The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Wednesday 24 May 2017 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

Hanoi, July 6, 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


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

Jakarta governor withdraws appeal against jail sentence for blasphemy
From News Reports:

Jakarta, May 24: The Jakarta governor, who was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to two years imprisonment earlier this month has withdrawn an appeal against the sentence, reports the Jakarta Post.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said that he feared that if he appealed the sentence he would receive a harsher sentence.
Lawyer, Darwin Aritonang, said that "the Jakarta Governor feared that his political rights could be revoked."
He said that the decision to withdraw the appeal was made after thorough consideration.
"If Ahok accepts his two-year jail sentence and seeks remission his jail term will be shorter".
The North Jakarta District Court found outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama guilty of blasphemy earlier this month for insulting Muslims in his use of Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran.
The panel of judges led by Dwiarso Budi Santiarso sentenced Ahok to two years in prison, saying “the defendant Ir. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama alias Ahok is proven guilty of committing blasphemy,"
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran.
He reportedly told fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him while campaigning for re election last year on Indonesia's outer islands.
He was charged under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which ontains 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 if convicted.
But prosecutors withdrew their accusation that Ahok had violated Article 156 (a) of the Criminal Code, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, saying they could not prove Ahok had insulted Islam as a whole but that he had insulted individual Muslims.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai students ordered to remove words from poster on third anniversary of marshal law
Organisors of the poster that promoted the "Unhappy Birthday" seminar held at the Thammasat University in Bangkok on Sunday were ordered to cover up words that undermine the authority of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
From News Reports:
Bangkok, May 23: Organisors of the "Unhappy Birthday" seminar held at the Thammasat University in Bankgok on Sunday on the third anniversary of the establishment of Marshal Law in Thailand were ordered to cover selected words on posters that reportedly undermined the authority of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), reports the Bangkok Post.
The organisers were reportedly ordered to cover the words "Dictator NCPO" that referrs to Thai Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
who is also commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and "3 years" that referrs to the time since the establishment of Martial Law in Thailand in 2014.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was officially appointed commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the declaration of Martial law under the 1914 Martial Law Act at Bangkok military headquarters on 22 May 2014.
The NCPO launched the "bring back happiness" campaign following the coup that ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who was later tried in the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders for failing to stop alleged massive corruption in the government rice subsidy programme.
The prosecution argued that "inaction" by the former Prime Minister allegedly caused baht 518 billion loss to the state.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman, Piyapong Klinpan, claimed that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has restored hapiness and made Thai's smile over the past three years.
"We have reclaimed public land illegally occupied by big business", he said.
He said that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has solved public complaints in a way that previous governments did not.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended the NCPO's performance record, saying that "we have tried our best over the past three years".
The Southeast Asian Times

Call for Philippines to take China to the United Nations
From News Reports:
Manila, May 22: The Philippine Supreme Court has called on the Philippines to take China to the United Nations for reportedly threatening the Philippines with war should the Philippines drill for oil in the West Philippine Sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Saturday that the United Nations "outlaws the use or threat or force" to settle disputes, saying that "the China threat could be considered a gross violation of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia."
The call for the Philippines to take China to the United Nations follows the reported deisclosure by Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte
that China President Xi Jinping warned him of war if the Philippines drilled for oil at Recto (Reed) Bank located in the West Philippines Sea.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that under the constitution the Philippines has renounced war as an instrument
of national policy.
"The Philippines’ recourse to bring China’s threat of war to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague would secure an order directing China to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that declared Redd (Recto Bank part of the Philippines EEZ.
The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino actively challenged China's claim to most of the South China Sea by filing a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China in 2013.
The Philippine called on the court to intervene in the dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine
In July 2016 judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of “historic rights”over the South China Sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the judges said.
The Southeast Asian Times

