The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Thursday, 24 April 2014
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 
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


Malaysia's migrant rights activist
dies at 67
Irene Fernandez
18 April 1946 - 29 March 2014
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, Thursday 3: A funeral service for Irene Fernandez, 67, advocate for the rights of migrants and women in Malaysia, will be held at the Church of Divine Mercy in Shah Alam, Selangor, today.
Irene Fernandez died of heart failure at the Serdang Hospital on Monday,
She received numerous awards in recognition of her work including the Human Rights Montor award in 1996, the Amnesty International Award in 1998; the International PEN Award in 2000; the Jonathan Mann Award in 2004; and the Right Livelihood Award in 2005
She established the Tenaganita, or Women’s Force, Non Government Organisation in 1991 to represent the rights of migrant workers.
She was arrested on March 18, 1996, and charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and found guilty of publishing the memo entitled
“Abuse, torture and dehumanised treatment of migrant workers at detention camps” on August 25, 1995.
She was sentenced to one year's jail in 2003 and immediately appealed.
High Court judge Mohammad Apandi Ali overturned her conviction and acquitted her on November 24, 2008.
She had not been allowed to leave Malaysia or stand for election till then.
In May 2012 Tenaganita, or Women’s Force, director Irene Fernandez told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that Malaysia’s law-enforcement officers regularly harassed the country’s “guest workers” and forced them to pay bribes.
She provided the commissioner with six examples of harrassment and asked the commission to investigate.
The Southeast Asian Times


Map of China in Chinese passports includes Indonesian waters

From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 27:
Map of Chna in Chinese passports includes part of the Natuna waters in Indonesia's Riau Islands, reports the Antara newsagency.
Assistant deputy to the chief security minister for defense strategic doctrine, Commodore Fahru Zaini said that China included the Natuna Islands in its territorial map with nine dash lines.
"China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorial waters," he said .
The Natuna waters are named after the Riau islands.
The islands are located along the southern part of the strategic Malacca Straits in the South China Sea.
Commodore Fahru Zaini reportedly said that China's nine-dash line is not transparent.
"it doesn't include precise coordinates", he said.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have part of their territory also included in the Chinese passport map, reports the Jakarta Post
The Southeast Asian Times


Jakarta yet
to ratify indigenous rights

From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 25: The Indigenous People's Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) Secretary-general, Abdon Nababan, called on the Indonesian government to ratify the indigenous people's rights, acknowledgement and protection bill.
“We urge the Indonesian government to immediately implement the Constitutional Court and House of Representatives’ decisions to pass a bill on the acknowledgment and protection of indigenous people’s rights,” he said.
He said that slow progress to revoke the Ministry of forestry decree that requires Indonesia's indigenous peoples to provide documents to claim their customery lands had caused ongoing conflict.
The Constitutional Court ruled in May last year to delete the word “state” from Forestry Law Article 1 of the 1999 Forestry Law that read , “customary forests are state forests located in the areas of custom-based communities” read
“customary forests are forests located in the areas of custom-based communities” after the Constitutional Court ruling last year.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) secretary general, Abdon Nababan, says that the Ministry of Forestry should revoke the decree immediately as it ontradicts the Constitutional Court and House of Represenatatives decision to pass a bill on indigenous people's rights, acknowledgement and protection.
The Southeast Asian Times.


Indonesian President called on
to give indigenous peoples their la
nd
back
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 30: Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been called on to revoke a 2013 Ministry of Forestry decree that requires Indonesia's indigenous peoples to provide documents to claim their customery lands.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) secretary general, Abdon Nababan, says that the Ministry of Forestry should revoke the decree immediately as it contradicts the Constitutional Court decision that recognises the indigenous peoples of Indonesia claim to their land.
"Indigenous people don't have official documents to prove that land and forests belong to them since they have been living on them for hundreds of years, " he said.
The Constitutional Court ruled in May last year to delete the word “state” from Forestry Law
Article 1 of the 1999 Forestry Law that read , “customary forests are state forests located in the areas of custom-based communities” read
“customary forests are forests located in the areas of custom-based communities” after the Constitutional Court ruling last year.
The ruling by the Cobstitutional Court was seen as a victory for Indonesia's indigenous people, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) secretary general, Abdon Nababan, says that the Ministry of Forestry decree is seen as a repudiation of that victory.
He said that the decree shows the government is not consistent in uphold-ing the law and in protecting indigenous land rights.
"We want the President to come to the rescue by issuing a decree to render the Ministry of Forestry decree that requires indigenous peoples to provide documents to claim their customery lands void,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

