The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Friday 31 March 2017 
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, 2015: 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 se
nior 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

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Former fugitive Thai prime minister Thaksin servied with order to pay taxes
Officials from the Bangkok Bang Phlat Revenue Office have served fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with an order to pay taxes due from sale of Shin Corp shares in 2006
From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 31: Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been served with an order issued by the Thai Revenue Department to pay 17.6 billion baht in taxes from the sale of Shin Corp shares in 2006, reports the Bangkok Post.
Revenue Department spokesman, Noppadon Pattama, said that the former prime minister had thirty days to appeal the order for the payment of taxes.
"The shares were sold on the stock market and should incur taxes," he said.
The order for payment of taxes was posted on the front door of the residence of the former prime minister's wife, Khunying Potjaman, in Bangkok on Tuesday.
The residence in Bangkok is reportedly officially listed as the former fugitive prime minister Thaksin's address in the database of the Interior Ministry despite the couples divorce in 2008 after 32 years of marriage.
The Thai Revenue Department has decided against the pursuance of the taxes from the former prime minister's children, Panthongtae and Pinthongta Thaksin.
The Thaksin siblings stand accused of acting as proxies for their father in holding the Shin Corp shares in their names.
The shares were reportedly acquired from Ample Rich at a heavily discounted price and resold to Singapore's temasek through the Stock Exchange of Thailand at a substantial profit.
Ample Rich is a British Virgin Islands company founded by Thaksin.
In 2008 former fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was found guilty in absentia of curruption by the Supreme Court and sentenced to two years in jail.
He was found guilty for violating articles of the National Counter Corruption Commission law that forbids holders of public office and their spouses from entering into a contract with the State.
The charges resulted from his wife Pojaman Shinawatra purchase of State-owned prime land in Bangkok’s Thiam Ruam Mit Road in the Ratchadaphisek business district at an auction arranged by the Bank of Thailand's Finance Development Fund.
“Thaksin violated the article of the constitution dealing with a conflict of interest, as the prime minister and head of government, and was supposed to work for the benefit of the public,” the presiding judge said.
A warrant for the arrest of the former prime minister, who sought political asylum in Britain where he and his wife fled after jumping bail, was immediately issued with a warrant of arrest that was followed by the revocation of his diplomatic passport.
The Southeast Asian Times

