The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Wednesday 22 August 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

Vietnam opens consulate in Macau
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 9: Vietnam's Hong Kong Consulate General launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Consulate General of Hong Kong, Tran Than Huan, said at the launching ceremony that the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region.
He said that the consulate office in Macau will provide easier access to information about Vietnam, saying that
it would boost friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Macau.
The Consulate General said that the office expected to recieve support from local organisations including the Vietnam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.
More than 20,000 Vietnamse are employed as domestic workers, in the service industry at Macau's casino's.
Vietnamese also operate tourist and services companies.
The Southeast Asian Times

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6, 2015: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a se
nior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times


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PM Mahathir calls on China to revise projects signed by former PM

Malaysia's Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and China's Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday
From News Reports:
Beijing, August 22: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on China, on Monday, for cooperation in the revision of China Belt and Road funded projects signed under his predecessor that were suspended following Dr Mahathir's election, reports Agence France Press.
The newly elected Prime Minister of Malaysia railed against a number of deals struck with China's state owned enterprises by the former Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration following Dr Mahathir Mohamad's election in May.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad suspended China's Belt and Road funded projects worth more than US22 billion that included work on the East Coast Rail Link project from the Thai border to Kuala Lumpur over pricing.
He halted work on a further two projects worth more than US$2.3 billion awarded to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau that was reportedly linked to the misappropriation of funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said ahead of the meeting with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Monday that he would try to cancel or modify the previous administration's agreements with China, saying that "the most important thing is for Malaysia to save money."
"I believe that China will look sympathetically towards Malaysia's financial problems and perhaps help to resolve some of our internal fiscal problems,” he said.
Malaysia’s national debt reportedly stands at US$250 billion due to former Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration's reportedly "cut quick deals with Beijing in return for help paying off debts linked to the alleged misapropriation of funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of which former Prime Minister Najib Razak was finance minister and chairman.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned that wealthy countries such as China should not use their riches to take advantage of less developed nations, saying that "there is a new version of colonialism happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich contries just in terms of open free trade".
"It must also be fair trade", he said.
Premier Li Keqiang said at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday that China envisaged that expansion of trade ties with Malaysia would result in a greater balance in two-way trade.
The Premier said that consensus reached during talks and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during Dr Mahathir's visit including agreement on a bilateral currency swap, imports of palm oil, rubber and durian imports, sent a message that Malaysia and China would "remain friends in the long term."
The Southeast Asian Times


PM Mahathir calls on Malaysians in China to come home on visit to Beijing

From News Reports:
Beijing, August 21: Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on Malaysians residing in China to return to Malaysia during a five day official visit to China, saying "it's time for Malaysians residing overseas to return home and make the country strong again", reports the Star.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was sworn in as Prime Minister in May, told about 200 Malaysians residing in China at a meeting in Beijing on Sunday that "it's time to pay back."
He said that "while salaries earned overseas might be higher so was the cost of living."
"While the pay may be lower at home the cost of living is also lower," he said.
The Prime Minister reminded the Malaysians residing in China that "remember that you grew up and studied in Malaysia."
He said that Malaysia would not achieve the status of a developed nation by the year 2020 as planned, saying "we are now living in a Malaysia that has been destroyed by the previous government."
He said that it was possible for Malaysia to achieve the status of a developed nation by 2025, saying that "with help of the Malaysian diaspora it was possible to achieve it earlier".
"The new Malaysian Government is trying to put the country back on the right track," he said.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who attended the meeting with the Malaysian diaspora in Beijing with his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Malaysian Foreign Saifuddin Abdullah and Malaysian Ambassador to China Zainuddin Yahya, received donations from Malaysian companies for Tabung Harapan Malaysia, a fund launched by the Prime Minister in order to reduce the government debt of more than RM1 trillion, allegedly incurred by the Najib Razak Barisan National (BN) government.
The Southeast Asian Times