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

National police cannot act against Sunni declaration
The Anti-Shia National Alliance has called on the public to fight "the proliferation of Shia influence". They demanded that the governemnt ban Shia and revoke all licenses for foundations, organisation and institutions owned by Shiites
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 24: National police cannot act against the declaration that the teachings of Shiites be banned in Indonesia made by the Anti-Shia National Alliance at a mosque meeting in West Java on Sunday.
More than 1000 attended the meeting held at the Fajr Mosque in Bandung where Sunni clerics declared Shia heretical and said they would take violent measures to prevent the spread of Shia teachings.
Anti-Shia National Alliance Sunni clerics also called on the alliance not to vote for presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, saying that his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) had nominated a Shia leader as a legislative candidate.
Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said the national police required an evaluation from the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to determine whether the declaration promoted religious intolerance or not.
"This is not only about a call to use violence against Shiites", he said.
The police spokesman said that the Elections Monitoring Agency(Bawaslu) and the General Elections Commission (KPU) had the authority to evaluate election violation.
The police spokesman said that should the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) determine election violation and take the case to the National Police, "we will follow it up,” he said.
West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul said that the Anti-Shia National Alliance meeting held at the Fajr Mosque was reportedly conducted without a police permit.
"A permit is not required for religious events" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Investigations into forest clearing underway
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, April 23: Military police in Cambodia's Santuk district are under investigation for allegedly clearing up to seven hectares of community forest land.
Kraya commune villagers have filed a complaint with Santuk district officials, the provincial hall and forestry authorities against deputy district military police chief Hor Dina for allegedly clearing their land.
Santuk district governor Pich Sothea said that forestry are investigating the allegations and preparing to present the evidence at the provincial court next weeek.
"The investigators will find out how he got the land, how many hectres of land he cleared and to what extent he has breached the law", he said.
The district governor says that the accused police chief was known to have encroached on community forest land since 2012.
"He had undertaken logging activities and planted crops on the cleared forest land", he said.
National Resources Protection Group director Chut Wutty, 39, was shot dead while showing two reporters alleged illegal logging in Veal Bei in Cambodia’s south-western Koh Kong province’s Mondul Seima district in April 2012.
The environmentalist was shot when he refused to hand over a memory card containing photos taken in the protected forest notorious for illegal logging.
The environmentalist had taken two reporters, Cambodian, Phorn Bopha and Canadian, Olesia Plokhii, to see forest destruction and rosewood smuggling.
Cambodian military spokeman, Kheng Tito, reportedly said that Chut Wutty had been shot with an AK-47 assault rifle by a Cambodian military policeman, Ratana, 31, who had attempted to stop the environmentalist and the reporters from entering the forest where a Chinese company was building a hydropower dam.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian general says he did not apologise to Singapore
Indonesia's Armed Forces Commander, General Moeldoko said that he did not say he was sorry for naming the navy frigate after Indonesian marine sargeants, Usman Haji Mohamad Ali and Harun
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 22: Indonesia's Armed Forces Commander, General Moeldoko rejects the claim made by Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen that he has apologised for naming the navy frigate after Indonesian marine sargeants, Usman Haji Mohamad Ali and Harun, who in 1965 under the former Indonesian president Sukarno, Konfrontasi policy, set off a bomb in McDonald House in Singapore's Orchard Road.
Singapore banned the newly launched Indonesian frigate, the KRI Usman-Harun, from docking in Singapore and from taking part in joint exercises in February.
Singapore Defence Minister NG Eng Hen said that he welcomed the Indonesian armed forces commander's apology over the naming of a new frigate after the two Indonesian marines who were responsible for the death of three and injuries to 33 in the attack on Singapore, reports the Straits Times.
The Indonesian marines took part in the attack on Singapore during Indonesia's opposition to the British establishment of an independent Malaysia that included Singapore.
The marines were tried and executed in Singapore in 1968
Their bodies were returned to Indonesia where they were buried with full military honors at the National Heroes cemetary in Jakarta.
Indonesia's Armed Forces Commander, General Moeldoko, said it was incorrectly reported that he had made an apology over the naming of a navy frigate after two Indonesian marines behind a 1965 bombing in Singapore reports the Straits Times.
General Moeldoko said that reporters had incorrestly reported that he had made an apology over the naming of the frigate.
"There was no apology" he said.
Indonesian Armed Forces chief General Moeldoko, said in February that the decision to name the new frigate after the two marines was made in December 2012 and that the decision would not be changed, reports the Jakarta Post.
He said that the Indonesian marines, Usman Haji Mohamad Ali and Harun, were national heroes.
"I cannot accept them as terrorists" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


