The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Wednesday 31 August 2016 
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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Police destroy marijuana plantation in Aceh
From News Reports
Jakarta, August 31: Police in Aceh destroyed 9 hectares of marijuana plants ready for harvest in Pollo village, Lamteuba in Aceh Besar regency on Sunday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Goenawan, said that police searched the Seulawah hillside on foot for two hours before finding the marijuana plantation.
"Police found marijuana up to 3 meters high and up to six months old growing in two locations," he said.
He said that police also found dried marijuana that was ready for distribution.
"Police seized plants as evidence and burned the remainder at the location", he said.
The Jakarta Post reports that Aceh is the largest producer of marijuana in Indonesia.
The National Narcotics Agency destroyed about 64 hectares of marijuana plants mostly located in Aceh and Bengkulu in 2015.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippine government and rebel army sign ceasefire agreement in Norway
Philippine government representative Jesus Dureza and the National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), chief negotiator, Luis Jalandoni, and Norway Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boerge Brende, in Oslo after the signing of the ceasefire agreement.
From News Reports:
Manila, August 30: The Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), signed a ceasefire agreement in Oslo on Friday following a two day meeting mediated by the Norwegian ministery of foreign affairs, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippine government peace adviser, Jesus Dureza, said that the signing of the peace agreement between the National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), was a historic and unprecedented event.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), chief negotiator, Luis Jalandoni, said that he was optimistic about achieving a lasting peace agreement with the Philippine government.
The two parties reportedly agreed to "speed up the peace process" with the aim of reaching the first substantial agreement on economic and social reform within six months.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to implement a unilateral ceasefire with the National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) within weeks of his inauguration as the 16th president of the Philippines in June.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced the ceasefire in his first State of the Nation address to the congress before the joint session of the 17th Congress in Quezon City saying "I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire in order to stop violence on the ground and restore peace,"
"I call on the rebels to do the same", he said.
The Philippine government, the National Democratic Front (NDF) that represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) that includes chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, chief political adviser Jose Maria Sison and Fidel Agcaoli agreed to resume formal peace talks at a two day meeting in Norway last month that was facilitated by the Norwegian Government.
Philippine presidential adviser Jesus Dureza said the resumption of peace talks after talks were halted in 2013 due to disagreement on the freeing of jailed rebels "is a milestone."
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Malaysian students call for arrest of their Prime Minister
Students call for the arrest of Prime Minister Najib Razak, dubbed "Malaysian Official 1" who is allegedly involed in the misappropriation of assets from1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) which he founded in 6009
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 29: Malaysian students called for the arrest of Prime Minister Najib Razak at protests in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday for his alleged involvment in the misappropriation of assets from1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a development fund that was founded by the Prime Minister in 2009, reports the Associated Press.
More than 1,000 students defied a police ban that requires a permit for gatherings of more that five and prohibits gatherings within 50 metres of prohibited places such as hospitals, schools or places of worship, to call for the arrest of the Prime Minister who they dubbed
"Malaysian Official 1."
Last month the United States Justice Department reportedly seized assets from the $3.5 billion that was misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund, saying that $1 billion from the 1MDB fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London inluding $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The Justice Department alleges that Riza Aziz, stepson of Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, family friends and government officials are involved in the investments derived from the misapropriation of the funds.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak Najib is reportedly not named directly in the Justice Department files.
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on 2 July 2014 that funds that had allegedly been donated by one of nine sons of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who is Finance Minister and Chairman of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) advisory board, denied the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) allegations, saying that he would take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has reportedly amassed RM42 billion in debts since its establishement in 2009.
The Wall Street Journal reports that US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) was deposited into Prime Minister Najib Razak account between 2011 and 2013, more than the US$681 million identified in the initial investigation.
In May Singapore reportedly closed Swiss bank BSI AG operations in the city-state following criminal proceedings in Switzerland against the private bank in its transactions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or Finma said in Zurich that Swiss-based BSI AG had committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations through business relationships and transactions 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB),
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysian cabinet to amend Marriage and Divorce Act ahead of Federal Court hearing
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 28: a proposal to amend the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act 1976 will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, reports the New Straits Times.
Prime Minister Seri Najib said that the cabinet had agreed to the amendments several months ago and that he was waiting for the opportune time to make the announcement.
The Prime Minister said that the amendment to the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act was "part of the government's efforts to address religious conversion."
"The amendment to the law would resolve any contradiction between civil and shariah courts following the conversion to Islam by one of the partners in the marriage," he said.
The announcement that the amendment will be addressed in the next Parliament sitting was made within days of the announcement that the Malaysian Federal Court has set two days aside in Novemebr to hear an appeal by Hindu woman M. Indira Gandhi, to challenge the conversion of her three children in 2009 to Islam by her former husband.
She seeks to overturn the Court of Appeal ruling in December last year that maintained the Islamic faith of her three children, Tevi Darsiny, 19, Karan Dinish, 18 and Prasana Diksa, 8.
The Court of Appeal held that only the Shariah courts had the jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the conversion of the children to Islam, setting aside the Ipoh High Court 2013 judgement that found that the conversion of the three children to Islam was not valid and declared their conversion certificates null and void.
The Southeast Asian Times