Sister of incarcerated lands rights activist calls on PM for her release

Land rights activists, Tep Vanny, 38, at Prey Sar prison in Cambodia
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh Post, August 17: Sister of jailed Cambodian land rights activists has called on Prime Minister Hun Sen to release Tep Vanny from prison on the second year of her incarceration for protesting against the eviction of thousands of residents from Boeung Kak lake in central Phnom Penh, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Hourt Chansovann, 44, who visited her sister Tep Vanny, 38, at Prey Sar prison in Wednesday, claims that her sisters health is deteriorating, saying that her condition is "not good".
Hourt Chansovann said that she had appealed to the Prime Minister to intevene and release her sister from prison, saying that her sister was "pale and had difficulty breathing".
Tep Vanny is serving a 30 month prison sentence for participating in a protest that turned violent at the prime minister Hun Sen's home in Phnom Penh in 2013 and a six month sentence for protesting at the Phnom Penh City Hall in 2011.
A petition for the release of jailed Tep Vanny, who was one of 13 women activists protesting against the eviction of thousands of residents from Boeung Kak lake in central Phnom Penh, was submitted to Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen in March.
The women protesters are the so called "Boeung Kak 13" who were arrested in May 2012 at the site of their former dwellings at Boeung Kak lake in central Phnom Penh and sentenced to the Prey Sar prison for up to 30 months.
The Boeung Kak lake protesters, were found guilty of “aggravated rebellion” and the illegal occupation of land when they appeared before Phnom Penh municipal court judge Phou Povsun, reportedly without legal representation.
The women were arrested for protesing the eviction of thousands of residents, claiming they were "forecibly relocated".
Their dwellings were reportedly demolished in 2010 to allow China's Inner Mongolia Erdos Hongjun Investment Corporation to fill the lake to build luxury flats and high-end shops.
The Phnom Penh municipal administration and Shukaku Incorporated signed a US$79 million 99 year lease agreement for 133 hectares of prime real estate including Boeung Kak and its surrounds in February 2007.
The Southeast Asian Times

China congratulates Hun Sen for winning Cambodian elections
From News Reports:
Beijing, August 19: China has sent a congratulatory message to the president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Hun Sen for his party's victory in the general elections held on 29 July, reports Xinhua.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, said that under Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia has achieved political stability, economic growth and international status.
"We believe that the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) will lead the Cambodian people on a development path that suits its national reality", he said.
He said that the Communist Party of China (CPC) attaches great importance to its cooperation with the Cambodian People's Party, (CPP), saying that the Communist Party of China will work towards the development of China-Cambodia strategic cooperative partnership.
Cambodia's National Election Committee (NEC) release of the results of the 29 July election showed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) received 4,889,113 votes, or 76 per cent of the total, the royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party received 374,510 votes and the League for Democracy Party (LDP) 309,364 votes.
Three countries, Australia, Canada and the US expressed their disappointment with the return to power for a further five year term of Prime Minister Hun Sen who has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades.
The Australian government reportedly said it was unhappy that the Cambodian people “have been unable to freely choose their representatives”.
The US reportedly said it would consider expansion of visa restrictions that were announced in December last year following the dissolution by the Cambodian Supreme Court of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
The Cambodian Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition party followed the arrest of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president, Kem Sokha, on charges of plotting to overthrowing the Hun Sen government with the help of the United States.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) party president was arrested on September 3 without a warrant at his Phnom Penh residence and charged with treason on grounds that a 2013 video showed that the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, had received assistance from the US.
Canada called for the release of jailed Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha and for the participation of all political parties in the democratic process.
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan, said that Australia, Canada and the US did not reflect the reality of Cambodia, saying that "because they are politically biased, their analysis was not based on reality."
“They did not send representatives to monitor the elections," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