Tmore-Leste casinos now legal
From News Reports:
Dili, March 30: The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment has legalised casinos in the Timor-Leste capital, Dili, ending police raids on illegal gambling, reports the Dili Weekly.
Second General Commander National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), Commissioner Faustino da Costa said police have ended their
raids on illegal gambling in Dili's casinos.
He said police ended the raids on casinos following discussions with the Public Ministry.
"The majority of casinos were now legally allowed to operate", he said.
He said that the government made the decision to legalise casinos in order to better control security and to generate revenue through taxes.
Timor-Leste Member of Parliament, Jacinta Abuc Cau Pereira, said that illegal gambling had thrived in Dili despite the government ban.
She said that she supported the government decision to legalis casinos but on the condition that regulations to prevent children from gambling be introduced.
"Gambling could ruin their future," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Prosecution says sentence against Singapore couple for starving their maid is inadequate
Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon are out on S$3,000 bail each pending an appeal by the prosecution against the sentence handed down by the State Courts in Singapore on Monday
From News Reports:
Singapore, March 29: Singapore Public Procecutors are to appeal the sentence handed down by the court to Singapore to husband and wife for starving their maid on the grounds that the sentence was inadequate, reports the Straits Times.
Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon were sentenced to prison and fined for starving thier Filipino maid for 15 months while in their employment by a Singapore Court on Monday.
Lim Choon Hong was jailed for three weeks and fined S$10,000 (US$7,200) while his wife Chong Sui Foon was sentenced to three months jail but not fined.
"I accept that you are remorseful and that you did not intentionally seek to starve your maid," Judge Low Wee Ping said.
Lawyer for the Singapore couple, Raymond Lye said his clients had no intention to cause harm.
"The more common cases of domestic helper abuse were of physical assault which are intentional offences," he said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Soo Tet who had sought a maximum jail term of 12 months for each of the accused said that the procecution will appeal the sentence.
He said that the prosecution is appealing the sentence on the grounds that both sentences imposed are "manifestly inadequate."
"It is sickening that the victim had been forced to endure inhumane treatment of such cruelty and duration in what must have been unspeakably hellish and an unbearable existence," the prosecutor told the court.
He said that the Filipino maid, Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, 40, was given two or three slices of plain white bread and one to two packets of instant noodles for breakfast, while for her second and last meal of the day she was given five or six slices of plain bread.
He told the court that the Filipino maid, who weighed 49kg when she was employed by the Singapore couple, had lost 20kg in a year.
The Filipino maid weighed 29kg when she was admitted to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in April 2014.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 12 months imprisonment and a S$10,000 fine.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnamese fishing boats caught in Indonesian waters
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 28: The Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Ministry has detained 13 Vietnamese-flagged fishing boats and 94 Vietnamese crew for alleged illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, reports Antara.
Fisheries and Maritime Resource Monitoring, Director General, Eko Djalmo Asmadi said that the fishery patrol ship Hiu Macan 01 detained 13 Vietnamese-flagged ships for alleged illegal fishing in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.
The Vietnamese fishing boats were excorted to the Pontianak Marine Resources and Fisheries (PSDKP) station in West Kalimantan for investigation last Wednesday.
The Indonesian Navy and Water Police under the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry has detained 16 Vietnamese fishing vessels and a total of 170 fishermen for alleged illegal fishing in Indonesian waters since the beginning of the year.
The Indonesian government released 27 Vietnamese fisherman earlier this month. The fishermen, from Vietnam's southern coastal provinces had been detained for up to a year for illegall fishing in Indonesian waters.
About 150 Vietnamese fishermen were reportedly in Indonesian custody in January and the numbers are expected to increase in the comming fishing season.
The Indonesian Navy and Water Police under the direction of the Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry arrested 1,110 Vietnamese fishermen, seizing 98 Vienamese fishing boats in the year 2016
The Indonesian Navy and Water Police reportedly shot at two Vietnamese fishing boats in October 2016, killing one crewman, injuring three of the thirteen on board.
On 17 August 2016 the Indonesian government reportedly sank 71 boats from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and China in celebration of Indonesia's Independence Day.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti claimed then that the Maritime and Fisheries Ministery see "a deterrent efect" in the sinking of the seized foreign fishing boats.
On Independence Day, 17 August, 2015 the Indonesian navy blasted 70 foreign fishing vessels out of Indonesian waters in celebration of 70 years of independence.
The sinking of the illegal fishing vessels is part of the government campaign driven by President Joko Widodo to stop illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
"Illegal fishing costs the country billions of dollars in lost revenue every year", said the president.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans surrender arms and pledge allegiance to Indonesia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 27: The Indonesian Army (TNI AD) released a statement on Friday saying that 150 Free Papua Movement (OPM) members agreed to lay down their arms, reports the Jakarta Post.
The statement said that the members of the West Papua separatist movement had ended their resistance to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia in a pledge of allegiance in a ceremony held last week.
The Indonesian Army (TNI AD) spokesman Col. Alfret Denny Tuejeh attributed the surrender of the separatist group members to the successful approach of Sinak district military commander (Danramil) First Lt. Yusuf Rumi.
"The Free Papua Movement (OPM) members agreed to leave the group and surrender their arms after they were guaranteed their safety", he said.
Commander (Danramil) First Lt. Yusuf Rumi reportedly promised the safe return of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) members to their homes in Kampung Weni and Kampung Rumagi in Mageabume.
The Free Papua Movement (OPM) members were also given a traditional Papuan house on their return to their home villlage.
In June 2016 the Free Papua Movement (OPM) supported the meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) held in London.
The parliamentarians claim that the 1969 'Act of Free Choice', which led to West Papua signing sovereignty to Indonesia was a "sham".
The Free Papua Movement (OPM) also support the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) that represents independence from Indonesia.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was admitted as an observer to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Honiara in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.
Indonesia was also admitted to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), an inter-governmental regional group of the South Pacific countries, but as a full member.
Indonesia has banned the West Papau independence Bintang Kejora or Morning Star separatist flag and the flags of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu and the New Caledonia Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front political party.
In December 2016 former West Papuan political prisoner pro-independence activists, Filep Semuel Karma, 57, called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum for independence for West Papua.
"The referendum would provide a fair mechanism for Papuans to decide for themselves whether they wanted to remain as part of the unitary state of Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) or wanted independence," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Central Java farmers vow to continue protest against pollution from cement plant
Central Java farmers have vowed to continue their protest at the Jakarta Presidential Palace against the re-opening of the state-owned PT Semen Indonesia cement plant in Central Java despite the death of protester, Patmi binti Rustam, 48, of a heart attack
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 25: Kedeng farmers protesting against the reopening of the state-owned PT Semen Indonesia cement plant in Central Java have vowed to continue their protest despite the death of a protester of heart attack this week, reports the Jakarta Post.
Patmi binti Rustam, 48, a farmer from Kendeng, Central Java, died while she was taking part in the protest at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta against the environmental damage caused by pollution from the cement factory on Tuesday.
Legal aid lawyer, Muhamad Isnur, said that the ongoing protest was overshadowed by the death of Patmi binti Rustam, saying that "it won't stop us".
"On the contrary it will magnify our movement", he said.
The Kedeng farmers who began their protest at the Presidental Palace last week said they will not shed their cement shackles until President Widodo shuts down the Semen Indonesia cement factory in Rembang Central Java.
Kendeng Farmers cast their feet in cement at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta in protest against the issue of a new environmental permit that allowed the cement factory to re open in Watu Putih in Rembang regency Central Java.
The farmers are protesting over the potential environmental damage caused by the construction of a cement plant in Rembang regency that is expected to produce three million tons of cement each year, saying that the cement plant will contaminate their water and threaten their livelihoods
The farmers say that pollution from cement plants threaten farmland in the mountainous Rembang area that includes the sub-districts of Kendeng, Pati, Blora and Grobogan, saying that they would lose up to 51 million litres of water.Anis Maftuhin, who claims to represent Kedeng farmers who support the cement factory has defended the cement plant, saying that the state-owned PT Semen Indonesia cement plant in Central Java has built a water retention basin in order to help secure clean water supplies.
He claims that the cement plant will create jobs and boost the local economy.
The Southeast Asian Times
Thai PM promotes coal-fired power plants
From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 24: Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who is also commander of the National Council for Peace and order (NCPO)
has established a committee to promote public understanding on the planned construction of coal-fired power plants in Southern Thailand.
National Council for Peace and order (NCPO) secretary general, Noppadon Intapanya, is expected to chair the committee that will include
Army chief General Chalermchai Sittisart and Region Army Area 4 chief
Lt-General Piyawat Nakwanich.
Earlier this month the Thai Prime Minister cancelled the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) conducted by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) for the proposed Krabi coal-fired power plant and ordered a new assessment.
The Thai prime minister said in parliament that new environmental and health impact assessments are needed for the Krabi coal-fired power plant project.
"The public must be allowed to have their say," he said.
The go-ahead given by the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) in February for the construction of the 800-megawatt coal-fired plant in Krabi provoked protests in Bangkok.
"Save the Andaman from Coal" protesters said that Krabi residents would continue protesting at Government House until the government "scrappped the project".
In February 2016 Constitution Drafting Committee spokesman, Udom Rathamarit, reportedly said that "the state is required to conduct environmental and health impact assessment Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) study reports before carrying out a project which may affect communities."
Environmental activists called for revisions to the draft constitution, saying that the omitted content in the Rights and Liberties chapter undermined community rights by not sufficiently protecting and managing natural resources.
However, Community Resource Centre coordinator, Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, said then that while community rights were guaranteed in the draft constitution the constitution says the rights must not jeopardise state security.
The Southeast Asian Times

