The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Thursday 27 October 2016 
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.

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Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

Former West Papua political prisoner calls on Indonesia for referendum
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 27: West Papuan pro-independence activist, Filep Semuel Karma, 57, called on the Indonesian government to hold
a referendum for independence for Indonesia's easternmost region, claiming that the long-demanded referendum was a "win-win solution" for both the government and the Papuan people, reports the Jakarta Post.
The former West Papuan political prisoner of 15 years said that Papuan's still suffered from mistreatment and abuses despite the region being granted special autonomy status.
"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.
He said that "should the referendum result in Papuans wanting to remain Indonesian citizens, the rebels would stop demanding separation."
"The government should also promise Papuans a peaceful transfer of independence if the referendum showed otherwise.
In May, Jakarta Legal Aid lawyers called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to take action against National Police over the arrest of 1,724 West Papua referendum supporters.
Thousands of West Papua referendum supporters held simultaneous rallies in seven cities in four provinces including Merauke, Jayapura and Wamena in Papua, Fakfak and Sorong in West Papua, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi to show support for
the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ULMWP ) in their support for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
In November 2015, Filep Semuel Karma, a former civil servant in Indonesian Education and Training, was released from Abepura Penitentiary after serving 15 years for raising the banned Morning Star or Bintang Kejora flag.
Filep Karma, , was found guilty of treason by the West Papuan Jayapura court in 2004 for raising the banned flag to celebrate the anniversary of the 1961 Papuan declaration of Independence from Dutch rule at Trikora Field, Abepura, Jayapura, West Papua.
The Southeast Asian Times

China donates millions to Philippines cyclone disaster relief
From News Reports:
Manila, October 26: China donated P90 million in aid to the Philippines on Monday for disaster relief after the Philippines was struck by two cyclones in as many weeks.
The Chinese government committed P35 million to the Philippines following the devastation caused by Typhoon Karen (Sarika) and Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima)
Typhoon Haima that struck the Philippines last Wednesday night was reportedly equal in force to cyclone Yolande that struck the Philippines in 2013.
Cyclone Yolande was then the strongest cyclone to strike the Philippines, claiming more than 7,350 lives.
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines donated P50 million in aid for the disaster relief of farmers and fishermen in areas affected by the cyclones.
The Red Cross Society of China is to provide humanitarian aid of $100,000 bringing the total amount donated by China to P90 million.
The humanitarian aid from China follows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visit to China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping last Tuesday.
The Philippines signed a $13.5 billion package agreement including private sector memorandums of understanding with China during the four day state visit.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in his speech to the Filipino community in Beijing last week that he was "fed up with the Philippines’ foreign policy being dictated by a "Western agenda".
Foreign policy under Rodrigo Duterte who was elected president in June has reportedly "dramatically shifted from that pursued under predecessor Benigno Aquino III.
The Aquino governmenf took Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea in favour of the Philippines in July.
The Southeast Asian Times

Explosion in Bekasi, West Java destroys Pizza Hut
A Pizza Hut in Jatimurni, Pondok Gede, Bekasi, West Java, allegedly destoyed by an explosion caused by a gas cylinder early yesterday morning
From News Report:
Jakarta, October 25: An explosion at a Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD) outlet in Jatimurni, Bekasi, West Java, early Sunday morning has destroyed the building including four adjacent buildings and left two injured, reports the Jakarta Post.
A 50-kilogram liquid petroleum gas (LPG) container at the Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD) outlet is believed responsible for the explosion that destroyed the building and injured a street vendor and her child.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr Awi Setiyono said the gas cylinder exploded inside the three-story PHD outlet.
"The explosion completely destroyed the Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD) building and caused severe damage to three other buildings near it, including an Alfa Midi minimarket but their were no fatalities," he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that the explosion took place at 7.20am on Sunday, saying that fast food employees at the Pizza Hut had finished work at 11.00 pm and that the restaurant was empty at the time of the explosion.
Pondok Cabe Police chief Comr. Sukadi said the police were investigating the cause of the explosion and had secured the area.
The Southeast Asian Times
Malaysia's Members of Parliament walk out on PM's budget speech
Prime Minister Najib Razak said that " it is disgraceful for Opposition lawmakers to walk out on the tabling of Budget 2017
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 24: Malaysia's opposition Members of Parliament walked out of the Dewan Rakyat on Friday during Prime Minister Najib Razak 2017 Budget speech, saying that they had "listened to enough", reports the New Straits Times.
Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali defended the walkout saying that the opposition had listened to the budget speech but had failed to identify efforts to address fundamental issues.
We listened for two hours before we decided to walkout", he said.
The opposition deputy president said that the Parti Keadilan Rakyat members walked out when the Prime Minister tried to politicise the budget and attempted to provoke the Opposition Members of Parliament.
The tabling of the 2017 Budget was reportedly disrupted when opposition Members of Parliament stood to interrupt Prime Minister Najib Razak Budget speech.
Opposition Parliamentry members reportedly stood in protest at the Prime Minister's allegation that "the 2017 Budget was of no substance and the government had insufficient funds."
"We strongly believe that the Prime Minister had failed to address the fundamental issues to overcome the current economic situation in this country," he said.
He said that the Prime Minister did not address the fundamental issues and there was no mention of structural reform in the 2017 Budget.
The Southeast Asian Times