China and ASEAN agree on way forward in South China Sea
China and ASEAN at the 14th Senior Official's meeting of the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) at a meeting in Guizhou Province on Thursday
From News Reports:
Beijiing, May 20: China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country ministers agreed on a framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea at a meeting held in Guiyang in China's Guizhou Province on Thursday, reports Xinhua.
China and 10 ASEAN member countries ministers reached consensus on the framework on the Declaraton on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) at the meeting that was co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Singapore's Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong.
“We are pleased to announce that the senior officials have completed the negotiations on the draft COC (code of conduct) framework, China and ASEAN said in a joint statement.
China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country ministers agreed to uphold the framework of regional rules to manage and control disputes, to deepen practical maritime cooperation, to promote consultation on the code and jointly maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.
The agreement follows the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling in July 2016 that ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling, saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
China reportedly claims that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said ahead of the ruling that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian expatriots in Switzerland rally at UN in support of Jakarta governor
Indonesians in Switzerland rally at the Broken Chair Monument at the United Nations in Geneva in support of jailed Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 19: Indonesian expatriats in Switzerland rallied at the United Nation's in Geneva on Tuesday in support of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama who was found guilty of blasphemy by the North Jakarta Court last week and is serving a two year jail sentence, reports the Jakarta Post.
About 200 Indonesians, who ralllied at the Broken Chair Monument at the United Nations, lit candles, read poems, sang the national anthem and conducted mass interfaith prayers in support of the Jakarta governor.
Rally participant, Widiasih, said that Indonesians in Switzerland support the Jakarta governor in an effort to keep Indonesia united.
She said that Indonesian conerns were based on the divisive Jakarta gubernatorial election that were "marred with racial and religious sentiment."
Rally participants at the United Nations came from Geneva, Bern and Zurich including cities on the French border.
"Similiar action will be carried out in other big cities in Switzerland," she said.
About 150 Indonesians rallied in Paris under the Eiffel tower on Sunda, holding posters saying Liberez Ahok or Free Ahok with others saying From Paris with love, pray for Ahok, save Ahok and You are not alone in support of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
Rally coordinator, Lulu Caroline, 47, said that the rally was held to express concern over the jailing of the Jakarta governor.
About 3,000 protesters in Jakarta have reportedly submitted their identification cards as guarantors for the release from prison of Jakar
Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
Identifications cards were submitted as guarantors for the release of the Jakarta governor from residents from Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) including the mayor-elect, Jefritson Riwu Kore.
The acting Jakarta governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, has also submitted his identification card.
Coordinator of the campaign to release the Jakarta governor from prison said, "we can't accept that Ahok is being treated like this."
"We want Ahok to be released.
Outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while campaigning for re election last year on Indonesia's outer islands.
He reportedly told fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
The Southeast Asian Times

Member of National assembly resigns for causing Vietnam's worst environment disater
From News Reports:
Hanoi, May 18: The Vietnam National Assembly has accepted the resignation of one of four former officials involved in the Taiwanese Formosa Plastics Group that has admitted to poisoning mass schools of fish by its steel plants located on the coastal provinces of Vietnam, reports TuoiTreNews.
National Assembly, passed the resolution to accept the resignation of Vo Kim Cu, 60, a month following his request to resign, saying that his health did not permit him to continue as a legistlator in the National Assembly.
The Communist Party Central Inspection Commission (CIC), recommended last month that disciplinary action should be taken against Communist Party official, Vo Kim Cu, for his involvement in the "worst environment distaster in Vietnam."
Vo Kim Cu, was found by the Central Inspection Commission (CIC) to have signed documents that allowed the construction of the Formosa Plastices Group.
Vo Kim Cu, who served as Secretary of the Party Committee and the People's Committee Chairman from 2008-2016 and was the Head of the Ha Tinh Economic Zone Management Board (EZMB) form 2008-2010 was held responsible for environmental damage caused by the Taiwanese company.
In July 2016 the Formosa Plastics Group that has made the single largest investment by a foreign company in Vietnam, admitted to causing massive fish poisonings in the coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Huein.
Vietnam Government Office chairman, Mai Ti?n Dung, said then that "violations in the construction of the Formosa Ha Tinh province Steel plant is the cause of the pollution that caused massive fish deaths".
"Formosa released toxic wastewater into the sea of four coastal provinces poisoning about 70 tons of fish", he said.
An investigation into the cause of the death of the fish by Vietnam Natural Resources and Environment Ministry show that toxic waste Flowed into the sea from underground pipes laid at the steel plants.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans rally in support of jailed Jakarta governor

