The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Sunday 7 February 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: 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 here
Soldiers deployed across Thailand to explain draft charter
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 7: Thai soldiers have been assigned by the government and the National Legislative Assembly to localities around the country to explain the draft charter that is in its final draft before going to a public referendum, reports the Bangkok Post.
Military commander-in-chief Gen Theerachai Nakwanich said soldiers would explain how Thais would benefit from the draft constitution written by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).
The commander -in-chief said that soldiers would explain to Thais how the provisions in the draft charter would help eradicate corruption.
"They would also stress the government's intention of seeing the country undergo reforms.
In February last year the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) approved a provision that would open the position of Prime Minister to both Members of Parliament and non members of Parliament.
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan said that the Committee was ready to accept any new proposals as it fine-tunes the final draft of the charter.
He said the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) had studied the previous 1997 and 2007 charters when drawing up the 2016 draft constitution provisions on community rights.
"The 2016 draft charter provides better protection for community rights than previous constitutions", he said.
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is required to finish the final draft by March 29, in line with a 180-day time frame stipulated by the interim charter.
The Southeast Asian Times

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signed by 12 Pacific rim countries in NZ
About 2,000 protested in central Auckland against the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), saying that the agreement had the potential to erode sovereignty and that it is weighted in favour of the United States
From News Reports:
Auckland, February 6: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), believed to be the largest trade agreement in history, was signed in New Zealand after five years of negotiations on Thursday amid protests, reports the Agence France Presse.
New Zealand will reportedly act as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement depositary and take responsibility for the administration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in Auckland by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.
Ministers representing the 12 countries said in a joint statement that the TPP "will set a new standard for trade and investment in one of the world fastest growing and most dynamic regions".
The TPP reportedly aims to break down trade and investment barriers including tariffis between the 12 Countries that make up 40 percent of the global economy.
The trade agreement between the 12 Pacific rim countries is expected to provide improved access for goods and services to more than 800 million across the TPP countries that make up 36 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
US Trade Representative Mike Froman said that signing the TPP is an important milestone" in our effort to set high-standard rules of the road in the Asia-Pacific region".
"The deal stands to add US$100 billion a year to US economic growth", he said.
Opposition to the TPP includes New Zealand, law professor Jane Kelsey, who says that the agreement guaranteed foreign states and corporations "a right of input into regulatory decisions" that local organisations would not have.
"More than 1,600 US companies, the most litigious in the world, will gain new rights they can enforce through private offshore tribunals if and when regulation damages their value or profits," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia and Timor Leste to conduct border survey

From News Reports:
Kupang, February 5: A joint survey of disputed border areas in East Nusa Tenggara Province is to be conducted by the governments of the Republic of Indonesia and Timor Leste, reports Antara.
Border Management Agency of East Nusa Tenggara official, Paul Manehat, said that the results of the survey would serve as "groundwork" to settle the disputed boundaries between the two countries.
"The survey of the border would include delegates from Indonesia and Timor Leste", he said.
The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed that a survey of the border be conducted at a meeting in Dili after the governments of Timor Leste and Indonesia could not resolve the border dispute.
Border Management Agency of East Nusa Tenggara official, Paul Manehat, said that the survey would be conducted in disputed areas that include the Citrana-Noelbes area in Kupang regency and Oecuse and Manusasi in Central North Timor regency.
He said that the survey of the border would involve traditional and community leaders who have lived in coexistence in the disputed border area.
"Their involvement is vital to the collection of data", he said.
Commander of Udayana IX Military District Major General M. Setyo Sularso says that there are at least six disputed border areas in East Nusa Tenggara including the river or delta in the Noelbesi-Citrana area, North Netamnanu village, East Amfoang sub-district, Kupang regency.
He says that Indonesia wants the boundary line of the 4.5 kilometer long river to be located on the western side of the river.
"Timor Leste has a different point of view", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore woman arrested in Malaysia for smuggling luxury vehicles
Johor Customs are looking for other members of the syndicate beleived to be involved in the smuggling of 26 used luxury vehicles from Singapore to Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, February 4: A Singapore woman was arrested in Malaysia by the state customs department for allegedly smuggling 26 used luxury vehicles from Singapore to Malaysia, reports the New Straits Times.
Johor Customs Department director Ramli Johari said the 26 vehicles were categorised as de-registered had Singapore number plates.
"The vehicles that included a Toyata Alphard, Mercedez Benz Brabus, Toyota Lexus, Honda Integra, Mazda 5, Toyota Estima and Nissan Silvia are worth a total of RM2.9 million including tax", he said.
The unidentified Singaporean, believed to be in her late 20s, was found in possession of three of the used cars at a housing estate in Taman Laguna last week.
"Her arrest led to the discovery of the 23 other vehicles that were found in the parking area of the housing estate.
Johor Customs Department director Ramli Johari said that the vehicles were kept at specific locations to be sold in the local market at prices that are far cheaper than valid imported cars.
He said that the Singaporean woman was believed to be part of a syndicate that involved her Malaysian husband who works in Singapore.
The Singaporen women was arrested in Malaysia under Section 135(1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967 that carries a fine of no less than 10 times or no more than 20 times the value of seized item or up to three years jail or both if convicted.

