The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Saturday, 30 May 2015
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

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


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West Papuans arrested ahead of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) membership
From News Reports:
Jayapura, May 30: The Jayapura Police arrested 47 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on Thursday a day ahead of a planned demonstration in support of the Papuan effort to secure membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
Jayapura Police deputy chief Comr., Albertus Andrian said the West Papuans were arrested at the Waena Expo Hall and the University of Cendrawasih campus in Waena and at Jayapur Imbi Park in Jayapura.
He said they were arrested because they had not received a permit for the planned demonstration.
“Their acts are against the state apparatuses,” he said.
Albertus said the police would charge the "ringleader" of the planned demonstration with violation of Article 160 of Criminal Code (KUHP) with incitment against the government which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison.
The 47 West Papuans had gathered to show support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULM), formed late last year by West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) to gain full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, an inter-governmental grouping of Melanesian states
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is expected to decide on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULM) bid for membership in July.
Indonesia has reportedly stepped up its lobbying of Melanesian states to prevent the proposal succeeding.
Indonesia's Security Minister, Djoko Suyanto reportedly said in October 2011 that West Papua will remain part of Indonesia with special autonomy its only option for those who want independence.
“Any party proclaiming a new state, a new cabinet, a new president, a new government must be dealt with according to the law,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Discovery of mass graves in Malaysia to be debated in Parliament
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 29: The discovery of mass graves and abandoned camps last week on the Malaysian side of the Thai Malaysian border 420 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur will be debated in the House of Representatives of the Parliament, reports the New Straits Times.
VAT69 and General Operations Force (GOF) officers found 139 graves each containing between three and four bodies believed to be Myanmar Rohyna Muslims and Bengladeshis in several small villages including Wang Kelian near the border town of Padang Besar in the state of Perlis.
About 17 camps reportedly abandoned by human traffickers were also found in villagers on the Malaysian side of the border.
The proposal to debate the discovery of the graves and abandoned camps was put by the Peoples Justice Party member for Alor Setar, Gooi Hsiou Leung, who said that "the Home Ministry has a duty to explain how the camps were operating without its knowledge."
"This is an urgent matter as it concerned the lives of hundreds that were lost and the security of the Malaysian border." he said.
Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Ismail Mohamed Said said that the proposal for the debate satisfies the requirements under the Parliamentary Standing Orders 18(1) which are specific issues of public interest and urgency.
Thai police found graves in early May believed to be those of Myanmar and Bangladesh illegal migrants at an abandoned human traffickers camp in southern Thailand about 300 meters north of the Malaysian border.
At least 30 graves were found in a "well set up" human trafficking camp at Ban Taloh in Padang Besar in Songkhla Sadao on the Thai side of the border.
Abdul Kalam, former president of the Rohingya Association of Thailand, Rohingya - Stateless Muslims from Rakhine, province on the southwest coast of Myanmar, said that there were at least 60 camps along he Thai-Malaysian border.
"About 150 to 800 illegal migrants are held in each camp", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian military expands its influence, report warns
Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Moeldoko reportedly said that the Indonesian Military (TNI) seeks to take on the "big brother" role in Asean in order to "promote regional order" in Southeast Asia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 28: The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) warned on Monday that the Indonesian military has "expanded its influence into the civilian sphere" over the the last two decades, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Institute said in its report that the Indonesian military has taken on more roles in civilian life during the two decades following the downfall of former president Suharto than it had during the Suharto 31 year rule.
The armed forces have expanded their influence in civilian life by signing agreements with ministries, allowing them to take on such tasks as
distributing fertiliser, guarding prisons and public and private infrastructure, the report said.
"The longer the military stay engaged in such activities, the greater their political clout and the harder it will be to extract them, especially given that they are effectively immune from prosecution under civil law," the report warned.