Ho Chi Minh City court gives drug traffickers the death sentence
Two gang leaders were sentenced to death and their 12 gang members were sentenced from life to nine years in prison in the HCMCity Peoples court on Wednesday for trafficking in more than 100kg herion
From News Reports:
HCMCity, August 27: The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court Tuesday sentenced two gang leaders to death and sentenced 12 gang members to jail terms ranging from life to nine years for trafficking in more than 100kg of heroin in 2013, reports Thanh Nien.
The Court gave gang leaders, Tran Tuan An, 29, and Le Nguyen Hoang Anh, 30, given death sentences for the “illegal trade in narcotics,” saying that the two were given the death penalty because they were directly involved in the trafficking of the drugs.
The alleged mastermind Cao Tri Trung and five others were given life sentences and six others gang members were sentenced to nine to 20 years in jail.
The mastermind Cao Tri Trung reportedly confessed to police that the gang had traded more than 100kg of heroin in HCMCity
between March and June 2013 after buying it for VND30 billion (US$1.35 million) in Vietnam's northern provinces.
Police reportedly arrested gang leader, Tran Tuan An, 29, and Le Nguyen Hoang Anh, 30, in HCMC’s Tan Binh District in July 2013 with more than 5kg of heroin in their possession.
Police investigations led to the arrest of the other twelve gang members.

Death sentence for Vietnamese Australian
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court, Wednesday upheld the death sentence for Vietnamese-Australian convicted drug trafficker, Pham Trung Dung, 39.
The court confirmed the death sentence after a reinvestigation found that the herion originally found in his possession was over the weight that would allow the court to commute his sentence.
Pham Trung Dung, 39, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat Airport in May 2013 as he was preparing to fly to Sydney, by customs who found almost 3.6 kilograms in his possession.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is repoetedly punishable by death in Vietnam.
Pham Trung Dung told the court that he was in Vietnam for a family vacation and a local had asked him to carry the drug to Australia for a fee of US$30,500.
Twenty-nine crimes carry the death penalty in Viet Nam including murder, armed robbery, treason, drug trafficking, the sexual abuse of children, and economic crimes, including the embezzlment of VND500 million (US$24,000) or more of state property.
The Justice Ministry reportedly proposes to abolish the death penalty for robbery, treason and drug trafficking but not for murder or corruption.
The Southeast Asian Times


