The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
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

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

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West Papuan church leaders want
President of Indonesia to cancel visit
Human rights activists hold a candle light vigil in Jakarta calling on President Joko Widodo to bring those responsible for the fatal shooting of five including four children allegedly by Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI) military in Paniai West Papua earlier this month to justice
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 23: The planned visit by President Joko Widodo to West Papua to celebrate Christmas has been met with calls from West Papuan church leaders for cancellation of the visit.
The Jakarta Post reports that the unidentified church leaders want the visit cancelled in protest of the shooting by alleged Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI) military into a crowd gathered on a field in Madi district, Paniai regency, West Papua, leaving five dead and 22 injured, saying they are disappointed with the government's slow response to the shooting on December 8.
Papua police chief Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende said in Jayapura after the shooting that officers from National Police headquarters, Indonesia Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (Inafis) and the Semarang forensic laboratory would conduct an investigation into the fatal shootings.
“If police officers are found guilty, they will be punished,” said the police chief.
President Joko Widodo said that the investigation will include findings from an independent investigation including from the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and a West Papuan synod.
National Christmas Celebration organizing committee head Yohana Susana Yembise said that the plan to visit West Papua that includes a speech in Jayapura on December 27 will go ahead as scheduled.
Rejections to Jokowi’s visit came from a small group of people", she said.
She said that President Joko Widodo wants to sit with West Papuan's to discuss their welfare
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said local police and military personnel would ensure security during the President's visit.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore property developer withdraws from Phnom Penh development
Cambodians throw eggs at a poster of Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and Cambodia Chamber of Commerce chairman and chairman of Shukaku Incorporated, Senator Lao Meng Khinat, at the Singapore embassy in Phom Penh in August in protest of the eviction and demolition of homes in Boeung Kak lake central Phnom Penh to make way for a proposed $14.9 million real estate development to be carried out by a Singapore company
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, December 22: Singapore property developer HLH Group limited has withdrawn from an agreement with Cambodian property developer Shukaku Incorporated to purchase land at Boeung Kak lake in central Phnom Penh where thousands of families were evicted in 2010 to make way for the development.
The development agteement worth $14.9 million that was struck in June between Singapore HLH Group limited new subsidiary, D’Lotus Development and Cambodian developer Shukaku Incorporated, owned by Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Cambodia Chamber of Commerce chairman, Senator Lao Meng Khin, was terminated last week.
Singapore HLH Group limited executive deputy chairman and chief executive Johnny Ong Bee Huat who said that the company required completion of "due diligence" process before the deal was finalised, posted a statement on the singapore stock exchange on 17 December saying, "the deal was off"
"The seller and the buyer have agreed and entered into a termination agreement on 16 December 2014 to terminate Sales and purchase Agreement (SPA) due to commercial reasons, strictly without liability or breach of either party", he said.
The June agreement was followed by a petition delivered to the Singapore Embassy in August, signed by Boeung Kak lake residents who had been evicted from the proposed development site.
The petition called on the embassy to pressure the Singapore listed HLH Group limited to halt dealings with the company until compensation had been paid to the more than 4000 families who were evicted and their homes demolished at Boeung Kak lake for the proposed development.
In Novemeber seven Boeung Kak lake activists, all women, were convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment in a court hearing on the day following their arrest while protesing the eviction of thousands of residents.
Police arrested a further four activists including a monk from Stung Meanchy Pagoda outside the court during a protest, calling for the women's release.
Five of the seven women were also activists in the so called "Boeung Kak 13" and were arrested in May 2012 at the site of thier former dwellings at Phnom Penh's Boueng Kak and sentenced to the Prey Sar prison for up to 30 months.
In September about 40 families who claim they were "forcibly relocated" from the Phnom Penh Boeung Kak Lake under World Bank funding for the development of the lake area, called on the bank not to approve further loans to the developers until they had received adequate compensation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Call for Indonesian and US government
to disclose 1965 massacre documents

