The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Wednesday 22 February 2017 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Khmer Rouge Tribunal interns stop work
From News Reports:

Phnom Penh, February 22: About 35 foreign interns, working without pay for the United Nations-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh, stopped work on Monday calling for payment for interns, reports the Cambodian Daily.
The one hour strike at the court's cafeteria was coordinated by the Global Intern Coalition who organised walkouts and protests in cities throughtout the world including New York and Geneva.
U.N. Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT) coordinator, Mark Webster, said that interns including Australians and French gathered at the Phnom Penh court cafeteria from 1 to 2 pm.
He said that 37 of the 46 interns including 41 paid workers signed a statement calling for payment for interns.
“We the undersigned demand an end to unpaid internships at the U.N. Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT), the statement said.
He said that interns at the court work a minimum of 34.5 hours a week.
"They do not recieve an allowance or reimbursement for expenses other than for visa costs," he said.
In September 2013 about 200 of about 250 Cambodian translators and interpreters went on strike, saying they would not return to work until they received payment for their work.
The Royal Government of Cambodia was reportedly obliged under the United Nations Cambodia Agreement to pay Cambodian workers.
The Japan and the Australia government have provided most of the money for the tribunal which in 2015 had successfully sought US$92 million from the United Nations to continue its work for the next two years.
The Southeast Asian Times

Coal-fired power plant protest ends in agreement
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 21: Five "Save the Andaman from Coal" protest organisers against the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Krabi province, who were arrested at Government House in Bangkok on Saturday and released yesterday, have agreed to end the protest, reports the Bangkok Post.
The protest in Bangkok was attended by hundreds of Krabi residents following the go-ahead given by the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC), for the construction of an 800-megawatt coal-fired plant in Krabi.
The "Save the Andaman from Coal" protest organisers agreed to end the protest despite spokesman, Prasitchai Nu-nuan, saying yesterday that Krabi residends would continue protesting at Government House until the government "scraps the project."
Government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the protest organisers agreed to end the protest following the governments agreement for further studies into the environmental impact of the establishment of the coal fired plant in Krabi.
He said that the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has been instructed to 'start over again' with Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies in Krabi province.
"The studies must be conducted with transparency and true participation by local people under the supervision of a tri-partite committee," he said.
In February 2016 Constitution Drafting Committee spokesman, Udom Rathamarit, reportedly said that the first draft of the 270-section constitution omitted the provisions of the 2007 charter that require the state to conduct public hearings in order to obtain the opinions of community members, stakeholders and academics.
"The state is also required to conduct environmental and health impact assessment Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) study reports before carrying out a project which may affect communities", he said.
Environmental activists called for revision to the draft constitution in February 2016, saying that the omitted content in the Rights and Liberties chapter undermined community rights by not sufficiently protecting and managing natural resources.
However, Community Resource Centre coordinator, Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, said then that while community rights were guaranteed in the draft constitution the constitution says the rights must not jeopardise state security.
"The government has prioritised state security in development projects including the 2,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Songkhla's Thepha-Pattani district", she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Coal-fired power plant protesters arrested in Bangkok
"Save the Andaman from Coal" protesters and police clash at Government House in Bangkok after the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) gave the go-ahead for the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Krabi province
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 20: "Save the Andaman from Coal" organisers were arrested at Government House in Bangkok on Saturday morning protesting the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Krabi, citing environmental damage, reports the Bangkok Post.
The protest followed the go-ahead given by the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC), for the construction of an 800-megawatt coal-fired plant in Krabi.
Five protest organisers, Thai Sea Watch Association president, Banjong Nasae, Thatpong Kaedum, Prasitthichai Nunual, ML Rungkhun Kitiyakara, Akkaradet Chakchinda are reportedly being held by army military police at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.
Police also arrested 12 activists during a clash between police and protesters at Government House on Friday following the decision by the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC).
Pol Lt Gen Surachet Hakpan, chief of the Patrol and Special Operation Division, said that police have discharged the 12 activists.
"They were freed without charge," he said.
Col Winthai Suvaree, spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, said the arrests were made because the protesters failed to disperse or move to a designated protest area set aside by authorities.
"The 2015 Public Assembly Act has clear guidelines that protesters must comply with," he said.
He said the Civil Court will consider a petition lodged by Pol Lt Col Supak Wongsawat, deputy superintendent of Dusit district police on Friday.
“Save Andaman from Coal” spokesperson Prasitchai Nu-nuan, said that they would continue to protest at Government House until the government "scraps the project."
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuans vote by consensus in Indonesian elections
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 18: West Papua voters exercised their right to vote in the Indonesian regional elections held on Wednesday by consensus or the noken system, reports the Jakarta Post.
The noken system was reportedly applied three days before election day set by the Indonesian government for February 15.
Polling stations were reportedly unused on election day as Papuans throughout West Papua including in Dikiyouwa regency with a population of over 100,000 voted under the noken system.
Dikiyouwa regency official, Dinan Anou, said that Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) officials marked ballot papers based on the noken voting system.
"Witnesses representing each candidate were in attendence," he said.
In April 2016 the Indonesia Election Supervisory Agency called on the Indonesian government to abolish the noken voting system for regional elections in Papua New Guinea and West Papua, saying that it violated democratic principles.
But the noken voting system in Papua New Guinea and West Papua where consensus for regional and general elections is reached by the community was upheld, overriding the Election Supervisory Agency call for the Indonesian government to abolish the noken voting system
The Election Supervisory Agency believed that the noken system did not protect the voters right to confidentiality and that this was "not in line with the Indonesian principle of direct and free elections".
The voters choice of candidate can reportedly be seen by all present under the noken system.
Almost all West Papuans eligible to vote in the Indonesian presidential elections held in July 2014 burned there ballots including about 200 promotional flyers that were distributed on behalf of presidential candidate, former Indonesian general Prabowo-Hatta.
West Papua National Committee (KNPB) chairman, Agus Kossay said that about 80 percent of West Papuans supported the call to boycot the Indonesian presidential elections.
The Southeast Asian Times