House of Representatives in Indonesia supports ban on Communism
From News Reports
Jakarta August 26: The Indonesian House of Representatives Commission III that oversees legal affairs, supports the government draft revision of the Criminal Code that retains Articles banning communism, saying that the Articles that ban communism protect Pancasila, the national ideology, reports the Jakarta Post.
House of Representatives Commission III member Teuku Taufiqulhadi said that the Criminal Code should retain Articles 219, 220 and 221 in order to protect Indonesian national ideology.
He said that Article 219 of the Criminal Code stipulates that anyone who goes against the law by promoting communism can be sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison.
Articles 220 and 221 of the Criminal Code reportedly stipulates 10 years in prison for anyone who uses communism as an organizational ideology and anyone who tries to replace national ideology Pancasila.
"Such punishment is normal since it has considered the balance between citizens' rights in other articles and citizens' responsibilities in these articles," he said.
The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in the Hague submitted its findings that the US, the UK and Australia were directly involved in the 1965 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters to the Indonesian House of Representatives Commission III last month.
The verdict was also submitted to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and the Foreign Ministry's human rights department.
The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in the Hague found that Indonesia guilty of Crimes Against Humanity under the 1948 International Genocide Convention for the 1965 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members.
Presiding judge Zakeria Yacoob said that "the facts brought before the tribunal by the prosecution include acts that fall within those enumerated in the Genocide Convention."
"Indonesia was bound by the 1948 Genocide Convention under international law," he said.
In November 2015 Judges of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in The Hague concluded that the Indonesian government was responsible for the 1965-1966 killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters but stopped short of a finding of genocide.
The judges said then that the killings under president Suharto of up to two million Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters had "the political objective of removing the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its sympathizers from the Indonesian political scene".
The Southeast Asian Times