Thousands of West Papuans rally for the release of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama
From News Reports
Jakarta, May 17: Thousands of West Papuans rallied in the capital Jayapura in support of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was found guilty of blasphemy by the North Jakarta Court last week and is serving a two year jail sentence, reports the Jakarta Post.
Jayapura residents, who have held a candle light vigil since the detention of the Jakarta governor on May 9 following the court verdict, have joined thousands of Jakarta residents including Indonesians living in Paris who have rallied to express concern over the jailing of the Chinese Christian governor.
On Monday a four-kilometer march from the Papua Regional Representatives (DPRD) to the governors office that was organised by the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Papua (PGGP) called for the dissolution of the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia(HTI), the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the arrest of its leader Rizieq Shihab.
The Ecumenical Council of Churches in Papua (PGGP), chairman, Catholic bishop Leo Laba Ladjar, said that radicalism in Indonesia has reached an "alarming level"
"The decision to sentence Ahok to two years imprisonment for blasphemy was the result of pressure from hardline groups", he said.
The National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) is planning a rally in Jakarta on Friday
to demand the maximum sentence for Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said that about 5,000 to 10,000 were expected to march from the Istiqlai Mosque in central Jakarta to the Supreme Court about a kilometre away.
"About 15,000 police personnel will be deployed to safeguard the rally", he said.
Outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while campaigning for re election last year on Indonesia's outer islands.
He reportedly told fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
He was charged under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which ontains 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 if convicted.
But prosecutors withdrew their accusation that Ahok had violated Article 156 (a) of the Criminal Code, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, saying they could not prove Ahok had insulted Islam as a whole but that he had insulted individual Muslims.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian diaspora in Paris protests jailing of Jakarta governor
From News Reports
Jakarta, May 16: About 150 Indonesians, wearing the red and white colours of the Indonesian flag, rallied in Paris on Sunday in support of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama Jakarta who was found guilty of blasphemy by the North Jakarta Court last week and is serving a two year jail sentence, reports Antara.
The Indonesian expatriots, who gathered under the Eiffel tower, held posters saying Liberez Ahok or Free Ahok with others saying From Paris with love, pray for Ahok, save Ahok and You are not alone.
Rally coordinator, Lulu Caroline, 47, said that the rally was held to express concern over the jailing of the Jakarta governor.
The coordinator said that the Indonesia diaspora residing in Paris were informed of the rally at the Eiffel tower via social media.
About 3,000 protesters in Jakarta have reportedly submitted their identification cards as guarantors for the release from prison of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
Identifications cards were submitted as guarantors for the release of the Jakarta governor from residents from Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) including the mayor-elect, Jefritson Riwu Kore.
The acting Jakarta governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, has also submitted his identification card.
Coordinator of the campaign to release the Jakarta governor from prison said, "we can't accept that Ahok is being treated like this."
"We want Ahok to be released.
Outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while campaigning for re election last year on Indonesia's outer islands.
He reportedly told fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thousands call for the release of Jakarta governor
The Jakarta Governo,r Basuki "Ahok" bows Tjahaja Purnama, bows before the North Jakarta court that sentenced him to two years imprisonment for blasphemy. The court claims that Ahok is guilty of "showing animosity towards Muslims."
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 15: About 3,000 protesters have reportedly submitted their identification cards as guarantors for the release of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was sentenced to prison for blasphemy on Wednesday, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Jakarta governor who was found guilty of blasephemy by the North Jakarta court and sentenced to two years imprisonment, has sparked protests in Jakarta and other regions including Yogyakarta and Papua.
His supporters including 500 Indonesians living abroad have reportedly volunteered to act as guarantors in order to have the Jakarta governor released from prison.
Identifications cards were submitted as guarantors for the release of the Jakarta governor from residents from Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) including the mayor-elect, Jefritson Riwu Kore.
The acting Jakarta governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, has also submitted his identification card.
Coordinator of the campaign to release the Jakarta governor from prison said, "we can't accept that Ahok is being treated like this."
"We want Ahok to be released.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while campaigning for re election last year on Indonesia's outer islands.
He reportedly told fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
He was charged under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which ontains 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.
But prosecutors withdrew their accusation that Ahok had violated Article 156 (a) of the Criminal Code, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, saying they could not prove Ahok had insulted Islam as a whole but that he had insulted individual Muslims.
The Southeast Asian Times

