarif Institute, in Indonesia last month, encourages the idea that being religious is synonymous with being a good citizen, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Being a good Muslim is analogous to exemplary civic conduct but one should not conflate Islam with the state," said co-author Bambang Q. Anees, philosophy at the Bandung State Islamic University (UIN).
He warned of the dangers of religious instruction that he said must be addressed in the national curriculum.
“The current Islamic studies curriculum needs to be revised", he said.
He said that Muslims have been brought up to think that Islam is all about the history of Muslim wars and
nationhood.
"This belief translates into the belief that Islam is a state,” said the co-author at the launch of the book at the Muhammadiyah Center of Study in Menteng, Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia votes for new parliament and new president

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 10:
Indonesians voted for a new parliament yesterday in a poll that will decide who will run for president in the presidential elections scheduled for July 9, reports the Jakarta Post.
About 75 percent of the more than reportedly 186 million registered voters caste their vote for almost 236,000 candidates in about 500,000 polling stations yesterday.
A party or coalition requires 112 of the 560 seats in the lower house of parliament to nominate a candidate for the presidency
The Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) is the only party out of 12 parties nationawide seen as having a chance of achieving this result without forming a coalition, reports the Jakarta Post.
The PDI-P has been ahead in the opinion polls and reportedly extended its lead with the nomination of Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, 52, known as "Jokowi".
PDI-I had almost 20 percent of the reportedly 30 percent of votes counted at 2,000 polling stations yesterday or almost 20 percent of about 50 percent of total votes counted.
The official results of the legislative elections are not expected to be announced until 9 May.
The Southeast Asian Times

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian Times...open here

Daughter and boyfriend confess to murder of Chicago woman in Bali
From News Reports:
Denpasar, September 23: Two US nationals arrested in Bali on 14 August for the murder of Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62, at a Bali five star hotel have confessed to the murder of the Chicago woman, reports the Jakarta Post.
Heather Mack, 19, daughter of the murdered woman and her boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, 22 were arrested the day after the bloodied body of Sheila Von Wiese Mack was found "stuffed" in a suitcase in a taxi at the entrance of the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua.
Denpasar Police chief Djoko Heru Utomo said on Friday that both suspects had admitted to their involvement in the death of Sheila Von Wiese Mack during questioning "in recent days".
"Both suspects have confessed", he said.
He said that Tommy Schaeffer had admitted to carrying out the killing after an argument with the victim and that the victims daughter, Heather Mack claimed that she watched Schaeffer kill her mother and then helped to "stuff" the body into the suitcase.
The body of Chicago woman, Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62, was found stuffed in a suitcase in a taxi at the entrance of the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua believed to have been bludgeoned to death with a heavy glass object by her daughter Heather Mack, 19, and boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, 22, at the hotel on 13 August where the three were registered guests
"The interrogation is continuing in order to get the full account," said the police chief.
Heather Mack confessed to the murder following the arrival in Bali of her United States lawyer last week reportedly to assist her locally-hired lawyers.
She had previously refused to talk to Indonesian police without United States legal representation, reports the Jakarta Post.
The two accused are yet to be charged with the murder of the Chicago woman.
Under the Indonesian legal system the accused are not formally charged until they appear in court at the start of the trial.

The Southeast Asian Times

Northern Thailand prepares for flooding from China's Jinhong dam
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 22: Mekong River communities including Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand have been warned to brace for flooding from the release of huge volumes of water from China's Jinhong dam and heavy rain, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Mekong River that forms a boundary with Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, runs through the town of Chiang Rai itself.
Chiang Rai regional Marine director, Songglod Duanghakloang, said on Friday that water levels had risen by an additional 30cm.
He said that the rise in water level was partly due to heavy rainfall but the huge volume of water flowing from the Jinghong dam in China, reportedly at a maximum capacity of 9,000 cubic metres per second, was responsible for the rise in water levels.
The release of water from the Jinghong dam in the upper Mekong River at maximum capacity could result in a rise by three metres in Chiang Rai province within days, said the Marine director.
" Residents in the the Chian Sean district in the town of Chiang Rai have been told to prepare to evacuate", he said yesterday.
He said that two villages in the Chiang Saen district are already flooded due to heavy rainfall.
Village chiefs have been ordered to monitor the water level of the Mekong river.
Flooding of villages is inevitable when water level in the Mekong reaches 7.3m, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former editor of Thaksin magazine to stay in jail
Former editor, Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk, 53, who has been in custody for three and a half years says that he will fight the Appeal Court ruling that has upheld the lower court 10 year prison sentence in the Supreme Court
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 21: The Thai Appeal Court has upheld the lower court 10 year prison sentence for former editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine, found guilty of breaching the lese majeste law, reports the Bangkok Post.
Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk, 53, the former executive editor of two United-Front-for-Democracy-against- Dictatorship, Red Shirt, magazines - the Red Power and the now-defunct Voice of Taksin was convicted under Section 112 for publishing alleged defamatory articles using the pseudonym Jit Polachan in February and March 2010.
He was arrested at an immigration checkpoint in northern Sa Kaeo province while reportedly trying to cross into Cambodia on 30 April 2011 and charged with violation of that section of the Thai criminal code that is designed to ensure that King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, and his family are never insulted.
In February 2012 his son, Panitan Pruksakasemsuk, 24, shaved his head in protest at the Thai Criminal Court’s refusal to allow bail for his father, who by then had been detained for ten months while awaiting trial for alleged breaches of Thailand’s lese-majeste law.
His son, a student at Thammasat University, began a 112-hour hunger strike outside the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok, in an effort to win his release.
The Criminal Court sentenced the former editor to 10 years in prison on 29 January 2013 and included an extra year for allegedly defaiming Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr, a former assistant army chief.
Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk took his case to the Appeals Court but the judges upheld the lower court decision on Friday and rejected his appeal on the grounds that the the new evidence that was presented to the court did not over rule prosecution case.
The Southeast Asian Times


