The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
Darwin Ha Noi Cairns Singapore Derby Bangkok Port Hedland Kuala Lumpur Kununurra Manila Townsville Denpasar HCM City Surabaya Penang Dili Port Moresby Phuket Phnom Penh Jakarta
established 2000
Thursday, 2 October 2014
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

Thai military not invited to
US 4 July celebrations in Bangkok
From News Reports
Bangkok, July 2: Senior Thai military officers have not been invited by the US embassy in Thailand to attend Independence Day celebrations on 4 July in Bangkok, reports the Nation.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak said that Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth and four other senior military officers have not received an invitation from the US embassy to attend the annual US Independence Day celebration on the 4 July in Bangkok.
The US embassy in Thailand will reportedly hold a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day.
Invitations were extended to senior government officials, selected members of the public and the diplomatic community but did not include senior Thai military officers.
Invitations for the US Independence Day celebrations that began arriving last week and that did not include senior Thai military officers
follow the ban last week on the participation of the Thai navy in the US led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) attended by 22 navies.
The ban on the Thai navy participation in the biennual maritime exercise in the Asia-Pacific follows the declaration of martial law by Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
The Southeast Asian Time


Public demonstration bill debate brought forward
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 10: The proposed draft public demonstraton bill, prepared by the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security, is to be presented to the National Assembly for possible approval earlier than planned, reports Thanh Nien.
The draft public demonstration bill that was expected to be completed within the next five years was brought forward for possible approval by legislators following public protests in 22 provinces against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig in alleged Vietnam waters on May 1.
HCMCity National Assemblyman, Truong Trong Nghia said that the government has yet to offer the public a legal means to demonstrate.
"The government is required to protect the people's right to express themselves despite conflicting interests", he said.
371 of 436 legislators agreed to debate the proposed draft public demonstration bill at a mid year session next year with voting on the possible passing of the bill to follow at the end of the year.
The Southeast Asian Times


'Islam is not a state,' says author of book published for Indonesian high school students

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3: The book titled, 24 Weeks to a Civic Example: A Muslim Student’s Agenda, that was launched by pro pluralism organisation, the Maarif Institute, in Indonesia last month, encourages the idea that being religious is synonymous with being a good citizen, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Being a good Muslim is analogous to exemplary civic conduct but one should not conflate Islam with the state," said co-author Bambang Q. Anees, philosophy at the Bandung State Islamic University (UIN).
He warned of the dangers of religious instruction that he said must be addressed in the national curriculum.
“The current Islamic studies curriculum needs to be revised", he said.
He said that Muslims have been brought up to think that Islam is all about the history of Muslim wars and
nationhood.
"This belief translates into the belief that Islam is a state,” said the co-author at the launch of the book at the Muhammadiyah Center of Study in Menteng, Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia votes for new parliament and new president

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 10:
Indonesians voted for a new parliament yesterday in a poll that will decide who will run for president in the presidential elections scheduled for July 9, reports the Jakarta Post.
About 75 percent of the more than reportedly 186 million registered voters caste their vote for almost 236,000 candidates in about 500,000 polling stations yesterday.
A party or coalition requires 112 of the 560 seats in the lower house of parliament to nominate a candidate for the presidency
The Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) is the only party out of 12 parties nationawide seen as having a chance of achieving this result without forming a coalition, reports the Jakarta Post.
The PDI-P has been ahead in the opinion polls and reportedly extended its lead with the nomination of Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, 52, known as "Jokowi".
PDI-I had almost 20 percent of the reportedly 30 percent of votes counted at 2,000 polling stations yesterday or almost 20 percent of about 50 percent of total votes counted.
The official results of the legislative elections are not expected to be announced until 9 May.
The Southeast Asian Times