The Southeast Asian Times

Islam Defenders Front (FPI) ordered to remove provocative banners targeting homosexuals

From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 3: The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) have been ordered to remove “provocative” banners at Bandung boarding houses that allegedly target the homosexual community, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) reportedly raided boarding houses in Bandung where they believed homosexuals resided.
Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, who ordered the removal of the banners, said that the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) admitted to putting up the banners at the Bandung boarding houses.
The Bandung mayor said that he had reprimanded the Islam Defenders Front (FPI).
“Provocative banners have to be taken down,” he said.
Technology, Research and Higher Education Minister, Muhammad Nasir, said last week that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community should be barred from Indonesian university campuses.
"The the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community corrupts the morals of the nation", he said.
Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil said he did not have a problem with citizens who supported or were involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
But the Bandung mayor said that he would take action against citizens who "publicized LGBT issues openly on social media".
The Southeast Asian Times

Visual arts to hasten reconciliation in 1965 killings of communists in Indonesia
Human rights lawyers including Indonesian prosecutors Sri Suparyati and Uli Parulian Sihombing at the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in The Hague in November 2015 charged Indonesia with crimes in the 1965-66 Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) massacre of its members and supporters including Balinese, said that the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague had warned the Indonesian Students Association (PPI) in Leiden not to attend the tribunal
From News Reports
Jakarta, February 2: Indonesian artists call on the visual arts
to hasten reconciliation for the survivors of the 1965 killing of communists, reports the Jakarta Post.
Chairman of Democracy and Society Study Center of the Research and Community Service Center (Pusdema LPPM) at the University of Sanata Dharma, Yogyakarta, Baskara T. Wardaya, says that the visual arts would hasten reconciliation for the survivors of the 1965 massacre.
Indonesia should give the young an opportunity to express their opinions on the 1965 massacre in the visual arts", he said.
He said that the international community must know about the 1965 massacre.
Department of Communication and New Media, National University of Singapore (NUS), Dyah Pitaloka, said that academic papers, research reports and films on the 1965 massacre of communists in Indonesia "did not belong to the victims".
She said that the visual arts would promote dialogue that would reconstruct the public perception of the 1965 massacre that is dominated by the single narrative created by the New Order regime under president Suharto.
Judges of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in The Hague concluded in November 2015 that the Indonesian government was responsible for the 1965-1966 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters.
The judges said that the killings under president Suharto of up to two million Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters had "the political objective of removing the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its sympathizers from the Indonesian political scene".
The Southeast Asian Times

