The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Saturday, 1 August 2015
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House
From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a senior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

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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KPK gives go ahead for completion of corruption ridden National Sports Centre
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 1: The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has given the go ahead to resume construction of the National Sports Development, Education and Training Center (P3SON) outside Jakarta, the venue for the Southeast Asian Games in 2011, reports the Jakarta Post.
Youth and Sports Minister, Imam Nachrawi, said that he had been notified by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that the project that is about 80 percent complete could resume.
"The development and maintenance of the 33-hectare sports complex would be funded by the private sector", he said.
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) wants to examine all legal documents related to the completion of the sports centre.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) reportedly halted the construction of the National Sports Development, Education and Training Center (P3SON) in 2013 following an investigation that found that about Rp 2.5 trillion (US$208 million) of government funds had been embezzled.
Former Indonesia Sports Minister, Andi Mallarangeng, an advisor to former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party and his former spokesman, who was the first to be charged, resigned in December 2012 after the Corruption Eradication Commission named him a suspect in the embezzlement of an estimated US$25.4 million from about $261 million government finds used to build the National sports complex in the outskirts of Jakarta over two years.
The former Sports minister was sentenced to four years imprisonment and a fine in July 2014 for accepting bribes of Rp 4 billion and (US$550,000) from contractors.
Subcontractor, Machfud Suroso, the president director of Dutasari Citralaras is the latest to be convicted in the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) court for accepting Rp 63.3 billion in bribes.
Machfud Suroso was sentenced to six years imprisonment in April. The company was awarded a contract by state-owned construction companies Adhi Karya and Wijaya Karya.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia arrests 51 illegal Vietnamese workers, keeping up weekly arrest average
Vietnamese working illegally on a construction site in Phnom Penh were detained by the Cambodian Department of Immigration Investigation on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 31: The Cambodian Department of Immigration detained a further 51 Vietnamese working illegally on a construction site in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, keeping the arrest of Vietnamese at about 50 a week since the beginning of the year, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodia Department of Immigration Investigation Department, head, Uk Hai Seila, said that the Vietnamese construction workers, 36 males and 15 females were checked for documents and arrested at the “Borie Angkor Phnom Penh” construction site in Sen Sok district.
He said that a letter of warning about the employment of illegal migrants had been sent to the construction company that had employed the Vietnamese.
"If illegal workers are discovered for a second time the company will be fined and face charges in court,” he said.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that about 1,500 illegal Vietnamese immigrants have been deported since the beginning of the year with more than two hundred deported in June.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that most Vietnamese did not have documents, others had suspected "fake tourist visas" and those with legitimate visas did not have documents that allowed them to work in Cambodia.
Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc) spokesman, Ny Chakrya, said the association "welcomd the Department of Immigration efforts including the introduction of special immigration police units to detain illegal immigrants".
He said that the Department of Immigration efforts should focos on border checkpoints rather than on employers such as the construction company.
"Most employers do not know that they have employed illegal immigrants because they do not have the authority to check documents", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Members of Malaysian Parliament show no confidence in Prime Minister
Signatories of intent to move a vote of no confidence against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak include Members of Parliament from the People's Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) but did not include Members of Parliment from the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS)
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, 29 July: A statement of intent to move a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was signed by Members of Parliament and opposition party members on Tuesday, reports the Star.
The vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister signed by 17 Members of Parliament included members of the People's Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) opposition parties.
The Members of Parliament called for the establishment of a transitional government and to appoint “an interim Prime Minister” to govern for a year before calling for a general election.
The vote of no confidence follows the announcement by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin and Regional Development Minister, Mohd Shafie Apdal had been removed in a cabinet reshuffle, believed to be for their public criticism of the government handling of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Star reports that the Attorney General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has "retired suddenly", saying that "the Attorney General was caught by surprise when he learnt that he was in ill health and hence retiring".
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police are investigating allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on July 2 that US$700mil (RM2.6bil) was transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The investigations have resulted in the closure of six bank accounts in Malaysia that are allegedly linked to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is reportedly Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board.
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has reportedly amassed RM42 billion in debts since its establishement six years ago.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak denies the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) allegations, saying that he will take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine legislators accused of unethical conduct for protest in House of Representatives
Makabayan opposition legislators protest the Aquino administration failure to address the basic needs of poor Filipinos in the House of Representatives where President Benigno Aquino III had delivered the sixth and his last State-of-the-Nation Address
From News Reports:
Manila, July 29: Makabayan opposition legislators are accused of unethical conduct for raising protest placards in the House of Representatives as President Benign Aquino III ended the sixth and his last State-of-the-Nation Address in Quezon city on Monday.
Seven opposition legislators lead by Senior Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna representative, Nery Colmenares, together with
representatives, Antonio Tinio, Terry Ridon, Fernando Hicap, Carlos Zarate, Luzviminda Ilagan and Emy De Jesus "staged a surprise protest", reports the Manila Bulletin.
President Benign Aquino III was about to receive "a standing ovation" at the end of his more than two hour State-of-the-Nation Address during which the President received 146 rounds of applause from the congress when the seven opposition legislators stood up with their placards.
The seven opposition legislators were reportedly seated in the rows fronting the presidential table where President Benign Aquino III, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. were seated in full view of the placards two of which read “Pork Barrel King” and “Mapang-aping Hacendero”.
The Manila Bulletin reports that police used vehicles and iron railings and water cannon to block about 4000 protesters from the grounds of the House of Representatives ahead of President Benigno Aquino III State-of-the-Nation Address. Protesters who reportedly hurled rocks and bottles at police expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the Aquino administration to address the basic needs of poor Filipinos.
Up to 12,000 protested in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, Bohol and Cebu .
In Cebu City, Associated Labor Union- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), spokesman, Art Barrit, said that "Economic growth has not trickled down to the masses as unemployment, poverty, contractualization, low wages, and lackluster social services persist,”
"The benefits of the country’s economic growth are monopolized by big capitalists as their wealth has ballooned in the last few years", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysian flagged fishing vessel with Vietnamese crew apprehended off Borneo
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has arrested a Malaysian flagged fishing vessel with a crew of 14 Vietnamese nationals on board off the northern cost of Borneo. The boat carried a variety of fish including lobsters, sea cucumber and shark
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 28: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) have apprehended a falsly registered Malaysian flagged fishing vessel with a crew of Vietnamese nationals on board in waters off the northern coast of Borneo, reports the Star.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) operations officer Lt Rody Bejie said that the fishing vessel apprehended in waters off Balambangan Island in northern Kudat in the state of Sabah with 14 Vietnamese crew onboard carried registration number SBF 46.
"Checks showed that the boat’s documents were forged", he said.
He said that registration number SBF 46 is the duplicate registration number of a fishing vessel working in waters off Kota Kinabalu off the western coast of Borneo.
“We believe that a syndicate is involved in duplicating fishing vessel registrations and forging documents", he said.
The Star reports that duplication of vessel registration is an offence under the Fisheries Act 1985 and the Immigration Act 1959.
The Southeast Asian Times