Jakarta governor to be decided in April
Son of former president former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, seen here casting his vote, conceded defeat in the Jakarta gubernatorial elections held on Wednesday
From News Reports:
Jakarta. February 17: The Jakarta gubernatorial elections held on Wednesday will go the second round on April 19 to decide the winning candidate, reports the Jakarta Post.
The race for Jakarta governor was reportedly "neck and neck" ending with none of the candidates reaching more than 50 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama secured 43.05 percent of the votes ahead of former education and culture minister, Anies Baswedan, in second place with 39.86 percent.
Son of former president former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, is in third place with 17.09 percent of the vote.
Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono conceded defeat, saying "with chivalry and gracefulness, I accept my defeat in the Jakarta gubernatorial election,"
The count was reportedly based on a count of 99.88 percent of the vote.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, ran for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran while campaigning for re election.
Former minister of education and culture, Anies Baswedan, is reportedly backed by a former general Prabowo Subianto, who stood for election against the 2014 Jokowi "Joko" Wido presidential election.
Chairman of the Jakarta General Election Commission (KPU) Sumarno said that long queues were recorded at polling stations in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta and Matraman in East Jakarta.
"I witnessed high enthusiasm at several polling stations," he said.
The General Election Commission (KPU) reports that 7,108,589 had registered to vote at 13,923 polling stations.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former anti corruption chairman calls for former Indonesian president Yodohono to speak up
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 16: Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar, 63, has accused former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) of involvement in murder charges layed against him that resulted in an 18 year jail sentence, reports the Jakarta Post.
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar claims that former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) asked him not to detain former Bank Indonesia deputy governor, Aulia Pohan, who was implemented in corruption, saying that "Yudhoyono and Aulia Pohan were related through the marriage of their children."
Former chairman Antasari Azhar reportedly said that he wanted the former president Yudhoyono "to open up to the public" on his involvement in the murder charges.
"I demand SBY open his mouth." he said.
Former Bank Indonesia deputy governor, Aulia Pohan, the son-in-law of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), is serving a four year jail sentence for embezzlement in the Rp 100 billion nationalisation of Bank Century.
Former chairman (KPK) Antasari Azhar who was released from prison in November 2016 urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to follow up on embezzlement investigations into the nationalisation of Bank Century.
He said former Bank Indonesia (BI) deputy governor, Aulia Pohan, implicated in the case had been imprisoned on corruption charges while others, who were accused of embezzlement in the nationalisation of Bank Century, remained free.
"The KPK needed to follow up on the case," he said.
On March 14, 2009 former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Antasari Azhars was found guilty for ordering the murder of State-owned pharmaceutical company Putra Rajawali Banjaran director, Nasruddin Zulkarnain, 45, who was assassinated near the Modernland golf course, Tangerang.
The South-Jakarta-District Court found in February 2010 the former corruption eradication commission chairman, Antasari Azhars, guilty of murder for his part in the drive-by shooting.
The Southeast Asian Times