20 years jail for Vietnamese guilty of attempting to overthrow government

Le Dinh Luong, 53, at the People's Court in Nghe An province in northern Vietnam on Thursday
From News Reports:
Hanoi, August 18: The People's Court in Nghe An province in northern Vietnam sentenced a Hop Thanh Commune resident in Yen Thanh District
to 20 years in prison followed by five years house arrest for attempting to overthrow the Socialist Republic of Vietnam government, reports Rueters.
Le Dinh Luong, 53, was reportedly detained in July 2017 following an investigation by the Nghe An province Police Investigation and Security Force.
He was charged by the Supreme People's Procuracy with encouraging a boycott of the National Assembly election in 2016 and for posts on Facebook that expressed views against the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the state.
Lawyer Mr So, claims that there was insufficient evidence to charge his client with activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration.
"Le Dinh Luong didn't plead guilty at the trial and he will appeal the verdict," he said.
In April six Vietnamese were charged by the Supreme People's Procuracy with attempting to overthrow the the Socialist Republic of Vietnam between March 2013 and July 2017.
The six were reportedly accused of attempting to overthrow the government under the guise of a civil society organisation, the 'Brotherhood for Democracy'
The six were reportedly recruited to protest against the National Assembly's parliament election in May 2016 and to spread anti-state propaganda.
The Supreme People's Procuracy argues that the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' is a guise for its members "to collaborate with illegal organisations both in and outside Vietnam".
The six are accused of establishing a representative office and website for the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' organisation, issuing a manifesto, formulating internal and external policies and guidelines and recruiting and providing training programmes for new members.
The Supreme People's Procuracy argues that the 'Brotherhood for Democracy' aims to 'subvert the political system of Vietnam' and replace it with a pluralistic multi-party system.
The Southeast Asian Times

No return to absolute monarchy in Malaysia, says PM Mahathir
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 17: The Malaysian government will not amend the Federal Constitution that allows Bills to automatically become law in 30 days without the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s - King of Malaysia - assent, with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying "there will be no return to absolute monarchy," reports the Star.
"There are no plans to return power to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to reject laws passed by Parliament", Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the parliament on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said that in a democracy the voice of the people decide everything, saying that "if the King were given absolute power to reject laws that it would mean a loss of the people's power and we would no more be a democracy but an absolute monarchy."
The Prime Minister was replying to a question raised by Member of Parliament, Dr Wan Junaidi, who asked if there would be a return to a Malaysia before amendments to the Federal Constitution in 1994.
The amendments to the Federal Constitution in 1994 took away the Yang di-Pertuan Agong - King of Malaysia - power to reject a Bill passed in both houses of parliament.
Member of Parliament Dr Wan Junaidi claims that the constitutional amendments to the Federal Constitution in 1994 had eroded the institution of Parliament of which he said the King was a partof.
Dr Mahathir told the Member of Parliament that the constitutional amendments of 1983, 1984 and 1994 were not aimed at eroding the special position of the Conference of Rulers but to ensure Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament became law as soon as possible.
The institution of Malaysia's Conference of Rulers brings together its nine Malay monarchs and the governors of the four states that do not have a royal family.
The Conference of Rulers main task is to elect a Yang di-Pertuan Agong - king of Malaysia - every five years from among the nine rulers.
The agong is tasked by the Constitution with safeguarding the special position of the Malays and indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak and legitimate interests of all other communities and also appoints the four governors.
In June Malaysian King Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, gave his consent to the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new Attorney General on the advice of newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad despite opposition to the appointment by the Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) on the grounds that the attorney general was a non-Muslim.
Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) official, Prof Mahamad Naser Disa said that because the new attorney general is not a Muslim he cannot assist the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in preserving the sanctity of Islam at all times, saying that "the appointment of the new attorney general is in breach of Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution."
The Southeast Asian Times

Tonga wants China to write-off hundred million dollar debt

King Tupou VI of Tonga and President of China Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relation in March 2018
From News Reports:
Darwin, August 16: Tonga in the south Pacific has called on China to write-off debts owed by the Pacific island countries, warning that repayments impose a huge burden on the impoverished nations, reports the Associated Presse France.
Tonga Prime Minister Akalisi Pohiva, says that "Tonga is struggling to repay debts of more than $US100 million to China."
He said that China's aid in the Pacific has increased with funds coming in the form of loans from Beijing's state-run Exim Bank,
"The situation needs to be addressed at the Pacific Island Forum summit to be held in Nauru next month." he said.
The Prime Minister urged all Pacific Island countries to sign a submission asking the Chinese government to write-off their debts, saying that it was the only way that Tonga can move forward.
Beijing has reportedly refused to write-off the loans, turning them into aid grants and giving Tonga an amnesty on repayments.
"China now wants the debts repaid", he said.
The Prime Minister said that he feared that if Tonga failed to pay the debt that China would take assets such as buildings, saying that "Tonga's only option is to sign a submission asking the Chinese government to write-off the debt."
Australia and New Zealand have increased aid in the Pacific to counter China’s growing presence in the Pacific, saying that debts to China leave the south Pacific susceptible to Beijing’s influence.
The Southeast Asian Times