From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 21: Historians have called on the Indonesian government to disclose documents related to the 1965 to 1966 massacre of Communists following the abortive coup of September 30, 1965 and that was blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI.
The Indonesian Military (TNI) allegedly killed thousands of suspected Communists in the months following the 1965 coup attempt.
An estimated 500,000 to one million Indonesians became victims of extra-judicial killings, with thousands imprisoned or forced into exile.
The massacre of Communists reportedly proved essential to the rise and 30 -year-rule of the Soeharto “New Order” government.
Historian JJ Rizal, says that the disclosure of the documents would give an alternative view to the "one-sided view endorsed by the government over the last four decades".
“Most information regarding the 1965 to 1966 mass killings came from the Indonesian Military (TNI)", he said.
The Indonesian Institute, executive director, Raja Juli Antoni, says that information kept by the goverment must be made available to the public in order to "clear one of the darkest moments in Indonesian history".
“The public, in particular the young generation, have a right to know what caused the mass killings,” he said.
US Senator Tom Udall has called on US authorities to declassify documents related to the 1965 to 1966 mass killings in Indonesia held in the US including information related to the abortive coup of September 30, 1965 that was used to justify the mass killing of alleged supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party.
Those killed in the aftermath of the coup included un-armed civilians, members of trade unions, intellectuals, teachers, ethnic Chinese, and those involved in the women’s movement.

The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian Buddhists call on government
to enact laws to stop monks from voting
A Buddhist monk casts his vote in Phnom Penh in last year's national election. Monks were banned from voting in the 2003 Cambodian elections but the decision was reversed for the 2008 elections
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh December 20: Buddhists have called on the Cambodian government to enact legslation to stop monks from participating in political activities including voting in Phnom Penh this week, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Great Supreme Patriarch Bour Kry of the Dhammayuttika sect and Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong of the Mohanikaya sect said that legislation to stop the participaion of monks in political activiies would help improve "the practice of Buddhism".
The call to put an end to Buddhist participation in political activities reiterates the ban on monks in demonstrations issued by the monastic leadership that has been in effect since their participation in street protests last year.
Great Supreme Patriarch Bour Kry reportedly said that Monks should strengthen their roles in building, educating and training their spirit, and respect morality, virtue, knowledge and good manners in the society.
“I would like to ask the institutions concerned, including the National Assembly, Senate and the government, as well as the political parties, to define appropriate procedures to let monks be independent, and to skirt voting and activities supporting or opposing political parties,” he said.
Phnom Penh monk, the venerable Khim Sorn said he was in support of the Buddhish clergy remaining neutral as in Thailand.
"Monks in Thailand are not allowed to vote", he said.
Founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, the venerable But Buntenh who is not in support of legislation to stop Buddhist participation in political activities said that a ban on monks participation in voting will be a step backwards for democracy.
"The ban on monks particpating in political activities would create a gap between Buddhism and society", he said.
Lawyer for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and head of the parliamentary commission on religious affairs, Yem Ponhearith, said that the right to vote should extend to every citizen.
"Singling out monks was unfair", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Murder of civil rights lawyer to be assessed as crime against humanity
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 19: National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has established its own legal team to assess whether the assassination of civil rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib in 2004 can be classified as a crime against humanity.
The legal team that includes National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Roichatul Aswidah, Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) chairman Choirul Anam, lawyer Lamria Siagian and Hendardi, a member of the defunct fact-finding team for the Munir case, will review court documents and collect information including from witnesses.
Hendardi said that the newly established legal team will recommend that National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) carry out a pro-justicia investigation into the assassination of the civil rights lawyer, “should the team be able to prove that the murder met all the criteria for a crime against humanity"
The establishment of the legal team follows the release on parol of former Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyantofrom the Bandung Sukamiskin Penitentiary earlier this month after serving six years of a 14 year sentence for the murder of civil rights lawyer Muni Said Thalib, 39, who died of suspected arsenic poisoning aboard a Garuda flight while travelling to Amsterdam via Singapore on September 7, 2004.
The Supreme Court judges found Garuda Indonesia pilot and probable intelligence agent Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison in 2008, later reduced to 14 years.
In January 2009, three judges of Indonesia’s Supreme Court sent Rohainil Aini, the secretary to Garuda’s former chief pilot, to jail for one year for her part in the conspiracy to murder the lawyer.
Judges of the Central Jakarta District Court also determined that Garuda’s former president-director Indra Setiawan and the aircraft’s captain, Pantun Matondang, had been negligent in not marking an emergency landing when the lawyer required medical attention.
Abdulah Mahmud Hendropriyono who was Indonesia's intelligence service director has never been charged.
Calls from the Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (Kasum) , Amnesty international and the United States government were made in September for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to bring the "real killers" to justice for the death of civil rights lawyer before he left office in October.
Widow of civil rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib launched a public petition in Malang, east Java, to ask President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to bring her husband’s killers to justice.
The Southeast Asian Times