Islamic Defenders Front leader questioned by police for insulting Indonesia's Pancasila
Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader, Rizieq Shihab, questioned by police for isulting state ideology and former president Sukarno
From News Reports:
Jakarta Post, February 15: Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader, Rizieq Shihab was questioned by police for insulting state ideology, the Pancasila, on Monday after failing to respond to two summons to attend the West Java Police headquarters in Bandung last Tuesday and Friday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Rizieq Shihab reportedly agreed to anwer the summons following the threat of arrest by the West Java police.
West Java Police investigators questioned Rizieq Shihab for more than 8 hours on suspicion of alleged defemation of state ideology the Pancasila and first president Soekarno.
Rizieq Shihab said that he was questioned on the history of Pancasila and state ideology and the implementation of Islamic Law.
"I answered 36 questions on a thesis entitled the Impact of Pancasila on the implementation of the Islamic Law in Indonesia," he said.
"I proved scientifically that the Pancasila is not against Islam and that it welcomes the implementation of religious law, " he said.
West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said that the questioning of Rizieq Shihab on suspicion of alleged defemation of state ideology the Pancasila and first president Soekarno "is not over yet."
"The investigation is ongoing," he said.
He said that police investigators are to question witnesses that are yet to be presented by Rizieq Syihab.
Rizieq Shihab refused the attendence of Islamic Defenders Front members to the West Java Police headquaters on Monday as ordered by police.
Daughter of former first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, filed charges against Rizieq Shihab in October last year
for alleged defamation of the Pancasila and former president Sukarno in a deceision made by both secular and religious leaders in 1945.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesians abroad go home to vote
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 14: The Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) said that there would no voting stations opened for voters outside Indonesia for regional elections tomorrow, reports the Jakarta Post.
General Elections Commission (KPU) Hadar Nafis Gumay said that "Regional Elections Law does not require the Elections Commission to open polling stations overseas.
"The Law on Legislative and Presidential Election requires the General Elections Commission (KPU) to provide voting stations overseas", he said.
He said that the only way for registered Indonesian voters living abroad can vote in the gubernational elections is "by comming home to Jakarta on polling day", he said.
West Jakarta resident residing in Singapore, a compliance professional in the financial services industry, Lius Putra, 29, said he plans to return to Indonesia to cast his vote in the gubernational elections.
“The coming election will be a turning point for Jakarta," he said.
He said that the elections will decide whether development that has been in place since 2012 will be continued.
"Or if there will be a drastic change in policy," he said.
A total of 101 regions including seven provinces in Indonesia would conduct elections simultaneously to choose new district heads, city mayors or provincial governors.
More than two million overseas Indonesian residents were registered to vote in the 2014 presidential elections in 2014.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesian police and military to secure elections in Papua
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 14: Almost five thousand personnel will be deployed to assure security of regional elections in 11 districts in
Indonesia's eastern province of Papua tomorrow, reports the Jakarta Post.
Chief of Papua Regional Police Command, Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw, said that the decision to deploy 4,742 security personnel was made in view of the vulnerability of the elections in the regions.
He said that five districts have been considered most vulnerable to security in the elections, Jayapura, Tolikara, Lanny Jaya, Nduga and Jayapura city.
Other districts in Papua conducting elections tomorrow are Sarmi, Mappi, Dogiai, Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya and Yapen Islands.
In April 2016 the Election Supervisory Agency called on the Indonesian government to abolish the noken voting system for regional elections in Papua New Guinea and West Papua, saying that it violated democratic principles.
But the noken voting system in Papua New Guinea and West Papua where consensus for regional and general elections is reached for a regional head by the community was upheld , overriding the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) call for the Indonesian government to abolish the noken voting system
The Election Supervisory Agency believes that the noken system does not protect the voters right to confidentiality and that this was "not in line with the Indonesian principle of direct and free elections".
The voters choice of candidate can reportedly be seen by all present at a voting station under the noken system.
Almost all West Papuans eligible to vote in the Indonesian presidential elections held in July 2014 burned there ballots including about 200 promotional flyers that were distributed on behalf of presidential candidate, former Indonesian general Prabowo-Hatta.
West Papua National Committee (KNPB) chairman, Agus Kossay said that about 80 percent of West Papuans supported the call to boycot the Indonesian presidential elections.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thousands gather in Jakarta in support of Muslim candidates for election
Crowds overflowed from Istiqlal Mosque into the streets of central Jakarta on Saturday in support of Muslim candidates in the elections on Wednesday
News Reports:
Jakarta, February 13: Thousands gathered in Jakarta on Saturday in support of Muslim candidates in the forthcoming elections despite a police ban of the gathering, reports Rueters.
The Forum of Muslims (FUI), a coalition of conservative Islamic groups, reportedly organised the gathering at the Istiqlal Mosque located in central Jakarta.
Tens of thousands of Muslims gathering at the Istiqlal Mosque were urged to vote against incumbent Jakarta Christian Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his Chinese name "Ahok" in the elections on Wednesday.
Rueters reports that "clerics gave sermons calling on Indonesians to protect Islam and to vote for Muslim candidates."
The crowd reportedly overflowed from the Mosque into the streets of Jakarta and included Gerindra Party former education minister Anies Baswedan, businessman Sandiaga Uno and Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, son of former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his running mate Sylviana Murni.
The Gerindra Party, Indonesia's largest opposition party, claimed in January that it had been offered Cabinet posts by Indonesian Christian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
President Widodo has reshuffled his Cabinet twice since taken office in 2014 with the latested in July 2016 when he added new ministers from opposition Golkar Party and opposition National Mandate Party (PAN).
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, is running for re-election while on trial for blasphemy for allegedly using Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran on a visit to Indonesia's outer islands while campaigning for re election.
He reportedly told the fishermen that they have been deceived by those who use Al-Maidah 51 in the Quran to discourage Muslims from supporting him.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnamais faces multiple charges under Article 156 (a) on blasphemy of the Criminal Code, which contains a maximum jail sentence of five years and Article 28, point (2) of the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law on promoting hate speech, that carries a maximum six years of imprisonment if convicted.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia deports Chinese workers employed on tourist visas
Chinese workers employed on tourist visas at the PLTU Tenayan Raya power plant in Pekanbaru, Riau were sent back to China
From News Reports:
Jakarta, February 11: Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Ministry has deported 14 Chinese workers for immigration violations, reports the Jakarta Post.
Law and Human Rights Ministry Rau regional office head, Ferdinand Siagian, said that the deported workers were employed at the
PLTU Tenayan Raya power plant in Pekanbaru, Riau, for two months on tourist visas.
He said that the Chinese workers were sent back to China.
“They were flown to Jakarta escorted by immigration officers", he said.
The provincial manpower office in Riau found 98 Chinese workers employed on tourist visas at the coal fired power plant PLTU Tenayan Raya located in sub-district of Tenayan Raya in Riau last month.
The Kupang Manpower and Transmigration office in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara Province found 30 Chinese employed at the Bolok Steam Power Plant with no legal work permit earlier this month.
The Indonesian government has refuted allegations that 10 million foreign workers including Chinese nationals are illegally employed in Indonesia.
Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasona Laoly, said that "based on Labor Ministry data there are 21,000 Chinese foreign workers holding a temporary stay license in Indonesia."
Central Statistics Agency (BPS) chairman Kecuk Suhariyanto said that Chinese nationals accounted for the most foreign tourists arrivals in Indonesia in the last year.
He said that more than 1.8 million Chinese tourists arrived in Indonesia between January and November 2016 saying that, "Indonesia today relied more on China to drive its tourism industry."
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian sentenced to death for murder of Hell's Angel in Pattaya
From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 10: The Pattaya court sentenced an Australian to death for the murder in 2015 of a Hells Angels gang member in the resort city of Pattaya, reports the Bangkok Post.
Australian Antonio Bagnato, 28, and accomplice, US national Tyler Gerard, 22, were arrested after police found the battered body of Australian, Wayne Schneider in a shallow grave.
Antonio Bagnato was sentenced to death for reportedly detaining, assaulting and then killing the Hells Angels gang member.
Tyler Gerard was jailed for two years for his part in the crime.
His sentence was reduced by one year for his cooperation with police in the investigation.
The court found that the killing was premeditated, saying that the defendants had rented a house and a vehicle to detain and kill the Hells Angels gang member.
Thai police alleged that Antonio Bagnato murdered Wayne Schneider "in a dispute over drug trafficking" that "stretched from Europe to Asia" and that had "netted millions of dollars."
Thai police alleged that the murder of Wayne Schneider took place at Jomtien Park Villa housing estate in South Pattaya on 30 November 2015.
His body was carried in a Toyota Hilux Vigo pickup truck to a forest 100 metres from the Viharn Sian-Khao Chee Chan in Sattahip where he was buried in a shallow grave.
Antonio Bagnato, who was arrested in Cambodia, denied killing Wayne Schneider.
Tyler Gerard, who was arrested in an attempted to flee Thailand, also denied involvment in the killing of the Australian.
The death sentence is legal in Thailand. Under the Penal Code, the death sentence can be imposed as punishment for 35 crimes, including drug trafficking. Prisoners who receive the death sentence can appeal for a royal pardon.
The Southeast Asian Times