State funeral for Penang's tiger of Jelutong
The hearse carrying Karpal Singh, 74, stopped at the Penang High Court on the way to the Batu Gantong crematoriam in honor of the veteran lawyer
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur: April 21: A state funeral was held in Penang yesterday for veteran lawyer, Democratic Action Party (DAP) national chairman and Member of Parliament for Jelutong, where he earned the name "Tiger of Jelutong", Karpal Singh, 74, who was killed in a car accident on the road from Kuala Lumpur to Penang on Thursday.
Karpal Singh had been wheelchair bound since he was paralysed in a car accident in 2005.
Among those to pay their respects were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Lim and Chow, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, state Umno chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman, state deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk A. Thaiveegan, Penang state assembly speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang as well as numerous state leaders and Pakatan Rakyat members.
Penang Chief Minister and Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, said that an emergency state meeting had decided that the Penang flag would be flown at half-mast and that all party events nationwide would be rescheduled
“His casket will be draped with the Penang flag,” he said.
He said that all Democratic Action Party (DAP) offices will fly the flag at half-mast for a week to mourn the great loss.
Karpal Singh was found guilty of sedition as charged by Malaysia's High Court Justice Azman abdullah in February.
He was charged with violation of the Sedition Act 1948 for having allegedly said at his legal firm in Jalan Pudu Lama in Kuala Lumpur on February 6, 2009 that the removal of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Menteri Besar, or chief minister, by the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, could be questioned in a court of law.
Karpal Singh initiated a legal challenge on the decision made by the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, to swear 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 Malaysia's High court found that the Sultan’s powers could not be subject to judicial review, as Karpal Singh had argued; intent was irrelevant to a charge of sedition – and it was for the court’s to decide if an action was seditious.
The court also found that whether Karpal Singh had intended sedition or not the statement that he made questioned the authority of the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, and had caused tension between the ruler and his people.
The Southeast Asian Times

Military court wants prison for illegal logger
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 20: Military prosecutors in the trial of chief sgt. Sudikdo, charged with illegal logging, at the Padang military court in West Sumatra are demanding a 10 year prison sentence.
Military prosecutor, Lt. Col. I Komang Suciawan said that chief sgt. Sudikno had violated the 1999 Law on Forestry and the Criminal Code and faces a maximum 10 year prison sentence and a Rp 5 billion (US$437,000) fine.
Chief sgt. Sudikno was arrested on March 3 for illegal logging in the 715,000 hectre Giam Siak Kecil biosphere reserve area in Bengkalis, Riau.
TNI Military Regional Command (Korem) 031 Wira Bima reportedly found 600 cubic meters of logs in Tasik Serai village believed to have been taken from the protected biosphere area.
Military investigator, Sgt. Maj. Sermardi said that Tasik Serai villagers told investgators that the logs were owned by chief sgt. Sudikdo.
He said that chain saws and heavy machinery was found in the biosphere reserve area.
The jakarta post reports that Chief Sgt. Sudikdo has denied the allegations saying that the logs were not his.
A bill passed in the House of Representatives in July last year gave the Indonesian government the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations. .
The bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres throught Indonesia from deforestation, gave the government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
Military personnel involvement in illegal logging confirmed by University-of-Indonesia research team, Centre for East Asia Cooperation Studies in 2010 found that there was military involvement in East Kalimantan where illegal logging was reportedly rampant between 1999 and 2006.
Military involvement ranged from coordinating tree felling to providing finance.
“The military’s involvement in this practice was structural and low-ranked soldiers to territorial commanders received a share,” said the centre’s executive director and senior researcher, Tirta Mursitama.
The Southeast Asian Times