China calls on the US to keep the peace in the South China Sea

From News Reports:
Beijing, February 1: China called on the United States on Saturday not to undermine mutual trust and regional peace and stability following reports that a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Zhongjian Dao, Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, reports Xinhua.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying that the U.S. warship violated Chinese law by entering China' s territorial sea without authorization.
China issued a warning to the missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur," he said.
Chinese military stationed in the Xisha Islands, navy vessels and warplanes reportedly denied permission for the U.S. navy destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, to make a port call to Hong Kong.
US Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright said on Saturday that the missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracel chain in order "to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands".
He said that China's attempts to restrict navigational rights by requiring prior notice are inconsistent with international law.
"Such ship movements would be regular in the future", he said.
In November the US Navy sent guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen to islands constructed by China in the South China Sea reportedly to challenge China's territorial claim over the Spratley Islands.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Thai massage parlour proprietor and parliamentarian sentenced to jail
Chuvit Kamolvisit, 65, massage parlour proprietor and founder of the Rak Thailand or First Thai Nation Party at the Bangkok Supreme Court on Thursday
From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 29: The Bangkok Supreme Court sentenced a former massage parlour proprietor and founder of the Rak Thailand or First Thai Nation Party, Chuvit Kamolvisit, 65, and accomplices to two years in prison on Thursday, for the pre-dawn raid and demolition of retail shops and bars in Bangkok 2003.
Chuvit Kamolvisit, 65, reportedly bought land on Sukhumvit Square in Bangkok where the bars were located for Bt500 million in 2002 in order to build a four-star hotel on the land.
He ordered the demolition of bars and retail shops on 26 January 2003 when the owners refused to vacate the premises.
About 300 including off duty soldiers were employed to evacuate and demolish bars and shops on the 10-rai strip of land on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 10 in the dawn raid.
Chuvit Kamolvisit was first prosecuted on March 13, 2003, after the owners of 135 retail shops in Sukhumvit Square lodged complaints including trespass and damaging property against the former massage parlour proprietor and parliamentarian.
About 600 accomplices including staff officers Lieutenant Colonel Himalai Phiewphan and Major Thanyathep Thammathorn attached to the Supreme Command were also prosecuted.
After his arrest in 2003, Chuwit Kamolvisit announced that he had paid bribes to hundreds of police officers.
He sold his massage parlours, formed his own political party and unsuccessfully ran for Bangkok governor in August 2004.
In 2005 he was elected for a four-year term to the House of Representatives, but in 2006 the Constitutional Court removed him from parliament.
On July 13, 2006 after a three-year trial the Bangkok Southern Criminal Court acquitted all defendants except lawyer, Charnwet Malaibucha, lawyer for Chuwit Kamolvisit, who was sentenced to eight months in jail.
On Sept 11, 2012 the Appeal Court found 66 defendants guilty of damaging property.
The court handed a five-year sentence to 60 defendants, including Chuvit Kamolvisit and Maj Thanyathep Thammathorn, formerly of the 11th Infantry Battalion, and imprisoned six others to three years and four months.
The 66 defendants appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court was first scheduled to deliver the ruling on Aug 23 last year, but was adjourned to Oct 15 after four defendants had failed to show up, including Maj ThanyathepThammathorn, formerly of the 11th Infantry Battalion
The ruling, set for October 15, was deferred to January 28 after Chuvit Kamolvisit pleaded guilty.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary re-elected
Newly re-elected Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, 71, centre, with new Central Committee party members at the closing ceremony of the National Congress of the party in Hanoi on Thursday
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 30: The Vietnam Communist Party re-elected the General Secretary of the 11th Party Central Committee (PCC), for a second term on Wednesday, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
Nguyen Phu Trong, 71, who was officially endorsed by the 12th National Party Congress on Thursday, leads the 19-member Politburo that will govern Vietnam for the next five years.
The re-elected General Secretary of the Vietnam Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong, 71, said that one-party rule in Communist Vietnam is a far better alternative to authoritarianism disguised as democracy.
"Vietnam's Communist Party is one-party rule but we also have principles of democracy and accountability of leaders", he said.
He said that the Vietnam Communist Party "can never become authoritarian unlike some democracies".
The re-elected General Secretary of the Vietnam Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will work alongside the Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang, nominated for President and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, nominated for Prime Minister
that are expected to be approved by the National Assembly mid year, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysian Parliament approves Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, said that the perception that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a form of colonisation by the United States of America and the big powers was totally untrue
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, January 29: The Dewan Rakyat or House of Representatives approved the motion tabled by the International Trade and Industry Minister, Mustapa Mohamed, for Malaysian participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) , reports the New Straits Times.