Balinese call for the disbandment of Islamic Defenders Front
Balinese at a peaceful rally in Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali on Monday called for the disbandment the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI)
From News Reports:
Denpasar, February 9: Thousands of Balinese called for the disbandment of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) in a rally at Puputan Margarana square in Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali, on Monday.
More than 15 organizations took part in the rally, including Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing GP Ansor and its paramilitary force Banser, Sandi Murti, the Indonesian Churches Association (PGLII), Bali’s Hindu-Muslim Brotherhood, the Indonesian Ethnic Groups Forum (FKPEN) and the Patriotic National Guards (Pagantara).
Chairman of the Pagantara cleric Gus Nuril, demanded the immediate disbandment of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), saying that it is an intolerant group and may be representing "foreign interests."
"All of us Indonesians should defend our country from the threat of intolerant groups like the FPI." he said.
Gus Nuril also demanded the disbandment of two other mass organizations: Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) and the Indonesian Mujahideen Council (MMI).
"If a group claimed they are the defenders of Islam but all they do is accuse you of being infidels, will you stay silent?" he said.
In February 2016 the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) were reportedly ordered to remove “provocative” banners at Bandung boarding houses that had targeted the homosexual community.
Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, who ordered the removal of the banners, said that the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) admitted to putting up the banners.
In February 2016 the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), that incorporates all Indonesian Muslim organisations including the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) called for legislation to ban Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activities in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) that was founded by the Indonesian New Order under the Suharto administration in 1975 as a body to advise the Muslim community on contemporary issues says that the promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activities was against Islam as stipulated in the 2014 Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) fatwa.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Maruf Amin said then that the MUI wants prohibition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activities including legislation that categorizes them as criminals.
In June 2016 Islam Defenders Front ( FPI ) spokesman Muhammad Rizieq Shihab warned that President Jokowi would be impeached if he agreed to a state apology for the 1965 mass killings of communists as demanded by human rights activists and families of the victims.
"We will oppose anyone, including state officials, who instigate the rebirth of the Indonesian Communist Party ( PKI )," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