PDI-P and NasDem align for presidential elections
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), presidential candidate, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, 52, and NasDem chairman Bang Surya Paloh, 63, formed an alliance on the grounds that 'the presidency is not theoretical'
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 19: Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), presidential candidate, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, 52, has formed an alliance with the NasDem party, clearing the way for the Jakarta mayor to contest the July 9 presedential election, reports the Jakarta Post.
NasDem chairman Bang Surya Paloh, 63, media tycoon and former Golkar party official, said that his party had agreed to align with the PDI-P because both parties shared a political platform when it came to the presidential system.
“Both the PDI-P and NasDem understand that a strong presidential system is required to run an effective administration", he said.
(PDI-P) presidential candidate Joko Widodo said that Bang Surya Paloh would not be running for vice president in the elections.
“I greatly admire Bang Surya Paloh for his unselfishness. He is not promoting himself for number two,” he said.
The NasDem Party gave support to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) following the parliamentary elections last week.
The Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) fell short of securing the 25 percent of votes required to nominate a candidate in its own right.
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) was reportedly the only party of the 12 parties nationwide seen as having a chance of achieving this result without forming a coalition.
PDI-I has almost 19 percent of the votes counted.
NasDem has secured almost 7 percent of the votes counted.
The official results of the legislative elections are not expected to be announced until 9 May.
The Southeast Asian Times

Military adopts new strategy to curb separatism
From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 18: Indonesian National Armed Forces or Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) have adopted a new strategy to deal with security threats in West Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
TNI commander Gen. Moeldoko said that while the military would pursue the alleged armed separatists who fled over the border into Papua New Guinea last week, it would use a new strategy to curb separatism.
"We have developed a cultural approach and will no longer use the security approach:, he said.
He said that the military has told its officers to do whatever they can to 'win West Papuans hearts and minds', reports the Jakarta Post.
The Jakarta Post reports that the (TNI) is working with police to find the about 40 Free Papua Movement (OPM) members who allegedly fired on a watch tower at an Indonesian military post in Wutung and fled over the West Papua border into Papua New Guinea.
An Indonesian soldlier was injured during the exchange of gunfire beween police and alleged Free Papua Movement (OPM) members on the border military post.
The separatists set a billboard on fire and took down the Indonesian flag and raised the Free Papua Movement (OPM) separatist Morning Star flag, reports the Jakarta Post. Cenderawasih military command Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua, who is in command of the Indonesian National Armed Forces or Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) operations in Papua New Guinea and West Papua province said that the Papua New Guinea Government should act against armed civilians who hid in Papua after threatening security in West Papua.
"Gangs of armed men often cross the border to Papua New Guinea after causing trouble in the West Papuan Indonesian frontier but we cannot pursue them beyond the border," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cosmetic surgeon charged with defiling a corpse
Cosmetic surgeon, Nguyen Manh Tuong, 41, on the Thanh Tri Bridge showing police where he threw his patients body into the Hong or Red River
From News Reports:
Hanoi, April 17: Cosmetic surgeon, Nguyen Manh Tuong, 41, who was arrested last October for the murder of his patient at his Hanoi surgery has been charged with 'defiling a corpse' and 'violating regulations related to medical treatment' reports Thanh Nien.
Le Thi Thanh Huyen, 39, died while undergoing breast implant surgery at the Cat Tuong Beauty Beauty salon in Hanoi's Ba Trung district last October.
Police have also charged alleged accomplice, security guard, Dao Quang Khanh, 18, who was also arrested last October for the murder of the patient, with "defiling a corpse and robbery".
Hanoi Health Department, chief inspector, Nguyen Viet Cuong said that the Cat Tuong Beauty Salon was not licensed to perform cosmetic surgery.
Nguyen Manh Tuong has reportedly been suspended from the Bac Mai Hospital where he had worked since 2006 as an orthopaedic surgeon after graduating from the Hanoi Medical University in 1999.
Director of the Bac Mai Hospital, Do Doan Loi said that the hospital board management had been unaware that Nguyen Manh Tuong ran a private cosmetic surgery clinic outside his hospital duties
"Nguyen Manh Tuong was not specialised in cosmetic surgery", said the director of the Bac Mai Hospital.
Nguyen Manh Tuong, charged VND30 to 60 million (US$1,442 to US$2,845) for surgery performed at the Cat Tuong Beauty Salon.
Police chief of the Hanoi Criminal Investigation Department, Colonel Giap Van Duong, said at a press conference that three nurses were in attendance when the patient was anesthetized prior to surgery.
"The patient had difficulty breathing after Nguyen Manh Tuong had completed the breast implant surgery, said police chief, Colonel Giap Van Duong.
Three nurses were in attendence when Nguyen Manh Tuong was injected with unidentified medication.
"Nguyen Manh Tuong gave his patient oxygen and other emergency treatment but failed to save his patients life, "said the police chief.
The cosmetic surgeon allegedly instructed his employee, security guard, Dao Quang Khanh, to dispose of his patients motorbike and personal belongings in an effort to conceal the death of his patient.
Nguyen Manh Tuong and Dao Quang Khanh then attempted to dispose of the patients body.
The womans body was reportedly transported in the vehicle belonging to the cosmetic surgeon to the Thanh Tri Bridge where the duo allegedly threw her body into the Hong or Red River.
The Southeast Asian Times