The motion was approved by 127 votes with 84 votes against.
The Ruling party, Barisan Nasional, holds 134 seats, the opposition 87 seats and one independent Member of Parliament bringing the total in the House of Representatives to 222.
The Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai were among the Members of Parliament that voted for the motion. tabled by International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.
International Trade and Industry Minister, Mustapa Mohamed, said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was his "biggest challenge".
“Under the leadership of chief negotiator, J. Jayasiri and his team of various races and from a few ministries, we were able to defend the country's interest and sovereignty,” he said.
The Dewan Negara or Senate is yet to vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) with the agreement expected to be formally signed in New Zealand on 4 February by 12 countries.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Japan, United States, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam signed the agreement on October 5.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was approved by the House of Representatives despite protests by about 7,000 Malaysians against the signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in Kuala Lumpur last week.
Opposition party leaders including Batu MP Tian Chua, Subang MP R.Sivarasa, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, and Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali called for the establishemnt of a Royal Commission to monitor the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) saying that "the signing the agreement will allow foreign companies to enter Malaysia and that the economy will be fully controlled by the United States and third parties".
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar military to control immigration and population
From News Reports:
Yangon, January 28: President U Thein Sein called on the Myanmar Parliament on Tuesday to extend the power of the military-controlled Home Affairs Ministry to include the Ministry of Immigration and Population, reports Agence France Presse.
The call for military control of the Ministry of Immigration and Population was made days before the incumbent military-dominated Parliament hands over legislature to the National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
President U Thein Sein who is also the chairman of the military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) had reportedly called on the Parliament to combine the Ministry of Immigration and Population and Ministry of Home Affairs in the military drafted constitution that would put the Ministry of Home Affairs, border affairs and defence under military control.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein assured Aung San Suu Kyi a peaceful transfer of power following the 'landslide' victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD), in the General elections held in November.
The Union Election Commission election results showed that National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats.
The Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The elections in November were the first inclusive elections since 1990 when the National League for Democracy (NLD)
swept to victory but were annulled by the military.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian Aborigines call Australia day Invasion Day
Australian Aborigines gathered at Parliament House in Melbourne on Australia Day to lay flowers in commemoration of Aborigines who were killed during white settlement, the Stolen Generation and Aboriginal deaths in custody
From News Reports:
Canberra, January 27: Aborigines protested the celebration of Australia Day on 26 January, at Parliament House in Melbourne in the state of Victoria, calling the day that marks British settlement "Invasion Day", reports Australian Associated Press.
The "Invasion Day" protest by Australian Aborigines that was organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation reportedly rejects proposals to recognise Aborigines in the Australian constitution.
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation organiser, Meriki Onus, says that "the grassroots Aboriginal community says 'no' to the recognition campaign that's been pushed on us."
"We want to control our own politics," she said.
She said January 26 was a day of mourning for Aboriginal people.
"We don't celebrate Australia Day, because Australia Day celebrates genocide," Meriki Onus said.
"Today is Invasion Day for Aboriginal people."
The protesters marched from Parliament House to the Melbourne Town Hall and on to Birrarung Marr, chanting "No pride in genocide" and "Always was, always will be Aboriginal land."
The Southeast Asian Times



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


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

Australia's Grand Mufti’s links to banned Egyptian sheik stir up tensions Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed...reports Chris page here

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Land granted to Australian Aborigines under the Land Rights Act is up for grabbs by developers.
Aboriginal Land Rights activist, Dr William B Day urges former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon. Ian Viner, AO QC to act page here

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


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

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

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


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


What they're saying open page here


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

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

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ambodia. 2,898.49
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Malaysia Ringgit.....2.9843
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Singapore properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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

Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel

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