PM Hun Sen bans flying of Taiwanese and Tibetan flags in Cambodia
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 8: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen banned the flying of the Taiwanese and Tibetan flags in Cambodia at a dinner held for the Cambodian-Chinese Association in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he would not allow the flags to be raised in Cambodia because he accepted Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan
and Tibet.
"But trade and commerce initiatives with Taiwan are welcome," he said.
"We shall not do anything that harms the sovereignty and independence of China," he said.
He said that Cambodia has the same policy as China towards Tibet, saying that "Cambodia recognised China's sovereignty over Tibet."
China is reportedly the largest investor in Cambodia, with trade between the two countries at USD2.34 billion the first half of 2016.
Tibet was annexed by the Mao-led Communist party in the 1950’s and continues to be controlled by China, with China claiming that Tibet is historically China's territory.
Tibetans challenge the China claim.
Taiwan is considered a break-away province by China with the ruling Taiwanese government reportedly wanting independence from China.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia reassures Myanmar no interference in Rohingya plight
Myanmar president Htin Kyaw and Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen on an official four-day visit to Cambodia at the the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Saturday
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, February 7: Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen reassured visiting Myanmar president Htin Kyaw that Cambodia would not interfere in the Muslim Rohingya plight at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
President Htin Kyaw is on an official four-day visit to Cambodia to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation with a focus on tourism including tour packages to Angkor Wat and Buddhist temples at Bagan city.
Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen reportedly said that "Cambodia disagrees with the attempt to internationalise the Rohingya issue."
He said that the ASEAN Charter prohibits the interference of member states in each others internal affairs.
In December Human rights activists in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta reportedly called on the Asscociation of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat to intervene in the plight of stateless Rohingya Muslim refugees in Myanmar.
Council for Humanitarian Networking (CHN) Sheikhul Islam Office in Bangkok, Zakee Phithakkunpul, urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the ASEAN community to take action against the alleged "ongoing abusive military action against Rohingya's".
Myanmar reportedly considers the Muslim Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh but Bangladesh rejects the Rohingya's, rendering them stateless.
The United Nations estimates that 800,000 Rohingya live in the northwestern Rakhine state bordering Bangladesh.
A meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Myanmar in December marked the first response of the regional body to the growing international criticism of the alleged persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
The ASEAN foreign ministers response was reportedly uncharacteristic of the Asean regional body that upholds the non-interference in the internal affairs of a member country principal.
Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi said at the meeting that “the government was committed to the resolution of the complex issue," calling for "time and space for the government’s efforts to bear fruit.”
The National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won about 97 per cent of Yangon Region seats in the November 2015 General elections, is subject to the conditions of the Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) military-drafted Myanmar constitution.
The Myanmar constitution allows for the allocation of 25 percent of Parliamentary seats in both houses to unelected military officers.
The Southeast Asian Times