President Widodo calls on military for help after earthquake

President Joko Widodo (center) and West Nusa Tenggara Governor TGB Zainul Majdi visit field hospital in Tanjung
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 15: President Joko Widodo has instructed the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to assist villagers affected by the earthquake in isolated areas of Lombock who cannot be reached by road, reports Antara.
He said that villages that were hit by landslides and that cannot be reached by motorbike or by car were yet to recieve assistance.
"I have instructed the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander to deploy four helicopters to earthquake affected areas that cannot be reached by road", he said.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said on Monday that the death toll from the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit the Indonesian Island of Lombok on 5 August and that was followed by numerous aftershocks including a heavy aftershock on Sunday had reached 392.
He said that 339 of those killed were from North Lombok, 30 from West Lombok, 9 from Mataram city, 10 from East Lombok and 2 from Central Lombok and Lombok city.
“Most of the dead were found buried under debris,” he said.
He said that of the 1,353 injured, 783 people suffered major injuries, 570 suffered minor injuries, with most of the injured from North Lombock.
"The earthquake forced 387.067 to flee from their homes, " he said.
He said that 198,846 fled from Lombok regency, 91,372 from West Lombok, 20,343 from Mataram city, and 76,506 from East Lombok.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman said that buildings and residences destroyed by the earthquake include 67,875 houses, 606 schools, 6 bridges, 3 hospitals, 10 health centers, 15 mosques, 50 prayer buildings, 20 office buildings.
The Southeast Asian Times


Okinawa says no to construction of offshore US military base

Protesters in Okinawa say "No" to construction of United States military base in Henoko Bay
From News Reports:
Tokyo, August 14: Tens of thousands of Japanese protested in Okinawa against the planned relocation of a US military base, saying they want the US Marine Corps Air Station located in Futenama in southern Okinawa off the island altogether and not moved to an offshore facility, reports the Associated Press.
About 70,000 protested in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, against the proposed relocation of the US base in Futenama to an offshore facility near Nago, demanding that the Japanese goverment "immediately scrap the relocation plan."
The protesters called for the removal of all US military bases from Okinawa ahead of the Japanese government plan to begin construction of the offshore US military facility in Henoko Bay, saying that the construction of an offshore the US military base in the bay would be an environmental disaster, risking coral and endangered dugongs.
The Japanese government is reportedly planning to begin dumping soil into Henoko Bay within days for landfill for the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station.
In October 2017 Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi called for a revision of the Japan-US 1960 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), urging the Abe government to cancel the proposed United States Henoko base construction project, saying that "local residents will not accept it."
He said that the Japanese government has made little progress on the revision of the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), saying that Okinawa residents endured an endless succession of accidents and crimes caused by the presence of the US military.
Voters in Okinawa reportedly voted for candidates who opposed the construction of the US base in the Heoko district in the Japan general elections in October 2017
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodian royalist political party appoints new president
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 13: The Cambodian royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) party appointed Prince Norodom Chakravuth, son of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, 74, as the party's acting president yesterday, reports the Khmer Times.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was Funcinpec party president since 1992, signed a document from Thailand on Wednesday stating that his son Prince Norodom Chakravuth, is the party’s acting president and Pech Sodetha is secretary-general.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh signed the document in Thailand where he is recovering from serious head injuries suffered in a head-on motor vehicle collision on June 18 while on election campaign in Sihanoukville Province in southwest Cambodia, leaving his wife Ouk Phalla, 39, dead and five passengers injured.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late monarch Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni, was allocated the majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) parliamentary seats after tthe Supreme Court dissolved the party in November 2017.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) was returned to power in the July 29 elections, giving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has served as Prime Minister for more than three decades, a further five year term.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claims to have won the majority of the parliamentary seats including the majority of the 10 parliamentary seats in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham Province.
Royalist Funcinpec party candidate for Kampong Cham, Yann Sokum, urged Kampong Cham Province voters to vote for the Funcinpec royalist party led by the prince prior to the elections, saying that the party could win two parliamentary seats.
The Kampong Cham, Provincial Election Committee (PEC) director Meang Meng Houn claims that voter turnout in the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kampong Cham province stronghold was similiar to that of the 2013 commune elections
The National Election Committe (NEC) data for the 2013 national elections reportedly shows that the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) stronghold in Kampong Cham province had almost 1.3 million registered voters of whom 69 percent cast their vote with the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) receiving 3,606 votes and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) 2,721 votes.
The Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC) is to announce the official results of the 29 July election on September 11.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand to improve cooperation with five ASEAN neighbours