Young Sydney woman Reme Sakr risked her life to travel to war-torn Syria in an attempt to convince her father to return to Australia. Chris Ray charts her journey...open page here

 

Australian reporter Chris Ray reports from Damascus on the looting of precious artifacts and in turn the theft of Syrian cultural identity ...open page here



Australian reporter Chris Ray was in Damascus last week asking questions about two Australian Islamists who left Sydney to bring down the Syrian government....open page here



.MEDIA CHECK
A new regulation that will apply from Thursday, December 20 will make reporting easier for foreign journalists in Viet Nam...Open here

 

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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

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

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

Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.9284
Brunei..
1.1680
C
ambodia. 3,707.44
China..Yuan
5.7993
East Timor.
...0.9284
Euro..
0.6719
Hong Kong..
.7.1972
Indonesia rupiah
..10,806.14
Japan..
95.2123
Laos..7,470.34
Malaysia Ringgit....3.0349
Myanmar...894.987
Papua New Guinea
..2.5808
Philippines Peso..
41.4191
Singapore dollar..
.1.1679
Thailand...Baht..
30.0796
Viet
Nam
Dong..19,572.68

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

Cambodian public servants to be paid electronically
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, December 17:
Public servants from 39 Cambodian government ministries are to be paid via a newly established electronic banking system instead of by cash from next year.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy and Finance Chu Kim Leng
announced the new payroll system earlier this month.
"This is beginning of the end for cash payments in the government sector", said the secretary.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance signed an agreement with the ACLEDA Bank and The Canada Bank.
The Ministry also signed an agreement with WING, a company that allows clients to make and receive payments using a mobile phone.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that the government will deposit wages into the accounts of the participating banks or with WING from January .
Cambodia opposition National Rescue Party chief whip Son Chhay said that the government should make sure that those who receive wage payments are all legitimate government employees.
The Southeast Asian Times


Foreign donations barred from indonesian elections

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 3: Indonesia's general election supervisory agency (Bawaslu) says that political parties in next years general election are barred from accepting donations from foreign countries, reports the Antara News Agency.
West Sulawesi chapter of Bawaslu chairman, Busaran Riandy said that foreign funds are often used by political parties during campaigning.
"Foreign funds are funds given by foreign citizens, countries, governments and
companies. They also include funds from Indonesian companies in which a majority
of shares are held by foreign parties, foreign non-governmental organizations
and foreign mass organizations," he said.
Campaign funds received must be reported and submitted for an audit by public accountants in next years elections, reports the Antara News Agency.
The Southeast Asian Times


National budget
to pay for reconstruction after typhoon
From News Reports:
Manila, November 16: The
proposal to take monies out of the P2.26 trillion 2014 national budget to establish a multibillion-peso rehabilitation fund for the areas destroyed by Typhoon “Yolanda” will be included in a Senate committee report on Monday.
“The unfavorable business environment in the areas affected by the destruction wrought by the typoon will arrest revenue collection, says senate president Pro Tempore , Ralph Recto.
Senate President, Franklin Drilon, said that the proposed
rehabilitation funds should also go towards the reconstruction of Bohol that was devastated by an earthquake last month and to the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City that was attacked by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in September.
The committee report on the 2014 national budget taht is to be submitted on Monday is expected to contain amendments to include the establishment of a rehabilitation fund.
The Southeast Asian Times