Catholic churches deliver sermons throughout Philippines denouncing Deturte's war on drugs
From News Reports:
Manila, February 6: The Catholic Church delivered sermons from pulpits across the Philippines at services on Saturday and Sunday denouncing President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs and accusing the president of creating a "reign of terror" among the poor.
The sermon denouncing the war on drugs was delivered in a pastoral letter signed by the bishops of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
"Killing people is not the answer to traficking in illegal drugs", says the pastoral letter.
The pastoral letter said that "the indifference to this kind of wrong was of great concern," that it was considered "as normal and as something that needs to be done."
The pastoral letter said that an additional cause of concern is the "reign of terror" the killings have caused among the poor, saying that "many are killed not because of drugs and that "those who carry out the killings are not brought to justice."
The pastoral letter urged elected politicians "to serve the common good and not their own interests", calling for action to be taken against "rogue policemen and corrupt judges".
Support for the Catholic church from about 80 percent of the Philipine population of 100 million has reportedly given the church political and social influence.
The church has reportedly been hesitant to criticise President Rodrigo Duterte on his war on drugs, with the clergy saying that they were uncertain how to take a stand against the killings given the popular support it had received.
More than 7600 have reportedle been killed since the launch of the anti-drugs campaign immediately following the inauguration of Rodrigo Duterte as president in June last year.
The Rodrigo Duterte government and police have denied that extrajudicial killings have taken place.
The Southeast Asian Times


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


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


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


Indonesia ready for big 'brother' role in ASEAN
By Prashanth Parameswaran
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Timor-Leste justice threatened by firing of foreign judges
By Susan Marx ...open page here

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




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

 


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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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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

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

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

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

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


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

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

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

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


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