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre, meets with governors of Thailands border provinces and Thai ambassadors to five neighbouring countries at the Thai Foreign Ministry in Bangkok on Friday

From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 12: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called on governors of Thailands 32 border provinces to improve cooperation with Thailands five neighboruring Southeast Asian countries, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to prioritise seamless development and connectivity between Thailand and Thailand's five neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam at a joint meeting between the Thai provincial governors and the Thai ambassadors to the neighbouring countries at a meeting in Bangkok on Friday.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said at the meeting titled "Synergised Efforts to Enhance Security, Prosperity and Sustainable Development in Border Provinces", that Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam are Thailand's strategic partners, saying that the five countries will help facilitate connectivity and spur development particuluarty in transportation and tourism.
He said that every interaction on the border is crucial, saying that "every interaction has international dimensions because the mutual interests of the countries are involved."
The Thai Prime Minister also called for the raising of public awareness to violence in the southern provinces of Thailand, saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked closely with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim countries to help the government with development in the three Muslim-dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai jet-set Buddhist monk sentenced to 114 years imprisonment

Former Thai Buddhist monk, Wirapol Sukphol, 39, dubbed "the jet-set monk" was known for his persuasive preaching
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 11: A former Thai Buddhist monk, who was extradited from the US, to stand trial in Bangkok for violation of the Computor Crimes Act, fraud, money laundering and the abduction of girl under 15, was sentenced to 114 years in prison for fraud related crimes on Thursday.
Former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, 39, fled Thailand for the US in 2013 to avoid arrest on charges of statutory rape, embezzlement and online fraud in his effort to seek donations.
The former monk, who was known for his "persuasive preaching" and his claim of supernatural powers while he was the abbot of the Khantitham forest monastery in Kanthararom district in Si Sa Ket province, reportedly drew many followers and donations to the monastry.
An investigation by the Thai Department of Special Investigation was undertaken in June 2013 into the monk's activities following a You Tube video that went viral showing former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, counting a wad of banknotes on a private jet.
The investigation revealed that the former monk had accumulated assets including luxury vehicles estimitaed at $US35 million.
Former monk, Wirapol Sukphol, who returned to Thailand in July 2017 on an extradition order from the US, was ordered to disrobe by officials of the National Office of Buddhism and to change into civilian clothes on arrival in Bangkok.
The Sangha Council in Ubon Ratchathani had reportedly expelled him from the monkhood in absentia in 2013.
In July 2017 former monk Wirapol Sukphol is banned from preaching at the Bang Kwang prison in Bangkok's Chatuchak district where he is in detenion.
Prison chief, Krit Krasaethip, ordered the former monk known as "Luang Pu Nen Kham" to refrain from teaching Dhamma to inmates, saying that
"there was a risk the former monk would use his well-known preaching skills to persuade other prisoners to do as he wanted."
"But the former monk is allowed to attend daily religious activities such as morning and evening prayers," he said.
The 114 year jail sentence handed down by the Bangkok criminal court is to be reduced to 20 years, the maximum under Thai law for multiple counts of the same offence.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Malaysian PM Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak charged with money laundering in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 10: Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak, pleaded not guilty to three charges of money laundering
following investigations into allegations that funds had been transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to the former Prime Minister's private bank accounts, reports the Star.
The former Prime Minister was charged with money laundering amounting to RM42million under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001 on Wednesday.
He is accused of receiving RM27mil, RM5mil and RM10mil into his bank account in three separate transactions through Real Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas), reportedly obtained from illegal activities.
Thel transactions were committed at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Bangunan AmBank Group, No 53, Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur on December 26, 2014 and on February 10, 2015.
The former Prime Minister was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position as Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board for gratification on his arrest on 3 July.
Former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was charged Under Section 52 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2009.
The arrest of former Prime Minister Najib Razak in July and his subsequent successful bail application follows the May 9 Malaysian general elections that saw the defeat of the ruling Barisan National (BN) party lead by the former Prime Minister.
The election of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May followed the declassification of the 1MDB audit report that had been marked secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said after he was sworn in that he would appoint a finance ministry advisor to oversee efforts to recover US$700mil (RM2.6bil) that was allegedly transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak private bank accounts.
In May the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 womens brand name handbags in raids on apartments owned Prime Minister Najib Razak family members including his wife Rosmah Mansor and daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was seized in Bali in February and that was seized by Malaysian authorities last week was allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
The Southeast Asian Times