Indonesia Military (TNI) chief Gen. Moeldoko said earlier this month that two military personnel had been selected for positions at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The selection of military personnel for positions at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) follows a petition to the Supreme Court to amend the law that would allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to recruit Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel as investigators.
The Jakarta Post reported in February that a public opinion poll conducted by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) found that the public trust in the Indonesian Military (TNI) was at an all-time high.
The Jakarta Post reported in January that the Indonesian Defence Ministry and the US Defence Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at "enhancing the performance" of the Indonesian Military (TNI), Navy and Air Force.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) follows the establishment of a forum by the Indonesian Military (TNI) of armed force commanders in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Moeldoko reportedly said that the Indonesian Miliatary (TNI) seeks to take on the "big brother" role in Asean in order to "promote regional order" in Southeast Asia.
"Strong efforts need to be taken to establish cooperation between the TNI and its counterparts both in the ASEAN and the Asia Pacific region," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian Senates Estimates Committee told that Vietnamese asylum seekers were held at sea
From News Reports:
Canberra, May 27: Vietnamese asylum seekers, intercepted by the Australian Navy on March 20, were held at sea for a month before taken back to Vietnam, the Australian Senates Estimates Committee hearing was told on Monday.
Immigration Department secretary Michael Pezzullo and commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, Major General Andrew Bottrell told the Australian Senates Estimates Committee hearing that Australian navy ship the HMAS Choules transported 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers to the port city of Vung Tau in southern Vietnam on April 18 after holding the men women and children onboard for a month.
The Australian Government had refused to confirm reports in April that the Australian navy ship had returned the asylum seekers to Vietnam, saying that it could not comment on "operational matters".
Opposition Immigration spokesman Richard Marles said he believed Australia may have breached international law, saying that the opposition requires a government guarantee that the asylum seekers were individually assessed.
"We need to have confidence that the Government has not "refouled" genuine refugees against the obligations of the UN convention."
Immigration Department secretary Michael Pezzullo said that the Vietnamese were put through "enhanced screening" interviews that varied from 40 minutes to two hours in order to assess their claims for asylum.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for asssurances from the Vietnamese government that there would be no retribution against the 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers.
Major General Andrew Bottrell said in reply that the Vietnamese government had given an assurane that there would be “no retribution for their illegal departure from Vietnam”.
He said that the Australian government did not “track people” once they are returned.
Immigration Department secretary Michael Pezzullo explained the difference between "take backs and "turn backs", saying that there is a country-to-country engagement with "take backs" but no country-to-country engagement with "turn backs".
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar Navy rescues Bengalis
off the Rakhine coast
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Myanmar President Thein Sein at the Myanmar Presidential Palace on Friday to follow Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand who agreed last week to retract their decision to tow unseaworthy boats carrying thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bengalis out to sea
From News Reports:
Yangon, May 26: The Myanmar Navy rescued 208, Bengalis, from one of five boats off the Rakhine coast on Friday following threats to call an emergency meeting by chair of ASEAN, Malaysia, pressure from the US and the agreement last week between Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to allow thousands of Rohingya Muslim and Bangalis stranded on boats, ashore.
The Myanmar Navy seized five Thai-owned boats with about 2000 men women and children on board that had been held by alleged "human traffikers" for 40 days off the Rakhine coast.
Mynamar President office, director, Zaw Htay, said that all those rescued from the Thai-owned boats were Bangladeshi males.
"Medical care and food was provided at a temporary camp in Maungdaw, on the river Naf," he said.
Malaysia, chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) ten member countries, threatens to call an emergency meeting of ASEAN if Myanmar refuses to participate in talks at the sheduled May 29 meeting in Thailand on the the alleged exodus of "stateless Rohingya Muslims" from Myanmar.