Arrrest warrant served on US marine in Philippines
From News Reports:
Manila, December, 17: US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton was served with an arrest warrant for his alleged involvment in the murder of transgender Jennifer Laude in October, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The warrant, issued by Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 Judge Roline Ginez Jabalde, released a 23 page resolution stating that the prosecution has found probable cause to indict the US marine of murder, a non bailable offence.
The resolution stated that the panel has found “aggravating circumstances” to indict US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton, which include “treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty.”
The transgender Filipino, Jennifer Laude, was found dead on October 11 in a hotel toilet in Olongapo City, north of Manila and outside a former US military base.
US Private First Class Joseph Scott
US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton was serving in the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that includes the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that gives the United States defence forces access to the Philippines but does not include the establishment of permanent US bases in the Philippines when he was named a suspect in the murder of transgender Jennifer Laude in October
Pemberton was named a suspect but failed to attend a preliminary investigation in Olongapo City in the days following the alleged murder.
He remains in detention in joint Philippine and US custody at a U.S facility at Philippine army headquarters in Manila.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the Philippines were required to obtain custody of the US marine in order to comply with the warrant issued by the Olongapo court.
“Right now, he’s under joint custody" she said.
Lawyer, for the accused, Rowena Garcia-Flores, said in October that the murder charge should be reduced to homicide or killing without intent.
The Southeast Asian Times

Sydney siege ends with death of gunman and two hostages
Man Haron Monis, 50, protests Australia's involvement in Afghanistan. He was found guilty of sending letters deemed offensive to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
From News Reports:
Sydney December 17: Two hostages and gunman Man Haron Monis, 50, were killed in an exchange of gunshots beween the gunman and Australian police in the early hours of Tuesday morning in central Sydney, bringing the 16 hour siege of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe to an end.
Lawyer, Katrina Dawson, 38, and Lindt coffee shop manager, Tori Johnson, 34, reportedly shot in the crossfire, were among five of the 17 hostages still held hostage on Tuesday.
Gunman Man Haron Monis, lay siege to the Martin Place coffee shop
with a shot gun on Monday morning, 12 hostages escaped during the day.
Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson who were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, were shot in the gunfire as armed Australian police stormed the coffee shop at about 2.00am on Tuesday morning.
Man Haron Monis, reportedly a self proclaimed Muslim cleric, was also pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
The Iranian refugee identified with the Islamic flag that he forced his hostages to display at the window of the coffee shop.
Three of the five hostages who fled the coffee shop during the exchange of fire were treated in hospital with injuries from gunshot wounds.
The Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place is located in the centre of Sydney's legal precinct, metres from the High court where on Friday Man Haron Monis was refused an application to overturn a conviction against him.
The High Court had reportedly refused to hear a constitution challenge to his conviction for sending harrasing letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Monis claimed the letters were his version of a "condolence card" and sought to persuade the families to oppose Australia's military involvement in Afghanistan.
Man Haron Monis was charged in November 2013 as an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of his former wife Noleen Hayson Pal and was on bail at the time of the siege in central Sydney.
Man Haron Monis was also charged with 40 indecent and sexual assault charges earlier this year.
The Southeast Asian Times