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Cambodian families blame loss of land on the ANZ bank
Kompong Speu province family members placed a curse on the ANZ Royal Bank in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, calling on the spirits of their ancesters to ruin the banks business. The families blame the bank for their loss of land.
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 2: About 100 Kompong Speu province family member protested at the Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) Royal Bank in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, blaming the bank for the loss of their land to sugar planters, reports the Cambodian Daily.
They reportedly say that the ANZ bank financed the sugar plantations and that the sugar plantations would not have been established without the loan from the ANZ bank to Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Senator Ly Yong Phat.
The representatives of Kompong Speu families also say that they were driven off their land by Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Senator Ly Yong Phat.
The Kompong Speu province families first protested the loss of their land at the ANZ Royal Bank in Phnom Penh in August.
The Cambodian Daily reports that bank officials said then that the ANZ Bank could not help "resolve the land dispute".
The ANZ bank told the Kompong Speu families that "any obligation the bank had ended when the loan for the sugar plantation was repaid in July."
The Kompong Speu families were unsuccessful in securing a meeting with ANZ bank officials on Tuesday but vowed to continue their protest for the loss of their land.
A further 200 representatives of Kompong Speu province families were reportedly on their way to Phnom Penh to join the protest but were turned back by police.
Kompong Speu province provincial police chief Keo Pisey denied that his officers had stopped the convoy from driving to Phnom Penh.
He said that the convoy was stopped and vehicles were searched for weapons.
The Cambodian Daily reports that the ANZ Bank, the Australian majority owner of ANZ Royal Bank in Phnom Penh, did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week about 40 families who claim they were "forcibly relocated" from the Phnom Penh Boeung Kak Lake under World Bank funding for the development of the lake area called on the World Bank not to approve further loans to the developers until they had received adequate compensation
The Southeast Asian Times


Yudhoyono orders inquiry into Democratic party House of Representatives walkout
Protesters wearing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono masks with long noses to signify lying say that the president who is also the chairman of the Democratic party did not stop the House of Representatives "walkout".
The party members walked out without casting a vote for direct elections resulting in a "victory" for indirect regional elections, taking away the public right to direct vote for mayors, district heads and governors
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 1: The president oI Indonesia and chairman of the Democratic Party, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has ordered an inquiry into the "walkout" by members of the Democratic Party at the House of representatives plenary meeting last week that led to a "victory" for indirect regional elections, reports the Jakarta Post.
Democratic Party central board head, Amir Syamsuddin, said that he had been ordered by party chairman, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to begin an inquiry into who had instructed Democrat Party memebers to "walk out" during the House plenary meeting that led to the victory of those who favoured indirect regional elections.
The Democratic Party central board head said that Yudhoyono had instructed the board "to give the hardest punishment" to the member who had ordered the "walkout" without casting a vote.
"we are ready to carry out his order", he said.
The call for an inquiry into the "walkout" follows the unsuccessful challenge by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) of the legislative institutions MD3 Law at a hearing at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta on Monday.
Three of the five judges, presided by Judge Hamdan Zoelva, rejected the request for a judicial review of the legislative institution MD3 Law.
The MD3 Law stipulates that the House speaker and heads of regional legislative councils are to be selected by House members. The House members do not have to be members of the party that wins an election as the 2009 MD3 Law had regulated, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) who supported the retention of direct elections began the plenary session last Thursday expecting the Democratic party that holds 148 out of the 560 House seats to vote for direct regional elections.
The parties had agreed to the terms on a conditional 10-point list of measures for improvement of the administration of regional elections proposed by the Democratic Party after fours hours of intense lobbying.
But opponents to direct elections argued that the introduction of the 10 conditions into the plenary session were not in keeping with the agreed simple choice of voting for either direct elections or indirect elections and rejected the proposed conditions.
Democrat legislator, Benny K Harman told the house after more lobbying ensured during adjournment of the session that the democrats would not take part in the vote.
"With the 10 conditions being rejected , we have decided to remain neutral" he told the House.
The Democrats then walked out of the House of representatives without casting a vote.
From the 361 total votes left in the House, 135 voted for direct elections, 226 voted for indirect elections.
The Southeast Asian Times