China and Philippines sign port construction agreements
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from right, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday
From News Reports:
Manila, October 22: The renewed friendship between the Philippines and China following the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in June, could see trade double or triple in the next few years, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippine Trade Secretary, Ramon Lopez, said that trade with China could reach $60 billion in five years.
He said that the Philippine signed a $13.5 billion package agreement including private sector memorandums of understanding with China during the Philippine presidential state visit to China this week.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China on Tuesday on a four day state visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping with an entourage of about 200 delegates representing Philippine business including oil and gas.
Philippine Mega Harbor Port and Development Inc., representative, Reghis Romero has signed a contract for the development of ports on the Davao coastline in the southern Philippines with China Dredging Corp. and Construction Communication Corp. (CCC).
The development of the 214-hectare coastline from Davao City to Agdao and Poblacion in the southern Philippines that includes the construction of ports and the establishment of port cities is to be indertaken with the cooperation of the local government of Davao City in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines
A P16.5 billion Cebu International Container and Bulk Terminal contract for the construction of a port facility of up to 1,200 meters in length as part of the 35 hectares allotted for port development in Cebu was also signed.
The China Dredging Corp. and Construction Communication Corp. (CCC) has also undertaken to construct a P7.5-billion 50-hectare Harbor Center Port Terminal in Manila in order to alleviate port congestion in Manila.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in his speech to the Filipino community in Beijing on Tuesday that he was "fed up with the Philippines’ foreign policy being dictated by a Western agenda".
Foreign policy under Rodrigo Duterte who is the former Mayor of Davao City in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines, has reportedly "dramatically shifted from that pursued under predecessor Benigno Aquino III.
The Aquino governmenf took Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea in favour of the Philippines in July.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine President cuts ties with US on state visit to China
From News Reports:
Beijing, October 21: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who is in China on a four day state visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, cut ties with the US in a speech to the Filipino community in Beijing on Wednesday, reports the Agence France-Presse.
“Time to say goodbye,” he said.
The Philippine president who arrived in China on Tuesday with an entourage of about 200 delegates representing Philippine business including oil and gas, was reportedly expected to confirm his "tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence."
“Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte who took office in June said in his speech to the Filipino community in Beijing that he was "fed up with the Philippines’ foreign policy being dictated by a Western agenda".
Agence France Presse reports that foreign policy under Duterte "has dramatically shifted from that pursued under predecessor Benigno Aquino III, who took Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled against the China claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea in favour of the Philippines in July.
President Xi Jinping of China said in July following the ruling that the South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since "ancient times."
He said that China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea "shall under no circumstances be affected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague awards."
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Bejing following the Philippine presidents arrival that Beijing was pleased to move towards resolving the territorial dispute “through consultation and dialogue”.
“Anyone who truly wishes for peace, stability, development and prosperity in the Asia Pacific” should welcome Duterte’s visit, she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

China and the Philippines to sign oil and gas exploration agreement
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is greeted by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on arrival in Beijing on Tuesday for a four day state visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping
From News Reports:
Beijing, October 20: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is in China on a four day state visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, is expected to sign a joint China-Philippines energy exploration agreement for oil and natural gas in the West Philippine Sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
“We are looking at a deal that will cover exploration in uncontested areas such as the Recto Bank,” said a government official.
"The Recto Bank area is firmly under Philippine government control," he said.
Forum Energy Plc. reportedly holds the license for Service Contract 72, over the Recto Bank also known as Reed Bank.
The company, a subsidiary of Manuel Pangilinan-led Philex Petroleum Corp, is one of 200 Filipino companies to accompany the Philippines President to China in the Philippine effort to further bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
Forum Energy Plc.was licensed by the Philippine Department of Energy to conduct a drilling survey in petroleum exploration areas but the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea forced the government to impose a moratorium on exploration activities.
"The proposed deal called for Philippine-Chinese cooperation to begin exploration "closer to the Philippines and away from the disputed reefs and islets." said
the spokesman.
“The issue of sovereignty will not be touched,” he said.
He said that China and the Philippines can proceed to "more sensitive areas around the South China Sea" when a more comfortable working arrangement has been established.
The Philippines filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China in 2013 asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine 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 so-called final verdict on the South China Sea dispute.
The southeast Asian Times