Death toll from earthquake on Indonesian Is of Lombok reaches 108

The Indonesian national Search and Rescue (SAR) agency and volunteers search for survivors buried beneath the rubble of the Lombok mosque
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 9: The death toll from the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the Indonesian Island of Lombok on Sunday rose to 108 on Wednesday as the Indonesia National Search and Rescue (SAR) agency and volunteers search for survivors buried beneath the rubble of destroyed homes including the Lombok mosque, reports the Australian Associated Press.
Chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Willem Rampangilei said that the death toll had reached 108 and the number of injured had reached 134, saying that he expected the death toll and number of injured to increase.
About 100 were inside the Jabal Nur Mosque in Lading-Lading in north Lombok when the earthquake struck, leaving about 30 buried beneath the ruins of the mosque.
National SAR Agency (Basarnas) and volunteers said that they believed about 30 were buried beneath the mosque, saying that of the about 100 pairs of shoes left outside the mosque on Sunday 30 were yet to be claimed.
A 66-year-old village elder, Supardi, who survived the destruction of the mosque, said he was praying in the mosque when the earthquake struck on Sunday.
He said that villagers were recovering from the first earthquake that struck Lombok a week earlier that had left 1500 villagers without homes and "sleeping outside."
He said that the earthquake last week had caused "countless cracks in the mosque's walls", saying that the mosque was being repaired when the second earthquake struck.
"Nobody expected a stronger quake would occur in such a short time," he said.
Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security, Wiranto, said that 7,000 international tourists had been evacuated from the tourist areas of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno following the Lombok earthquake on Sunday.
"The Indonesian government has deployed ships, buses and aircraft to evacuate tourists", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

HCMCity court sends banker to 30 years in prison

Former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Pham Cong Danh, sentenced to 30 years in jail for causing VND9 trillion (US$396 million) loss to the state
From News Reports:
HCMcity, August 8: The HCMCity People's Court sentenced former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) to 30 years in prison on Monday for violating State regulations on economic management causing loss to the state, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Pham Cong Danh, is one of 46 former bankers and business executives convicted of corruption over a multi-million lending scheme.
The bankers and business executives were found guilty of causing losses of VND9 trillion (US$396 million) to the state in an illegal lending scheme that involved Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), Sacombank, the TPBank, the BIDV and the State Bank of Vietnam including 29 private companies of which former chairman of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) Ph?m Cong Danh, was affiliated.
In April 2017 the Vietnam Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee established eight task forces to investigate corruption in Vietnam in 20 provinces and cities.
Investigations into the alleged corruption of the Vietnam Petroleum Construction Corporation (PVC) led to the arrest and extradition of the former head of the State-owned enterprise, Trinh Xuan Thanh and the arrest of former chairman of Oceanbank, Ha Van Tham.
Investigation by the Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee into the practices of former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank(VNCB) Pham Cong Danh, led to his arrest for violation of state regulations on economic management causing loss to the state.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia seizes luxury yacht in Bali purchased with 1MDB funds