Protesters call for Beijing to give
Hong Kong direct elections
Police throw tear gas canisters into a crowd of students at the Central Government Offices and Legislative Council complex in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged protesters to disperse and dismissed rumors that police had opened fire or that the government planned to call in the People’s Liberation Army
From News Reports:
Hong Kong, September 30: Thousands in support of the student-led protest that began last Friday in central Hong Kong against the 2017 elections that would allow Beijing to nominate candidates for Chief Executive, continued their call yesterday for direct elections despite police efforts to stop the protest.
Anti riot police in gas masks and carrying batons and guns reportedly "repeatedly" fired tear gas at protesters who blocked Hong Kong roads, besieged government buildings, forced the closure of banks and schools and who reportedly plan to bring forward next months planned mass sit-in in central Hong Kong.
Support for the student-led protest follows the decision last month by the Chinese government that candidates for the 2017 election of Hong Kong Chief Executive be nominated by Beijing.
Beijing ruled last month that Hong Kong could use the "one man one vote" system to elect the Chief Executive in 2017 but from only two or three candidates that would be elected by a nominating committee from Beijing.
Hong Kong Federation of Students and activists of "Occupy Central With Love and Peace" have called on Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign following his refusal to meet with students over their call for direct elections
Federation of Students secretary general Eason Chung reportedly said that China is "reneging on its promise to maintain Hong Kong autonomy under its “one country, two systems” that was agreed when British colonial rule ended in 1997.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged protesters to disperse and refused their demands for a meeting instead he reportedly urged "everyone to get behind the political reforms" included in his report on Hong Kong elections that were reviewed by the standing committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing last month.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodians protest settlement of refugees sent by Australia
Protesters outside the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday say that the "poverty-stricken' country was unable to look after its own people and should not be taking refugees from Australian detention centres
From News Report:
Phnom Penh Post, September 29: About 100 Cambodians protested outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday following the signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding by Cambodian and Australian governments that would allow settlement of refugees in Cambodia and not in Australia.
Cambodia Centre for Human rights, president, Virak Ou, said that Cambodia was in no position to take refugees.
He said that Cambodia was a poor counry and that the health system is "sub-par' at most.
"I don't know how the refugees will send their children to school," he said.
Cambodia is to receive $US35 million in development assistance from Australia over the next four years in return for the voluntary resettlement of refugees processed in Australian detention centres in Papua New Guinea and on the Australian mainland.
Australia Imigration Minister, Scott Morrison, said the scheme would help clear the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres in Papua New Guinea of the about 1000 refugees of which 200 on Nauru have been found to be legitimate refugees.
The number of voluntary refugees to be accepted after processing by Australia is to be reportedly determined by Cambodia.
Australian funding to help Cambodia to strengthen settlement support to refugees has reportedly raised concern that Cambodians could be "upset" if refugees were given money and were percieved to be "better off" than others in the community.
Cambodia Minister of the interior Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said in Phnom Penh on Friday that the refugee resettlement plan will initially involve a small number of refugees, four or five, to Cambodia.
"We will keep working to ensure that the agreement works in our interest." he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Decision for indirect regional elections to be challenged in constitutional court

Protesters against the passing of the indirect Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada) at the House of Represenatatives on Thursday make up the reportedly 91 percent of Indonesians in 33 provinces who say that they want direct regional elections