Gunman identified with islamic flag holds hostages in Sydney coffee shop
Television footage taken of two of the up to thirty hostages at a coffee shop window in Martin place, Sydney
From News Reports:
Sydney, December 16: The Australian government has recommended that the Thai Consulate General in Sydney suspend services following the taking of hostages by a gunman identified with a flag embolden with the Shahada or islamic declartion of faith, yesterday morning in a central Sydney coffee shop.
Thai Consul General in Sydney, Teerathep Promvongsanon said that the Australian government had asked local and foreign government offces, including business in the vicinity of the coffee shop located in Martin Place to close for the day for safety reasons.
The Thai Consulate General in Sydney also issued a warning to the about 20,000 Thais in Sydney to avoid the area.
"Thai's in Sydney should follow instructions given by local government officials and authorities", he said
The public was told to stay away from Martin Place, home to the state premier's office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the headquarters of two of the nation's largest banks and the state parliament house a few blocks away.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the holding of the up to thirty hostages was "a very disturbing incident".
"It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation. " he said
The Southeast Asian Times

Attorney General inspects prison Island for possible execution location
HM Prasetyo who was appointed Attorney General last month said that although the decision for the execution of five death row prisoners had been made his office was required to coordinate the time, place and technical maters of the execution with various agencies including the police
From News Reports:
Jakarta December 15: Attorney General HM Prasetyo says that Nusakambangan prison Island off Penyu Bay in Cilacap two kilometers from mainland Central Java, is a suitable facility to carry out the execution of five death row prisoners, ordered by Indonesian president Joko Widodo to take place by the end of the year.
The Attorney General who inspected the Island with Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly on Friday said that two of the death row prisoners were incarcerated on the Island, one was in Tangerang and two were in Batam in the Riau Islands
“We’re looking for a secure place and Nusakambangan seems to be secure,” said the Attorney General.
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly said that the Law and Human Rights Ministry is coordinating with Attorney General.
"The execution of the five on death row was just a matter of time", he said.
Nusakambangan prison Island accommodates about 1,500 high profile inmates serving over five year sentences, including terror convict Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, who is serving 15 years in the prison, 50 prisoners are on death row.
Prisoners executed on Nusakambangan prison Island include the three Bali bombers of Amrozi, Ali Gufron (Mukhlas) and Imam Samudra, who faced a firing squad in 2008.
The inspection of Nusakambangan prison Island for its suitability for the executions of death row prisoners follows the call by the House of Representatives Commission 111 last month for the president to either give clemency or execute prisoners on death row in order to reduce the number of prisoners in Indonesia's overcrowded prisons.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo ordered the execution of five death-row prisoners to be carried out by the end of the month with 20 more to follow in the new year in order to address Indonesia's overcrowded prisons earlier this month.
The Southeast Asian Times

China's historical maritime map not recognised by International Law of the Sea
From News Reports:
Darwin, December 14: A report prepared by the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs, the Limits in the Seas Study, released by the US Department of State, claims that almost all islands in China's southern waters as shown on Chinese maritime maps do not comply with the International Law of the Sea.
The Limits in the Seas Study reportedly considered the Chinese maritime maps from the view that China had not clarified through legislation, proclamation or other official statement the legal basis for the map.
The Chinese government assertion of indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters lodged with the UN in 2009 was subsequently disputed by Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines in an appeal to the rule of International Law and Arbitration.
The UN convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS) requires that the China claim to any islands meet the terms in the UN Convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS) including the naming of a territorial sea, a contiguous zone, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or a continental shelf.
The UN Convention reportedly requirers that all maritime boundary lines be negotiated with neighbouring states.
"One country may not unilaterally establish a maritime boundary", the report states.
The report also states that the International law of the sea does not permit historical claims to override geographic boundaries, saying that the UN Convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS) was designed to bring "clarity and uniformity to maritime disputes between neighboring states."
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian workers threaten strike if demands for pay rise not met
Thousands of Indonesian workers threatened to strike if their demands for an increase in the monthly minimum wage is not met, saying that the cost of living has gone up
From News Reports:
Jakarta, December 12: Thousands of workers demanded an increase in the minimum wage at a two day rally in central Jakarta on Wednesday and in Banten on Thursday, threatening a nationwide strike if the government fails to meet their demands, reports the Jakarta Post.
Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FSPMI) spokesman Rusli said that workers including members of the Indonesian Workers Union Confederation (KSPI), and National Workers Union (SPN) demand a rise in the minimum wage.
"We will see how the government responds to our demands", he said ahead of the rally in central Jakarta on Wednesday.
Workers in their thousands rallied again outside the Lebak district legislative council (DPRD) in Banten province on Thursday demanding that the Lebak district government increase the minimum wage.
Confederation of All-Indonesia Labor Unions (KSPSI) Banten regional executive board chief, Agus Jaya said that the Lebak district government must raise the minimum wage in order to improve the standard of living.
"The current minimum wage of Rp1.7 million is not enough to meet the cost of living for a family with two children", he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that the Lebak district workers seek to have the minimum wage raised to RP2.7 million per month.
The Southeast Asian Times