Hindu mother wants court to revoke conversion of her children to Islam
Teacher M. Indira Gandhi, mother of three who were converted to Islam by their father, has named the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk) director, the Registrar of Muallaf, the Perak state government, the Education Ministry, the government of Malaysia and her former husband K. Pathmanathan as respondents in her legal challenge to have the conversion of her children to Islam revoked.
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, August 25: The Malaysian Federal Court has set two days in Novemebr to hear an appeal by teacher M. Indira Gandhi to challenge the conversion of her three children by her former husband to Islam in 2009, reports the New Straits Times.
M. Indira Gandhi a Hindu seeks to overturn the Court of Appeal ruling in December last year that maintained the Islamic faith of her three children, Tevi Darsiny, 19, Karan Dinish, 18 and Prasana Diksa, 8.
The Court of Appeal held that only the Shariah courts had the jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the conversion of the children to Islam.
The Court of Appeal had set aside the Ipoh High Court 2013 judgement that found that the conversion of the three children to Islam was not valid and declared their conversion certificates null and void.
In March 2009 the former husband of Indira Gandhi and father of their three children, K. Pathmanathan, a Hindu, converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Riduan.
A month later he reportedly converted the three children to Islam using their birth certificates.
A week later the Shariah Court granted temporary custody of the three children to their father, now known as Muhammad Riduan.
Six months later the Shariah Court granted permanant custody of the children to their father.
The Malaysian Federal Court in November will consider whether the civil High Court has exclusive jurisdiction to review the actions of the Registrar of Muallafs (converts) or his delegates as public authorities exercising statutory powers vested by the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004, whether a child of a civil marriage that has yet to turn 18 must comply with both Sections 96(1) and 106(b) of the Perak Enactment or similar provisions under other state laws before the Registrar of Muallafs may register the child’s conversion to Islam or whether the mother and the father of a child of a civil marriage must consent before a certificate of conversion to Islam can be issued in respect of that child.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian fishermen want Australia to pay compensation for destruction of their fishing grounds
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 24: About 13,000 Indonesian fishermen, who are claiming compensation for damages caused by an oil rig explosion operated by the Australian subsidiary of Thailand’s State-owned oil-and-gas company PTTEP in the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney, said on Monday that they also want compensation from the Australian government, reports the Jakarta Post.
Kupang-based West Timor Care Foundation director (YPTB) Ferdi Tanoni, who filed a class action civil lawsuit on behalf of the fishermen in the Australian Federal Court of Sydney against the Australian subsidiary of Thailand’s State-owned oil-and-gas company PTTEP earlier this month, said that the Australian government should also be held accountable for the destruction of their fishing grounds.
The fishermen claim that fishing grounds in East Nusa Tenggara were destroyed following the explosion aboard the Atlas 3 oil rig in the Montara field about 100 kilometres from Timor in 2009.
Sixty-nine workers were evacuated from the oil rig after the explosion which spewed oil into the Timor Sea that took more than two months to staunch.
In July 2012 the Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies, Jakarta, reported that the pollution which followed the explosion continued to cost the fishing villages of eastern Indonesia more than $1.5 billion each year.
The centre had found that oil and chemical dispersants were affecting marine ecosystems and costing coastal communities, reported its director, Dr Mukhtasor.
Kupang-based West Timor Care Foundation director (YPTB) Ferdi Tanoni said that the fishermen claim that the fishing grounds in East Nusa Tenggara were destroyed by chemical dispersants sprayed over the oil spill in the Timor Sea from an Australian aircraft.
"Australia can’t wash its hands of this case", he said.
He said that "eyewitnesses saw an Australian aircraft flying low above the Timor Sea spraying over the oil spill,”
The Jakarta Post reports that fisherman, Muhammad Hatta, said he witnessed a red aircraft flying over the oil spill from the Atlas 3 oil rig a week after the explosion.
“We were around Kolbano waters in Timor Tengah Selatan regency, East Nusa Tenggara when we saw the Australian airplane spray over the oil spill in Kolbano waters,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai reformists call for direct elections and decentralization
People's Assembly for Thailand Reform activist, Anek Laothammatat, a former member of the defunct National Reform Council, speaking in support of jailed protesters in February
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 23: The People's Assembly for Thailand Reform are calling for the direct election of provincial governors
and the decentralization of government, saying that the military government is "dragging its feet" on reform policies, reports the Bangkok Post.
People's Assembly for Thailand Reform activist, Anek Laothammatat, called for the election of provincial governors who would report directly to the Prime Minister not the Interior Minister as is the current system.
"The elected provincial governors would be required to meet with the prime minister, similar to a cabinet meeting, at least once a month," he said.
He said that elected provincial governors would serve a four-year term in office with no more than two consecutive terms.
"Government officials sent from the central government to work in the provinces would become local officials working under elected provincial governors, he said.
People's Assembly for Thailand Reform activist, Anek Laothammatat, also called for country boundaries to be redrawn and divided into 12 regions in order to improve efficiency in national administration.
He said budget allocations made by the central government to the provinces would be administered by provincial governors in order to improve efficiency in the administration of development projects.
"The country's boundaries should be redrawn into 12 regions on economic and geographic lines, such as the Andaman region, the
Gulf of Thailand region, and the Northeast to be divided into three new regions," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