US deputy secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who was in Myanmar on Friday urged the Myanmar government to address the “underlying causes” that have driven thousands of "Rohingya Muslims" to risk their lives at sea at the hands of human traffickers in a bid to reach Thailand and Malaysia.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand agreed, last week to allow thousands of "Rohingya Muslims" and "Bangladeshi" adrift in the Adaman sea, ashore following a meeting last Wednesday in Koa Kinabalu but that was not attended by Myanmar.
Myanmar Presidential official U Zaw Htay reportedly accused Thailand and Malaysia of shifting the blame for "the migrant problem" saying that it has its roots in Thailand and Malaysian human traffickers and corrupt officials exploiting migrant workers.
He said in response to the effort to persuade Myanmar to acknowledge the exodus of "stateless Rohingya Muslims" from Myanmar that Myanmar would not attend the May 29 meeting if “Rohingya” was named in the invitation.
"The Myanmar government officially refers to the “Rohingya” as Bengalis", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam National Assembly deliberates abolition of death penalty
From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 23: Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong presented legislators with proposed amendments to the Penal Code including the death penalty for seven crimes at the National Assembly in Hanoi last week, reports Tuoitre News.
Amendments to the Penal Code include the abolition of the death penalty for seven of twenty-nine crimes that carry the death penalty in Vietnam.
Crimes that carry the death penalty include murder, armed robbery, treason, drug trafficking, the sexual abuse of children, economic crimes and corruption including the embezzlment of state property.
The proposed abolition of the death penalty for seven crimes include the embezzlment of state property, the destruction of national security
facilities, treason, crimes against humanity, war crimes and drug trafficking.
Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong said that the proposed abolition of the death penalty "is reflected in recent resolutions on justice reform and the practice of criminal legislation".
The Minister said that the death penalty should be maintained for those convicted of corruption, saying that measures have been taken but they have yet to prove effective.
“We are uncompromising in our effort to combat crime", he said.
National Assembly Justice Committee, chairman, Nguyen Van Hien, said that the proposed amendment that would exempt those aged 70 or older from the death penalty was rejected by the Justice Committee.
The National Assembly Justice Committee will deliberate on the amendments to the Penal Code on May 28 and in a plenary
meeting on June 16.
The amendments will be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration in its next session in November.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai Resistance Citizen activists file lawsuit against Martial Law
Siriwit Serithiwat, one of four Resistant Citizen activists arrested in Bangkok on the first anniversay of the declaration of Martial Law
From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 23: Resistance Citizen activists arrested on Thursday under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that prohibits political gatherings of more than five, have filed a lawsuit against Military Commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha of the Council who is also the Prime Minister of Thailand, reports the Bangkok Post.
About four Resistance Citizen activists, protesting against Martial Law on Bangkok streets on the first anniversary of the 22 May coup when arrested, are in detention at the Phahon Yothin police station.
The lawsuit filed by about fifteen Resistance Citizen activists under the Penal Code Article 113, accuses Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and five other military administrators of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) of acts of violence or threats to commit an act of violence in order to overthrow or change the constitution, the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers.
Human Rights Lawyer lawyer, Arnon Numpa, says that the lawsuit was filed by the Resistance Citizen activists "with the aim of punishing the coup-makers."
Military Commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a televised announcement two days after the declaration of martial law on 22 May 2014 that Thai armed forces under the then National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOM) had 'seized power' from the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
"The army is taking control of the government to restore order and push through political reform", he said.
The military declared a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, suspended the constitution and ordered former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and 22 outgoing cabinet ministers to report to the military.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters in May 2014.
The Bangkok Post reported in May 2014 that the Royal Thai Army declared martial law on the grounds that ongoing protests between political rivals were a threat to Thailands security and to the safety of life and property.
Martial law reportedly gives the military authority to intervene during times of crises.
The Southeast Asian Times