Protesters against passing of NGO bill arrested in Phnom Penh
Protesters against the passing of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) were arrested at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Sunday. The protesters were dressed in prison uniforms and leg chains.
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh 27 July: Six protesters were singled out for arrest from about one hundred who gathered outside the Phnom Penh National Assembly building on Sunday to protest the passing of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), reports Agence France Press.
Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman, Long Dimanche, confirmed the arrest of five men and a woman who were dressed in prison uniforms and leg chains, saying police detained the protesters because "their activities are inappropriate and against the law".
Licadho rights spokesman, Am Sam Ath, said that the six protesters were being questioned at a local police station.
"The six protesters were arrested for expressing their opinion on the Non Government Organisation Law", he said.
The Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), aimed at regulating the about 5,000 Non Government Organisations (NGO) in Cambodia, was passed by the National Assembly on Friday.
Under the new law all domestic and international Non Government Organisations (NGO) are required to register their organisation and to report their activities and finances to the government.
Failure to comply will reportedly result in fines, legal action and possible disbandment.
Non Government Organisations (NGO) will reportedly be disbanded if their activities "jeopardise peace, stability and public order or threaten national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of Cambodian society".
The Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations was passed 44 to 0 with opposition senators from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotting the vote.
The Southeast Asian Times

China accuses US of influence over jurisdiction decision
From News Reports:
Beijing, July 26: China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang has accused the United States of "designating" the direction of the decision, yet to be made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, to determine whether the court has jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the Philippines in 2013 against the China claim over the West Phillipine Sea, Rueters reports.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that ended a three day hearing on 10 July is expected to issue a ruling within 90 Days on whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the Philippine case against the China claim over the West Phillipine Sea .
"China's position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines remains unchanged", said
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang.
The Philippines has asked the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty, not exploitation rights.
United States Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel reportedly said in Washington that as both Beijing and Manila are signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), they are legally bound to abide by the the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang says the US acts like an "arbitrator outside the tribunal" in the attempt to push forward the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former KPK chairman asks President Widodo for pardon

Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar, second right, at a hearing at the Constitutional Court on 6 March 2014. The court granted his request to challenge a Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP) that would allow an appeal for clemency from the President
From News Reports:
Jakarta, July 25: Lawyer for former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Antasari Azhar, 62, has called on President Joko Widodo to pardon the former prosecutor found guilty of murder and sentenced by the South Jakarta District Court to an 18 year prison sentence in 2010, reports the Jakarta Post.
Lawyer for the former chairman, Maqdir Ismail, said that there was doubt over the approval of the clemency proposal.
"Antasari’s eligibility for an appeal for clemency from the President has expired according to the law", he said.
The former chairman submitted his proposal for clemancy to the Supreme Court in February almost five years after the Supreme Court sentenced him to prison.
The Jakarta Post reports that the existing rule allows a maximum of one year to submit a clemency proposal after the Supreme Court makes a conviction.
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Antasari Azhars found guilty for ordering the murder of State-owned pharmaceutical company Putra Rajawali Banjaran director, Nasruddin Zulkarnain, 45, who was assassinated near the Modernland golf course, Tangerang, on March 14, 2009.
The South-Jakarta-District Court judges, Herry Swantoro, Nugroho Setiadji and Ibnu Prasetyo, found in February 2010 the former corruption eradication commission chairman guilty of murder for his part in the drive-by shooting.
Prosecutor, Cirus Sinaga told the judges that the motive for the murder was an affair with the dead man's third wife, golf cady, Rhani Juliani, 22.
The prosecutor argued that the former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Antasari Azhars, had panicked when her husband threatened to expose him to the media and sought his execution.
Defence lawyers had argued that the prosecution had failed to provide a motive for the slaying but the presiding judge said the former chairman had been “proven clearly and convincingly to have instructed the premeditated murder.”
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Antasari Azhars has maintained his innocense.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai PM to intervene in hunger strike against construction of coal- fired power plant
About 100 Protect Andaman from Coal Network protesters refuse to stop their hunger strike against a proposed coal-fired power plant in Krabi, saying that the proposed power plant would bring disastrous effects to not only the local tourist industry but to tourism along the Andaman coast
From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 24: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is prepared to intervene to end a hunger strike by Protect Andaman from Coal Network against the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant and deep sea-port in Krabi Province, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Thai Prime Minister reportedly said that the government would enforce the law if the protest against the coal-fired power plant continued.
About one hundred protesters against the construction of a coal fired power plant in Krabi have been on a hunger strike in Bangkok since July 10.
Ban Thoung Prasan villagers in Nua Khlong district in Krabi province claim that they will be "hard hit" by pollution from the coal-fired power plant and port, saying that the power plant would bring disastrous effects to not only the local tourist industry but to tourism along the Andaman coast.
Energy Ministry permanent secretary Kurujit Nakhonthap said the ministry was unable to reach agreement to three demands made by the protesters.
The protesters are demanding that Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) cancell the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, saying that the selection of a construction company to build the power plant and deep sea-port before the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was properly assessed was illegal.
The protesters want further postponement of the bidding submissions for the construction of the power plant.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) postponed bidding for the construction of a coal-fired power plant and deep sea-port planned for Krabi province on Tuesday, saying bidding was delayed until August 8 because the bidding companies required more time to prepare proposals, reports the Bangkok Post.
The protesters also want the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to form a joint committee, saying that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was faulty because it did not involve proper public participation.
Southeast Asian Times

Singapore police freeze two bank accounts linked to Malaysian PM
From News Reports:
Singapore, 23 July: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) closed two Singapore bank accounts linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) on Wednesday on the authority of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), reports the Straits Times.
"On 15 July 2015, we issued orders under the Criminal Procedure Code to prohibit any dealings in respect of money in two bank accounts that are relevant to the investigation," Singapore police said in a statement.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) agreed earlier this month to assist Malaysia in its investigation into allegations that funds were transferred from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into the personal bank accounts of Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon said that "the Monetary Authority is looking into whether banks followed rules on properly identifying customers, the sources of their funds and on the reporting of suspicious transactions".
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police are investigating allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on July 2 that US$700mil (RM2.6bil) was transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The investigations have resulted in the closure of six bank accounts in Malaysia that are allegedly linked to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is reportedly Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board.
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has reportedly amassed RM42 billion in debts since its establishement six years ago.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak denies the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) allegations, saying that he will take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The Southeast Asian Times

Bidding for construction of coal-fired power plant in Krabi postponed

Akradej Chakjinda and Prasitchai Nu-nuan, from the Protect Andaman from Coal Network, have been on a hunger strike at the Tourism and Sports Ministry on Bangkok's Ratchadamnoen Nok Road since July 10 in protest at the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant in Krabi Province