Indonesian navy arrests Singapore flagged vessel

From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 19: The Indonesian navy has arrested a Singapore-flagged vessel and 13 crew for allegedly shipping used goods from Singapore to Batam, Riau Islands, without a permit, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Singaporean-flagged landing craft tank (LCT) Emperor departed Jurong Port, Singapore on October 15 and was arrested the next day in Tanjung Pinggir waters, Sekupang, Batam.
The Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team, under the control of the Tanjungpinang Navy headquarters, intercepted the landing craft tank (LCT) Emperor on Sunday.
The commander of the Navy’s Tanjungpinang naval base IV, Commodore S. Irawan, said that the Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team arrested the Emperor after extended surveillance.
“The WFQR team saw several small boats approaching the Emperor at sea" he said.
He said that the crew were observed transferring cargo from the landing craft tank (LCT) Emperor to the small vessels.
The Emperor was searched and the ships captain, Adrian Esra, and 12 crew were detained as the ship docked at Sekupang Port in Batam.
The Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team found that the vessel did not have the required shipping documents and did not include the seized used goods on its manifest.
“We have reported this arrest to Singaporean authorities,” said Commodore S. Irawan.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thais want Lese-Majeste law implemented for defamation of late King Bhumibol

Thai's in Phuket want justice for the defamation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died on Thursday.

From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 18: Thai's have called on police to arrest the son of a soybean milk shop operator in Phuket who has been accused of defaming the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Thursday aged 88, on facebook, reports the Bangkok Post.
About 1000 Thai's reportedly called for police to press charges against the accused as they made their way along Yaowarat Road towards the milk shop in Muang district at midday on Thursday.
The protesters set up a road block in Yaowarat Road after police questioned the accused and released him without charge.
Phuket police chief Pol Maj Gen Thiraphon said that police had no power to detain the unidentified accused, saying that "police had not witnessed any wrongdoing".
"The words posted online were not considered direct defamation," he said.
The Phuket police chief reportedly told the protesters that police would seek an arrest warrant if sufficient evidence was provided.
"Protesters were not satisfied with the police explaination and refused to unblock the highway to traffic.
The road remained blocked until former mayor of Ratsada municipality, Suthin Lianudom, said that he would act on behalf of the protesters and lodge a complaint with Muang Phuket police.
The former mayor said that the accused had violated Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crime Act.
Section 12 of the Thai criminal Lese-Majeste law that is designed to ensure that the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88, and members of the royal family are not defamed.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police investigate Jakarta Governor for blasphemy

Thousands of Muslims marched on City Hall from the Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta on Friday calling on police to charge Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama with blasphemy and "we want a Muslim governor"

From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 17: Police are conducting an investigation into a video in which Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama
is accused of defaming the Quran in order to determine whether the governor, a Christian, has committed blasphemy.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said that the religious defamation case against the Jakarta Governor that shows the governor citing a verse from the Quran while addressing fishermen would proceed.
The governor reportedly cited verse Al-Maidah 51 from the Quran ahead of the Jakarta elections due to take place next year.
He reportedly assured the fishermen that his programs would go ahead regardless of the result of the elections, saying "it was fine if the fishermen believed that voting for a non-Muslim like him was forbidden by their religion."
"It is possible that you cannot vote for me," he said.
He told the fishermen that they have been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
Islamic organisations including the youth wing of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organization reportedly want the governor to be charged with blasphemy.
The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) vice secretary general, Ja'far Shodiq, said at the Istiqlal Mosque on Friday, "we want the state to show
a presence in this case, because the law has regulations on religious defamation."
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said that police have summoned witnesses, including linguists and Islamic scholars from the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) that includes all Muslim organisations in Indonesia to help with the investigation.
The Jakarta governor apologized on Wednesday, saying that he did not criticize the Quran but those including some of his opponents, who often politicized the verse in the Quran to attack him.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand mourns death of monarch
Thai's offer their condolences at Grand Palace in Bangkok where Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej is lying in state
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 15: Thailand began its first day of mourning yesterday with flags at government offices and schools flying at half mast, following the death on Thursday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88, the world's longest-reigning monarch, reports Associated Press.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announed a year of mourning including a 30-day moratorium on state events but excluding, tourism and public transport.
"Thais should wear mourning clothes for a year and refrain from entertainment for 30 days," he said.
The Prime Minister said that King Bhumibol's son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, will succeed the king under the constitution.
"The prince had asked for time to mourn with the nation before ascending to the throne," he said.
He said that the government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that "His Majesty the King had appointed the heir in accordance with the royal law on December 28, 1972."
"The National Legislative Assembly will take the relevant action," he said
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said all TV and radio stations, including online media, will broadcast programs provided by government media for the next 30 days .
All channels on Thailand'a satellite TV service, including BBC and CNN, were replaced by programs on the Thai royal family on Thursday night.
The Southeaat Asian Times