Investigation into Soeharto field shooting in West Papua underway
West Papuans protest at the Hotel Indonesia in Central Jakarta over the shooting into a crowd by security forces in Enarotali, West Papua on Monday
From News Reports:
Jakarta December 12: An investigation into the alleged shooting by Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI) into a crowd gathered on "Soeharto field" in Madi district, Paniai regency, west Papua, leaving five dead and 22 injured on Monday is underway.
Papua police chief Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende said in Jayapura on Tuesday that officers from National Police headquarters, Indonesia Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (Inafis) and the Semarang forensic laboratory will join the investigation team.
“If police officers are found guilty, they will be punished,” said the police chief.
Paniai Customary Council head John Gobay said that the crowd was fired on while performing a tribal dance after setting fire to a SUV believed to have been used by "perpetrators who assaulted residents gathered at a Christmas event in Ipakiye village in East Paniai the previous evening" .
He said that the occupants of the vehicle sped without headlights towards the local church where children gathered for the Christmas event.
The vehicle reportedly sped towards the Uwibutu 753 Special Team military command post following an argument at the church and returned with recruits who allegedly assaulted the children about 12 years old.
The residents had set the SUV vehicle on fire when police reportedly arrived at the field known as the" Soeharto field" mid morning to disperse the crowd.
The police allegedly fired when the crowd continued dancing, shooting Habakuk Degei, Neles Gobai, Bertus Gobai and Apinus Gobai dead. Saday Yeimo, died of a gunshot wound to the stomack at the Madi Hospital later in the day. 22 are recovering from gunshot injuries at the hospital.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police arrest football fans in attack on Vietnamese
Malaysian supporters lit flares following the semi-finals at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 between Malaysia and Vietnam in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday and where Malaysian football fans allegedly attacked Vietnamese football fans. Malaysia lost 1-2
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, December 11: Police arrested five of 12 Malaysian football fans allegedly involved in an attack on visiting Vietnamese football fans in the first leg of the semi-finals 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup held at the Shah Alam Stadium outside Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Malaysia lost 1-2.
The Malaysians were arrested days ahead of the second leg of the semifinal to be held between Malaysia and Vietnam in Hanoi today.
The result of today's match will decide the team that will play in the final game of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
Selangor CID chief SAC Datuk Mohd Adnan Abdullah said that the investigation into the alleged attack by the Malaysian football supporters on the Vietnamese in which several fans were injured was conducted under Section 147 of the Penal Code for rioting.
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Secretary General General Azzuddin Ahmad reportedly demanded that the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) explain its failure to prevent the attack by the Malaysian fans on the visiting Vietnamese.
"Definitely, it is troubling. Other countries are also hosting the tournament but there is no violence," said the Federation Secretary General.
The Federation has reportedly given the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) until next Monday to respond, saying that the association could be fined or forced to play without spectators, depriving the association of gate revenue.
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) reportedly fined the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) $10,000 over the unruly behaviour of Malaysian fans at a football match between Malaysia and the Philippines in Cebu in March.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) website was reportedly hacked and defaced with Vietnamese-language messages following the attack on Sunday. The website has since been shut down, displaying an “Under Maintenance” notice.

The Southeast Asian Times

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

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

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

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

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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic 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

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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
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

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