First four asylum seekers held by Australia
accept resettlement in Cambodia

From News Reports:
Canberra, May 23: The first four of about 800 asylum seekers held by the Australia Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection at the Nauru detention centre in Papua New Guinea have accepted resettlement in Cambodia.
The asylum seekers, three Iranian's including a woman and a Rohingy from Myanmar, are the first to accept voluntary
resettlement under an agreement signed beween Cambodia Minister of the interior, Sar Kheng and Australian Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison in Phnom Penh in September.
Cambodia Interior Ministry, spokesman Gen Khieu Sopheak said that documents to facilitate the resettlement of the first four Nauru asylum seekers were signed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that Australian officials were working with Cambodian officials including the International Organization for Migration to provide the first four asylum seekers with accommodation, jobs, transport and
education.
He said that successfull resettlement of the first four asylum seekers "will see other asylum seekers held in Nauru follow to start a new life in Cambodia".
The Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton urged asylum seekers on Nauru last month to accept resettlement in Cambodia, saying that those who did not take up the initial offer that included a large cash payment could get less support.
Nauru accepted A$20 million in aid from the Australian Government in 2001 for the establishment of the Nauri detention centre in Papua New Guinea for up to 800 refugees in the Australian Government effort to circumvent the settlement of the asylum seekers in Australia.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia and Malaysia agree to
allow migrants ashore

Thailand Foreign Minister, Tanasak Patimapragorn, Malaysia Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman and Indonesia Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi agree to allow thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants ashore
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 22: Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed, with Thailand yet to agree, to allow thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants adrift in the Adaman sea, ashore, reports the Bangkok Post.
The agreement to provide humanitarian assistance to about 7,000 migrants stranded unseaworthy boats without fuel, food or water follows a meeting held in Kota Kinabalu on Wednesday.
Malaysia foreign minister Anifah Aman and Indonesia foreign minister Retno Marsudi said at a press conference following the Wednesday meeting that Malaysia and Indonesia offered temporary shelter to the Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants provided that the resettlement and repatriation will be complete wihin a year.
The meeting was attended by Malaysia foreign minister Anifah Aman, Indonesia foreign minister Retno Marsudi and Thai foreign minister Tanasak Patimapragorn but was not attended by a Myanmar counterpart.
Thai foreign minister Tanasak Patimapragorn has not yet agreed to allow Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants ashore, saying
that he must check with his government first.
The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand awaits the results of a Bangkok meeting scheduled on the May 29 and expected to be attended by Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar before it committs to an agreement with Malaysia and Indonesia.
Myanmar Presidential official U Zaw Htay reportedly accused Thailand and Malaysia of shifting the blame for "the migrant problem" saying that it has its roots in Thailand and Malaysian human traffickers and corrupt officials exploiting migrant workers.
He said in response to the effort to persuade Myanmar to acknowledge the exodus of "stateless Rohingya Muslims" from Myanmar that Myanmar would not attend the May 29 meeting if “Rohingya” was named in the invitation.
"The Myanmar government officially refers to the “Rohingya” as Bengalis", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Former Thai PM pleads not guilty on charges of alleged corruption on first day of trial
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, entre, told supporters ouside the Bangkok Supreme Court, where she is standing trial for dereliction of duty in the government rice subsidy programme, that she would prove her innocence
From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 21: Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged corruption in the national rice pledging programme on the first day of her trial on Tuesday, reports the Bangkok Post.
The former Prime Minister was ordered to stand trial by the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in March.
Public prosecutors charged the former Prime Minister with violating Article 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the 1999 Counter Corruption Act by committing nonfeasance and malfeasance while holding the post of Prime Minister for failing to stop alleged massive corruption in the rice pledging scheme.
The prosecution argue that "inaction" by the former Prime Minister allegedly caused Bt500 billion loss to the state.
The former Prime Minister faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Nine Judges of the Supreme Court in March examined the charges of alleged corruption and accepted the Attorney General indictment of the former Prime Minister with derelection of duty and abuse of authority, saying that charges of alleged corruption against the the former Prime Minister fall within the Supreme Court authority.
The former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied all charges made against her by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) who voted unanimously in May 2014 following the declaration of Martial Law that there was sufficient evidence to indict the ousted Prime Minister on charges of dereliction of duty in the national rice pledging programme.
Commander of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha warned the former Prime Minister in March not to leave Thailand following her request to travel to Hong Kong in order to visit her elder brother, fugitive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia threatens to call emergency ASEAN meeting over Myanmar migrants
From News Reports:
Yangon: May 20: Malaysia, chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) ten member countries, has threatened to call an emergency meeting of ASEAN if Myanmar refuses to participate in talks on the the alleged exodus of "stateless Rohingya Muslims" from Myanmar.
The Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Anifah Aman, said that Malaysia wants Myanmar to help find a solution to the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
“If necessary, we will call an emergency meeting of ASEAN ,” he said.
Thailand has reportedly invited Malaysia and Myanmar to attend a meeting in Bangkok on 29 May in order to find a solution to the "unprecedented increase of irregular migration” inluding its "root causes" in the countries of origin with reference to Myanmar and Bangladesh.
But Myanmar has reportedly not responded to calls for dialogue on the plight of thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants who are adrift in unseaworthy boats in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and the Malacca Straits without fuel, water or food, allegedly abandoned by "human traffikers"
Myanmar Presidential official U Zaw Htay accused Thailand and Malaysia of shifting the blame for a problem that has its roots in Thailand and Malaysian human traffickers and corrupt officials exploiting migrant workers, reports The Myanmar Times.
He said in response to the effort to persuade Myanmar to acknowledge the exodus of "stateless Rohingya Muslims" from Myanmar that Myanmar would not attend the meeting if “Rohingya” was named in the invitation.
"The Myanmar government officially refers to the “Rohingya” as Bengalis", he said.
He said that the member countries of ASEAN should deal with their own migration problems.
"Their guilt won't disappear by putting the blame on Myanmar", said the Myanmar president office director.
The Southeast Asian Times