New Philippine President fires public servants claiming corruption
From News Reports:
Manila, August 22: Newly inaugurated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has fired all presidential government public servant appointees by declaring their postions vacant, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
“Consider your positions vacant as of this hour," he said at a 2.00am press conference on Sunday.
The President told the early morning press conference that his order included "all" presidential appointees "all over the county's bureaucracy".
“It will number in the thousands,” he said.
The President claims that the government public servant appointees are currupt, saying that he is told on his provincial visits of "continuing corruption in government."
He named the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Organization (LTO) as two government departments that are allegedly corrupt.
The President ordered the head of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) lawyer Martin Delgra, to report to him in Malacañang.
The new president accused scores of judges, mayors, lawyers, military and police of involvement in the illegal drug tradeon national television earlier this month, saying that he would give them 24 hours to surrender or they would be "hunted down."
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who was sworn in as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4 ordered an executive order (EO) for submission of the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill to the 17th Congress.
The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill would reportedly require all government entities including those in the legislature and judiciary to release documents detailing their transactions and projects.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian government calls for further study of dual citizenship law
Gloria Natapradja Hamel, 16, who was not allowed to take part in the Indonesian Independence Day celebrations because she holds a French passport, wrote to Indonesian President Joko Widowi saying: "I hereby state that I am not a French citizen because my blood and tears are for my beloved Indonesia" in her effort to participate in the Independence Day celebrations
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 21: The Indonesian government has called for further study of the dual citizenship law in order that revision of the law will remain in line with national interests, reports the Jakarta Post.
The call for revision of the citizenship laws follows the government decision not to allow student Gloria Natapradja Hamel, 16, from Depok, West Java, to take part in a flag-hoisting ceremony to celebrate Indonesia's Independence on August 17.
The student is the daughter of Indonesian mother Ira Natapradja and French father Didier Hamel.
The government found that the student holds French citizenship and therefore was not able to participate in the flag-hoisting ceremony to celebrate Indonesia's Independence.
United Development Party (PPP) politician and Member of the House of Representatives commission that oversees legal affairs said that "although allowing dual citizenship might have a positive impact on national development it also had legal implications."
He said there would be implications if Indonesia became involved in a major conflict with a country where Indonesian citizens were also citizens.
"Dual citizenship would be in contradiction with regulations in other countries including dual citizenship laws in Australia and the UK." he said.
Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, whose ministry oversaw the selection process for the flag-hoisting ceremony to celebrate Indonesia's Independence, said that the government was applying outdated measures in dealing with dual citizenship.
"There are lots of mixed marriages," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Danang People's Committe calls for investigation into dumping of toxic waste
From News Reports
Hanoi, August 21: The Lien Chieu Districts People's Committee has called on the Ðanang City Department of Natural Resources and Environment on the central coast of Vietnam to investigate the origin of toxic waste dumped at the Hoa Khanh Son waste treatment recycling plant, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Residents in Lien Chieu District's Hoa Khanh Nam Ward claim that environmental services company, Anh Duong Environmental Services One Member Co. Ltd, is responsible for the transport of toxic waste from the Lien Chieu Industrial Zone (IZ) to the Hoa Khánh Son waste treatment recycling plant.
They claim that Anh Duong Environmental Services One Member Co. Ltd buried the toxic waste at the Hoa Khanh Son recycling plant in in an area of about 500 square metres.
The residents claim that toxic waste was buried in four metre deep holes and covered with canvas.
Bags of waste were reportedly left scattered in the area.
"The black coloured waste turned red in the sun," the residents told the Ðanang City Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The Lien Chieu District residents claim that they asked the Anh Duong Environmental Services One Member Co. Ltd to identify the waste but have not received a reply.
Lien Chieu Districts People's Committee vice chairman Nguyen Huu Thiet said that environmental services company, Anh Duong Environmental Services One Member Co. Ltd, was granted a licence to carry waste to the Hoa Khanh Son waste treatment recycling plant by Danang city.
The the Hoa Khánh Son waste treatment recycling plant that was established in Danang in June 2015 is designed to process 700 tonnes of waste a day.
The recycling plant was established to replace the burial of waste and was expected to recycle 100 per cent of daily domesstic waste to produce oil, unbaked bricks, and bio charcoal.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian Independence Day celebrated by blasting illegal fishing boats out of the water
Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, says that "future ship sinkings would be "less sensational" but that would not mean Indonesia is relenting on its stance against illegal fishing."
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 19: Indonesia marked its Independence Day on Wednesday by scuttling 60 foreign ships seized for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, reports the Jakarta Post.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the ships were sunk at eight locations across the Indonesian archipelago.
The Maritime and Fisheries Minister has ordered the destruction of more than 200 illegal fishing boats since 2014.
The Minister said from Ranai, a Natuna Islands port where many of the illegal fishing boats were captured, that the
ships were sunk off Ranai, Batam, Tarempa, Kalimantan, Maluku, and Sorong in West Papua to create artificial reefs.
She said that six other vessels would be sunk in Pangandaran on the southern coast of West Java, where the government plans to build an illegal fishing boat museum with US and Norwegian help.
The minister claims that the Maritime and Fisheries Ministery see "a deterrent efect" in the sinking of the seized foreign fishing boats.
"I think blasting the fishing boats out of the water is quite a strong message," she said.
The government reportedly planned to sink 71 boats including from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and China on Wednesday in celebration for each year of Independence.
On 17 August last year the Indonesian navy blasted 70 foreign fishing vessels out of Indonesian waters in celebration of 70 years of independence as part of the government campaign driven by President Joko Widodo to stop illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
"Illegal fishing costs the country billions of dollars in lost revenue every year", said the president.
The 70 fishing vessels including Thai, Vietnamese, Philippine and Malaysian fishing vessels that were seized in waters of Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Including the Natuna Island since the election of the new president in July 2014.
The fishing vessels were seized by the Indonesian Navy and Water Police under the direction of the Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry for conducting illegal fishing operations.
The Southeast Asian Times