Court told that Jakarta governor speech to fishermen was not blasphemous
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a non-Muslim, is on trial for blasephamy for reportedly citing verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran on a working visit to Indonesia's outer islands while on an election campaign last year
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 23: The North Jakarta District Court was told at the 13th hearing on blasphemy charges against non-Mulsim Jakarta Governor Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama that the speech in which he referred to the Quranic verse was not blasphemous, reports the Jakarta Post.
University of Indonesia (UI) language institute academic, Rahayu Surtiarti, said that the one hour and 40 minute speech made by Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama last September while talking to fishermen in the Thousand Islands was not blasphemous.
Language institute academic, Rahayu Surtiarti, said that no part of the speech had indicated that the Jakarta governor was election campaigning or that he had intended to insult Islam as claimed by the prosecutors.
“There was no sense that he was campaigning in his speech," she said.
She told the court that the Jakarta governor was 'campaigning' the advantages of a fish cultivation program and had assured the fishermen that the program would continue regardless of the outcome of the Jakarta Governor elections.
She told the court that the Jakarta Governor had not said that the Quranic verse reffered to was a lie, but instead had said that the verse had been used to 'lie to people.'
Indonesia's National Police charged incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama with blasphemy in November 2016, banning the governor from overseas travel.
The Jakarta Governor was charged at the first hearing that began in December 2016 at the North Jakarta District Court for citing verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran while allegedly campaigning for re election.
The Jakarta Governor had reportedly told the fishermen that they had been deceived by verse Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran and that the verse was used to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnamais faces multiple charges under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which contains a maximum jail sentence of five years and Article 28, point (2) of the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law on promoting hate speech, that carries a maximum six years of imprisonment.
The Southeast Asian Times
Non-Muslim sentenced to prison for tearing up the Quran
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 22: The Semarang District Court in Central Java has sentenced a non-Muslim male to one-and-a-half years im prisonment for blasphemy for tearing up the Quran, reports Antara.
Presiding Judge Puji Widodo sentenced Andrew Handoko to prison for blasphemy for tearing up the Quran in violation of Article 156 of the Criminal Code.
"The Muslim holy book and the scripture of all faiths should be respected," he said.
He said that the defendant had offended Muslims.
Andrew Handoko was charged with blasphemy for tearing up the Quran in Surakarta in October 2016 but the trial was moved to Semarang for reportedly security reasons.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama also a non-Muslim is on trial for blasephamy for reportedly citing verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran on an alleged working visit to Indonesia's outer islands while on an election campaign last year.
He reportedly told the fishermen that they have been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnamais faces multiple charges under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which contains a maximum jail sentence of five years and Article 28, point (2) of the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law on promoting hate speech, that carries a maximum six years imprisonment.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Thai PM's assets to be scrutinised for tax evasion
From New Reports:
Bangkok, March 21: The Thai Office of Auditor-General has ordered the Revenue Department to evaluate the assets and liabilities of politicians who held office in the Vejjajiva and Yingluck Shinawatra governments for tax evasion, reports the Bangkok Post.
Auditor-General, Pisit Leelavavachiropas, said that former politians who own assets of more than Bt50 million will be scrutinised for tax evasion.
He said that former politicians reported higher assets and unchanged liabilities or lesser liabilities with unchanged assets, suggesting higher incomes while in office.
"I have ordered an evaluation of the assets and liabilities of politicians who held office during the two previous governments," he said.
He said that the Office of Auditor-General has also called for the collection of taxes from the sale of Shin shares by the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Revenue Department is reportedly empowered to collect back taxes on the 2006 sale of Shin Corp shares under Article 61 of the Revenue Code that says that the names on the asset ownership document are liable to pay tax.
"The former prime minister is liable to pay back taxes on the sale of Shin Corp shares to Temasek Group of Singapore despite his use of his children as nominees in holding the shares while serving as prime minister," he said.
He said that the Office of Auditor-General has recovered more than Bt10 billion in back taxes over the past two years.
"The office has also scrutinised the tax records of wealthy businessmen and large companies including those leaked by the Panama Papers that revealed several Thai billionaires and big business had set up offshore companies to evade tax," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia and Australia reafirm commitment to accept refugees from Australia
Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhon and Australian senator Concetta Fierravanti in Phnom Penh on Saturday