The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' seized in Bali on Thursday arrived in Batam in Malaysia yesterday with a replacement captain and crew
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 9: Lawyers for Equanimity Cayman Ltd, owners of the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was initially seized by Indonesian authorities in Bali in February, allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund, claim that the seizure of the luxury yacht this time by Malaysian authorities is illegal, reports the Star.
Lawyer James F Haggerty claimed on Sunday that seizure of the US$250 million luxury yacht by Malaysian authorities in Bali on Thursday was in violation of Indonesian law, saying that "the yacht was seized by a politically motivated Malaysian government bent on advancing its own political agenda with little regard to existing court rulings or basic legal rights".
A Jakarta court ruled in April that the seizure of the yacht by Indonesia was illegal and released the yacht to its owners, Equanimity Cayman Ltd, saying that while the "Equanimity" was wrongfully impounded, the yacht was not allowed to leave Bali's Tanjung Benoa port.
In July, Indonesian police reseized the yacht following a formal request for legal assistance from the US.
Lawyer James F Haggerty claimed on Sunday that the seizure of the yacht in Bali is also against a US DoJ (Department of Justice) court order, saying that "the US argued that it was critical that the US has possession of the yacht in order to ensure that the asset retained its value until a fair court hearing can determine final ownership and the rights of all the parties involved."
The California Central District Court granted the US Department of Justice (DOJ) protective custody over the Equanimity, arguing that "the crew cannot be trusted to return the vessel to the United States in order to facilitate its sale.
The decision by Indonesia to hand over the yacht to Malaysia was reportedly reached following a personal request made by Prime Minister Mahathir who visited Indonesia in June.
"The illegitimate seizure of the yacht by the Mahathir government shows how quickly the rule of law has disappeared in Mahathir's government", he said.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations that funds were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore calls on ASEAN to redouble efforts to conclude regional trade agreement

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, centre, at the 51st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on Saturday says that the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will show ASEAN political will
From News Reports:
Singapore, August 6: Singapore called on the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to "redouble efforts" to conclude agreement negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the 51st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on Saturday, reports the Straits Times.
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that all 10 ASEAN nations, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam agreed to "redouble efforts to conclude a region-wide trade agreement by the end of the year".
He said that all 10 Asean countries and external partners acknowledged that a multilateral, rules-based trading system, that has underpinned ASEAN progress and peace for the past 70 years was under pressure, saying that "we need to double down on this principle."
A statement issued at the two day 32nd Asean Summit in Singapore in April, reaffirmed the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) commitment to Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with ASEAN calling on Indonesia to conclude negotiations with ASEAN member states and its 6 partner countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Indonesia's Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, said in Yogyakarta at the 21st round of Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in February that Indonesia is commited to accelerating negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
"Once ratified the RCEP would become the largest trade bloc in the world, boosting economic growth in the member countries", he said.
In July 2017 the Indonesian People Coalition for Economic Justice (IPCEJ) rejected the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the grounds that the agreement includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) that would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue the Indonesia government for compensation at an international arbitration tribunal should government regulations such as rise in minimum wage limit corporate profits.
The call for conclusion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) follows the failure of the 16 member trade partnership to reach agreement at the 31st ASEAN Summit held in the Philippines in November last year.
Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTIP) trade undersecretary, Ceferino Rodolfo, said then that "contentious issues remain unresolved" between the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and the six partner countries.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand seeks extradition of fugitive former PM Yingluck from Britain

Former fugivite Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reportedl left Britian for Dubai on Wednesday to join her brother, fugitive former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra
From News Report:
Bangkok, August 5: The Thai government seeks the extradition of fugitive former Thai Prime Mininster Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, from Britain, following confirmation that fugitive former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is residing in the UK reports the Bangkok Post.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai h confirmed that the government has formally sought the extradition of fugitive former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, saying that "the Attorney-General and the Foreign Ministry were duty bound to seek extradition."
The government reportedly seeks the extradition of the former Prime Minister under the 1911 extradition treaty.
Fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra reportedly fled Thailand for Britain in August 2017 ahead of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruling that sentenced her to prison.
The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced the fugitive former prime minister to five years in prison in absentia for dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy program.
The former Prime Minister was charged with committing nonfeasance and malfeasance reportedly resulting in the loss of 518 billion baht to the state while holding the post of Prime Minister.
The former Prime Minister was found guilty of the alleged offences under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999.
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is accused of colluding with two Chinese companies not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the government rice pledging scheme.
Yingluck Shinawatra denied all charges made against her by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) who voted unanimously in May 2014 following the declaration of Martial Law, that there was sufficient evidence to indict ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on charges of dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy program.
Lawyer, Noppadol Laothong, for the fugitive former prime minister said that assets including apartments, parcels of land in and outside Bangkok and 12 bank accounts estimasted at 35 billion baht have been seized,
"The properties will be auctioned in order to compensate the victimes of the national rice subsidy program," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Dissolved opposition claims Hun Sen in cahoots with election committee