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 28: The new Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada) passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday that officially declared that regional leaders will be elected indirectly by regional legislative councils (DPRD), taking away the public right to direct vote for mayors, district heads and governors, is to be challenged in the constitutional court, reports the Jakarta Post.
Lawyer, Muhammad Andi Asrun said that he will apply for a judicial review of the Regional Elections Act on Monday.
The lawyer who represents 17 applicants including workers, pollsters, governors and members of the Regional legislative Council (DPRD) said that his clients believe that indirect elections would encourage 'money politics" in the parliament.
"Indirect regional elections betray the peoples rights to choose their regional leaders in a democratic manner," he said.
President and Democrat Party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that he was disappointed that a ten-point list proposed by the Democratic Party that included holding all regional elections concurrently to save costs and to make regional governments rather than central government pay for the costs of elections, was rejected.
He said that the decision on the Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada) should not have been decided by vote but instead by a lobby.
"The Democratic Party will propose a law suit and will consider whether to appeal in the Supreme Court or the Constitutional court", he said.
Opponents of direct elections argued that the introduction of the 10 conditions by the Democratic party into the plenary session on Thursday were not in keeping with the agreed simple choice of voting for either direct elections or indirect elections and rejected the proposed conditions.
Democrat legislator, Benny K Harman told the house after more lobbying ensured during adjournment of the session that the democrats, who hold 148 seats of the 560 House seats, would not take part in the vote.
"With the 10 conditions being rejected , we have decided to remain neutral" he told the House.
From the 361 total votes, 135 voted for direct elections, 226 voted for indirect elections.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia votes for indirect regional elections
Members of the Indonesian Democratic Party declared neutrality in the decision for direct or indirect regional elections and walked out of the plenary session without voting after the proposed measures to improve the administration of regional elections proposed by the Democratic Party were rejected
From News reports:
Jakarta, September 27: The Indonesian House of Representatives passed the new Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada)in the early hours of yesterday morning officially declaring that regional leaders will be elected indirectly by regional legislative councils (DPRD), taking away the public right to direct vote for mayors, district heads and governors.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) who support the retention of direct elections began the plenary session expecting President Sudilo Bambang Yudhoyono Democratic party that holds 148 out of the 560 House seats to vote for direct regional elections.
The parties had agreed to the terms on a conditional 10-point list of measures for improvement of the administration of regional elections proposed by the Democratic Party after hours of intense lobbying.
The conditonal 10-point proposal included the proposal to hold all regional elections concurrently to save costs and to make regional governments rather than the central government pay for the costs of elections.
Opponents to direct elections argued that the introduction of the 10 conditions into the plenary session discussion were not in keeping with the agreed simple choice of voting for either direct elections or indirect elections and rejected the proposed conditions.
Democrat legislator, Benny K Harman told the house after more lobbying ensured during adjournment of the session that the democrats would not take part in the vote.
"With the 10 conditions being rejected , we have decided to remain neutral" he told the House.
From the 361 total votes, 135 voted for direct elections, 226 voted for indirect elections.
The Southeast Asian Times

Court hands down sentences to looters and vandals in anti China riots in southern Vietnam
Cao Huu Tho, 33, (centre) one of twelve convicted for damaging property during the anti China riots in May received the longest sentence of 16 months. The remainder received up to 14 months for offences including forcing the gate open and hurling stones at the guard station of the CBS Company at the Nhon Trach 3 Industrial park and incuding looting and the vandalisation of the Texhong Textile Company
From News Reports:
Hanoi, September 26: The Dong Nai People's court in Vienam's Nhon Trach District handed down sentences of up to 16 months to looters and vandals found guilty of damagaing property during the May 13 anti China riots against the deployment China's National Offshore Oil Corporation oil rig in Vietnams exclusive economic zone.
The People’s Court sentenced 12 Vietnamese defendents to between 10 months and 16 months for “causing a public nuisanc" last week.
The 12 defendentans pleaded guilty to “causing a public nuisance" during the protest against China's deployment of the oil rig, Haiyan 98, including warships and aircraft to guard the oil rig in the East Sea.
The protest of about 6000 workers that began peacefully turned violent when demands were made on company's in the industrial zone to allow workers to stop work and join the protest.
Hundreds of companies, mostly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean were vandalised and at least 15 had their warehouses set ablaze.
A further three Vietnamse were also sentenced in the north-central province of Ha Tinh last week for looting a Chinese company during the May anti- China riots.
The three employees were convicted of stealing machinery from the factory during the confusion caused by a brawl that broke out at the Vung Anh Economic Zone including at the Taiwanese Formosa Plastics factory.
Phan Van Lanh, 39, was sentenced to eighteen months in jail , Ho Xuan Nguyen, 54, and Le Dinh Yen, 30, to one year each for stealing four welding machines from the factory.
The brawl left two Chinese workers dead and 149 both Chinese and Vietnamese workers injured.
The Southeast Asian Times