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, March 20: Cambodia Foreign Affairs Minister, Prak Sokhonn, reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to accept refugees from Australia on the official visit of Australian Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells to Cambodia on Saturday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister, Prak Sokhonn said that Cambodia will continue implementing the memorandum of understanding that was signed between Australia and Cambodia in September 2014.
The agreement included the payment of $US35 million in development assistance to Cambodia by Australia over the next four years in return for the voluntary resettlement of refugees in Cambodia from Australian detention centres on the island of Nauru in Papua New Guinea and from Australian mainland.
Australia agreed to provide an additional $US28.3 million in aid to Cambodia and to spend an estimated A$15.5 million more to fund resettlement services for refugees who agree to move from Nauru to Cambodia.
Nauru accepted A$20 million in aid from the Australian Government in 2001 for the establishment of the Nauri detention centre in Papua New Guinea for up to 800 refugees in the Australian Government effort to circumvent the settlement of the asylum seekers in Australia.
Under Australian immigration policy, asylum-seekers who attempt to arrive in Australia by boat are turned back or sent to Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for processing.
The first four, three Iranians and one Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar, asylum seekers held by the Australia Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection at the Nauru detention centre in Papua New Guinea accepted resettlement in Cambodia in May 2015.
Cambodia Interier Ministry Spokesman, Khieu Sopheak said then that the four were "enjoying their life" in Cambodia.
"The four are receiving benefits that millions of Cambodians can only dream about, including their own "case manager", accommodation, training, help finding work, language tuition and health insurance", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia. ...Senior editor at the New Republic , Jeet Heer, reports page here


The Southeast Asian Times wishes its readers a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year with a special thankyou to its treasured letter writers

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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 page here

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


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


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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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