Military personnel ready for deployment to KPK
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Taufiequrachman Ruki , centre, says that military personnel were welcome to apply for high-ranking positions at the antigraft body including agency director of investigation, director for internal supervision, head of legal and public relations division and prevention deputy head
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 19: The Indonesian Military (TNI) has selected two military personnel to take up the positions of secretary-general and internal supervisor at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) pending amendement to the recruitment law, reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia Military (TNI) chief Gen. Moeldoko said that the two military personnel selected for the position were brigadier generals and were qualified for the "strategic positions" at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
He said that one of the military personnel selected had managerial skills and the other was a senior officer in the Military Police.
The selection of military personnel for positions at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) follows a petition to the Supreme Court to amend the law that would allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to recruit Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel as investigators.
The Jakarta Post reports that Law No. 20/2002 on corruption eradication does not allow for the recruitment of Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel as investigators.
The Supreme Court amendment to the law would reportedly allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to recruit the Indonesian Military (TNI) or Indonesian citizens as investigators.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Taufiequrachman Ruki said that the two positions were open to the
public, academics, government ministers and the military, saying that the military were welcome to "apply for several high-ranking
positions at the antigraft body".
"Soldiers joining the commission, were required to quit the military", he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that the Commission relies on officers from the Indonesian National Police including former police officers who are employed at the Commission on a permanent basis reportedly making it "difficult to investigate corruption cases which involve the police".
The Southeast Asian Times