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy campaigning from self exile in Paris
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 4: Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) said from exile in Paris that the Cambodian National Election Committe (NEC) and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) that was returned to power in the national elections held on Sunday, conspired to validate 50 percent of the 600,000 invalid ballots, reports the Khmer Times.
Former president of the disolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, claims that "the real figure should be about 20 percent of the 600,000 invalid ballots."
"Voters who were forced by the authorities to participate in the poll against their will crossed out the names of the 20 parties on the ballot paper to make it null and void, he said.
He said that 35 percent of the votes were invalid at a polling station for the second largest party in Cambodia, the royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC).
The majority of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) seats were allocated to the Prince Norodom Ranariddh's royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative (FUNCINPEC) following the disolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court in November 2017.
National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Hang Puthea dismissed the accusation that the election committee and the ruling party conspired to validate invalid ballots, saying that the former president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy, wanted to disrupt the election process.
He said that the election process was observed and monitored by both national and international observers who witnessed the voting from the beginning until the ballots were counted.
"I am confident that the process was conducted with transparency,” he said.
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) spokesman, Sok Eysan dismissed the accusation of collusion made by former president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), saying that "some voters destroyed their ballot tickets to show support for the CNRP, but the number is small compared to the number of people that actually turned out and voted for the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).”
Former dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawyer, Ou Chanrath, claims that a number of international observers said that the elections were neither free nor fair, saying that "an independent investigation should be conducted to get to the bottom of the accusation of collusion."
In November 2013 following the the July 2013 election results that returned the incumbent prime minister Hun Sen's, Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) with a majority of 68 seats against Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) 55 parliamentary seats, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claimed that up to 1.25 million Cambodians who were eligible to vote were not on the electoral role.
The National Election Committee denied the irregularities.
The Southeast Asian Times


Complaints by the thousands follow elections in Cambodia

International observers from six countries including four ASEAN member countries, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and non-ASEAN members, Russia and India monitored 22,967 polling stations in last Sunday's general elections in Cambodia

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, August 3: The Cambodia National Election Commission (NEC) has received 2,206 complaints after the general elections held in Cambodia on Sunday, with more than half the complaints filed by one political party, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
National Election Commision (NEC) spokesman, Hang Puthea, said that the complaints are mostly about check marks on the ballot papers, saying that,
“most of the complaints about tick marks on the ballots came from the League for Democracy Party (LDP)".
The League for Democracy Party (LDP) established in 2006 with the slogan "A nation in which we live as its owner" and with the aim to reduce power of the government reportedly filed 1,367 complaints with the National Election Commision (NEC)
League for Democracy Party (LDP), secetary-general Chin Thun said that of the 1,367 complaints filed with the National Election Commision (NEC), 288 complaints were denied at the commune level, saying that the party was "continuing to gather evidence for the NEC".
He said that the majority of the complaints were about irregular markings on the ballot paper, observers sent away during ballot counting, observers prohibited from taking photographs, and recount requests.
The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) said in a statement on Tuesday that "the election was not free or fair", citing the Supreme Court dissolution of the oppostion Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), intimidation of civil society organisations, restrictions on journalists and use of government facilities for election campaigning.
The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) claims that its participation in the election was to "educate and to establish a new political culture", saying that "Cambodian's will ultimately, support peaceful change".
Khmer Will Party (KWP), deputy secretary-general Tol Prasadh said that the party did not file any complaints or find any irregularities.
The Southeast Asian Times


"Goodbye America" says B.A. Hamzah as he calls for Asians to determine their own political destiny in "Time for Asia to set it's own course, minus the U.S."...open here


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here




Is prescribed burning of grasslands in northern Australia out of control? ......Chris Ray reports ... open page here

"Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi" by Kerry B. Collison "is undoubtedly fictional but by no means improbable, " says Johannes Nugroho ....open 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

 

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

 

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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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

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