Residents evicted from Boeung Kak Lake call on World Bank not to loan money to developers
Families evicted from the surrounds of Boeung Kak Lake have called on the World bank not to approve a loan of $US25 million for the development of the Lake in central Phnom Penh
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, September 25: About 40 families who claim they were "forcibly relocated" from the Phnom Penh Boeung Kak Lake under World Bank funding for the development of the lake area have called on the bank not to approve further loans to the developers until they have received adequate compensation, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The World Bank reportedly suspended loans to the Cambodia government in August 2011 until compensation to poor residents evicted from the surrounds of Boeung Kak Lake was settled.
The bank then had 20 active projects in Cambodia with committments of more than $US400 million.
The Phnom Penh municipal administration and Shukaku Incorporated signed a US$79 million 99 year lease agreement for more than 133 hectares of prime real estate including Boeung Kak and its surrounds in February 2007.
Cambodian People's Party senator member and Cambodia Chamber of Commerce chairman Lao Meng Khin was then also chairman of the Cambodia-based Shukaku corporation.
The rights of more than 4,225 families, who might have been eligible for title to land in accordance with Cambodia’s Land Law 2001, were not recognised.
Their dwellings were 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.
In 2012 Phnom Penh municipal court judge Phou Povsun sent 13 women to jail for up to 30 months for “aggravated rebellion” and the illegal occupation of land around the Boeung Kak lake located in central Phnom Penh.
The women, who included Nget Khun, 72, were arrested at the site of their former dwellings at the city’s Boueng Kak Lake and found guilty after a three-hour trial at which they reportedly were without legal representation.
The women who were arrested while attempting to rebuild their homes argued that the compensation they recieved was in adequate.
The Cambodian Human Rights and development Association (ADHOC) said in a statement that it was disturbing that 13 Boeung Kak women received hefty prison terms when the Phnom Penh municipal administration and Shukaku Incorporated continued to disreagard the Land Law and Sub-Decree No. 146 on Economic Land Concessions
"The developers razed people's land before official licence was granted, neglected to carry out required impact assessment and desregarded calls for compensation", said the statement.
The statement also said that those who have participated in peaceful protest were allegedly met with violence and judicial harrassment.
The Southeast Asian Times


Women urge parliament to reject indirect local elections
The Coalition of indonesian Women (KPI) protested at the Hotel Indonesia in Jakarta on Monday against the proposed amendment to the direct-election mechanism in the 2004 law on regional elections that would allow local candidates to be selected by elected regional legislatures
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 24: The Coalition of Indonesian women (KPI) has urged policy makers to reject the proposed indirect elections in a petition submitted to the House of Representatives on Monday.
The petition was submitted ahead of the debate on the proposed amendment to the direct-election mechanism in the 2004 law on regional elections.
The proposed amendment to the law on regional election that would allow local candidates to be selected by elected regional legislatures rather than by direct votes.
The amendment to the law is supported on the grounds that local elections have become too costly and are prone to vote buying.
The Coalition of Indonesian women (KPI), Secretary-General Dian Kartika Sari who supports the retention of direct local elections said that women would be unable to elect local candidates in indirect elections.
"Direct elections enabled public political participation without intermediaries", she said.
Supporters of the proposed plan to abolish the direct-election system include the Golkar Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), PAN, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Gerindra Party, all are members of the Red-and-White Coalition that nominated losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, Hatta Rajasa.
The Democratic party has not yet declared support for direct local elections but holds 148 of the 560 seats at the House of Representatives.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has declared support for the retention of direct local elections of local candidates, reports the Jakarta Post.
President -elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also supports the retention of direct local elections of local candidates and says that he would not have ben able to "advance beyond his first post as surakarta mayor" if it were not for direct local elections.
The southeast Asian Times



.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

Can educators from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world help keep young people out of jail in outback Australia? ..Reporter Chris Ray ..open here


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

 

What they're saying open page here

 

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

 

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

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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