Police raid Semarang counterfeit money factory
Police chief Sr. Comr. Djoko Hari Utomo (right) with seized counterfeit banknotes at the Denpasar police office in Bali with masked alleged counterfieters, factory owner, Agustinus Handoyo, 50, dealer Diana Wahyuni, 40, and dealer Abdul Rohman, 45
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 20: Police have made three arrests following a raid on a counterfeit banknote factory in Semarang, Central Java, seizing 310 fake Rp 100,000 notes worth Rp 31 million (US$2,594) including unprinted notes, computers, printers and ink, reports the Jakarta Post.
Denpasar Police chief Sr. Comr. Djoko Hari Utomo said that the factory had produced counterfeit notes worth more than Rp 9 billion since it began operation in 2012.
He said that the raid on the factory followed information received by police that led to the arrest of dealer Diana Wahyuni, 40, who received a package in Denpasar on September 1 containing 210 counterfeit Rp 100,000 notes.
The sender of the package, factory owner, Agustinus Handoyo, 50, was arrested at Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang.
Agustinus Handoyo was previously arrested in 2006 in central Java for printing counterfiet notes.
Dealer Abdul Rohman, 45, was arrested in Grobogan, Central Java in posssession of 100 counterfeit Rp 100,000 notes worth Rp 10 million
The counterfeit Rp100,000 notes are in circulation in provinces throughout Indonesia including Bali, East Java and central Java.
Bali Police spokesperson Hery Wiyanto said that the counterfeit notes were in circulation in traditional markets and warned vendors to "be aware".
"The fake notes are almost perfect" said the spokesman.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia calls for repeal and non replacement of Sedition Act
Advocates of the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 say that section 121 of the existing Penal Code covers anyone who "wages war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a state
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, Septemeber 19: Politicians, lawyers and activists are united in their call for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and the non replacement of it with the proposed National Harmony Act, reports the New Straits Times.
Consitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan who advocates the repeal of the Sedition Act and the non replacement of it with the National Harmony Act said that section 121 of the Penal Code covers those who wish to overthrow the government through violent means.
"We already have the penal code to keep peace and harmony", he said.
Lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said that legislation was not the way to create interracial harmony in Malaysia.
"The Penal Code is sufficient to cover offences of racial incitement", she said.
Members of Parliament Raja kamarul Bahrin, Sha Raja Ahmad and Nurul Izzah Anwar said that there are enough laws in the counry to cover any eventuallity including "hate speech" and incitement to inerracial violence.
Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah said that sufficient provisions existed in the Penal Code to protect Malaysian royality.
"We must remove this Act which is a legacy of the colonial era. You don't need a replacement Act," said Nurul Izzah.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the proposed National Harmony Act would not grant total freedom of expression.
He said Malay rights, the sanctity of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia and the Royal institution, that were enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
would not be open to question with the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948.
The Sedition Act 1948 that was used earlier this month in a Kuala Lumpur court to charge academic law Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom, 45, with sedition for allegedly challenging the power of the Sultan of Perak is to be replaced with a National Harmony Act.
The academic was charged with causing disaffection against the Sultan of Perak with words deemed to have "seditious tendency" in an article published August 13 titled "Take ?Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse".
The alleged seditious comments contained in the article apply to the February 2009 decision made by the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, to swear in Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak’s new Menteri Besar, or chief minister, rather than dissolve the legislative assembly and call a new election.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia finally ratifies Asean transboundary haze pollution agreement
Air polution rose to unhealthy levels in Singapore on Monday due to smoke from forrest fires in Indonesia. The Singapore parliament passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act earlier this month will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 18: Indonesia has finally ratified the 2002 Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was ratified by ASEAN member counries in 2003 with the exception of Indonesia, in order to address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires in Southeast Asia.
All ten Asean member countries including Indonesia signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 10 June 2002 in Kuala Lumpur making it the first regional agreement in the world that addresses transboundary haze pollution resulting from land and forest fires.
The Environment Minister for Environmental Damage and Climate Change Control, Arief Yuwono said that Indonesia was urged by Asean Environmental Ministers to ratify the agreement that has been ratified by nine member countries of ASEAN in November 2003 but not Indonesia.
"After 12 years of waiting, we eventually ratified the agreement," the Indonesia's Environment Minister said.
He said that the Environmental ministry proposed ratification in 2009 but the proposal was "put on hold" due to a change of government.