Foreigners in Indonesian prisons given remissions for Independence Day
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 18: Foreign inmates were among prisoners incarcerated in Indonesia's jails who were given special remissions in celebration of Indonesia’s 71st independence day that fell yesterday, reports the Jakarta Post.
Bali’s penitentiary authorities conferred remissions on 902 inmates, with each remission ranging from one month to six months.
The Bali branch of the Law and Human Rights Ministry head, Sulistiono, said that the 22 foreigners due to receive remissions included two US inmates, four Australians, two Dutch nationals, one Briton, one German, one Italian, one Russian, one Nigerian, three Thais, two Malaysians, three Filipinos and one Bangladeshi.
"Most of them are drug-related convicts,” he said.
Two notorious prisoners serving sentences in Indonesian prisons received a reduction in their sentences for Idul Fitri last month.
Former middle-ranking tax official Gayus Halomoan Tambunan, 36, who is serving a 30-year sentence and former Democrat Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, 37, who is serving a five year sentence were two of 9,592 inmates serving sentences in 31 prisons and detention centers in West Java who received sentence reductions.
Former tax official Gayus Halomoan Tambunan, who was sentenced in August 2013 is serving a 30-year sentence for accepting bribes; failing to report gratuities; money laundering and bribing police officers to escape detention, received a two month reduction in his sentence.
The Southeast Asain Times

Vietnam police arrest five for murder and assault of forest protection officers
From News Reports:
Hanoi, August 16: Police in Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam have arrested five for the alleged murder and assault of forest protection officers, reports Tuoi Tre News.
The five were charged with the alleged murder of forest protection officer, Truong Ai Thin and aggravated assault of forest protection officers, Tan Khoa and Trieu Vu Hiep, who suffered serious head injuries.
The five arrested are MBon Ha Hoang, 40, Lieng Hot Ha Long, 17, Lieng Hot Ha Jek, 21, Lo Mu Ha Chan, 33, and K’ Long Ha Hen, 22, all residents of Hang Hot Village, Me Linh Commune.
Major General Bui Van Son, director of the provincial Department of Police, said the offenders have also been charged with obstruction and public disorder.
He said that about 16 ethnic minority residents from Hang Hot Village "were caught destroying a protected forest for more land for agriculture."
"About 200 officers were tasked with the arrest", he said.
Police were assaulted with rocks and wooden sticks and were forced to fire warning shots in order to clear a crowd that had gathered to stop the police from making an arrest.
Seven police vehicles were also heavily damaged.
The Southeast Asian Times



Chris Ray investigates the impact of poisoned water on residents and fishing in Williamtown in the southern Australian state of New South Wales .....open page here


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
.......open page here

 

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

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




.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

 


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7615
Brunei...
1.0287
C
ambodia...3,124.13
China..Yuan
..5,0648
East Timor.
..0.7615
Euro..
0.6739
Hong
sKong..
.5.9015
Indonesia Rupiah
.10,065.12
Japan..76.6695
Laos..6,158.49
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0724
Myanmar..912.150
Papua New Guinea
..2.4129
Philippines Peso..
35.4931
Singapore dollar...
1.0292
Thailand...Baht..
26.4010
Viet
Nam
Dong..16,918.42

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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