Indonesian State Secretariat order to hand over findings on 2004 Munir murder

Civil rights activist at the Central Information Commission (KIP) hearing that ordered the State Secretariat to disclose the findings into the investigation of the murder of civil rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October14: The Central Information Commission (KIP) has ordered the State Secretariat to reveal the findings on the investigation that was submitted to the government into the murder of civil rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib in 2005, reports the Jakarta Post.
The investigation that was conducted immediately after the death of Munir Said Thalibin 39, who died of suspected arsenic poisoning aboard a Garuda flight while travelling to Amsterdam via Singapore on September 7, 2004. was headed by Marsudi Hanafi included human rights activists Hendardi of the Setara Institute, former Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid, lawyers and police.
The Central Information Commission (KIP) ordered the government to disclose the investigation under the Indonesia Public Information Disclosure Act 2008 at the request of the widow of Munir Said Thalibin, Suciwati, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims
of Violence (Kontras) and the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) in April.
Central Information Commission (KIP) commissioner, Evy Trisulo Dianasari, said that the order for disclosure was made after the State Secretariat claimed to have no knowledge of the report on the investigation.
“The State Secretariat must disclose all requested information by any means of communication it utilizes, either electronically or non-electronically," said the commissioner.
In 2008 the Supreme Court found Garuda Indonesia pilot and probable intelligence agent Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison , 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.
Munir Said Thalibin 39, had taken up the cause of dozens of activists who were abducted during the last months of president Soeharto’s
New Order regime in 1998.
He was also outspoken on human rights abuses by the military in Aceh and Timor Leste. He specifically drew attention to Abdulah Mahmud Hendropriyono role in a military attack on protesters in Talangsari, Lampung, in 1989 that claimed 45 lives. The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) had previously declared the attack on the protesters a gross human rights violation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Proposal to name Soeharto a national hero rejected
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 13: The proposal to name former president Soeharto a national hero was again rejected, reports the Jakarta Post.
Gema Demokrasi (Democratic Resonance) spokesman, Asep Komarudin said that Soeharto is not worthy of the title.
"He abused human rights and embezzled state money during his term in office," he said.
The Golkar Party that ruled under Soeharto's New Order Regime have nominated the former president for national hero status three times since 2010 but to no avail.
Human rights activist, Maria Catarina Sumarsih, 64, whose son Bernardus Realino Norma Irawan was killed in student protests in 1998 while demanding the resignation of president Soeharto in Semanggi, said there would be more losses than benefits for Indonesia in naming Soeharto a national hero.
"By naming the former president a national hero the government would endorse the military authoritarianism that Soeharto upheld during his administration" she said.
In July 2012 the National Human Rights Commission, or Komnas HAM2026 lodged a report with the Indonesia Attorney General’s Office saying that the 1965 massacre of Communists and their supporters was a gross violation of human rights. The massacre of Communists reportedly proved essential to the rise and 30-year-rule of the Soeharto “New Order Regime.”
The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in the Hague found in July 2016 that Indonesia is guilty of Crimes Against Humanity under the 1948 International Genocide Convention for the 1965 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members.
Presiding judge Zakeria Yacoob said that "the facts brought before the tribunal by the prosecution include acts that fall within those enumerated in the Genocide Convention,"
Murder Victims Research Foundation (YPKP 65) who began compiling evidence in 2000 of the killing of communists in Indonesia reportedly found 122 mass graves in 12 provinces across Java and Sumatra in July, with the highest number of 50 graves in Central Java, said then that the number of mass graves are expected to increase.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore closes Swiss bank for 1MDB money laundering
From News Reports:

Singapore, October 12: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has closed the Swiss branch of the Falcon Private Bank Ltd, in Singapore for serious breaches of anti-money laundering rules in its transactions with the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), reports the Straits Times.
The closure of the Singapore branch of the Swiss bank on Tuesday follows the arrest of its branch manager, Jens Sturzenegger by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) on October 5.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has fined the bank of upto S$1 million for 10 breaches and S$1.3 million for 13 breaches of the Authority's Notice 626 - Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
The bank has been ordered to appoint an independent party to confirm that rectification measures have been effectively implemented and ordered to report their findings to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The closure of the Swiss branch of the Falcon Private Bank Ltd in Singapore this week follows the closure of Swiss bank BSI AG operations in May.
The Swiss bank BSI AG in Singapore was reportedly closed following criminal proceedings in Switzerland against the private bank in its transactions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director, Ravi Menon, said in May that the BSI Bank's status as a merchant bank in Singapore had been withdrawn for serious breaches of anti-money laundering rules.
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund that was founded by Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in 2009
is being investigated for money-laundering in at least six countries.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds that had allegedly been donated by the family of the late Saudi king Abdullah were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times

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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