The benefits to Indonesia following the ratification of the agreement includes taking an active part in "directing Asean policies" in combating land and forest fires.
Indonesia's ratification of the agreement follows the establishment of the ASEAN regional cooperation framwork in 2006 to "develope and implement measures to prevent, monitor, and mitigate transboundary haze pollution by controlling sources of land and or forest fires" in Asean member countries.
Environment Ministers, from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand who attended the 15th Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) in Kuala Lumpur in July last year again urged Indonesia to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze pollution.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam lawyers condemn police brutality during investigations
Vietnam Bar Association, vice chairman Truong Trong Nghia said at a session of the National Assembly Justice Commission on "the illegal use of torture during police investigations" that wrongful verdicts, threats and torture threaten the integrity of the judicial system itself. " The victims' descendants will hold us responsible", he said
From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 17: The Vietnam bar Association condemned "police brutality" at a session of the National Assembly Justice Commission on "the illegal use of torture during police investigations" in Hanoi last week, reports Thanh Nien.
Vietnam Bar Association vice chairman Truong Trong Nghia reportedly condemned "police brutality" in the extraction of information and confessions from suspected criminals..
He said that police investigative proceduress and regulations had "resorted to torture" and as such was a threat to the integrity and stability of Vietnam.
"Torture still exists", he said.
National Assembly Justice Commission deputies said that video and recording devices should be installed at police stations to prevent police "threats" and "torture" during the questioning of suspects.
The use of "torture" by police as a means of extracting information or a confession from suspects is increasing, reports Thanh Nien.
Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang reported that 19 police officers were suspended for "torturing" suspects between 2011 and 2013.
Ten cases involving 23 police officers accused of "torture" were reportedly before the courts between 2011 and 2013.
The maximum punishment for "torture" during a police investigation is 15 years in prison, reports Thanh Nien.
Vietnam bar Association chairman, Le Thuc Anh says that the prison term for "torture" is "too lenient"
“The law itself is lenient and courts hand down an even more lenient punishment,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia's Sedition Act to be replaced with National Harmony Act
More than 500 University Malaya (UM) students and lecturers protested on campus last week against sedition charges brought against law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom for challenging the power of the Sultan of Perak in an online article on August 14
From News reports:
Kuala Lumpur, September 15: The Sedition Act that was used earlier this month in a Kuala Lumpur court to charge an academic with sedition for challenging the power of the Sultan of Perak in an online article is to be replaced with a National Harmony Act.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the proposed National Harmony Act would not grant total freedom of expression.
He said Malay rights, the sanctity of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia and the Royal institution, that were enshrined in the Federal Constitution would not be open to question with the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948.
"The government is in no hurry to push for the National Harmony Act", he said.
He said that the government was seeking national consensus on the proposed repeal of the sedition act, reports the New Straits Times.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that the Sedition Act 1948 will be replaced with a "more comprehensive" act.
The minister says that the act was needed to monitor writings and publications that could disrupt harmony and unity among people of various races.
"As such any seditious writing or words if not nipped in the bud could lead to more serious problems" he said.
Universiti Malaya lecturer in law Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom, 45, pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court on 2 September to alleged
seditious comments made in an online article on August 14 titled "Take ?Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse" under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.
The alleged seditious comments contained in the article apply to the February 2009 decision made by the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, to swear in Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak’s new Menteri Besar, or chief minister, rather than dissolve the legislative assembly and call a new election.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala said that lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom should not have been charged with sedition.
"Academic freedom is required in pursuit of knowledge", he said
The Attorney-Gen­eral’s Chambers said last week it would review several cases of individuals charged under the Sedition Act, including that of
Dr Azmi.
The Southeast Asian Times



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

Can educators from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world help keep young people out of jail in outback Australia? ..Reporter Chris Ray ..open here


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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory Australia
PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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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