United Nations calls on Philippines to end extrajudicial killings and withdraw death penalty
From News Reports:
Manila, May 13: Representatives of the United Nations Human Council (UNHRC) who met in Geneva to review the Philippines human rights record have called on the Philippines government to end extrajudicial killings and to withdraw its plans to reinstate the death penalty, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Philippines is among 164 states that ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and as such is required to undergo regular review by the United Nations Human Council (UNHRC).
The review of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that includes the right to health and the rehabilitation of drug addicts was conducted by 47 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member countries.
The review that was carried out under the guidance of the Universal Periodic Working Group is conducted every four years.
45 of the 47 member countries of the Universal Periodic Working Group recommended that the Philippine administration under President Rodrigo Deturte do not reinstate the death penalty and end extrajudicial killings.
China obstained from making a recommondation instead praised the Phillipine government for its "remarkable achievments in protecting human rights".
Saudi Arabia who chaired the United Nations Human Council (UNHRC) also obstained from the call to end extrajudicial killings and to withdraw the Philippine plan to reinstate the death penalty.
The Philippines were reminded by the 45 United Nations Human Council (UNHRC) member country representatives that the Philippines were a party to the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The 45 United Nations Human Council (UNHRC) member country representatives that includes Australia, the US and the United Kingdom
advised the Philippines that a submission of the Phillippine official position on the recommendations was required at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Council (UNHRC) that meets in September.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN legislators question law on blasphemy in Indonesia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 12: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) legislators have called into question the law on blasphemy following the sentencing of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama guilty to two years imprisonment on Tuesday, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Malaysian Parliament and chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Charles Santiago, said that “Ahok has become a victim of rising extremism and religious identity politics.
He said that the court ruling "could embolden religious hard-liners."
The North Jakarta District Court found outgoing Chinese Christian Jakarta Governor guilty of blasphemy for insulting Muslims in his use of Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran.
The Jakarta Governor was sentenced to two years in prison under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which ontains 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 if convicted.
Outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while on a visit to Indonesia's outer islands while campaigning for re election last year.
He reportedly told the fishermen that they had been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
The Malaysian Parliament and chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Charles Santiago, said that "the verdict is deeply disconcerning not only for Indonesia but for the entire ASEAN region."
" Indonesia was thought to be a regional leader in terms of democracy and openness. This decision places that position in jeopardy and raises concerns about Indonesia’s future as an open, tolerant, diverse society,” he said.
The Malaysian Parliament and chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Charles Santiago, claims that the decision has impacts beyond justice for one individual.
"This verdict sends the wrong signal to Indonesia’s neighbors in the ASEAN community,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

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

 

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

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




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

 


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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com






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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
..5,0710
East Timor.
..0.7582
Euro..
0.6794
Hong
sKong..
.5.8808
Indonesia Rupiah
.9,997.47
Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Myanmar..923.19
Papua New Guinea
..2.4033
Philippines Peso..
35.3212
Singapore dollar...
1.0308
Thailand...Baht..
26.2521
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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


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