Southeast Asian foreign ministers to address plight of migrants adrift at sea
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 18: Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai foreign ministers are to meet in the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu
today to address the plight of thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants adrift in unseaworthy boats in the Malacca Straits without fuel, water or food , reports the New Straits Times.
Malaysia foreign minister Anifah Aman, Indonesia foreign minister Retno Marsudi and Thai foreign minister Tanasak Patimapragorn
have come under increasing international pressure for not allowing the boats carrying thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants to land on their shores.
More than 3,000 migrants were reportedly rescued from boats abandoned by "human traffickers" in the last week and were forced to swim ashore in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Malaysia turned away a boat reportedly "set adrift by human traffickers" with more than 500 Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi's on board on Wednesday after providing them with fuel and provisions but denies a “push back” policy'.
The boat was reportedly in waters off the coast of Malaysia on Langkawi Island when it was towed out to sea.
More than a thousand migrants were reportedly "dumped by human traffickers" in shallow waters on the resort island of Langkawi off the Malaysian Coast the previous week.
The Aceh provincial Search and Rescue team reported that about 600 Rohinya migrants from Myanmar landed on the Indonesian coast of Aceh in the last week.
Indonesian Search and Rescue teams reportedly rescued a boat drifting off the east coast of Aceh with 400 men, women and children from Myanmar and Bangladesh aboard the next day.
The migrants were reportedly told by the 'human traffickers' who had abandoned the boat to swim ashore.
Thai police found 30 graves believed to be those of Myanmar and Bangladesh illegal migrants at an abandoned "smugglers" camp in southern Thailand about 300 meters north of the Malaysian border earlier this month.
The graves were found in a "well set up" human trafficking camp at Ban Taloh in Padang Besar in Songkhla Sadao in Southern Thailand.
About 60 camps were found along the Thai-Malaysian with about 150 to 800 illegal migrants including Rohingya - stateless Muslims from Rakhine province on the southwest coast of Myanma.
The Southeast Asian Times

Investigation begins into Philippine shoe factory fire that claimed 72 lives
Philippine National Police (PNP) retrieve the bodies of workers who died in a fire at the Kentex Manufacturing Inc rubber shoe factory in Valenzuela City on Wednesday
From New Reports:
Manila, May 17: The Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection is conducting an investigation into the fire at a rubber shoe factory in Valenzuela City that claimed the lives of 72 of 104 factory workers on Wednesday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Bureau of Fire Protection regional director, Sr. Supt. Sergio Soriano Jr. said that fire officials will investigate the cause of the seven-hour fire that razed the building housing the Kentex Manufacturing Inc rubber shoe factory to the ground.
The fire that trapped scores of workers in the factory is beleived to have been caused by sparks from welding carried out near inflammable chemicals.
Bureau of Fire Protection regional diretor, Sr. Supt. Sergio Soriano Jr. said that workers were trapped because the fire that originated at the front door of the shoe factory spread rapidly.
"Workers on the second floor waved their hands, others jumped out the windows, " he said.
He said that investigators found workers gripping window grills in a futile attempt to get out.
"Others died embracing each other" he said.
He said that the investigation would inlude the number of fire exists in the factory
He also said that the City Fire Marshal and Fire Safety Enforcement Officers would be relieved of their duties "so that they will not be able to influence the investigation".
Part owner of the Kentex Manufacturing Inc rubber shoe factory, Veato Ang, said he was in his office at the factory when the fire started.
“The fire spread throughout the building in a matter of minutes, ,” he said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said that most of the bodies retrieved from the factory were unrecognisable.
"Reduced to skull and bones,” he said.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reporedly said that the owners of the Kentex Manufacturing Inc rubber shoe factory in Valenzuela City
violated labour laws and standards and had exploited their workers, describing the factory as a "death trap with sweatshop conditions and poor fire safety standards".

The Southeast Asian Times


The long history of persecution of Armenians in the Middle East is continuing apace, with jihadists trying to wipe out this Christian minority in Syria
Reports Chris Ray.....open page here


Land granted to Australian Aborigines under the Land Rights Act is up for grabbs by developers.
Aboriginal Land Rights activist, Dr William B Day urges former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon. Ian Viner, AO QC to act .........open page here


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

 

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

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




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

 

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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

Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7656
Brunei..
1.0315
C
ambodia. 3,128.15
China..Yuan
4.7447
East Timor.
...0.7656
Euro..
.0.6980
Hong
sKong..
.5.9335
Indonesia rupiah
..10,103.73
Japan..
94.7687
Laos...6,198.76
Malaysia Ringgit....2.7905
Myanmar...838.824
Papua New Guinea
..2.0826
Philippines Peso..
34.1231
Singapore dollar..
.1.0322
Thailand...Baht..
25.8364
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,670.12

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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