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 22: The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) postponed bidding yesterday for the construction of a coal-fired power plant and deep sea-port planned for Krabi province, saying bidding was delayed until August 8 because the bidding companies required more time to prepare proposals, reports the Bangkok Post.
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) governor Sunchai Khamnunsaret said bidding was postponed because some bidders
wanted more time to prepare their paperwork.
"Not because of pressure from protesters", he said.
The postponement of the bidding follows the call by members of the Protect Andaman from Coal Network on Monday to stop the the bidding until an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant and port in Krabi is completed.
Ban Thoung Prasan villagers in Nua Khlong district in Krabi province claim that they will be "hard hit" by pollution from the coal-fired power plant and port, saying that the power plant would bring disastrous effects to not only the local tourist industry but to tourism along the Andaman coast.
Ban Thoung Prasan village head, Somsak Nobnorb, said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was faulty because it did not
involve proper public participation.
"Locals were excluded from three public hearings by a military presence", he said.
He said that the selection of a construction company to build the power plant and port before the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was completed was "ethically wrong and may be illegal".
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Bangkok police arrest alleged illegal Chinese tour guides
About 100 Thai tour guides in Pattaya last month, above, demanded that police arrest illegal foreign tour guides working in Chon Buri, saying that most foreign tour guides have fake tour guide badges and operate without fear of the law
From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 22: Police have arrested eight Chinese nationals working as illegal tour guides for up to 20 Chinese tourists in each "sightseeing" group in Bangkok without a Thai tour guide as required by law, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reportedly regulates that foreign tour companies provide a Thai tour guide to accompany foreign tour groups throughout their stay in Thailand.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) also regulates that foreign tour companies submit documents for the employment of foreign tour guides to the Tourism and Guide Regulation Office (TGRO).
The United Thai Guides group have called on the Pattaya police and the Pattaya mayor to enforce the law that stipulates that a foreign tour company employ a Thai tour guide saying that it is one of 39 occupations reserved by law for Thais.
Pattaya Tourist Police, Major Piyapong Ensan, said that police were arresting illegal foreign tour guides and checking job order documents.
"We've arrested seven illegal tour guides, mostly Chinese, since January, " he said.
The foreign tour company in Thailand is reportedly required to provide the Tourism and Guide Regulation Office (TGRO) with a list of tour guides in their employment.
The United Thai Guides group, Paisal Seuthanuwong, said that the group wants the regulations under the Tourism and Guide Registration Act and the immigration Act enforced in order to "drive the illegal foreign tour guides away".
"Illegal tour guides were no longer only Chinese but also Vietnamese and Russian", he said.
The United Thai Guides group argue that the illegal foreign tour guides lack knowledge of Thai culture and traditions.
The Southeast Asian Times


Real estate tycoon arrested on return to Phnom Penn after fleeing to Singapore
Former Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association head, Sok Bun, described as a "real estate tycoon" with a model of a planned development
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 20: Former head of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, Sok Bun, who fled Cambodia earlier this month for Singapore was arrested on his return to Phnom Penh, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The real estate tycoon took refuge in Singapore about a week after he allegedly attacked a local female TV personality at a Phnom Penh restuarant on July 2.
Chief of the Cambodia Ministry of Interior penal police department, Brigadier General Sok Khemarin, said that estate agent, Sok Bun was arrested on arrival at the Phnom Penh airport at 8.00am on Saturday.
He appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court before judge Leang Samnath who reportedly sent the estate agent to Prey Sar prison to await trial.
Sok Bun reportedly fled Cambodia for Singapore on July 8, the day after a video showing CCTV footage of Sok Bun knocking TV personality Ek Socheata, to the floor after a verbal confrontation.
The video reportedly showed the real estate tycoon beating and dragging the woman across the floor of the Higashiyama restaurant in Phnom Penh on July 2.
A gun was allegedly held to her head by a security guard hired by the estate agent.
Ek Socheata was allegedly beaten after she "intervened and thwarted" what she said were attempts by the estate agent to take advantage of a drunken female friend.
Sok Bun has reportedly twice offered compensation of $40,000 and $100,000 for injuries suffered in the attack including bruising and swelling to face and body but TV personality Ek Socheata has rejected both offers.
Cambodia Minister of Justice, Ang Vong Vathana, has reportedl urged prosecutors and the Singapore Ambassador to Cambodia to end the culture of impunity for the rich and powerful.
The Southeast Asian Times


Passing of Japan security bills meant to strengthen Japan-U.S. alliance
Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Joint Staff, in Washington said Japan has “big concerns” because the South China Sea, where China has conducted massive reclamation work, is “our important sea lane.”
From News Reports:
Tokyo, July 19: Chief of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Joint Staff, Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, said in Washington on Thursday, following the passing of two security bills by the Diet in Tokyo that the bills “are not meant to liberate Japan militarily but strengthen the Japan-United States alliance”, reports the Japan Times.
The security bills passed by a Lower House special committee on Wednesday allows the government to dispatch Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) abroad and to commission the private sector to provide logistic support to foreign military.
Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano said that the bills, yet to be passed in the Upper House, allow for Japan to come to the aid of the United States and other allies under armed attack even if Japan is not under attack.
Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington agreed to accelerate cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the U.S. military to strengthen the deterrence provided by the alliance.
The bills were passed despite the boycott of the main opposition, Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party on Tuesday of the Lower House special committee in protest of the proposed bill.
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

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Singapore properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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


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